Before the Kardashian clan was the reigning champion of family dysfunction marketed as reality television, there were the Teutuls. This loud, proud, and frequently censored family starred in the long-running shock hit Discovery Channel and TLC series American Chopper, which aired 165 episodes in its original run from 2003 to 2010.
However, even once the original American Chopper left the air, the Teutuls were nowhere near done amusing and shocking eager viewers everywhere, with several short-lived spinoff series airing in the subsequent few years.
What made American Chopper such a smash hit is still a head-scratcher all these years later, but the series routinely drew in millions of viewers, launched countless franchising and merchandising ventures, and is now returning as part of the revival craze for a brand new season on the Discovery Channel.
At the time, the show was unique, as it followed the ups and downs and frequent fights of a larger than life New York family's every day life. In many ways, it contributed to the phenomenon of family-driven reality television as we now know it.
However, no reality show since has ever really come close to capturing what American Chopper once had: a family at war with itself who still managed to produce some of the finest crafted motorcycles the world had ever seen. No matter the drama, the Teutuls truly were the best at what they did.
Here are the 25 Crazy Secrets Behind American Chopper.
25 The series was meant to be about another motorcycle shop
Hard as it may be to imagine given the legacy and impact this zany show would go on to have, as it turns out, American Chopper wasn't originally conceived with the Teutuls' Orange County Choppers as the central focus. Another motorcycle shop had long been planned to be the setting for the series.
According to series producer Craig Piligian, the decision to focus the series on the Teutuls was the very definition of a last minute one -- Discovery Channel was not even included in the making of the decision either.
In a 2013 interview with Forbes, Piligian recalled, "They were not my very first choice. I switched the motorcycle shop the night before shooting. It was a Tuesday night and in my last conversation with the shop that I was going to do in New Hampshire I didn’t feel that they had the right mindset."
After realizing this, Piligian explained, "The next morning I woke up early and I called Paul Sr. and said, 'Do you want to do this pilot for Discovery?' I changed all the tickets, changed the crew, and on Thursday we were shooting the pilot for American Chopper. We didn’t initially tell Discovery about the switch. It was just a gut feeling."
24 Paul Sr. didn't attend Paul Jr.'s wedding
The Teutul family feud between Paul Senior and Paul Junior was always one of the central elements of the series. A clash of generations was to be expected, but the series truly left nothing out, showing the ugly side of a father-son relationship for all it really was.
As tensions between Junior and Senior flared over time, perhaps nothing was a better sign of the disarray of the relationship than when, in 2010, Paul Senior didn't attend Paulie's wedding.
According to TMZ at the time, Senior was invited, as to be expected for the father of the groom, but he did not show up for the ceremony.
In a follow up interview with TMZ the next day, Paul Junior commented that, "It's always sad when a father doesn't come to his own son's wedding, but I still love him, and the truth of the matter is it was an absolutely perfect day and I wouldn't have changed anything."
While Paulie may have felt that it was for the better that his father declined to attend his wedding ceremony, there's still no denying just how sad a testament to their relationship that really is, considering the significance of the life event that Senior missed out on.
23 The Teutuls once tried - and failed - to crowdsource a new show
Attempting to crowdfund a creative project has become a popular tactic in recent years. When the Veronica Mars movie was Kickstarted with spectacular success just five years ago, it clearly set into motion a new type of conversation within the entertainment industry about content creation and fan consumption.
Sometimes, however, attempts to raise funds for a new project can be due almost entirely to financial needs rather than creative inspiration.
In early 2017, the Teutuls at Orange County Choppers launched a Patreon page in the hopes of raising funds for a new online series that would allow them more freedom in creativity and expression.
They were open about how they needed fan support due to their financial hardship, as well as their willingness to connect with fans and treat them as active participants in the creation of this new series.
Certain patron levels would receive one on one interviews with the Teutuls, as well as other exclusive behind the scenes features unavailable to the general audience.
However, their Patreon page was reportedly terminated due to use violation, as Patreon is not meant to be used in the way a service like Kickstarter operates.
It's safe to say, therefore, that this web series never came to fruition, no matter their earnest attempts.
22 The series somehow had a video game franchise
It's pretty standard for franchises such as action movies, science fiction television shows, or the latest in fantasy entertainment to eventually find their way into being adapted as a video game for one of the many consoles out there.
What is less common, however, is for a reality show about a truly one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life family of motorcycle builders to find themselves starring in their own line of video games.
