Yesterday, The Learning Channel announced the quick cancellation of “American Chopper.” The last episode will air tonight at 9pm Eastern. Over the six-year run of the show, I watched almost every episode — purely for the love of seeing Paul, Jr.’s designs come to life in metal — but the one, universal, totem taken away from the program is the horrible reality of an alcoholic father who is envious of his sons and sabotages them at every turn week after week and year after year. The constant threat of physical violence, coupled with emotional and verbal abuse, makes Paul Teutul, Sr. one of the most despicable men in the history of reality television as he not only strangled, but castrated, his most beloved and most talented son, Paul, Jr.
What makes a father hate a son so much?
Jealousy. Vanity. A bottomless pit of self-loathing that can never be filled.
Sure, Paul, Sr. hasn’t “had a drink” in many years, but he still behaves like a drunken bully: He’s a “Dry Drunk” and he loves every moment of his never ending rage. He yells and screams and throws things in childish tantrums edged to give him his way.
If you do not bow down to the father, then the father will kill you and it was that threat of real violence that propelled “American Chopper” each week and likely fueled the ratings. You always hoped, in the end, that Sr. would somehow see the light and the error of his ways and just back off his boys a little bit to let them live free and breathe well. It never happened.
The bully in the boy always erupted in the father to punish the prodigal sons, and every single family member who worked with Sr. ended up ostracized or fired.
The emergence of Paul Sr.’s new wife on the television show to replace the loss of Paul, Jr. in the cycle shop this season, was a foreboding that not even TLC could ignore based on Paul Sr.’s, established ethical habit of action: The wife replaces the son in the circle of violence, and the wrath of the father becomes the fury of the husband, and we are but moments away from an attack on her because she completes the cycle of abuse. Paul, Sr. will demolish her in situ, and on TV, just as he destroyed everyone else who stood with him.
It seems ongoing public child abuse was acceptable to Discovery/TLC for the six year run of “American Chopper” — but the threat of the gathering storm of spousal abuse only gets a few one-hour episodes before finding the producer’s axe.
Orange County Choppers was built on the back of Paul, Jr.’s successful motorcycle designs and while everyone at OCC knew that — Paul, Sr. refused to admit in public that the magic and spine of the business was his son and not him.
I guarantee you Paul, Sr. knows in his gut that Paul, Jr. is the better man and more talented than he is and that fact gnaws his gut more than any rotgut ever could — but instead of accepting the necessary divinity of a son walking in a father’s footfalls, this father prefers to poison the road ahead by first firing, and then suing, the starshine son:
The Orange County Choppers’ Paul Teutul Sr. filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Goshen against his son, Paul Teutul Jr., for what could amount to millions in damages. The core argument is over how much Senior should pay Paulie for his share of the company, headquartered in the Town of Newburgh.
In an explosive episode that aired at the beginning of season six of TLC’s “American Chopper,” Paulie was fired from the company. In real life, as part of the termination, Paulie agreed to sell his 20 percent ownership to his father, according to the suit.
Since then, the two have been unable to compromise on how much that share is worth.
“It’s sad it’s come to this,” Senior’s lawyer, Richard Mahon II, said.
Because the two could not agree, Senior is asking the court to appoint an appraiser to value the company. The suit also asks for an injunction barring Paulie from engaging in competitive business activities and interfering with the company’s relationship with suppliers.
The fact of human living is that children are born to replace their parents and most fathers would wallow in the success of their sons — but not Paul, Sr. He sees his sons as competition and he is set to destroy them.
Instead of retiring and letting the son become the godhead of the family empire, the father prefers to burn down the business to leave behind only the ashes of what was once almost a great community of family spirit and friendly creativity.
Mikey Teutul is the most tragic son. He is the buffoon who couldn’t keep a job except for being daddy’s Jester. While Mikey was always ready to crack a joke or try to keep peace in the family — we knew his spirit was crushed by his father in childhood and we were only seeing the overweight and unhappy shell of the fallow man.
This season, we learned Mikey, like his father before him, is a drunk. Mikey, with the help of Paul, Jr., entered rehab and wanted to become a stand-up comedian. We who watch the show know that Mikey’s comedy routine is just another flop in the overlong way station of his failures.
Some drunks go dry and turn to brittle rage while others wither from the inside out with no way of becoming someone on their own terms. We mourn the living life of Mikey Teutul, and we root for his success, but we also know he will never find peace until he buries his abusive father.
As “American Chopper” ends tonight, we must now accept what we always knew from the start, but could never quite confess until now: There will be no lasting forgiveness or reconciliation in the Teutul family.
That realization leaves us empty and tarred and we wonder why we invested so much hope with so little return.
The lesson in “American Chopper” isn’t a pleasant one. We’ve been taught by the show that sometimes the bully wins and sometimes the good sons are betrayed by a father’s unrestrained cravenness — and while that lesson becomes a warning against our naive yearning — we still can’t help but feel there had to be another way, a less crooked path, a different method of thinking that could’ve saved Paul Teutul, Sr. from himself and salvaged the bright promise of the sons he created and then systematically destroyed before our eyes for six long, unforgiving, years.
What a painful lesson, David. I wonder if the son is going to now go on to make his own firm that will far outshine that of his father… and get his own show in the process?
Paul, Jr. has his own design firm now:
He was featured on the show a bit, but he isn’t doing as well as he was building bikes.
only thing i can say is tragic for all the family
You’re definitely right about that, robert, and the pain is all so unnecessary and totally avoidable.
I had a situation family feud like this and the one side held the family land cororation and sued the families ealership side for back rent and sold the land from under them to a competitor and put the company out of business. Paul should sell his occ stock to a competitor and screw his dad but good.
Thanks for the comment, Ed. What a terrible story you share! Such clear and blatant cruelty is hard to abide.
I am watching the new show — Jr. vs. Sr. — couldn’t resist watching Paul, Jr. try to make a comeback. I am hardcore rooting for him.
It seems the father has a contract clause that allows him to buy out Jr.’s 20% stake in the company. Jr. is willing to sell for the right price. The father said a judge-appointed accountant said Orange County Choppers is worth “nothing” — which we all know is some sort of manufactured, convenient, lie — so, by default, Jr.’s 20% share somehow reverts back to Sr. after a “sale” of zero if he forces the issue.
Jr. then said to Sr., “If the company’s worth nothing, then I’ll buy your 80% for nothing.” Zingo! A beautiful turn of phrase from a quick mind. That shut up the old man and his finagling.
The new show Jr. vs. Sr. is airing in India (where I live) as well, on the Discovery Turbo channel. And yes, I’m kinda rooting for Paul Jr. too – hoping that his business picks up and he finally has a chance to be what he always wanted. On the other hand, it’s rather sad to watch Paul Sr. still so blind to the fact that his own insecurities have turned him against his own boys.
I really hope Paul, Jr. gets his own show and that Sr. is never seen again. It’s just too hard to watch the old patterns forced back into repetition again for the sake of a television show.
Every family I know has problems just like this. I think it’s kinda disturbing the amount of judgment your passing around.
There are always two sides to every story and unless you’ve lived their lives and know them personally, you should stay out of their lives.
What you argue is disturbing. I don’t know any other family that has a conniving father who actively, on television, tries to sabotage the success of his sons in public.
Paul, Sr. — not me — decided to put his life on television for examination and, yes, the viewing public will judge him and condemn him now and forevermore for the sins he has contemplated, and enacted, against his sons.
I don’t have to live the life of a murderer to know murder is wrong. I don’t have to live the life of the president to comment on his job performance. You don’t have to live my life to post a critical and judgmental comment on my article.
It just goes to show how much of a fantastic job the producers did to evoke such pointed and emotional judgement of a family that other than a the thick TV facade of an understanding u have, you really have no right to make. I can only assume that you watch a Lot of television and understand that creating this drama is the very reason you watched for 6 seasons, not Paul’s designs for company’s also wanting to cash in on ratings. I agree with Dan, most families have their share if issues, the only mistake the these guys made was letting their business become irreversibly linked to the success of their show, which eventually was only watched for the drama. I started watching this show for the motorbike design and stayed for the drama, no doubt, but I def not pretend to understand or be able to analyse what actually goes on behind the scenes. Maybe you are worse than American Chopper. Perpetuating the drama through your blog to try and gain traffic and get a good search ranking. Nice.
I’m not sure what point you’re making. Are you suggesting viewers are now allowed to judge the behavior of people who are paid to be on television?
Or are you saying that American Chopper is filled with actors and none of the emotional drama is actually real?
I have nothing to do with search rankings. I don’t advertise. I don’t make any money off this blog. My blog readers, like you, give juice to what’s popular in web searches. What searchers decide to click-through to read is what gets moved up the results list.
Dan, do you belong to the group of people who believe others should keep their mouths shut out of respect to your own personal beliefs?
