Friday, February 4, 2011

Senior vs. Junior: My Take on the Dysfunction of the Teutul Family


I have been following the reality show American Chopper for 7 years now and I have grown a big respect for the Teutuls.  They are rooted and obviously gives a deal with their community.  And they can be a fun-loving bunch of lunatics when it strikes their fancy!  However, the crazy fun can be as intense when it comes to the feuding between Senior and Junior.

During the first few seasons, I have come to justify the conflict between father and son.  They both have the same end in mind---to come up with the best, bad ass looking chopper for their customer.  They do have a reputation to protect and a growing business to sustain.  However, they grew up in two different worlds.  Senior's is based on hardwork, discipline, and structure.  Not that Junior isn't hardworking.  Senior's work ethic thrives from a project manager's point of view where all tasks are defined based on time.  Other than that---well, he's the owner of the shop numb nuts!  Ha!  Ha!  A classic Senior expression eh?

Junior on the other hand is the fabricator.  The creative partner in the business.  To him, creativity is a process---a work in progress.  Like most artists, he's not constrained by time and this is where the conflict arises.  Although in the past seasons, Junior has yet to miss a deadline, Senior is always on edge everytime a bike build is in progress. 

The problem with Senior is that he does not seem to realize the value of Junior in the company.  Much that he does not want to admit it, Junior did was the one who came out with many of the earlier bikes.  Although Orange County Choppers still build custom bike for the show, the business has now grown to cater to production bikes.  This meant multi-tasking and faster builds due to close deadlines.  Junior's style no longer fit the way the business is going. The hiring of Jason Pohl as the bike designer is proof of this direction.  

Although Junior still has a say in terms of the design aspect, it is no longer a one at a time project where he can devote his creative talents to.  Multiple projects are accepted and designs are finalized via computer rendition done by Jason.  This way, everyone is aligned to how the bike will look like even before it gets build.  Design and build.  Design and build.  Business is booming!

Unfortunately, Junior did not evolve towards the direction of the business.  As the boss and as a father, Senior could have steered his son to where the business was going and the changes that needed to be done to adapt; however, Senior's lack of managerial skill proved detrimental to the father son relationship as he kept on venting anger towards his son everytime he's see Junior "slacking off".  It was a collision course towards the inevitable break-up.

This far into the season, we can see that PJD's business is picking up with four bike builds so far.  Though PJD is still far compared to the fame of OCC, Junior is slowly breaking away from the OCC shadow and making a name of his own.  Logically, a father should be beaming with pride, unfortunately, Senior is downplaying Junior's accomplishments and giving more derogatory statements than support.  This is something that have kept the viewers intrigued.  In the various interviews on the show, Senior has been contradicting himself a lot.  One time he is saying he wants a reconciliation with his son then he attacks his person in another.  This inconsistensies has made him the sinister villain of the show.

It is saddening to see father and son part ways.  One good thing that resulted in this split is the show's renewal for another season.  Another interesting twist to the Teutul family dynamics.

1 comment:

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