'American Chopper' season finale offers glimmer of hope for feuding Teutuls

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

The season finale came and went for the Teutuls on American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, but was anything accomplished by the bike-building father and son?

There was no real reason to expect that the season finale of Discovery Channel’s American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior would resolve anything, but fans were no doubt hoping that some kind of progress towards reuniting could be made.

Was it?

After making the necessary concessions for camera set up and idle chit-chat, things got started. From the beginning, Paul Jr. was obviously nervous—he could not stop spinning in his chair and fidgeting—and Senior seemed relaxed with the meeting. What became obvious as well as the meeting moved forward was that Paulie had no intention of meeting anywhere in the middle. His idea of communication is still that of a teenager: “I am right.”

“If that’s so important to you,”Senior said calmly about Paulie’s demand that his view of their previous conversation was the only correct point of view, “then let’s not have the conversation. If that’s so important, that you said, I said, whatever, and that’s going to be the demise of moving forward, then there’s no sense in talking here. If you feel, from that conversation, that you can’t go any further, then that’s your decision.”

Junior seemed stunned for a moment, then said, for the first of many times, “I just feel like nothing’s changed.”

Senior was quick to point out, “You don’t know me no more. How can you say nothing’s changed? You don’t know me no more. You haven’t seen me in two and a half years, and you’re making judgments.” When Junior said that they were having the same conversation they were having three ago, Senior completely disagreed, making a valid point that no long-time viewer of the show can deny:

“No we’re not. We wouldn’t have a conversation if it was three years ago. We’d be yelling and shouting and being in each other’s face. … That’s not the way it is anymore. People change.”

Paulie Refuses to Admit Blame

Well, perhaps just sitting and talking together without screaming and throwing chairs at each other should be seen as progress in the case of the Teutuls. But, Paulie still acts like a petulant child, refusing to even consider the possibility that his father could have changed, and continuing to place the entire blame of their situation on Senior. When Senior accepted responsibility and accountability for his bad-mouthing his sons, Mikey included, Paulie absolved himself, claiming he had never, ever said a word against his father.

“You’re carrying resentment, and you have no right to do that. Because I’ve not said anything bad about you. Ever. Period.” When Senior laughed, Paulie added stubbornly, “Other than the truth.”

Again, everything that comes from the mouth and mind of the younger Teutul is, apparently, unquestionably the only valid point of view, in his opinion.

“You see things the way you see them, I see things the way I see them, and they’re not in the same realm,” Paulie said.

Do they have to be?

Why is it the lynch pin for Paulie that they see everything exactly the same?

“I’ll take that as a start,” Paulie said, rather condescendingly, when Paul Sr. apologized for past hurts, and they finally agreed—didn’t they?—to find a way to move forward together in the future, possibly with a charitable project.

“I’m not willing to give up on my father that easily,” Paul Jr. said to the camera as he left.

Paul Sr. didn’t find the meeting productive. He recognized that his son was hurt, but added, “I don’t think he recognizes the fact that I’ve made some big changes in my life. That kinda hurt a little bit.” But, it was Paul Sr. who made the next move a few days later, suggesting to an apparently speechless Junior that they build a bike together for charity.

One point that should be particularly interesting to all fans (fans of reality television everywhere, in fact) was Senior’s point that this is television. The father and son no longer know each other, because the last three years their only connection to each other has been via TV.

“What am I going to do, call you because you did something on the show? It IS a show,” Senior told Junior, adding, “… the only time we’ll ever talk or see each other is on TV, which is not reality,” a point highlighted by the fact that, after their contentious conversation, they hugged, exchanged, “I love yous,” and Junior, grinning, followed his dad out the door, discussing whether or not Junior would like to see the OCC restaurant.

Can’t these two just get together, have lunch, talk about current events, the weather, whatever, and move forward? With what Paul Jr. displayed in the conference room on the finale, no; he’s still not able to let go of the past. He wants to hang on, be the victim, and unless he admits he’s actually had a part in letting this relationship fall apart, they’ll never come back together. He says he wants a relationship, but he wants to dictate it on his own terms; loving, successful relationships simply do not work like that.

Will the Teutuls end up building a bike together for charity as a father-son activity? Will Paulie ever be able to let go enough to make any progress whatsoever? And, now that Mikey has officially left American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, will he be able to rebuild his own relationship with his father, as he hopes?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Paul Jr. stepping up in relationship with father

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by LT (not verified) on
Sounds like this article is blaming Paul jr for the disconnect with Paul sr. Every episode I have seen Paul sr says nasty things about jr - it is clear he is jealous of his sons success and doesnt want to give his son any credit for anything. After the episode where sr built a ramp and made a dummy of his son jr and shot it across the creek i lost all respect for sr. That is his SON his is treating like crap. Sr has problems, obviously. I felt bad for Rick who istrying to be loyal to sr but for him to stand there and watch this scene must have been difficult for him. Sr makes excuses like "it's all in fun" but that was not fun nor funny. He also sabotaged jrs business by trying to steal a tank fabricator and by driving that guy so crazy he fled leaving jr to find another tank fabricator. Sr has been treating jr like crap every step of the way - Paul jr has every right to not trust his father, cuz everytime jr reaches out sr just goes back to his old ways of being a domineering dominating self-righteous jerk. They should just part ways. Sr it seems will never treat his son like an independent man and is always bragging about how much better his shop is, he is so competitive and is a total jerk about it. Sr needs to grow up. And when he said at the end of the finale that jr didnt notice how he had changed he made it all about him again. What was jr supposed to notice in the five minutes they spent talking? I don't have a clue. I wouldnt trust sr he has problems. who cares if he can build bikes and make a lot of money doing that, he still has a lot of bad qualities and needs to stop being so self-involved. he thinks he can buy peoples' loyalty like he did with Cody and the old school chopper that he "gave" Cody then somehow took it back, he is the same with his sons. Not saying sr is all bad - he is a very hard-worker but is not that good with people. I like bikes and i would like to see the show continue in some way but watching srs immaturish ways of constantly bashing jr to the camera i cant choke down anymore.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Paul sr's comments and barbs against jr since he left OCC have been rude and quite frankly embarrassing . Jr always seemed to avoiding insulting his father and the pain he experienced from hearing what his dad would say was always obvious. Now in the last episode Sr. Wants Jr. to believe he has changed just because he hasn't said anything recently?! He should get on his knees and beg forgiveness from his son for all the horrible things he has said about his son on national TV. I truly believe all Paul Jr wants is his father to validate the fact that he has acted like a jelous ass towards his son. But he refuses to admit it. I feel sorry for Jr.