Thank you for the interesting analysis of American Chopper. I’ve been watching Jr. vs. Sr. on TLC and have come to some of the same conclusions as you. Sr. is a dry drunk and though he stopped his drinking he hasn’t come to terms with his personal issues. Seeing him throw his tantrums when his decisions are challenged and finding he can’t admit he was wrong or that other people may be right makes me shake my head and yell at the TV, lol. I record most of the newer episodes and find myself fast forwarding through the sections of the show where Sr. is babbling his nonsense because it makes me so uncomfortable. Nearly every time he opens his mouth he comes off as being unreasonable and tyrannical. Entertaining even though much of it is probably scripted, but painful to watch due to the displays of Sr.’s personal flaws. Cheers.
Thanks for the comment, Tom.
I agree these reality shows are generally scripted — “Today, we’ll do this and you do that” — with dramatic arcs built into the being of the story; but what right-minded father would EVER agree to abuse his sons so deliciously and cruelly as Paul, Sr.?
Sr. isn’t a good enough actor to pull any of that off with any sort of realistic abandon — and that’s the sad part of it all. Sr. isn’t acting. He wants his sons to fail, and he wants to be the fulcrum of their demise.
It is depressing to watch Sr. get abandoned by everyone he doesn’t have on payroll. I wish Paul, Jr. and Mike and the rest of the family all the best as they try to recover from what is clearly a lifetime of abuse at the hands, and mouth, of a madman.
Are you all crazy? Senior built that business in the beginning, and he built it all by himself. Just because he is a demanding boss doesn’t mean he is an “abusive madman.” Don’t forget, the fight that started this fallout was over Junior’s inability to follow some basic rules (like showing up to work on time). I’ll tell you what, all of you guys that feel so sorry for Junior… try going to work late and taking lunch breaks all afternoon for about three years straight and let me know how that works out for you. Any boss in his right mind will fire you within the first month, and you won’t get 20% of the company when it happens. Good Luck!
You make some good points, Mike, but we aren’t reacting to what we don’t see or don’t know. We are reacting to Senior’s behavior on camera with words and fury that come directly out of his mouth that we experience directly with our own eye. He’s a bully. He’s verbally abusive. He’s unkind to his sons. He’s always in a rage. We didn’t paint him that way. He painted himself that way during each episode.
Thanks for the reply, Dave. I must say, I was surprised at your thoughts. I expected to get some serious hate-mail in response to my blunt words in support of Senior. And… while I am still surprised to see the majority of guys here showing sympathy for Junior, I can understand your points about Senior losing control of his emotions on camera. Probably a bad move. I can even see how some people might view that as unkind or rage-filled, possibly even close to abusive. BUT… in the sake of argument, I would like to present an alternative take on Senior’s often-extreme personality:
First, I wouldn’t say I’ve watched every show religiously, but I have seen almost every major episode over the years, and I made it a point to go back and re-view every episode that led to the current fallout. What I noticed was that pretty much every single last serious fight that Senior and Junior engaged in was based on the subject of work ethic. Senior didn’t seem to approve of Junior’s approach to his work, and Junior didn’t seem to want to accommodate his father’s requests. Secondly, in every last one of the fights, there were TWO wild men screaming at the tops of their lungs. Junior was never the silent victim, following the rules and keeping his opinions to himself. So, the major underlying issues seem to me to be high-expectations, work ethic, and respect for the rules of a father/boss. Now, like I said, I am not saying Senior is totally right in everything he did, BUT I would like to say this about my perspective on his personality as a father:
I grew up in a family atmosphere VERY similar to this in many ways. My parents were demanding and opinionated, to the point of (perceived) constant verbal abuse, when observing the family-dynamic from the outside. I rarely stood up to my parents, although I disagreed with them often. BUT now, at 30 years old, I look back at my childhood from a different perspective. I am actually glad my parents were so demanding and didn’t hold back their screams. Sometimes, I hate to say it, but that is needed. I am now a pilot in the US Air Force, and I have flown combat missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I can say for sure that I have save the lives of more than a few troops on the ground when they were in need. I am proud of what I have become. And… I can also say for sure that I wouldn’t have turned out this way on my own. Had my parents not been so overbearing or demanding, I would have never cared to try to make something more out of myself. In addition to that, from a military perspective, I always saw Junior was a guest and a worker in his father’s business. If anybody I work closely with these days, including myself, would stand up to and resist the orders of a superior (or boss) in a manner the likes of that which Junior displayed on the show, we would be CRUSHED in a heartbeat. Every I serve with would say, “Yes, Sir.” and would show up an hour early, ready to work their ass off, the very next morning. That never seemed to be the case with Junior. He was so determined to resist his father and do things his way that he screamed back at every turn and exited violently, throwing stuff and destroying stuff on his way out the door. That can’t go unnoticed. If I had a serious fight with my supervisor at work and I exited out combat squadron slamming doors and throwing equipment, I would be arrested my military police before I even made it to the parking lot.
I could write more, but I feel bad for the extremely long post this far… Sorry!
In closing, I don’t think that requesting someone to show up to work on time and work hard overly high expectations, and I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Junior had just made that effort years ago. I think Senior only had the best interest of his family and his business in mind. Does he have an extreme personality? Yes! Did my parents? Yes! Did I ever have the problems that Junior seems to be having? Nope. And, I can’t get past that…
Apologies for all the typos… late night here.
We all make typos, Mike, it’s the way of the web! We appreciate your calm and rational commentary.
We do see the show differently, Mike.
In the early shows, Senior was always screaming at his sons and employees for no good reason. You can’t lead men, or bring sons into a proper adulthood, by terrorizing them every single day they show up to work. You lead through the power of your own public example. Senior’s example was to be catty, and mean, and flex is arms and yell as loud as he could if he didn’t get his way. None of his sons currently speak to him. Why? Because they’re spoiled? Or because they’re tired of being verbally abused? Senior rules through intimidation, not shared cooperation.
As the show progressed, I saw Junior’s outbursts as directly caused by Senior’s provoking behavior. We all have a breaking point, and Senior force Junior into being broken. Junior was made a partner in the business with at 20% stake, yet Senior treated him like an hourly worker and not the absolute inventor of the best bikes we saw on the show.
You can fire a man without yelling at him, and you can certainly raise a powerful son by demonstrating love and not condescension.
Bravo to this. I grew up with an extremely abusive father. This show brings back horrible memories for me. I am now a father myself, I never raise a hand in anger, I treat my son with the respect a father should. He knows his place, but also know he is cherished. There is no belittlement, I encourage him, and give him the gift of confidence…
You sound like a great father, Joe. Just enough guidance and strength without being punishing.
U seem to forget Jr was part owner in the business and maybe if Sr wasn’t such a DICK, the working environment would have been more apealling to go to work!!
I just saw the show after not having viewed it for some 4 or 5 years. Oh the drama … I guess it was never about building motorcycles after all. Paul Sr has obviously quit using Steroids, so perhaps to control his Roid-Rage tantrums, but has become delusional in the process and now looks decrypted & deflated, a man with major mental health issues who can’t work with his ever fumbling hands. They’ll find this lonely, sick, broken-down shell of a man all alone in his house next summer after OCC goes Chapter 7 & 11 with a shotgun in his mouth. I’m sorry to say, but nobody will miss that abusive bully … not his soon to be ex-wife … not his estranged family … not even his current OCC rat brown-noser employees like Jim, Steve, Mike & Jason.
I hope it doesn’t end as you imagine, Uncle Freddy. We can always hope for a reconciliation with Senior and his sons — but for that to happen, Senior will have to admit he’s been the bad guy and bite the bullet of reality and accept the fate of his public behavior on TV.
In watching American Chopper there was always an uncomfortable tone. Was it a tv act or was it real? Now we know after all this time that it was real. At the end of the day I always knew that the family would be in tact. The new season on discovery showing Paul Sr’s petty attitude toward Jr and Mikey is disturbing. I think the beauty of the show was the knowledge that the family, though dysfuntional, was working together. Now it’s dysfunctional and tragic as you point out. A good situation gone terribly bad.
It is sad watching a father sinking into his own hateful demise, while his sons — now finally free from his control — are becoming happier and their “own men” in the world. I don’t think the old man will ever get it. His sons will forgive him — but only on his deathbed when it will be too late for any real reconciliation and moving on together as a family.
I live a few miles from OCC. I’ve dined 1 table over from Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and Mikey at one time or another. I’ve been to the parades, the signings, the appearances and watched the show from the start. Here are my observations:
In addition to all of the aforementioned crtiticisms of Paul Sr., is his estranged relationship with his other son Danny. He demonstrates a pattern of abuse and neglect of his children that started long before motorcycles and TV cameras.