In the early 2000s, two American Chopper video games were released. One of them, released by Activision, was simply titled American Chopper. The second title, American Chopper 2: Full Throttle, was produced Creat Studios.
These games were available on all major gaming platforms at the time -- PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, and also PC.
These games appear to have been narrative-style games with rewards and goals meant to be found by the player, who assumes the role of a biker.
There's no telling how successful this franchise of games really was, or really how enjoyable they were to begin with, but the fact that two of these games were produced shows that they really once thought there was a target audience for these sorts of low intensity games.
21 All three Teutul men have reportedly struggled with addiction
With the hard living that often comes with the stereotype of being a biker, it's a sad reality that the three Teutul men have all fallen prey to some form of addiction over the course of their lives.
"I have a real addictive personality. It's helped me in business, but it's hurt me in my personal life," Paul Teutul Sr. stated once in an episode of American Chopper.
"During the '60s, I probably experimented with every [substance]. Smoked a lot of [the devil's lettuce]. But alcohol was the substance that really brought me to my knees," Paul said.
"When you have an alcoholic father, there's a lot of things like broken promises, never following through with anything. And although he was home and working, he was just never there, emotionally," Paul Jr. confirmed in the same segment, before Mikey and Paulie revealed their own struggles with addiction.
"For a while, I felt like a real bum, and I saw a bit of my father in myself. And I didn't want to go down that path," Mikey revealed. Paulie, meanwhile, went to rehab for substance addiction when he was only around 16 years old.
The Teutuls have credited years of counseling for helping to somewhat repair their relationships, but they're also aware that their pasts prevented them from experiencing traditional family milestones, especially when the boys were younger.
20 Vinnie left the series because he didn't think he had a future at OCC
For much of American Chopper's early run, Paulie's best friend, Vinnie DiMartino, was a reliable source of both humor and maturity, especially when compared to the childish back-and-forth drama within the shop.
As one of the most talented members of the staff, Vinnie was always on top of his work, turning out high quality products as needed. However, in due time, DiMartino came to realize that there was no future for him at a place like OCC, with no real opportunities to advance.
After a handful of years at OCC, he left the company -- and the series, as well -- to form his own company, V-Force Customs, specializing in his own motorcycle custom builds.
While he briefly returned to the American Chopper franchise in later years, DiMartino has primarily focused his efforts on his own business, which is now known as DiMartino Motorsports, an autobody shop specializing in general repairs.
In his personal life, he is a married father of four, with one son and three little girls running around. He keeps in touch with Paulie at OCC, but has so far stuck to his own business, as he confirmed in a recent vlog on his YouTube channel.
19 Cody left OCC to join Vinnie's new business
Vinnie wasn't the only OCC staff member to depart the shop suddenly, however. In fact, when he did depart, he was able to bring one of the younger team members along with him.
Cody Connelly was just a teenager for much of his time at Orange County Choppers in the early 2000s, as he only graduated from high school in 2005. However, despite his youth, he showed incredible skill and craftsmanship when it came to all things motorcycle related.
He was considered a real prodigy in his time at Orange County Choppers, even helping to design one of the earliest bikes showcased in the series when he would have been only around 15 years old.
His talents were much more advanced than his years, which made him a real asset to the series.
However, when Vinnie DiMartino suddenly departed the staff in 2007, Cody went with him, too, seeking a new opportunity elsewhere now that he had spent 2001-2007 employed at OCC and with professional motorcycle training now under his belt.
Connelly joined DiMartino at V-Force Customs, and he has continued to work alongside him at DiMartino Motorsports even as it has made the transition away from custom motorcycle body work to focus on providing general repairs services.
18 In 2009, Cody reportedly sued OCC
While Connelly's career has been successful in the years since he moved on from his time of employment at OCC, that doesn't mean his transition away from the team was an easy one.
According to reports, in 2009, Cody Connelly sued Orange County Choppers, and Paul Teutul, Sr. in particular, for a number of reasons, including "damages for misappropriation of likeness, breach of contract, and fraud."
Connelly argued that he was never given a bike that he had prominently helped to design and build in the series' first season, even though it was promised to him on air.
He also accused Teutul, Sr. and OCC of continuing to profit off his image in merchandising even after he had departed the company and series in 2007.
At the time, Connelly reportedly sought "$250,000, a share of future revenue, the value of the bike he was 'given,' and damages for use of his name and likeness," but subsequent coverage of this case has indicated that the matter was settled out of court.
