A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality show, a spinoff of the popular American Chopper series, spends a lot of time not just on the art of designing and building one-of-a-kind bikes, but also how an estranged father and son are running rival custom motorcycle shops. There’s plenty of artisanship on display, but the conflict comes from watching the two men bicker, often involving profanity (plenty of bleeped language, plus "crap," "ass," etc.). The fights can be intense, and set poor examples of how to resolve differences, especially between family members.
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What's the story?
Paul Teutul Sr. and his son Paul Teutul Jr., who ran the Orange County Choppers custom motorcycle shop in the popular reality series American Chopper, have fallen out, and their estrangement has prompted Paul Jr. to start a rival business. It’s a decision that’s hard for both of them; Paul Jr. faces an enormous challenge, while Paul Sr. tries to make sense of this development in his business and family history. This spinoff series, AMERICAN CHOPPER: SENIOR VS. JUNIOR, picks up where the original left off, but as the title suggests, focuses on the conflict between the two men as much as it does on the unique bikes they and their colleagues create.
Is it any good?
Let’s start by saying that conflict is the fuel that propels many reality series, and this one’s no exception. There’s no love lost between father and son here, and both spend a good portion of each episode deriding the other and trying to explain their side of the argument. That’s too bad, because the motorcycles are more interesting than their fight. Yes, tension is key to making reality TV interesting, but this fight seems to have gone massively awry.
It seems as if the two Teutuls no longer have much in the way of substantive issues to discuss, or simply can’t find a way to let proverbial bygones be, well, bygones. The most important on the issue now appears to be who’ll give in first, a sight that’s frankly depressing. It’s no fun watching them air so much of their dirty laundry. Fortunately, there are the bikes. And what wonderful bikes they are. Once they get into the shop, these men are skilled artists, and watching them turn a pile of metal into a unique two-wheeled creation is a treat. It almost makes up for having to spend the rest of the show listening to them insult each other.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. Are you on anyone’s side? Do you think they will reconcile? Have you ever been involved in a long-running feud with a family member? How do you resolve conflict in your family?
How realistic is the conflict portrayed on the show? Do you think the drama is exaggerated for the cameras? What do the cast members have to gain or lose by appearing on this show?
What do you think about the custom motorcycles on the show? Are the end-products art? Are they functional? Would you like one?