I am fascinated by people who are allowed to go through life like the elephants in the circus parade, who defecate wherever they go and expect their loved ones to sweep up behind them to make there shortcomings less obvious. It’s all about them and how those around them are beholden to whatever they wish to dish out.
I can give Paul Sr. alot of credit for starting what became two very successful businesses (Ironworks and OCC). He took the initial risk and made a place for his sons to shine in the public eye, but somewhere in what should be a story of success and triumph is a maniacal craving to feed an insatiable ego and the need to be the victim if all doesn’t go his way. His power addiction needs to be fed like a steam locomotive. In addition to the ego, we have also been witness to another crack in his psyche… Paranoia!
Paul Sr. doesn’t need a drink, a fix, or a shrink. He needs a mirror, because every one of his problems will be found right there in his reflection. The money is there. The success is there. Come down off the high horse and let the healing begin. When that happens there can be true success and happiness.
Thanks for the outstanding comment, Steve!
You make a fine point about Danny. He’s the non-celebrity-hungry son and, of all the sons, he learned a long time ago to 100% disconnect from Senior — and he seems better for it.
Senior did start two great businesses — yet a good businessman knows how to separate the personal from the professional — and to honor his legacy in the end, and to keep his business dreams alive, Senior needed to turn over what he started to his sons. I don’t think that will ever happen now, and in 20 years, everything Senior built up over the arc of his life will crumble and dissolve as his sons will have made their own way, the harder way, without him. It didn’t have to be that way. Senior could have left them to continue what he started and he would have lived on forever through them. Now, when Senior dies — he’s dead, forgotten, and unforgiven. Some legacy.
This is a kindergarden lesson in sharing. If we share the money and the spotlight, everyone will be happy. I truly believe that this sad situation can be salvaged, but it will take a lightbulb moment for Senior to start the healing. In the end, none of the players in this tragedy want it to stay this way.
Proof positive was Paul Jr.’s invitation for his Dad to attend his wedding. That was a chance that was missed, because Sr.’s paranoia forced him to second guess his son’s intentions. Once Senior realizes that his life is not a chess game with his sons, he can take a breath and live his life at face value. Hopefully a tragedy won’t be the impetous for healing.
What’s weird in this case is that there is more than enough money and notoriety for everyone to be rich, famous and happy. That’s usually not the way it goes down. Normally everyone is fighting for the whole. Here, a small piece is enough for most normal people to be content for a lifetime.
Wow, folks fighting over jealousy and money… who saw that coming?
You really want to solve this… Right now Sr. and Jr. are fighting over the worth of 20% of OCC. This is simple. Paul Jr. should give Sr. 20% interest in Paul Jr. Designs. Now they are both lashed to the mast together and it is in their best interest to make both businesses succeed. Paul Sr. has to generate a profit for Jr. and vice-versa. Run the companies separately, but be responsible to each other financially. Help each other at every opportunity. Everybody wins and you build two profitable organizations.
That would work, but the lawyers would hate it, because the money train would stop. If the two of them split just the legal fees to date between Dan, Mikey and their sister, everyone would be way better off than they are now.
Let the healing begin… If you dare!
The OCC 20% is definitely a problem, Steve. Senior claims in court under sworn testimony that OCC is “worth nothing,” and so “buying out” Junior’s 20% should cost him nothing. Now, we all know there is value in OCC despite what Senior claims in court — and Junior knows it, too — and that’s where Senior’s disingenuousness comes into full play. He’s trying to cheat his son out of his fair share of the business and Senior is using the courts to bother and punish his son.
As Junior said on a recent show, “If my 20% is worth nothing, then I’ll buy your 80% instead and call it even.” It was a great moment that left Senior, for once, dumbfounded that he’d been outwitted by his offspring.
I read somewhere that Junior said he’d be willing to give up his 20% if he could get some of his bikes back from OCC. He didn’t want them all. I think he only wanted four that he designed and built himself. One of them was the Black Window bike. I thought that was a good, clean, fair way to resolve the whole mess — but, of course — Senior wouldn’t bite. He claims all the bikes OCC built are his and his alone even though he didn’t build any of them and barely designed even a few.
Oh, and by the way… Tomorrow is Christmas. Another opportunity rears its ugly head! Healing can start with a simple phone call if you want it to. Put away the pride and loathing and just start living again. Bury the past and build a brite future.
There have been a few calls from Senior to his sons, Steve, but they don’t ever end up achieving anything because Junior knows Senior will twist him up in the end. There is no trust.
Here’s how to regain that trust.
Bring in the lawyers on both sides to witness the following: Senior tells Junior that he wants Paul Jr. Designs housed in the OCC building. Both companies will be run separately, but all under the same roof, and Paul Jr. Designs will be hired to work for OCC as needed. Senior says in seven years he will turn over 95% of OCC to Junior and 5% to Mikey and that is an irrevocable offer that can never be modified or deleted or annulled by him. Senior also says that, over that seven year transition, he will resolve any and all outstanding tax and loan problems so the transfer will occur without any encumbered debt or legal issues. Senior tells his sons that he’s giving them the business to preserve the Teutul legacy into the future and to apologize for all his former sins against the family.
Everybody wins. Reconciliation happens. The family unit has seven years to heal and forgive and work together — if they wish — before Senior retires and turns away from the empire he so rightly built and then bequeathed to his sons.
David, this is a fascinating blog. Thanks for allowing others to chime in.
I’ve only been a casual viewer of the show for the last several years, but the recent developments have wholly drawn me in. Like millions of others I’ve become riveted by this saga. I’ve been trying to catch up with the story by watching some of the more recent episodes of Senior vs. Junior and doing some web research, which is how I encountered your blog. Here are my observations.
While I agree that Senior is mostly in the wrong and has definately crossed the line when it comes to his treatment of Junior, I disagree wholeheartedly on your assertion of what needs to happen next. Paul Sr. should not give anything to Junior. The fact is, Junior hasn’t earned it. In spite of his abusiveness, I’ll concede that point to Senior.
There is plenty of evidence from the show to prove that Junior was not pulling his weight when working for OCC and allowed others to take up his slack. Even Vinnie had reservations when Junior invited him to come work for PJD. Also, up to the point of the breakup Junior didn’t show much interest in learning the business side of the OCC enterprise.
Now, Junior is learning first hand what it takes to be the one taking the risks, although one could argue that he may very well have a nice cushy bank account to fall back on that we don’t know about. However, if all indicators are true then he’s got everything on the line and is esentially on his own. From my view, this is the best thing that could happen to him. If Senior offered to bring PJD into the OCC facility, that would put Junior back under his dad’s wing, in a matter of speaking, and would provide some buffer against failure.
No, Paulie needs to feel the pressure that comes with the responsibility. He’s been protected from that for too long and I think that this has kept him from becoming the man he needs to be. Lust look at the changes he’s been through in the short time that he stepped out on his own. Not only is he becoming a successful businessman, he’s accepted the role of being a husband and a member of his church. He’s trying his best to help his brother Mikey and be a good example for him. Paul Junior is a different man. For him to step back into the OCC world, in my opinion, would be a mistake.
As for reconciliation and restoration of trust? I agree with Michael’s assessment that it’s all up to Paul Senior. Reconciliation can be had with a simple “Son, I’m sorry for what I’ve done and how I’ve treated you. Keep your 20% if you want it. I love you, I’m proud of you, and I want you to succeed in whatever you do.”
Now, as for the trust? That can only be regained over time. In order for Paulie to trust his dad again (if he ever has – separate discussion, right?), Senior has to back off, let his son control his own destiny and stop trying to sabotage what he’s trying to do.
Please ignore the typos, as funny as they may be. “‘Lust’ look at the changes…” ?? HAHA!! So much for my proofreading skillzzz.
We all make typos! Don’t worry about it. Thanks for your great commentary.
Thanks for your comment.
I do think Junior is what made OCC a modern success and I have watched every single show from day one. The very start of the series showed father and son working together and Junior was designing and building the bikes — no matter what Senior says now. We saw the growth from a tiny garage to the mammoth store and shop they have today. That growth was not Senior’s. It was all done on the strength of Junior’s designs and the celebration of that work on television. That’s what we saw in every episode. That’s how the story played out on in every episode — and, until now, Senior has never disputed the veracity of those early episodes… until now, after he sued his son.
I do think if Junior became the owner of OCC, it would help heal the family. He’s had a taste of the real world, and he might like it now, but the empire he built is OCC. It rightfully belongs to him as heir to the empire. Now I know there are a lot of snakey things going on behind-the-scenes with taxes and abatements and other legal tricksiness with the new building — but none of that was Junior’s doing. Those calls were all on Senior. If OCC is “worth nothing” as Senior now claims, then Junior should counter-sue him for bad faith business recklessness that devalued his 20% stake — and I’m sure that will be the next move if Junior continues to “lose” in court based on what appears to be some wonky accounting trickery on the Senior side.
