I've been following the series "American Chopper" since 2007. It's a reality television series which originally aired on the Discovery Channel(Sky Cable) every Thursdays and Saturdays here in the Philippines. However, the show moved from Discovery to TLC in the latter part of 2007 and got bumped off the Sky Cable's program list. Good thing there's torrent and I could just download the latest episodes after it has aired in the US.
The popular series is based around the founder of the company, Paul Teutul, Sr., his sons, Paul Jr. and Mikey, and their posse of talented fabricators and mechanics-Rick Petko, Christian Welter, Vinnie DiMartino(who now has his own chopper shop, VForce Customs), Lee Stamper, and Jason Pohl-whose business is creating custom motorcycles(choppers) in their workshop, Orange County Choppers. Among their most popular clients were: Intel, Wendy's, HP, Gander Mountain, Discovery Channel, NASA, and the US Military.
What started out as a mere basement operation of building custom choppers in 1999 is now regarded as one of the premier custom chopper builders in the world! But what is it that attracted a lot of audience that made the show successful? Obviously, the guys are very creatively talented to have built all those theme bikes. Well, I guess it's the human side to the series that makes this difference. You see, cameras cover not only the build itself but also the personal lives of the Teutuls: their relationship with their employees, their various charity and community works, their support for the different branches of the military, and most specially---their relationship with one another. Personally, the last one gave genuine credit to the term reality TV as the viewers become witnesses to the blowouts between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr.
Two schools of thought here: Senior being the boss believes in a structured work ethic, adherence to schedule, and thrives on the value of punctuality and hard work. Junior on the other hand is the "artist" whose job is to integrate design, function, and quality. Artists don't like being rushed. This is where the conflict sets in.
Now on their 6th season, the company is faced by the reality of the economic standstill in corporate America. Slow down on builds forces Senior to make cuts to the staff. And then here comes the latest squabble between Senior and Junior with the former gets the boot! So far, four episodes have aired and a total of seven bike builds. Junior was not part of the build for a good two months and only arrived at a truce with Senior on the third episode. The truce was only good for one episode as Junior's "work ethics" continue to test Senior's temper eventually forcing Junior to quit to save his personal relationship with his dad.
Is this for cinematic effect? I don't know. One thing is certain, OCC won't be the same without Junior around.
Vinnie, Junior, Senior, and Mikey with the Napa Bike
(photo courtesy of flskevin_flicker.com)