American Chopper Cancelled: Thank You Jesus?

11/16/2012 @ 6:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler50 COMMENTS

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

  • Can we replace that show with one that follows Guy Martin around his life and the Isle of Man TT? I can’t understand a damn word that guy says…but I love to listen to him anyway!!

    Or, bring back some more “Twist the Throttle”-type shows where we get to see the inner-workings of the factories–MV Augusta, Honda, Ducati, etc.

    The Teutuls should be glad their show lasted ten years. Because the “custom chopper” craze in America only lasted about seven minutes.

  • Ihateharleys

    4 pigfeet eating beer drinking out of shape hick lardazzez. Who cares!!! Seeya!!

  • Jake F.

    I hope this means Paul Sr. will have free time now to make some more great Dr. Pepper commercials!

  • Paul McM

    Hilarious yet clever and insightful write-up. This kind of story (and honest perspective on American TV culture) is why your website is better than any of the print bike mags. It’s too bad we don’t have a single really good TV show about motorcycling even with a zillion cable channels. Cafe Racer tries, but it’s too limited in scope, and the show too often gushes about some pretty lame, bad-running bikes. Thanks for a great read!

  • Halfie 30

    Jesen: Do you want to get sued?! It’s WWE not WWF!!!! LOL

  • I refuse to call it WWE. The Ultimate Warrior would back me up on this.

  • An embarrassment, that perpetuated the stereotypical view of motorcycle riders. Granted the average Harley biker is an ignorant white trash, trailer park living, meth smoking moron, and these guys were at least a step above that, but still it was nothing more than human dysfunctionality on display while they put together totally impractical motorcycles that weren’t good for anything except breaking down and costing you a lot of money.

    Motorcycle culture in Japan is far more interesting, I’d like to see a show about that, or something that focuses on Cycle shops throughout southern Asia, because hundreds of millions of people in that part of the world genuinely rely upon small displacement bikes and scooters for transportation and survival. Sadly to white American viewers the average Asian person still constitutes the unknowable Other that most can’t relate to in some hardly see his human at all. The average American refuses to watch TV shows or movies that involve people don’t speak their language.

    Motorcycle culture in the US remains little more than an affectation, a large part of the problem being that most of the United States is just too cold and inclement for most of the year to rely on two wheeled transportation. Southern California and South Florida being the exceptions. Perhaps global warming will remedy this. :)

  • pooch

    Teutul Sr has manboobs. No sorry sir, those aren’t pecs – they’re absolutely man boobs.

    Making bikes with tiny fuel tanks and tinier seats that don’t go round corners – what a brilliant idea… catering to the shallow and the senseless, the custom chopper scene is not for those who like to ride, it’s for those who like to be seen to ride – just like a large percentage of people who buy Harleys. (but now they’re also for people who want to join SAMCRO)

    Still, it adds variety eh ? Wouldn’t call it the spice of motorcycling, more like the un-needed condiment.

  • MikeD

    I liked it very much at the beginning…..then it turned into total Horse Dung. Too many family fights and what not. Bikes were getting old, same old bones different skin with a tweak here and there.
    Glad is out.

  • JoeD

    Stereotypical BikerTrash Hype from which some people got rich and others richer. The American Dream in the digital age. For those who liked it, sad for your loss. For those who did not, I rejoice with you.

  • smiler

    Being on the other side of the Atlantic and therefore a snob. It was great that someone tried to bring a programme about custom bike making to TV. in the end it ticked every single stereotype and imparted very little information or knowledge about the process.
    The docu drama about Chip Foose was just much better in so many ways, though not about bikes.
    These programmess tend to swap noise for info and testosterone for substance.

    A docu drama about Roland Sands – now that would be interesting.

    OCC did well out of it and Paul Jnr, the only grown up of the entire cast stands do do well.

  • smiler

    more entertaining oin one who that the entire OCC series:

    TT3D – much mumblin byeyye Gouy Marttin
    Fastest – MotoGP
    When playboys ruled the world 1976 Sheene and James Hunt
    Barry Sheene’s Daytona crash – youtube
    The Ayton Senna Documentary – itunes
    Bomber Boys – Ewan McGregor
    Mephis Belle – even that
    Greatest show on earth – TT film
    2009 motogp cataluna
    2001 Imola WSB

    Anyone got any others would be interested to see em.