Vinnie wanted what Junior has now: His own shop. That’s why he left OCC. He stayed around after Junior left and then he left — Senior claims Vinnie was fired — but that isn’t the truth of the record. Vinnie left to start his own bike shop with Cody:
I agree if Senior said what you suggest, everything would be over and done with and forgotten and forgiven. It’s so easy. Yet, Senior refuses to do the right thing by his family and the legacy he helped create. He’d rather lose it all than to confess one honest revelation that he’s been a terrible father and a hurtful business owner.
Like every family dispute since time began, there are three sides to every story. There is no one involved in this mess who is without sin.
I find it curious how people belly right up to the therapy bar when they are meeting one on one. It’s easy to talk through your side of a situation in frank and straight forward manner. However, when it is proposed that both sides attend a session together, Paul Sr. wanted no part of all of the dirty laundry aired to a third (objective) party.
The problem is that confronting the truth is not part of this real life game that is being played. The truth involves three sons, not just Mike. If, as a father, you want to put things right, you’ve got to get in the room and get all of the hurt, disappointment, sadness and raw emotion out on the tablewith all three of your sons. At that point, you can start burying the past and move forward together.
Make no mistake, there is a lot of apologizing to go around. Sr. is not the only villain in the scenario. There has been plenty of antagonizing and disrespect from every player in this tragedy.
Now on top of everything else, Paul Sr. has lost his best friend (Gus his dog). A guy who has dealt with addiction can only take so much. It is time to bury the hatchet.
One last thought… The producers of the show (looking for a good story) seem to be doing nothing to help this situation. There are times when film is shot that the father or sons are genuine about invitations to the wedding etc., yet it seems like (in that case) Paul Sr. was not clued in and was left to be paranoid about alterior motives. That wasn’t right. The producers of the show are seeing where this is headed and should have some sense in trying to heal this tragedy.
What, exactly, have Junior, Mikey and Danny done to their father — except react to his bullying?
What happened? Hmm, dad busted ass for a long ass time, son doesnt follow regular employee rules that father has lived by and enstilled in his employees and it belittles or embarrasses dad from the example he had set with employees. The reality is dad could not separate his past from him, jr, mikeys future in occ as a fun job that they could all get along and enjoy and definitely benefited from financialy but dad bared allllllllllllll the business side and burdens which weighed heavily on his shoulders once things slowed down and caused their ultimate demise. I lost my dad in 2003 in a tragic motorcycle accident in big bend just 12 miles south of marathon texas on hwy385. i would give anything to hug, fight with and tell him i love him and set any differences asside. Jr made money fast and it bugged sr that it took him longer to get the same money. Sr just wants son to appreciate what it took for him to create the awesome creation of occ and for all to benefit from with a simple thanks. If it was me at my age of 35, i would go to my dad, tell him i get it now, and thank you for everything you did for me to get us here today. If my dad couldnt let it go now, sr’s loss. And mikey, what a goofy kid that is so damn smart with the personal side with the family compared to how goofy he comes accross. God bless ya’ll. Enjoy the fruits of yalls labor, i still remember how awesome it was when yall reroofed vinnies house, those were the good ole days, or grandma tryin to pay yall to clear snow off driveway. Let it go, life is short. Heck i even lost my brother to pancreatic cancer 2 years after losing my dad and it sucks. I appreciate my family every single day. Maybe you should too! Chris
This reads like a real-life Shakespearean tragedy. Many copy-cat shows have subsequently developed but none have the appeal or drama of the Teutul family. Although I wish it to be otherwise, I believe the final scene will be enacted at the deathbed of Paul Sr. Everyone loses.
You make an excellent and touching point, Jerry. I share your fear: The only way out of this mess is a death.
He seems to only give credit or like those that are under his thumb 24/7 as he signs their check. You know, the butt kissers 😉
Like him making it know that he never liked Vinny, for what?
Busting his back 24/7 at his say to get the bikes done that made OCC the big bucks?
Like soon as your lips aren’t swon to his butt, he don’t like you anymore and you didn’t do anything to help him build OCC, he did it all.
[And why OCC lost 2/3s of its work foce in lay offs and can’t pay their bank note’ cause Paul Sr did it all.]
Yes, the new season started and it now clear the Paul Sr. ruined OCC — and the evidence is undeniable that the moment Junior left, the entire shop collapsed. Senior gave Junior everything he asked for in the settlement because it was the only way to stanch losing everything. It’s so funny to watch Senior still blame Junior for all his problems while Junior doesn’t really even factor in his father into his past or his bright future.
I was hopeful for the new season that with the end of the lawsuit that Sr. would give up on being abusive and vindictive towards Jr., but, as you have said, Sr. continues to blame Jr. for many things. Sr. continues with his nonsense about “those guys” at Jr.’s shop not being as creative nor having the ability to build bikes like OCC. It is nice to see PJD succeeding (hard to tell if they are doing as well as is portrayed in the show), and how calm it is at their shop. Qt the same time, it is sad to see OCC hurting, though maybe it could force Sr. to acknowledge Jr.’s contributions to OCC. It probably will not make a difference with Sr. though, as it is easy to dismiss his failures as being part of the overall downturn in the US economy. It is still interesting to see how things are progressing at both shops.
Best regards, Tom
Yes, it’s strange to watch Senior this season continue to blame Junior for all his woes — including manipulating Mikey so that Senior can’t see him? Huh? Mikey has made it clear he doesn’t like the tension with his father, and it isn’t a coincidence that Mikey found an 18-month sobriety in the 24-months he hasn’t interacted with his father. Senior is poisonous for his sons, and they’re realizing they’re better off emotionally and financially without their old man screaming down their necks.
Sr.’s continued references to Jr. are disturbing. He never fails to disparage him, even though all is supposedly said and done there. Every time Mikey asks Jr. about reconnecting with their father, Jr. always says, “It is your decision.” Even Vinnie tells Mikey that the choice is Mikey’s in the end. And yet it is Jr. keeping Mikey from contacting him? WTF?!? And rather than respect Mikey’s decision like he said he would, Sr. immediately suspects ulterior motives. Sad, sad, sad little man.
As for Jr.’s lack of work ethic at the shop – watch the arc. He busted ass at first, often staying late to make his vision come to life. Then the insults started. Jason Poole anyone? Sr. brought in someone to replace his son pretty damned early on. That was when Jr,’s work ethic really, REALLY took a dive. That fault lies squarely on Paulie’s shoulders. He punked out, pure and simple. BUT I can understand where he is coming from. Jr. was the designer, and was in there helping the guys fabricate. Then the design was taken away from him and given to a kid and his computer. Where is the incentive to apply yourself if OCC is just going to be “Build-a-Bike Workshop”?
Look at the bikes OCC has been turning out since Jason (or Jason’s computer) became the designer. They are almost virtually indistinguishable from each other. What creativity is there, really? The gas tanks . . . occasionally the handlebars, after the workers fix Sr.’s attempts to help. All else is turned out via water jets. A few keystrokes, and you too can have a “custom” bike . . . that looks like every other “custom” bike they’ve done since Jr. left.
I just watched the “Top 10 American Chopper Fights” and Junior refused to be a part of the show, but Senior, of course, was there all the way.
Every single fight between the two of them was started by Senior. He hunts. He attacks. He goes for the kill. It’s a frightening routine to watch and it should never have been aired on television. I thought Junior handled most of his father’s rage pretty well — proving he’s had a lot of experience dealing with that madness growing up.
Hi , Ive been following the whole series throughout its beginnings and up to the latest episodes, albeit that we in England are behind slightly in the stories, but throughout there has been one main problem and that is Paul Snr’s gradual demise into a self made paranoic, he definately exhibits sociapathic tendencies in his constant rages, his inability to accept blame, his failure to recognise the damage being caused by his behaviour and if he does, seems to have no regards for his families feelings, he once made Vinnie responsible for Paulies actions and threatened to send him home because the shop wasnt as tidy as he wanted it, that is bullying tactics taken to the extreme, As much as I like the series it has become more of a family saga rather than the theme, ie building bikes, granted Paul Snr was the originator of the company but he had to adapt to modern themes and therefore by bringing Paulie in and having his sons modern designs ,built,, launched the company into the 21st century, another point of note is the constant input from the so called brown nosers, jim and jason in particular are very vocal when it comes to the cameras but i wonder if they would be so vocal to Paulies face, I personally feel that Paul Snr is suffering from a mental illness which has been associated with sociapathy and to constantly listen to the hangers on does his sanity no good at all, even his wife appears to be too cautious around him, which surely cannot help the basis of a firm marriage partnership, I fear that his early years of Alcohol and drug abuse is slowly but surely having an adverse effect in his later life and i certainly do not see this situation being resolved in the near future
Thank you for your keen insight, David. You’re spot on with your analysis. In the season that just ended — Jr vs. Sr — there was a small conciliation on live TV with Jesse James taking both of them on in a motorcycle build off, but it wasn’t satisfying and didn’t feel lasting.