As fate would have it, this would be only the first of very personal lawsuits that the Teutuls would find themselves dealing with in a very short period of time - and they only grew more heated and contentious from then on.
17 OCC was accused of allegedly stealing the concept for a wheelchair accessible motorcyle
Connelly was not the only person to sue the Teutuls and Orange County Choppers for matters relating to creations that he never received proper credit for.
In 2014, Paulie and Mikey Teutul were sued by Christ Tavantzis, a disabled designer who suffered from polio.
Tavantzis alleged that he had presented an idea to the brothers in 2008 for a wheelchair accessible motorcycle. The Teutuls would go on to produce a similar bike and use a charity fundraiser at the Chris and Dana Reeves Foundation for its launch.
They were highly praised for their innovation, as well as the message of inclusion that the beautiful bike promoted. Having its launch at such a prestigious and generous foundation event proved beneficial to their company image in many ways.
However, Tavantzis was never credited nor communicated with regarding the construction of this motorcycle, despite his pitch for a markedly similar idea in 2008. The case would prove to be mired in patent disputes for a few years until Tavantzis passed away in 2016.
While the case continued on after his passing, it was brought to an unconventional end due to wording of the initial suit, which identified Tavantzis as the only potential plaintiff within his self-run company.
16 Paul Sr. has reportedly been recently sued for fraud
The Teutul's legal woes have been an ongoing problem, even years after the show originally went off the air.
As of February 2018, Paul Senior has once again found himself the center of attention in a hotly contested law suit alleging that he committed fraud in a business agreement.
According to the February 28 report from Page Six, a man named Thomas Derbyshire has accused Teutul of misappropriating funds that he had given Teutul for the sake of rebooting American Chopper.
Per Page Six, "Derbyshire said that he agreed to work with Teutul on the show Orange County Choppers: American Made for A&E in 2015, but their business agreement quickly went south after Teutul tried to change their 51/49 percent ownership deal (benefiting Derbyshire) to a 50/50 deal. Derbyshire had agreed to fund the project up to $3 million at that time."
In response to Derbyshire's claims, "Teutul denied any wrongdoing in his own court filings, and his rep Paris D’Jon, of HYPE Projects Agency, told [Page Six], 'As we have previously stated as far back as April 10th of 2017, unfortunately, Mr. Derbyshire’s interpretation of said events is without merit and with the timing of Orange County Choppers much anticipated return to television tomorrow night the timing is very suspect of once again untrue allegations.'"
15 Paul Sr.'s home was recently foreclosed upon
Senior's recent financial issues did not just stop there, however. While the law suit certainly threatened his financial state in many ways, it was nothing compared to the other financial difficulties that he would soon face. If anything, the law suit filed by Derbyshire was only the beginning of his recent troubles.
Also in February 2018, it was reported that Paul Teutul Sr.'s home had been foreclosed upon. Given the financial troubles faced by Orange County Choppers in recent years, which led to their attempts to prolong and restart the once successful series in any form, it shouldn't come as a surprise that this occurred.
However, the magnitude of Teutul's financial debt is nevertheless astounding. Given Teutul's former considerable fame and financial success, the disarray of his finances is shocking.
According to Page Six's coverage of this development, it has been reported that Teutul "took out a $1.5 million mortgage for the home on 95 Judson Road in Montgomery, New York, in 2005 and modified the loan in 2013 and 2016 to lower his monthly payments. The Orange County Choppers owner owed $870,939.43 on the property as of February 2017."
Teutul did clearly make attempts to reconcile his finances, as "he put the 38-acre estate, about 70 miles north of Manhattan, on the market, but recently slashed the price from $2.89 million to $2.49 million."
14 Paul Sr. filed for bankruptcy in March 2018
It should come as no surprise after all of his sudden financial hardship, whether in the form of the law suit or his home being foreclosed upon, that Paul Teutul Sr. officially filed for bankruptcy in March of 2018.
In addition to the previously mentioned nearly $900,000 that Teutul still owed on his home mortgage at the time of reporting, Teutul's finances could not have been in a less organized state, as he owed millions of dollars in various areas of his life.
"Teutul filed paperwork claiming that he owes close to 50 creditors $1,070,893.44 and that he was only worth $1,801,729 on Feb. 28," Page Six reported on March 1. "He listed that he makes $15,070.93 per month, but spends $12,612."
