After 10 years and 233 episodes on the air, American Chopper is finally getting dragged out behind the shed, and put out of its misery on December 11th, 2012. It has been a long road with the Teutul family, as for the past decade we have watched the Oedipal struggle between Paul Jr. and Paul Sr., with man-child Mikey trapped in the middle, serving as the only adult in the group.
Things started out well enough, with the folks at Orange County Choppers making some interesting customs, and exposing a mainstream TV audience to the world of motorcycles…albeit in the same lowest-common denominator way that is typically found on WWF’s Monday Night RAW.
Like all good Hollywood dreams, the money started to trickle in for “theme” bikes on the show. Turning what should have been an exposé of mechanical craftsmanship into a marketing/PR circle-jerk with the Teutul family’s severe anger-management issues as the sideshow distraction.
Somewhere within the plot lines of Paul Sr.’s bicep size, and his battle with son on who can more perfectly fit the description of narcissism in the DSM-IV, bikes were made…but really we just showed up to see how many chairs could be thrown across the room in a single episode, or how often Paul Jr. could act like a spoiled brat.
It wasn’t all bad though. First off, Mikey went to rehab — seemingly the only person in the Teutul threesome to realize they weren’t perfect human beings and aspired to be better. Secondly, the motorcycle industry in the United States, especially the part of the demographic that Harley-Davidson panders to on a regular basis, got a significant shot in the arm, and was put on a national pedestal. American Chopper might have been the singular moment in the past decade when the American motorcycle industry made a meaningful bid to people who don’t already own motorcycles. Crazy talk, I know.
As a consumer of mass media, I won’t miss American Chopper in the slightest way. It sickens me that we give people like the Teutuls airtime in the first place. As someone in the sphere of motorcycling though, I am worried. Like it or not, American Chopper was our best effort to-date on bringing fresh blood into the two-wheeled world. Maybe that is what worries me the most. Merry Christmas America.
Source: Entertainment Weekly