Jesse Was a piece of work, and his actions reminded me strongly of Sr. Consider the cakes he sent to both shops. He also went on and on about how he was building his whole bike, including the frame. Then he produces a frame HE COULDN’T RIDE SAFELY. If you watch the clip of Jesse’s ride, he has to constantly look around the tank, frame, and handlebars because they obstruct his view.
It seems Jr. has taken a page from his older brother Danny. He brushes off what his father is doing, instead focusing on his own business. Notice that Paulie will only comment on his father when specifically PUSHED to do so by the TV crews. Otherwise, he focuses on what he needs to take care of and runs his business.
Sr., on the other hand, misses no opportunity to denigrate and belittle his son. I thought it was sickening when a couple of companies went with OCC over PJD and had to watch Sr. lap up the negative comments about Jr. like a cat with cream. I’ve also noticed that, ever since Sr. decreed Jason is “like a son to him,” Sr.. has been treating him like a son – that is berating, abusing, changing design elements, etc.
It is also fascinating to watch the reactions of the guys in the OCC shop, Rick in particular. I’m not sure what keeps Rick there, but he has mentioned several times about working around Jason’s design flaws, humoring Sr.’s attempts at fabricating, and making it work in spite of the problems. I just wonder if Discovery is instrumental in keeping him in place at OCC, perhaps with a financial incentive. He seems to just duck his head and do what needs to be done.
Thanks for an interesting blog. I look forward to seeing what happens in the future. I think Jr. is going to continue with his success while Sr. continues to drop into obscurity. God help him if Rick leaves. I pray for Mikey to find SOMETHING to find his self worth.
You’re right, Tim, Jesse was incredibly abusive during the “build off” and I don’t think he’d seen American Chopper in years because his commentary putting down father and son was so old and non-applicable to their latest stuff.
I thought Jesse’s bike was just as silly and impractical as you suggest — and I was wishing and hoping that Jr. would’ve said, when asked about what he thought about the bike on the live show, “That’s what you get when you’ve been p*ssy-whipped by Sandra Bullock for five years.” Sure, it would have been crass and out-of-character, but Jesse would’ve been put down and set in his place as a has been.
Jr. definitely does not seem to care about all the drama and that’s a good thing. We can see he has his own vision. I only wish he’d said one other little thing during the live interview when he and his father were sitting together, “I wish my father could accept that my success is his success even if we’re apart. He taught me how to build bikes. We worked together for a long time. Now I’m going my own way, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a part of what I accomplish.” That would’ve nullified anything and everything Sr. would be able to say about him for the rest of their lives. That also wouldn’t mean Jr. wants to reconcile — it would just prove to Sr. that there’s no animosity moving forward and that respect has been paid and a debt has been honored.
Rick is a strange disappointment and I don’t understand why he stays at OCC. I agree he’s the one solid link between Jr. and Sr. and I’m sure the TV show wants him at OCC to keep that connection alive.
You’re right about Jason becoming the new son. He’s also becoming much more of a jerk on TV than he used to be. I don’t know if that’s by design or if the editors just can’t hide how wanting and needy he is all day long. He wants Sr.’s approval so much — and Sr. knows it — and Jason will never get enough to be satisfied.
I, too, feel for Mikey. He’s clearly living off the TV money he’s being paid as part of the series because he has no other visible means of support — but when that ends, what will he do? His “art” is just scribbling — there’s no trained aesthetic there or serious intention — perhaps Jr. knows he just has one more mouth to feed and that he doesn’t mind taking care of his brother since Mikey can’t take care of himself.
“You’re right about Jason becoming the new son. He’s also becoming much more of a jerk on TV than he used to be. I don’t know if that’s by design or if the editors just can’t hide how wanting and needy he is all day long. He wants Sr.’s approval so much — and Sr. knows it — and Jason will never get enough to be satisfied.”
Sr. is repeating the pattern we saw with Jr. If you look at the early episodes when they started to gain success, you can see how Sr. would come out and order “changes” to Paulie’s designs. Never mind how it would affect the final vision. Never mind that they were almost done. The big dog spoke, and that would be how it was.
Now he is doing the same thing to Jason. Waiting until a bike is almost mocked-up, then ordering a change in the frame. Or changing a design element and ordering Jason to make the change. Notice how Rick and the other guys deal with it. “It looks great on a flat drawing, but won’t work on the bike, so we have to adapt.” And they do, without confronting the artist. But Sr. has to throw his weight around, never letting you forget that he is in charge.
That may very well have been Jr.’s motivating factor in not coming in, taking 3 hour lunches, etc. He would come in at times he new Sr. would be out of the shop in order to avoid the clashes. He would stay late, knowing that Sr. had already gone home. In those three or four hours Sr. wasn’t there “helpoing,” they got more work done than had happened all day. You see that same avoidance now in his refusal to engage Sr. in a pissing contest. When he went to get the BW Bike, he made a beeline for the exit, refusing to engage Sr., knowing it could only lead to bad things.
You see the same thing when he talks to Mikey about reconnecting with Sr. “You know how it is going to go. What do you expect out of it?” But he always follows it up with: “Ultimately it is YOUR choice. You have to make it, and I will support your decision.”
Now Paulie bears responsibility for their fights. He engaged in those shouting matches rather than walking away. But it is nice to see him taking the high road now.
I have to fast-forward whenever Sr. is on the screen because I know what is going to happen. He will make some idiotic statement about the design (done by Jason) or the fabrication (done by Rick et. al.), and then take two or three shots at Paulie and PJD. It seems that Sr. is the one that cannot live and let live. What a sad, sad, sad, little man. I hope he gets help and reunites with his sons.
I’d also love to hear from Danny, the third son, on all this drama.
Great analysis, Tim! I think you’re right on about that family dynamic. Jr. is smart not to engage in a vicious cycle of contempt that never ends. It’s best not to get on the carousel in the first place — but when you sign the paychecks, you can for people like Jason to take a ride if he wants to stay employed.
Danny has been on the show a few times. He always seems disgusted by the whole familial charade with his dad. Didn’t Sr. say in one episode that he’d recently visited his grandchildren after a long time, but not their father? I thought he was talking about Danny. Isn’t there a daughter, too that we’ve never seen on TV? I think Sr. has mentioned her a few times, and how angelic she is and all, and how he can’t understand why his sons aren’t more like her…
Sr is a man who is jealous of his sons talent! He wants everyone to do as he says and not to have a mind of their own, but OCC wouldn’t be OCC without Pauly’s mind and talent, he designed all the bikes in the beginning of the show himself, that is what took OCC to the next level. The best thing Paul SR did was fire Paul Jr. He is doing good and if he were my son I would be so pround of him and encourage him, not try and tear him down every chance I could or , just how he talks about his own son to others is wrong. I would never do that to my son, I praise him, every chance I have, and let no one say anything negative about my son, or they would answer to me. Paul Jr & Sr can never work together, cause Sr will never change, everyone is wrong but him. He is very manipulating and changes everything to make him look right, cause he can’t accept that Pauly could be smarter than him. Poor man. I like the fact that Jr has his own shop and all they need to complete the staff is get Rick to come over. I just love the original crew, the others at OCC don’t care for any of them. I wish Jr could have his own show.
I appreciate your commentary, Jennie. I, too, would like Jr. to have his own show without his father. The most recent episode reveals a mature son and a continually unfathomable father. Sr. actually expects his sons to forgive all his sins while he refuses to acknowledge his own horrible behavior. I love it that Jr. told his father — off-camera — that he wasn’t interested in having a “father/son” relationship and that a “business relationship” was all he wanted. That means, for the term of the show, they’ll be friendly, but as soon as the show is off the air and they don’t have to work together any longer — they’re done.
sry about mistakes ” loved the show and feel so much sadness for the boys! ( what happens to Paul snr wife?wife? ) paul snr just doesnt get what he had and threw away so easy, so many people cant have kids you had it all and hurt the children that man you, NOT you made them…Paulie and mikey are great kids considering what they went through most of theres lives…
I think your analysis is spot-on. Sr.’s only play is to humble himself before his sons, beg their forgiveness on his knees and promise to remain silent unless spoken to — I think that would go a long way in showing true regret. Unfortunately, that will never happen.
in all the occ shows that ive watched paul jnr has never said anything good about his father. he is a spoilt brat…and his brother has been a bludger all his life.
I don’t think you’ve seen all the shows, len. Jr. has often thanked his father for his business acumen. I agree that Mikey needs to find a path of his own if he ever hopes to find success and happiness in life.