Further, "Teutul claimed that there is a $32,000 judgment against him and that he owes $151,230.98 to the Town of Crawford, NY, for taxes as well. He also needs to pay $21,300 to different credit card companies. He has medical bills totaling over $2,000, but it is unclear what procedures he has had done."
Hopefully, with the return of Orange County Choppers to the airwaves in the form of the American Chopper revival, Teutul's finances will be considerably improved in the very near future. However, for now, we can only hope for the best for all parties involved.
13 Senior was the subject of a social media hoax in 2016
In recent years, it has more or less become a rite of passage in Hollywood for entertainers of all kinds -- especially older ones who have made a considerable impact on the entertainment world -- to find themselves the subject of a hoax on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
The website Snopes, which is dedicated to fact checking just about every claim that makes the rounds on the internet, covered the case as soon as the false story broke in April of 2016:
"On 18 April 2016, the 'gasoline society' web site Iron Demons published an article reporting that Paul Teutul, Sr., star of the popular American Chopper motorcycle-themed reality TV series, had [lost his life] in a motorcycle crash in Louisiana. ... Iron Demons quickly scrubbed the article from their site, but rumors about Teutul’s alleged [passing] persisted on social media."
The rumor spread far and wide on social media, with people even taking to the official Orange County Choppers page to express their sadness and sympathy.
The page published their own statement on the matter, noting that "there are a lot of rumors floating around that Paul Sr. was in an accident and is either in critical condition or has passed away. These are all false and Paul Sr. is alive and well! Thanks to everybody for all your concern and messages."
Teutul himself denied the rumor on Facebook, writing that he was "alive and well. Gotta wonder who has time to start these things."
12 Mikey quit the family business in 2012
While the tensions were always flaring among the Teutul family as long as the cameras were rolling at Orange County Choppers, son Mikey was usually the go-to person for comic relief in the highly volatile workplace.
He came off as a slacker quite often, never doing what he was asked to do, or doing it wrong despite the task's simplicity.
Due to his generally warm and fuzzy demeanor, Mikey often found himself in the unenviable position of trying -- and usually failing -- to broker peace between the Pauls Senior and Junior.
Understandably, this would soon prove to make Mikey's job perhaps one of the most stressful in the entire business, given how frequently Junior and Senior would scream at one another.
So it was really only a matter of time before Mikey took time off from the series. As previously discussed, he had been on leave from the franchise earlier in its run as he sought treatment for addiction.
However, when May 2012 rolled around, Mikey had finally chosen to end his involvement from the family business, quitting the series and Orange County Choppers altogether.
He did this so that he could, according to Discovery Channel, "seek some peace of mind and work on my relationship with my dad."
11 Mikey has pursued ventures including painting and sauce making
As it turns out, quitting the motorcycle business may have been great for Mikey in the end, as he would go on to find his way into other very creative but incredibly different fields.
During his time at Orange County Choppers, Mikey's talents were often underutilized, as he spent his time running errands, fielding phone calls, and dealing with the ongoing family drama that surrounded him on a daily basis.
However, deep down, he has always been a true artist, and his departure from the series finally allowed him to capitalize on that.
Mikey has been an artist for quite some time, and he even ran his own gallery, which he closed in 2014. He has also gone on to become a filmmaker when he is not behind the easel, opting instead to express his creativity from behind the camera.
He has also shown himself to be quite the impressive chef, co-running a sauce-making company alongside a colleague best known as Chef Angry Mike. Their sauces were once available for ordering online for mail delivery; however, they are all now listed as out of stock.
With American Chopper about to return to television after all these years, Mikey is once again returning to the family business -- but it's clear that he has a whole lot else going on this time around, too.
10 Paul Sr. is an avid animal lover
Mikey Teutul is pretty clearly portrayed as the warmest and fuzziest of all the Teutul family members in the series.
Goofy and lovable, he is essentially a human teddy bear in much of his time on the series, even if he isn't portrayed as the most skilled of employees much of the time.
However, as tough and rough around the edges as Paul Teutul Senior may seem on the show, it turns out when it comes to his real life hobbies, he's got a real soft spot for some furry little creatures.
In a 2009 feature with People Magazine, Teutul Senior confirmed that his home at the time housed "two dogs, Marty and Gus ... plus, 5 miniature horses, 2 miniature donkeys, 2 alpacas, 2 baby doll sheep, 5 goats, and 2 highlander cows."
