'American Chopper' Runs Out Of Gas
By Jo Piazza Posted Feb 9th 2010 03:06PM
No one knows the toll a reality television show takes on a family better than TLC, which watched as the marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin disintegrated before their cameras last year. It's been tough going for the family behind 'Orange County Choppers,' which means maybe it was time to end the show. America only has so much of an appetite for family drama before it starts to get uncomfortable.
Fights have always been common on the show, which the Teutul's love to say is the only real reality show out there. Constant sparring is just what happens when you throw a father and his sons together in a testosterone-driven business. Most of the tiffs were something you might have even seen on 'Sanford & Son,' if Sanford and Lamont had been rough and tumble, tattoo-covered mechanics and Lamont had called Sanford something a little stronger than "old fool" and thrown furniture at walls.
Teutul Sr. has never been shy about his short fuse. The Vietnam War vet has busted through enough walls during the show's run to keep the local Home Depot swimming in cash. While unreliable vendors usually absorb the brunt of his anger, the boys often get a lot of it too. That was all part of the show. The fights have long been used in promos and sold off to various vendors for their own promotional purposes.
But last Spring, things got really ugly in front of the cameras as the family reached a breaking point over who was responsible for the shop's success. Junior screamed, "If I wasn't involved this place would go to sh-t!" right before he threw a chair at the wall and stormed out. An incensed Pops took his rage out on a defenseless trash can.
Soon after the blow-up, Junior bailed on the business to start his own design firm. Always the middleman and provider of comic relief, Mikey pushed for reconciliation, but the two hard heads weren't having it.
"I'm still getting stepped on, and I need to make a separation," Senior told the New York Daily News last October. "My health was starting to deteriorate."
Mikey and Junior now work outside of Orange County, though they are still filmed by TLC cameras.
In December, Pops sued Junior for $1 million in stock options he claimed his son had promised he could purchase, according to TMZ. Senior isn't a stranger to lawsuits. In the last six years, former cast members and former employees have named him in various lawsuits.
Sporadic family fighting is one thing, but when it comes to a severe breach in the family unit, American television viewers start to withdraw. Discovery and TLC have made the right choice to end things now before they get any uglier.
In the final episode, which airs Thursday, Junior plans on making a "truly life-changing announcement," according to the TLC Web site. We have a sneaking suspicion it has to do with his girlfriend, Rachel Biester, and hope for the sake of the family that a reconciliation will be in the works once the cameras fade away.
Joanna Krupa (R) called out professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy saying she was relieved she wasn't paired with him on 'Dancing With the Stars.' Chmerkovskiy was taken aback by the comments though, saying, "I haven't spoken to her one word since we've been here. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm happy we didn't get partnered up."
Craig Sjodin, ABC
Craig Sjodin, ABC
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