So Senior is confused by Mikey’s comment of “you lie stay away from me please.”
I can clear that up for him rather quickly. How about when meeting Trump. Would someone looking to let bygones be bygones bring up the point, “The day I made him [Paulie] a millionaire is the day he told me to go f**k myself.
It must be nice to have such a selective memory. I seem to remember long looks exchanged between Paulie and Vinnie when Senior came stomping in at the end of a mock-up to order a design change. At first, Paulie just swallowed it and worked around it. Eventually, he started yelling back, and the rest is (television) history.
Now Senior is playing the “poor pitiful little old me” game, whining about how he is reaching out, and never says anything negative about his sons. Except when he is talking to Donald Trump. Or to his customers. Or to Rick. Or to his wife. Or . . . you get the picture.
I loved Senior crying about the fact that Paulie didn’t want to reconnect because of how he treated other members of the family, and Senior thought that wasn’t fair. WTF?!?!? Isn’t that what family is all about? Sticking together and supporting each other? And, as I’ve said before, doesn’t the fact that this man has relationships with NO ONE in his family indicate where the problem truly lays?
The fact that Paulie agreed to meet off camera amazes me. I am glad to see that he continues to mature as the show is progressing. Perhaps Senior received a huge wake-up call with his mother’s death. Of course, even though both boys said they paid their respects, Senior was quick to point out that “he didn’t see them” so it must not have happened. Is nothing sacred?
I hope this family can heal the wounds they’ve inflicted on each other. I hope Rick comes to his senses and goes to work for Paulie. I hope Jason Fool gets fired. And I hope PJD continues to churn out awesome theme bikes.
Great comment, Tim!
Yes, the Trump exchange was brutal. I think Trump proved himself to be a worse father and husband than Sr. could ever hope to be — without really knowing any of the facts, Trump declares that Sr. should “not leave him [Jr.] a penny” when he dies as a final, punishing blow. The look on Sr.’s face after Trump said that was, “Ooo. He’s even more extreme than I’ve been…” and that was a chilling moment to see Sr. skeeved out by Trump’s lack of fatherly love. You know Trump runs his entire family with money-on-condition and by how much they please him. Ugh! What a horrible example for television.
Sr. knows he’s ruined his family — but the only one who can really do any lasting damage to his reputation by outliving him and outdoing him is Jr. — and Sr. is terrified by that fact as the end draws near. He’s desperate to get Jr. back on the OCC train in any way — even in an on-camera pretend way — if only to just keep him quiet about what really happened growing up.
The “mother dying” meme is a fascinating one and so much information was withheld from us all these seasons that is just now beginning to fall out. Helen wasn’t Sr.’s biological mother. She “raised” him — which, to me — means she made good television for the series, and that’s why Jr. and Mikey are repulsed by their father’s emotional pandering to us, the TV audience, that his sons didn’t pay enough “respect” to their grandmother. The boys know it’s all ginned up phoniness for TV, but Sr. also knows that a “mother” is a “mother” to most of us and by crying about his sons disrespecting his dead “mother” — he thinks he gains a few sympathy points.
I’m glad Jr. met with Sr. off-camera to put it all to rest. It was clearly an “f-you” meeting — and the threat was if Sr. continues to badmouth Jr. and Mikey, there will no longer be silence or mercy. Jr. will reveal all. That’s why Sr. was so “hurt” and “crushed” by the meeting because he knows his game is done and he has to just sit back and be acted upon by his rising bad deeds instead of shouting to get his way.
I agree that Rick would do well in Jr.’s shop, though I do sense some resentment. I think Rick loves Vinnie and has no respect for Jr. merely because Rick did all the dirty work building the OCC bikes and Jr. got all the PR juice and reputation and money. I think Rick did more for Jr. than Vinnie ever did at OCC and that bites Rick in many hurtful and unreconcilable ways. Rick feels better serving Sr. than Jr. if not for the mere fact that it doesn’t give Jr. his way. It’s Rick’s quiet revenge and I don’t see that changing unless Jr. really tries to make amends with Rick and publicly gives him the credit he is due. Getting Rick would be quick and simple — but I don’t know if Jr. has it in him for that public confessional.
Jason is such a no-talent suckup. I can’t bear it when that baby comes into the TV frame. Desperate. Loud. Annoying. I can’t believe he adds value to OCC, let alone the TV show. I guess each “side” has to have their own Mikey no-talent to even things out.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s clear the talent is in the son and the fear the father is showing has only to do with his internal fear that tv will reveal how untalented he really is. OCC is now a dull and boring place to be, the designs are leftovers from Paul Jr’s origin. As a father my self eho was raised by an unloving verbally abusive DAD, it’s easy to see that there is much more going on behind the scenes. Paul Sr. Is going to find himself alone. That is the real tragedy, hat he will never fully realize what a horrible father, and friend he has been to his sons.. I can only hope that he sees all the posts on the Internet about his behavior and gets some help from a professional. Of course after seeing his computer skills he probably never will. His actions in of “the Donald ” really show you how he really feels, as well as the fact that he drives every test drive of a bike by Paul JR’s shop. I predict that OCC wil fade away and Paul Jr designs will only grow…… Anyone who is truly an American Chopper fan would be ashamed to have a Paul Sr. Bike. You are basically by a big sign that says “I SUPPORT ABUSIVE FATHERS!”
Sorry about all the spelling errors!
I think you’re right — when Sr. dies or retires, OCC will shrivel up and die — and Jr. will likely buy that building and re-brand it Paul, Jr. designs — serving the ultimate revenge against his father: The Prodigal Son returns to conquer on his own terms.
After watching the show last night, I am bemused by Mikey’s threat to quit the show. Everything he does — the Art Gallery, the Pasta Sauce, the Personal Appearances — all spoke out from him being on the show. He quits the show, he cuts off all those other opportunities at the knees; and he’ll be an even bigger fool off the show than what must of us think he already is on the show.
Despite my best intentions, I watched the season finale. A few things that really struck me:
1. Mikey is back on the sauce, having fallen off of the wagon. Listening to his goodbyes to everyone at PJD, I heard him slurring several of his words. He was more awkward than usual. Having a brother who is an alcoholic, i recognize the signs of a functioning alcoholic. I hope Mikey gets himself cleaned up and sober.
2. I don’t get his quitting in the first place, especially his conviction that it is the only way to have a relationship with his father. Nice to see Paulie support him, but I think even he felt some trepidation about the whole thing. His “artwork” is not much to brag about. Not sure about the whole “pasta” thing. What else does he really have but the show?
Now to my main point(s) –
My respect for Paulie climbed another notch. He was willing to approach Sr. at OCC to have another sit down. It was very clear to me from the beginning that Sr. wanted Paulie to let bygones be bygones, forgive and forget. Of course, in Sr. world that means that Paulie accept 100% of the blame for the fallout. Several times you could clearly see Paulie choke down or bite back on what he really wanted to say in an effort to achieve full clarity.
Sr. displayed full arrogance during the whole conversation. If you look at his body language, it speaks volumes. Legs crossed, leaning back in the chair, and at one point even propping his feet up on the table. I found his offer to review the tapes interesting, and Paulie tried to throw him a lifeline saying “you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to go back that far.”
Then he dumps it all on Paulie, tossing off a lame, “If your feelings got hurt in the past, I apolgize.”
Paulie thought about it, and ACCEPTED the apology, and told Sr. POINT BLANK:
“I’ll take that apology as a start.” And HONESTLY let Sr. know, “A lot of pain there, dad.”
To which Sr. replied, “And not on my part. I don’t feel no pain.”
Paulie was the only adult involved in the conversation. Sr. just abdicated ALL responsibility and threw it all on Paulie.
He also whined that Jr. didn’t come running back to him with open arms. After all he has CHANGED and never says anything bad about Paulie. Except when he does say bad things, like about them not respecting his step-mom. And the shots at how Paulie designs bikes. And the shots . . . you get the point.
Paulie pointed out, “I never say anything bad about you.” Though he did throw in the caveat “unless it is true.” Paulie’s comments about Sr. almost ALWAYS happened when he was talking to Mikey or someone else about his relationship with his dad, and always boiled down to the fact that Sr. would avoid all blame. And damn if that isn’t EXACTLY what happened in that conversation
I admire Paulie for trying to mend fences. I admire him even more for swallowing a LOT of resentment during that conversation. He came off like a mature adult.
Apparently, Sr. has decided to take his management model and apply it to his relationship with Paulie. “You do all the work, and just let me know when I can come out and add a small tweak before I take all the credit.”
God knows why I keep letting myself get sucked back into this thing. Every time I think I’m done, I get pulled right back in.
On a side note –
What is the deal with Rick? Am I mistaking things, or did he throw out a few shots at Jason and Sr.? I know he resents Jr. too much to ever work for PJD, but I just have to wonder why in the hell he sticks it out at OCC. Especially with his own shop in Pennsylvania. Sr. must give him one hell of a lot of money, because without Rick, OCC would crash and BURN.