Submitted by jack (not verified) on
No, buddy you're wrong. The whole thing was mostly (not all) Junior's fault, because remember, the original fight was about him coming to work late. Junior was consistantly coming late, and acting like he gets special treatment for being the bosse's son, unlike the other workers who come in On Time.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Jr is a creative talent. You can't deny his designs are just better. He works in a way that feeds his creativity, i.e. short, sharp, highly productive bursts. If that's what it takes to have creative bikes and worldwide notoriety for your brand then that's what it takes. Senior is old-school through and through. I run a creative company and while fundamentals like coming in on time are important, if you're trying to sustain a creative environment you have to let your creative talent breath and bend the rules...IF they are productive which Junior always was. OCC would be NOTHING without Jr and the Black Widow bike. Sr was right too since its his business and he lays the ground-rules, but his management of Jr in particular was horrible. You can't have people follow you when you scream at them and disrespect them daily. Why the hell would Jr come in on time if he's just going to get yelled at as he walks in the door (Watch Season 1 again and look how hurt Paulie is with the aggression from his dad while working on the black widow bike for example. For no reason!). Jr never had a sense of entitlement cos Sr never once gave him a chance for that. Sr was waaaaay too rough on him on a daily basis. Whatever points about Paulie being lazy etc are mute. He built his own company...sacrifices days of sleep to push out incredible products like he's always done. The problem here is that they're both stubborn, and Paulie has a lot of unresolved resentment about his Dad which is understandable. Its all well and good that Senior has moved on, he's been venting and hating Paulie quite openly the last few years...but Junior hasn't said diddly-squat about Sr on-camera. That fundamental lack of respect has always been the case for Senior and his older sons. Don't forget, his other son isn't on speaking terms either.

Submitted by Suzie Carter (not verified) on
I totally agree with your comments. I wouldn't want to show up for work on time and get the treatment Paulie did. It is demoralizing. SR made those comments in front of the entire shop day in and day out. The Black Widow bike was a stand out bike which Paulie designed. OCC would have been gone long ago if not for Paulie. SR plays himself as the victim when all along it is his kids that are the victims. I am also very glad that Paulie is branching out as well in designing other products...like cars. Hats off to JR. I record the show and always fast forward through the OCC stuff. I do wish Rick were with Paulie though.

Submitted by SJP (not verified) on
It seems as though the results of the much-hyped conversation can be evaluated from whichever side of the feud one agrees more with. It does seem that this article was written from the Sr. side. Which is fine, but it is only one point of view. I think that Jr. made valid points with regard to the content of their contentions, just because yelling wasn't involved does not change that fact. From the Jr. side it seems as though Sr. is impatient and controlling, insisting on forcing a parent-child conversation as opposed to an adult-adult one, bringing up the past and not owning up to his aggressive comments on-air. The "if you were offended I apologize" so-called apology was hollow. Imagine yourself in that situation, week after week watching your father empty his complaints about you in a passive aggressive manner as if the Discovery channel's cameras were Oprah's couch or something. No wonder, Jr. was apprehensive. Paul Jr. is fairly straight forward with what he wants, a wait and see approach with small steps, what's wrong with that?

Submitted by jack (not verified) on
No, buddy you're wrong. The whole thing was mostly (not all) Junior's fault, because remember, the original fight was about him coming to work late. Junior was consistantly coming late, and acting like he gets special treatment for being the bosse's son, unlike the other workers who come in On Time.

Submitted by SJP (not verified) on
Neither side is right or wrong, it's a matter of perspective. The issue was about a lot more than just Jr.'s tardiness. From the history of the show it seems to me that Jr. considered himself a partner in OCC and that Sr. treated him more as an employee even though, by virtue of the stock that Jr. had, Jr. was indeed an owner. Revisiting my early contention, imagine yourself in that position, as the creative lead of the business and an integral part of it from inception being treated as just an employee. It seems reasonable to consider from Jr.'s perspective that he was humiliated by this and acted out as a result. Was it completely mature? Probably not. I think that the best thing for Jr. , PJD, was exactly what happened. I don't think that Sr. considered Jr. a business partner and never would.

Submitted by suzanne carter (not verified) on
Right on. Who wants to work for a bully. Yeppers...Senior has major problems. Jr. may havehad tardiness issues but he was bullied constantly by his father as were his brothers. No wonder the family has issues with Junior.

Submitted by suzanne carter (not verified) on
Right on. Who wants to work for a bully. Yeppers...Senior has major problems. Jr. may havehad tardiness issues but he was bullied constantly by his father as were his brothers. No wonder the family has issues with Junior.


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