  • Brian ZS

    I agree with Smiler about Roland Sands, as he builds some very interesting machines out of the unexpected. Take his Yamaha T-Max scooter project he just unveiled. Personally, I think the Chip Foose bit leads to a potential different idea. Perhaps an Overhaulin concept for to help expose not only what goes into building different bikes, but also some of the stories of the people behind them. The potential there is immense. for you can cover so many directions and cultures and cross some of the divides with relative ease.

    Personally, I think the biggest problem with motorcycling and TV in America is this. Motorcycling is and continues to be “a recreation only”, in the eyes of the vast majority. While most of the world uses it as a viable and reliable form of transportation, the attitudes here are what have and will continue to restrict the growth of Motorcycling. This is both in terms of entertainment and in terms of more widespread persons using motorcycles. When motorcycling becomes a more widespread vector of usage, then and only then will you start to touch on an opportunity to tap into the pulse of feeding into the entertainment end with major success.

  • Ho Wo

    Bottom line for AC is that I hope the Paul’s sort their relationship out. It’s terribly sad what being in the show did to them both.

  • Gutterslob

    Took em long enough. Good riddance!!

    Now bring on Guy Martin. He’s not my favourite TT rider, but I do admit he’s entertaining beyond belief. He made me sit down and watch an entire series about boring English canal boats, for fudge sake.

  • L2C

    Ink Master on Spike is a FAR better waste of time. ;-)

  • TonyS

    Fact, these guys opened up a Ducati stealer-ship in Orange County NY, it last like 3 months.

  • Hilarious!! “a marketing/PR circle-jerk”

  • meatspin

    a show about dysfunctional families is nothing new. Take that show hoarders. Now those people really have a mental disorder, yet, there is no shame when the cameras are rolling.

    as far as the teutuls go, I find them silly and altogether harmless.

  • RedNick

    Can’t believe that POS show lasted 10 years ! Says a lot about the State of the Nation.
    Glad I won’t have to stumble on that show when flipping channels anymore.
    Good Riddance.

  • TexusTim

    thank you jesus….thank you lawd…say amen.

  • TexusTim

    one more thing.about those friggin idots… dont build shit the way they do…not if you care about your customer…sure the look good… ok kinda…but mechanicly i bet everyone comes back to them in a year or less on somthing that failed..just not sound work but so popular with the dumbass rednecks that they will pay way to much for a bike that they say is one off…so what I have a one off nut sack…doesnt mean much.

  • “it was nothing more than human dysfunctionality on display”

    That describes the North American affection for reality TV in 9 words. Nicely done.

    Real, insightful TV about motorcycling, the industry and all of its various offshoots would never catch hold in our current age of mainstream television. Sad, but true.

  • Dan Fischer

    With us manufacturing actual running, reliable motorcycles, it was always so nice that almost EVERY SINGLE PERSON I EVER MET FOR THE BETTER PART OF A DECADE suggested that we do a show like American Chopper for Fischer Motorcycles. I’d make more money selling stick-on replica Paul Sr. mustaches to the unwashed masses.
    However, I do have another product that may take less thinking:

  • Jason

    narcisissm. dsm-iv.

  • JW

    Another American who use to make stuff in the USA…

  • Gary

    Ya seem to know an awful lot about the show for someone who doesn’t watch there Jenson.

  • BBQdog

    Over here in the UK we got ‘The Motorbike Show’. Sort of mixed program with Classics, bike building, general interrest and modern bikes. It not all I wish for but I have seen worse (like the Teutels :-).

  • BBQdog

    And LOL @Gary !

  • Astronomer

    Knew the Teutuls way back in the Marcus Dairy days. They were pompous asses that made garbage bikes then too.
    Good riddance.

  • & now – the world has SONS OF ANARCHY .. Season 1 – they couldn’t even ride the bikes, but appeared to be towed around on low bed trailers so the scenery past in the background.

    Some of my friend’s love this show – but to me – it’s lame. No sex appeal in any arena at all !!

    But then again – McDonald, anyone ? or “Jerry, Jerry” ?

    G’luck America … xx

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  • irksome

    When I first came upon Asphalt & Rubber a few years ago, there was a thread that had been going on WAY too long and that had gotten some people WAY to involved in these jackholes pitiful lives. I entered it solely to ridicule, had my fun and then left.

    My guess is it’s still going, hot and heavy, in some alternate universe where the petty concerns of these dysfunctional hacks actually matters.

  • scott

    A show like top gear with motorcyycles would be awesome. More fun less stupid drama. Someone should make that.

