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.
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?
Image: Wikimedia Commons