OCC / Paul Jr. DesignsAlthough the phenomenon of the chopper is wholly indigenous to America, I have never been much for the genre in terms of desiring to ride one.
That said, I certainly can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the build and the determined cry of individualism expressed in their proud one-off designs. Next to the film "Easy Rider," perhaps no one has done more to put choppers in the public’s sights quite like the father-son duo of the Teutuls of Orange County Choppers fame.Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. became unexpected household personalities years ago (surprising themselves as much as the Discovery Channel–which took a gamble on a bizarre concept of a father-son team building choppers in Newburgh, NY) in the then burgeoning realm of reality-based programming. The two Pauls won a devoted viewership as much from their mechanical flair as their signature outbursts and heated arguments. The classic family love-hate scenario endeared the Teutuls to enough equally dysfunctional families to turn the show into a hit.Besides, father and son always managed to make-up, sometimes in weepy, tender moments that can only happen between blood relations, giving us all hope with our own family discord.Well, the tenderness may have evaporated. After six seasons on Discovery Channel the father-son team has split. In a big way. Senior and Junior now find themselves embroiled in a lawsuit and have set up competing factions; Paul Sr. retaining his Orange County Choppers, while Paul Junior has formed Paul Jr. Designs. Despite proclaiming all kinds of nastiness toward one another in public the pair recently surfaced in a new show on TLC (yes, that’s right, this is what The Learning Channel is proffering as content) as "Senior vs Junior." The theme is born out of classic Shakespearian warring father-son drama with a metallurgical twist. Of course one has to wonder, is the riff legit, or have the Teutuls merely brilliantly engineered the seed for yet more success in modern reality TV? We may never know. What we do know is that low slung chassis with extended front ends, copious chrome, and big V-twins with lugubrious exhaust notes continue to roll out of two shops in New York, in a beautifully twisted tale of family friction we all seem to devour in equally twisted perceptions of entertainment. Roll on.