Started out as a Docu Soap
on the Discovery Channel
about the Orange County Choppers bike shop, ran by Paul Teutul and his sons Paul Jr. and Mike. They built bikes; they argued. And at times, they just goofed off. Repeat ad nauseam, for many seasons.
Then, the unthinkable happened: Sr. fired his son from the company, which ultimately lead to the show's apparent Cancellation
. But what seemed like the end of the saga, turned out to the beginning
of a sort-of new series, American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior
. This continuation had a similar formula, but this time, the arguments between father and son are Serious Business
. As in, Paul Sr.
did everything he could to put the workshop of his son, Paul Jr. Designs, out of business. Ran for four seasons in this format and then ended in a Grand Finale
with Sr. and Jr. working to repair their personal if not business relationship.
- Badass Bike Builder: The whole cast, minus maybe Mikey.
- Badass Grandpa: Paul Sr.
- Badass Mustache: Paul Sr.
- Berserk Button: Paul Sr. has quite a few:
- The shop being disorderly.
- Things taking longer than (he thinks) they should.
- Pretty much anything dealing with Paul Jr...
- Implying that Paulie is responsible for his success. When Paulie did this Senior reacted by kicking his office door out.
- The Big Guy: Paul Sr.
- Brooklyn Rage: The Teutels are New Yorkers, and it shows.
- The Chick: Mikey.
- Cross Over:
- With Sons of Guns.
- The 2011 "Build-off" with Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Jesse James.
- Dysfunctional Family: And how.
- Everything's Better With Custom Choppers: About 1/2 the premise of the show.
- Family Drama: Deconstructed. The drama that goes on splits the family, and makes the show extremely hard to produce.
- Hot Paint Job: Averted in most of the custom bikes featured on the show, played straight by the customer bikes.
- Hypocrite: Paul Sr. shows himself to be a bit of this. In most episodes, he criticizes Junior for trying to finish designing instead of helping to fabricate parts. However, in a later episode, when building a bike, Paul Sr. says, "We didn't get much fabrication done today, but we did get the design done, and as I always say, designing is half the battle."
- Idiot Ball: Mikey totes this around a lot. In one episode, the crew goes to Paris. Mikey has a few hours to kill, so he decides to see Jim Morrison's grave. Except he doesn't speak French and has absolutely no idea where it is, so he wanders the streets in basically random directions, hoping to trip over it.
- It Has Only Just Begun: The advertisements for Senior vs. Junior begin with "What looked like the end...was only the beginning!".
- Jerk Ass: Paul Sr., big time. He sued his son several times, scandalizes him constantly on international television and during radio shows, and has apparently convinced himself that his company's fame can only be attributed to his achievements, despite having stated otherwise previously, and seemingly having forgotten that this being a reality show, the truth has actually been filmed.
- Live Episode: The "Build-off" finale
- Motorcycle Jousting: One episode had them doing this in pairs, though one was on a scooter.
- Only Sane Employee:
- Vince could qualify here, with the Teutul clan arguing for about half the show, and bikes needing to be built.
- After the show got Uncancelled, this applies to Rick from Paul Sr.'s team, as he is the only worker who doesn't hate (or acts as if he hated) Paulie's guts.
- Product Placement: Some savvy companies realized that simply hiring the Teutels to make them a themed bike effectively granted them two free hours of advertising on the Discovery Channel. So the guys have made bikes for Jay Leno (promoting The Tonight Show), I, Robot, and Siemens, among others.
- The Smart Guy: Paul Jr.
- Soundly averted by the company which underlines the "New York" after "Orange County" to emphasize that they are not Californians.
- Paul Sr. even got a tattoo on one of his biceps to help differentiate the two when in public.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Paul Jr. and Vince.
- “Well Done Son” Guy: ...ain't coming, chucklehead. So get off your ass and do some work.