In addition to housing all of these adorable and completely different animals, Teutul also offered opportunities for kids to interact with them in his own little version of a petting zoo.
According to People's report, "Teutul often opens up his farm to neighborhood children. 'We’ve had events here where the kids get to go fishing at the pond and then spend time with the animals,' he says. 'They love the animals. We all do.'"
9 The revival almost didn't happen due to ongoing behind-the-scenes tensions
Given all of the behind-the-scenes drama that went down during the run of the original series, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the forthcoming revival series very nearly didn't make it to air due to ongoing tensions between the Teutul family and the new production company that was hired to handle the revival.
While the Teutuls appear to be on better terms with each other now than they have been in quite some time, the same thing could not exactly be said regarding their relationship with the new producer.
According to Variety, original producer Craig Piligian was brought in to steer the series onward due to his past experience with the Teutuls:
"'There was a lot of bad language between me and the two boys,' Piligian said. 'But we were up there for about a day and a half, and eventually we agreed it would be best if I took over the show, and the other company stepped aside. But it was rough. It wasn’t very much fun, and a lot of bad blood was spilled at the beginning of it all. And now everything’s great. Reboots aren’t that f–king fun, let me tell you.'"
8 Paul Teutul Sr. had never heard of a meme & doesn't understand social media
How something becomes a meme is one of the great mysteries of the internet. Usually beginning as an isolated post on the likes of Twitter, Reddit, or Tumblr, there's really no telling what will take off or what won't.
Timeliness is usually a key factor, but sometimes, a ten year-old scene from a formerly popular motorcycle shop series can become a meme that takes the internet by storm.
In March and April of 2018, a scene from American Chopper in which Paul Senior and Paul Junior engage in a heated argument, culminating in Junior throwing a chair, became a meme paired with poorly sized text in order to showcase both sides of controversial arguments.
Given that American Chopper really aired in the pre-social media era, it really is a surprise that this meme took off as well as it did, with certain Twitter posts earning hundreds of thousands of retweets.
Another byproduct of American Chopper's original airdate? Paul Teutul Sr. had never heard of a meme before.
In an April 2018 interview with VICE, Teutul expressed his confusion: "I'm not real savvy with much on a telephone, but it's kind of funny because somebody mentioned that twice, and it went over my head, and I never even came back to ask what it was, because I'm not so savvy with social media so I didn't even really kind of care what it was. So no. Did I know what a meme was? Absolutely not. Now I do."
7 Paul Sr. fired Paul Jr. on air in 2008 despite their contract
Family businesses often leads to moments of dramatic conflict and in-fighting, but few family businesses are given the chance to show the inner workings of their offices on television for millions of viewers on a weekly basis.
Reality television often over-dramatizes things for the sake of entertainment -- there's no possible way that anyone could even try to deny that one after all these years.
However, even the most dramatic of reality television rarely ever features a moment as intense and shocking as the moment when Paul Senior finally gave up on the fighting and fired Paul Junior from Orange County Choppers.
Paulie's role in the series and the business operations as a whole was clearly quite an important one. As the likely so-called heir to the OCC brand, his departure from the company made for a real need to restructure the series going forward.
The Teutuls may have exaggerated some of their fighting for the sake of being on camera, as every reality show does, but given the severity and harshness of this fight, not to mention the violent outbursts that accompanied it, there's no way of interpreting this scene as entirely done for show.
The long simmering tensions finally reached their breaking point in many ways.
6 TLC reportedly cited the Teutuls for defaulting on their contracts
As if the dramatic moment in which Senior finally fired Junior didn't already fundamentally alter the dynamics between father and son on the long-running television series, it turns out that the spur-of-the-moment decision in the midst of that heated fight had some long-lasting ramifications behind the scenes.
For television shows, even ones allegedly unscripted in the way that reality television claims to be, it's never as simple as just firing someone from the series.
Intricate legal contracts drafted by the networks and the parties' representation prevent something like that from happening.
As the publication New York Business Divorce relates, the falling out between father and son led to some real changes in the series contracts that only furthered tensions between them:
"In January 2009, after TLC gave the Teutuls a notice of default due to Junior’s departure, Senior and Junior entered into a letter agreement modifying the 2008 employment contract under which Junior resumed work as an independent contractor. The letter agreement also gave Senior the ... option to acquire Junior’s 20% interest in OCC."