  • Mr.Truth

    Sad in one way, what do we watch no, more re-runs of Gilligans Isd., Lost In Space etc???

  • JoeD

    I’ll take the Lost in Space box set please.

  • Dawg

    I’m not a Harley fan at all but have found the show fascinating. It is marketing genius!

    Not only has it captured a world wide audience, but it has promoted American business and products in an subtle and interesting way. How much would it cost a company to produce and air a 30 second advertisement on prime time TV? For the cost of a shiny Motorbike they have an hours promotion.

    I hope it has helped businesses across the USA at a time when they need all the help they can get.

    For all their faults you can’t help admiring the Teutals and the TV companies involved for their foresight, shrewd business sense and commitment. 10 years is no piss in the wind! The USA needs more folks like the Teutals.

  • Gritboy

    Woohoo! Hell has frozen over!!!

  • “The USA needs more folks like the Teutals.”

    Uhm. Forgive me if I disagree. What the USA needs is a greater sense of what is important and to have less of a relationship with All Things Dysfunctionally Dramatic. When a culture is summed up by Survivor reruns, you know there’s a problem.

  • TexusTim

    YO…hold on there you dont need to make it about the U.S….there bukaroo….there is plenty of disfunctionality to go around world wide…… if I knew which country yur from I could easly find somthing disfucntional about were you live…………lets take the smart ass uk guys who come to f1 races here in the states and walk around with a british corncobb up there ass like they invented motosports ?..thats just for starters yo

  • Dawg

    I only said the USA because the Teutals happen to live in America. I agree, at this time of global recession the whole world needs proactive people with smart ideas. I certainly wasn’t having a go at America.

    I’m only looking at what the TV show has achieved and I have no real connection with the people in the show. They have taken a business from a little garage shop to a huge business employing a large number of people from their community… surely that is something to admire rather than just slagging their personalities.

    Anyhow, it’s finished, but I’m sure they will carry on building lots of Harleys for people to enjoy.

  • Tim, the US suffers with a goodly dose of stupidity just as do most other modern nations. TV is a pretty useful barometer of a culture and the US features hundreds of cable channels worth of mindless fluff. Now, before you think I’m picking on the US exclusively, let it be known that I live in Japan and that TV here is at the very least on a par with the low-brow dumbness that I saw over 11 months living in the States. And it wasn’t any better in Canada before I came to Japan, either.

    The bottom line is this: Many cultures are in love with the drama of meaningless reality TV. The US is assuredly among that crowd, and it was that love of dysfunction that enabled a crappy let’s make choppers between throwing hissyfits show run for a full decade.

    Honestly, it boggles the imagination.

  • bobjob

    “Oedipal struggle between Paul Jr. and Paul Sr., with man-child Mikey trapped in the middle…”


    Paul Jr. wanted to have sex with his mom? WTF.

  • Dewey

    Hey bobjob,
    leave Jensen alone, he’s just trying to sound “learned” and “educated”.

  • Dewey

    ” 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.”

    Are you serious?! Everybody and their grandmother does not have to ride or even like motorcycles. Did you ever stop to think that a MAJOR part of the appeal of bikes lies in the fact that the vast majority of people DON’T ride?
    If TV ceased to exist tomorrow, every manufacturer would still sell every bike that they make. The only people who watch a TV show and then say “yeah, I’m gunna git me one of dem der motorsickles” are probably not and are not going to be, true enthusiasts.

  • Dewey, the motorcycle industry as a whole perpetually markets motorcycles to people who already have motorcycles…let’s think about that for a minute.

    You have to hand it to Harley-Davidson, and too a much lesser extent Ducati, they get this whole idea that you should appeal to be constantly bringing fresh blood into the industry.

    And are you telling me you DON’T see how Paul Jr. wants kill Paul Sr. and marry his mother? Hrmm…strange, it’s so obvious to me…but then again I am so damned learned and educated, it hurts.

  • Dewey

    TO a much lesser extent, NOT TOO. You are learned and educated.

  • rt

    tetul for president!!

  • JP

    I tried to watch one episode and that was enough for me. Whatta buncha clowns! Their bikes looked like $h!t warmed over, too.

    Yes! Thank you Jaysus! Hallelujah!

  • Clay

    I thought it was a good show, just the right mix of drama and mechanics…will suck not seeing how both companies grow futher!

    Mikey was irritating though, paul sr was a good advertisement for what steroids can do for you but i respect his entrepeneurial spirit!