After the surprise of Discovery Channel choosing to cancel American Chopper after a decade on the air, last night’s episode made something clear: It is time for it to go.
There was a time when the bikes that were being built at Orange County Choppers and, later, Paul Junior Designs, were actually interesting to see. Now, both companies have pretty much shown their hand, and keep recycling the same designs over and over. That’s not really a criticism of either team, understand; there is only so much that can be done within a rather narrow balance of design and function. Junior doesn’t even seem to worry about function when he designs, and his bikes just start to blend together, anyway. After all, for the casual viewer, seen one bike, seen ‘em all; seen 100s of bikes, give me something else to watch. Not to mention, both Teutuls are so busy with other ventures, they have less and less time to even worry about building bikes, anyway.
A Step Back in Time
The last couple of seasons have been propelled strictly on the tension between Senior, Junior and, to a lesser degree, Mikey. But, the fighting was getting tired, even last season. And, miraculously, a truce was reached between the two lead Teutuls, so this season could focus on the rebuilding of the father-son relationship. Things have gone well—and have been interesting to watch—during their short rebuilding-focused period. But, business again reared its ugly head, and Senior and Paulie decided it would be a good idea to get into business together once again. What could go wrong? Better yet, how could it go right?
When it all started, it was a happy venture between the two, and they seemed to be on the same page and excited with the prospect of working together, as two independent companies pooling their respective strengths and taking a risk together:
Fast-forward to today.
Junior was completely flummoxed last night at his father’s belief that they were building a new business together—pretty much demonstrating how completely on other planets these two seem to stay. “It seems to me like my father’s had it in his head that we we’re going back into business together right out of the gate, and we have not talked about that,” Junior said after a phone call with Senior. “I love my father, and I don’t want to mess up that little creeped-open door that we have of a relationship by going into business together. I think that would be insane.”
“I think this is starting to affect our relationship,” Senior added in a camera cameo. “That’s not the direction I wanted to go in.”
It’s not a great direction for the show to go in, either, which the producers must have realized.
Will They Rise Again?
Will a new show be developed is the question that is being asked by fans; nothing is impossible, but, at this time, Discovery has not hinted at anything being in the works. American Chopper was cancelled once, and resurrected as American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior. Fans enjoy both Teutuls, many strongly supporting one or the other in the “feuding.” So, if a fresh concept can be uncovered, no doubt audiences would be receptive. But, just watching the same bikes being built week after week and the same old arguments being replayed again and again and again is grating, even exhausting; Discovery made the right call on this one.
American Chopper airs on Discovery on Monday nights at 9 p.m. E/P.
Image: Discovery Channel
Video: Discovery Channel/American Chopper