Looking forward to the feedback.
I was working last night and had to watch the show in DVR this morning. My DVR cut off the end of the show. Sr. called and Jr. answered and Sr. wanted to build a bike together — and it stopped. Did Jr. say anything or respond? What happened next?
Yes, now we know the Living Terror that is Paul, Sr. What an ugly brute of a man. All bluster and no human intention. He lives to beat people down. He just can’t stop himself from belittling Jr. at every opportunity.
It was a mighty mistake for Jr. to enter the lion’s den. OCC swallowed him whole and spat him out a second time last night, and for what end? We could’ve told him precisely what was going to happen before he stepped foot inside the door. What was he thinking? Why tread on the memories of the horrible past by sitting on them in a room with his tormentor? He did it because the producers told him to do it.
When I saw Jr. sitting there with Sr. — I saw a scared child who was trapped with no way out. He was trying to reason with an insane man masquerading as a father figure. There is no rationality involved. Jr., I thought, wanted to run or start crying a few times, but he held it together. I don’t blame him for that fight or flight response — it is clear he was terrorized growing up by his bullish father and instead of turning toward his dark side example, the son turned away and toward the sky, and the light, to become everything opposite of what his father became. Jr. will have to realize there is no healing to be had, and the only way to find happiness is to race the other way like Mikey, and to cut off the old man before he kills you.
The person who needs to quit the show is Sr., not Mikey, because without the show, neither Mikey or Jr. or any of his staff would have anything to do with him. There would be mass resignations at OCC since there was no more Discovery money, or fame, to be had on the show and Sr. would truly be met with the sledgehammer of reality that he so rightly deserves: A well-deserved beheading of his faux leadership. Discovery owns Sr. and Sr. knows it — that’s why he keeps pressing Jr. for resolution… because Discovery wants it, not him. You really think Sr. cares about anybody but himself? Without the show, he wouldn’t care if Mikey or Jr. lived or died. He only cares because his TV bosses demand that he “care.”
Rick stays for the TV money. Stop the show, and Rick is out and on his own in a split second. That’s Mikey’s problem. He needs the money and he wants the fame, but he is tired of being pressed into “false” situations that involves this never ending pater drama — and that’s why he uses coded language to us that “in order for him to heal with his father, he needs to be off the show,” when what he’s really saying the only way he can absolutely, 100% cut him off, is to quit so he doesn’t have to deal with him in presumed circumstances created for the dramatic arc of the TV show. Can we blame him for quitting? The only escape for survival for Mikey is to run — even if it means giving up his livelihood. I fully expect Mikey to be back, though, once the money and the bottles run dry. He needs the TV teat to support his slovenly habit of action, and that’s why Discovery was fine with letting him “quit” for a second time for an end-of-season cliffhanger. Jr. knows he’ll be back, too, because he could barely contain a laugh every time Mikey said he was leaving. Yeah, right.
No DVR error. They deliberately blacked out before Jr. gave an answer. If it were the real world, of course, the answer would be a resounding “HELL NO!”
“I saw a scared child who was trapped with no way out. He was trying to reason with an insane man masquerading as a father figure. There is no rationality involved. Jr., I thought, wanted to run or start crying a few times, but he held it together.”
Didn’t think of that at first, but you may have something here. Although, like I said the body language was very telling. Jr. stayed open and calm the entire time. Rather than choking back tears, I felt Jr. was biting back on some nasty comments. He was not going to give Sr. what Sr. so obviously wanted.
Sr.’s level of delusion was confirmed when he talked about going back to the tapes for the past three years to prove how he never talked bad about Jr. That was when Jr. said, “You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to go back that far.”
Like I said, I saw an adult trying to deal with a spoiled and petulant child. Unfortunately, the child was supposed to be the father. It is apparent that Jr. has grown up a lot over the past three years.
I agree Jr. appeared open and in control during the meeting. He was frustrated and uncomfortable, though, because he knew there was no answer to be had because he knew from growing up with the man, that there was no way to win except to admit a wrong falsely and offer your tender belly for biting and blood sucking. Take all the blame, and he loses everything he’s gained so far. Argue, and he meets more indignant emotional bullying. Punt, as he did, and he still gets drawn into the sandpit for a family re-wrenching of the past and what really happened. It was good to see Sr. in old form, though, because now we all know that angry little child is still alive and doing well despite his best efforts to hide that truth. The Celebrity Apprentice may have convinced some that the man had changed, last night confirmed nothing has changed.
Jr. knows his best defense is the truth — and the tapes will prove him right over and over again. Jr. has never deliberately bad mouthed his father; while his father never misses an opportunity to walk over his son in public.
Rick gets a good pay check from the show, if he left, that money would be gone! I tape the show and fast forward to the Jr parts of the show, I would love to see a show just with Jr, and some home life, put in, + add Rick then the show would be great. There is no hope for SR. he just doesn’t get it. I don’t think he will ever get it, too bad for him. He is an ass.
You are a fantastic writer and nailed it on the head. Paul SR. Is at the root of all this animosity.
I’ve been reading this blog and it’s very interesting how the conversation is often “left brain vs. right brain”. Maybe most of you don’t understand, but as a musician and mortgage broker, I see both sides. It’s been suggested that the reason for Sr. being upset with Jr. began with work ethic. Jr. didn’t watch the industrial clock. May I suggest that artists (who are typically right brained thinkers) don’t follow time lines, they draw from inspiration when it hits them. Do any of you really believe that Elton John or Keith Richards wake up at 6 am every morning and appear at a recording studio by 7:30 am – 5 days a week and force their inspiration by the virtue of a timeclock? Not a chance. Like Thomas Edison, artists and creative people typically work best when ideas are free to hit them – at any time of the night or day. Sometimes inspiration can come when needed, other times you hit “dry spells”. It’s not something that you turn on and off like a light switch or by timeclock. Jr. is a gifted and true artist “a dreamer”, while Sr. is an industrialist, a bully, and pretty much everything that most people denounce him to be. Had he been intelligent enough to know the difference between how an artist thinks versus an accountant, my bet is OCC would now be America’s premiere chop shop. A friend of mine bought an OCC chopper last year, and as far as I’m concerned, it was and is a poorly finished and ugly machine. He has since unloaded it. Bottom line: The artistic right brain of Jr. can’t work with the left brained thinking of Sr.! That’s just one of many reasons why the two will never work together in harmony. Jr. has been able to rise above it, and Mikey is the biggest victim of America’s most dysfunctional family (besides The Simpson’s). It’s become sad to watch. Other than being to watch smaller and smaller pieces of Jr.’s creations appear before the camera, the show has gone off the rails for me. Thank you for allowing me to enter your blog!
In past shows SR is ready to just build a bike and cut corners just to get it out on time, when Pauly wanted to make it right, and a bike you could be proud of. That is why I wouldn ‘t buy a bike from SR.
Is this the end of the show or the whole Co. SomeBody Let Me Know?
The “new” tape from the Jr.-Sr. conversation from last season was interesting to watch. David hit the nail on the head in that Sr. has not changed. He says he has but we know that is not true. It is always frustrating to me that Sr. always interrupts. He has little self control/maturity/manners.
The new episode offers hope. It will be interesting to see how things go.
Thanks for your comment, Tom! I was so looking forward to watching the new episodes but my DVR barfed on both new episodes! I appreciate your shared insight and I hope I can catch them next week.
I love the show still, Sr. just can’t stand the fact that Pauly is so much better than he is, but he should be so happy he produced a son that has so much talent, and be pround of him. I’d be bragging instead of insulting. That’s my boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The bikes parked outside of the Letterman show, Pauly’s bike were so much more interesting and complex, he puts a lot more effort into them, not missing a detail.
Paul senior is very insecure, his entire demeanor and his appearance are posters that advertise what he is not – he feels like he is uneducated and lacks any polish ! His son was spoiled and took advantage of his dad’s inability to control the hours Jr. put in at the business. Mike feels like he is less than nothing, and he plays the fool to get attention from his father and brother. This family is not so unique but for the success of their business and the national attention. What it is, in short, is a lot of testosterone that needs to be spread apart until the aging process hopefully heals the wounds or eliminates the participants via age or death. I kissed my dad goodbye at the VA Hospice – and one more time when he was in his coffin, I thanked him for being my dad. When I got back home 3000 miles away, I sent my oldest son an email and told him I loved him…. He emailed me back some weeks later and told me his mother had died, and I wondered how he would find peace with me someday, and I sincerely hope he does, not for me, but for himself. It’s a story as old as time, and it’s been told in masterful pieces of literature available at any library or on the internet –
Thanks for sharing your comment, Leo.
