American Choppers

Love it or hate, it most people couldn’t help but be a little intrigued by the short fuses and colorfully annotated rants between father and son that were basically the theme of the long running Orange County Choppers.

Mixing family with chopper builds was a fresh concept, and the TV show unexpectedly found a large and devoted motorcyclist audience. I tuned in occasionally to marvel at the near comic tempers and outbursts, but was in no way a regular viewer.

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Well, the other night I actually got wrapped up in several back-to-back episodes of the new motorcycle builder show, Senior vs Junior. The new format (on TLC) follows the recent father and son split, which now pits Paul Senior against his son, Paul Junior, as direct competitors in bike building with shops in uncomfortably close proximity to one another.

The show’s camera crew is imbedded with each warring camp, allowing them to follow the various contrasting challenges of business in the custom chopper build realm from both sides, with tensions heightened by a pervading law suit.

Whereas the former show had a slightly humorous tone with plenty of bleeps as father and son dressed each down in fairly routine confrontations of thrown tools and dramatic walk outs, the new show carries a more sincere, almost sad aspect of witnessing a split between family members.

Both Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. exhibit a lot of heart and soul in the new bike builder show, with Jr. opening his own shop and struggling to score new business, while dad continues with a steady stream of eager customers (including a cool electric drag bike). There is also the resultant, awkward taking of sides by former employees and the youngest Tuetel caught in the middle.

The whole concept was driven to real drama as the warring sides had a court appearance to try and rectify the lawsuit, which is centered around a dispute over Paul Jr’s 20-percent stake in OCC.

Am I saying I’m a convert? Well, let me put it this way, I’m actually going to check the TLC schedule and see when it’s on next.