I was finally able to get caught up on the new season and I watched both episodes last night. Nothing much has changed, but the emotional heat seems to be turned down — and that’s a good thing for everyone involved.
When Jr. and Sr. decided to do a production bike together this season it signaled that neither of them had learned a thing, and in last night’s episode Jr. realized he was in for trouble. It was great that they have tried to iron out their differences so that their personal relationship can move forward and that were able to build a bike together, but business is another matter. There is a reason they each have their own shops. The can’t work together without sparks flying.
Right, Tom! It was only a matter of time this season before everything began to crumble and it started last night.
I admit I’ve been enjoying this season as Jr. made his own way and Sr. seemed to calm down a bit and I haven’t missed Mikey one bit — even though he made a cameo last week.
I think Jr. was fooled by working on the new bike with his Dad because Sr. pretty much let Jr. make the decisions. Sr. was laid-back and relaxed and pretty cool and Jr. loved having that sort of “new” and “unfamiliar” relationship with his Dad building bikes. Jr. though the new production bike would be just like building the new bike in his Dad’s garage.
When they decided to create a new production bike together — we all knew… and Vinnie and Cody and and and and… — that it would never work because Sr. and Jr. would go right back into the work dyad that drove them both insane. Jason is a jerk, and for Jr. to have to work with, and actually answer to him, is clearly a non-starter, and Sr. won’t step in and protect Jr. from “The OCC Process” of bike building that includes letting Jason jerk you around and make fun of you.
Jr. and Sr. have different ways of working. Sr. likes to plan. Jr. does not like to plan. That’s why they split up! Now they want to get back together and — what? — start the hatred and the heat and the fight all over again? Ugh! I hope Jr. is smart enough to just gracefully back out and then run in the opposite direction as fast as possible. It was a good try, he was fooled, now let it go.
Is anybody else already sick of the new Biker Build Off? It’s all so pointless and ridiculous and full of faux bluster. If I wanted that I’d watch pro wrestling. There’s no respect for workmanship, or each other, and I’m not watching.
Jason is a big douche.. He is so lame and is such as boot licker to SR. You just feel like punching him in the face. No wonder OCC lost its creative edge, with this Jason-ass doing the design work , Jason’s work has no soul or any cool factor.
I hate how Jason tries to insert himself into the Jr./Sr. relationship. He invents ways Jr. has “insulted him” so he can become a drama queen and protest and putdown that never was. Sr. could stop that behavior, but I think he loves it when Jason starts insulting Jr.
i really thought Jason would get fired after his blow up with Rick on his design flaws . Throwing a tantrum and breaking sh*t.. He has alot of inferiority complex issues with Junior. Everyone knows the bikes coming out of OCC are so subpar since Junior left . Unfortunately Jason’s videogamer experience doesn’t translate over to bikes in the real world , that is why OCC bikes always seem to need last minute design changes/fixes since he has no clue on how to build a bike.
I agree. The builders at OCC always make fun of Jason’s computer-aided designs anyway — that they’re not easily translatable to a material world where you actually have to make what he draws. Jr. can at least build a bike if he had to — Jason cannot.
Did they ever reveal the full order of the build off win? My DVR cut off. I know Jr. was first, the F&F boys were second… who was third and who was fourth?
I think after last year’s results (senior with 1 vote) they embarrassed Senior with his # after releasing it to the public, So I think Discovery producers are not revealing the official # of votes for each team. But many websites ran their own polls as a measuring stick:
Many websites including the one above show the order of finish :
2/ Fast N Loud
But again, since American Chopper won’t release the results, so this is purely speculation. But between Jesse and Senior. Jesse is probably more popular than Senior and should be able to take 3rd place.
I think that makes sense. I’m reading a lot of Jesse hate on the web about his bike. Not much talk about Sr. I think people generally hate the old man a lot. I’m surprised the F&F boys are so popular. I don’t know much about them.
Wowser! Big news! American Chopper is dead:
I guess Discovery found out what we learned last week: Retreading the Sr. and Jr. dysfunction all over is not something ANY OF US want to ever see again. If they aren’t fighting, they aren’t interesting…
The last episode is actually airing Monday Dec 17, and is called “The End” ; it follows the Build-off show in Vegas. I find it interesting with the plot crossover that Discovery is doing with JJ and the Fast n Loud team. Clearly this is all promotional stuff to drum up more attention to their returning shows. I wasn’t surprised at the results of the build-off, but i am sure the 3 other teams still think in their heads they had the best bike. The last couple of episodes show JR/SR trying to hold onto a casual dad/son relationship. I guess they have some what of a reconciliation (which personally I didnt think would be possible 2 years ago) so the show is having a good vibe going into its final episode.. Best of Luck to JR/SR and their businesses. After 10 years — American Chopper was a good show that taught all of us lessons on life and family. Thank you
I’m glad they decided to add a final wrap up show on Monday. I’m sure we’ll be forced to relive all the old fights — but I also hope there will be some sort of reconciliation moving forward.
I’m delighted Jr. won the bike build off last night. He deserved the win.
Some of the reactions were priceless from the Revenge build-off show… the FastnLoud guys getting 2nd place . SR getting last place and Jesse shocked that he didn’t get the crown. what do you think of the competitors and their bikes? Did junior win purely on the bike or his popularity from the show?
I think people pull for Jr. to overcome and win — all the other people he was up against are nasty with comments and Jr. is pretty much positive and fair and kind and I think that means a lot.
That said, I liked his bike. I thought Sr. had a good idea, but it didn’t help that it looked like he and Jesse built twin bikes. Same short, tall, profile hurt them both.
F&F did not build a bike. They did a refurbish job. Silly.
Jr. built his from the ground up and had a killer design and execution: He built what he intended to make and he did it on time. I was so happy he won two years in a row. That finally gets his father off his back for good.
when we think of choppers, the classic look is something that jumps to mind, the sports bikes are cool, but not really what ppl envision as a chopper,
Even the fast and loud guys picked the right look with their bike. they just customized/ rebooted a classic harley davidson but not really their own original unique design. Junior did a great job. let’s see how this all ends on monday night.
Yeah, people say the F&F boys took two frames and cut them up and welded them together to make a whole new bike. If they really did make a whole new bike, that wasn’t made clear on the show. I also think they would’ve done better if they picked a different color. I think the pink hurt them.
I do like Jr.’s bike. It’s clean and efficient and he actually “did the assignment” and handed it in on time!
Sr. acted like n idiot but and a big but, he requested that Jr. come to work on time, leave and return from lunch on time, keep his work area clean. Jr. routinely ignored these request from his boss (Sr.) because he designed great bikes. Maybe he followed the rules things wouldn’t turn out as they did. As pointed out, you cannot routinely ignore your boss and rules and expect to keep your job. Maybe your boss won’t go off on you like Sr. did but the end result will be the same. I guess you can test it out, start tomorrow, come in 1 hour late, leave for lunch early and come back 1/2 hour late and see how that works out, remember to make sure you do it again the following week as well
Once Jr was given an ownership stake in the company — he stopped being an “employee” — and neither he nor his father made that realization. If they’d understood they were now co-owners in the business together, and partners, they might have stood a chance of finding success together. When you’re co-owners — you can’t “quit” and you can’t “be fired” — you have to work it out together.
Senior is back on TV — without Junior!
paul teutal senior had alot of issues, which he seemed to vent on paul jnr…… paul jnr is a totally different person, you can tell he just wanted his dad to back off and be happy with his efforts. my heart went out for the extremely talented man ho could do no good in the eyes of his father…. i dont doubt his father loved him. but let this be a lesson to all…. all the poney in the world does not buy unconditional love…. i wish paul jnr all the peace and happiness in the world and hope he pulls the positives out of his fathers legacy. paul snr wasnt a bad man, he id alot of good. just a hard man of his times.
Senior’s new show is both sad and odd. It’s sad Junior is not on TV with him, and it’s odd that they’ve cast a new, lookalike, Junior who Senior gets to berate and bash and make into the obedient man he wishes Junior had become.
I lost my dad to alcohol my uncle and my cousin are both dry drunks but none of them were or are violent!its a shame that paul St acts more like a spoilt brat than anything paul Jr should have left a long time ago and took Mickey with him all that lad needs is support in something that he likes and is good at,I went through child abuse and it does things to you head that might not show its self for years,at the end of the day St needs to retire and let the boys run occ as Jr is the one that brings in the money from his designs it is a shame that it came to an end the way it did may be Sr will grow up before its to late and his boys have nothing to do with him what so ever,I come from england and have just watched the show where they come to england could you let me know when St show starts over here?thanks David
Thanks for sharing your insight with us, Rob.
Sr actually had his own OCC show last year and Jr was not part of it. I found it to be sad and soulless. I don’t know if Sr is coming back for a second season or not.