All of this complicated business deal language behind the scenes very nearly could have prevented American Chopper from continuing on in any form had the Teutuls not agreed with the network.
5 According to reports, Paul Sr. sued Paul Jr. for $1 million in damages
Even with the new contract for the series eventually settled between the Teutuls and the network in early 2009, Paul Senior and Paul Junior's fight with one another would continue to rage onward, and would only get uglier from there on out.
In December of 2009, TMZ reported that Paul Senior was now allegedly seeking to sue his son for his stock in the company.
Contract negotiations aside, Paul Senior alleged that Paul Junior had promised him his shares in the company's stocks.
According to TMZ's snarky commentary on the matter, "Daddy sent a letter to his kid saying he was exercising the option to buy the kid's stock. But according to the lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York, the kid won't give it up."
Paulie wasn't the only target of the lawsuit, however, as it turned out that "Daddy is also suing Orange County Choppers, Inc. -- awkward."
In relation to Paul Jr., however, "Teutul, Sr. is suing Jr. for damages in excess of $1 million, and wants an order from the judge forcing the kid to ante up his stock to daddy."
If that wasn't a testament to not getting into business with your family, we're not sure what would be.
4 Paul Jr. apparently sued Paul Sr.... and won
Paul Senior wasn't the only Teutul man to file his own lawsuit against a family member, however.
After Senior attempted to sue Junior for the previously discussed damages in stock, Paul Junior turned around and counter sued his father.
After an initial decision determined that Paul Junior would be required to forfeit his 20% shares in the company stock to his father, Junior quickly replied to the decision, alleging that "the agreement with his father was unenforceable because it could not be a binding contract without the parties agreeing on a procedure for determine shares fair market value. At the same time Paul Jr., worried that his father was diluting OCC assets, requested that his father provide a weekly accounting of all OCC expenditures and receipts."
Following the court's rejection of Junior's complaint, he appealed their decision.
For months, it seemed as though no movement was being made in the case, but in a shocking twist in the case decided in December 2010, Junior was successful this time around:
"On December 14, 2010, the Appellate Division issued a decision reversing the trial court, concluding that the Option is neither valid nor enforceable. So, Junior can keep his 20% shares of OCC as long as he wants."
3 Paulie branched off to create his own company
Given all of the ups and downs that went on within the Teutul family over the course of the series, but also within the span of 2008 to 2010, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Paul Jr. would go on to leave Orange County Choppers for good and forge ahead with his own company, Paul Jr. Designs.
According to the Discovery Channel, part of Paulie's revised agreement to work for OCC as an independent contractor in 2009 involved a one year non-compete clause.
This, of course, would have prevented Junior from using his considerable customization and design tools anywhere else besides Orange County Choppers for an entire year.
However, as soon as the non-compete agreement was up in 2010, he went on to launch his own custom motorcycle-building company, Paul Jr. Designs, which is still successful to this day.
He has also occasionally worked with long-time best friend and former coworker Vinnie DiMartino on certain recent custom build projects, though Vinnie maintains in his current YouTube vlogging series that he no longer works with any of the members of the OCC extended family.
Paulie has recently produced bikes for big names such as World of Warcraft, GEICO, Gears of War, and the March of Dimes.
2 Paul Jr. considers his father firing him as one of the best things to ever happen to him
As we've seen so far, the relationship between father and son on American Chopper could really get quite toxic. The blow-out fight between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr., as well as the lengthy legal disputes that followed, perfectly exemplify just how bad things can get when two people aren't well suited to work together.
So as bizarre as it may sound, it really isn't much of a surprise at all that Paul Junior has reportedly called being fired by his father "one of the best things that could have happened to [him]."
In a 2017 op-ed, he frankly discussed his feelings regarding the dissolution of his involvement with OCC, writing that, “On Sept. 28, 2008, in a scene that millions of viewers of the American Chopper reality TV show watched on Discovery Channel, my father booted me from the Orange County Choppers custom motorcycle-building company, of which I was part-owner.”
He continued his reflection by explaining, “And that turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me at the time. It just took a while to realize that."
"Not until I got out from under my dad’s controlling nature and formed my own company – Paul Jr. Designs – could I see how oppressive of an environment I worked in with my dad,” he said.
1 The iconic meme comes from the moment when Senior fired Junior and changed the show forever
Paul Teutul Senior may have never heard of a meme before he became one, but American Chopper still managed to earn itself a spot as one of the most popular memes of 2018 so far.
However, Senior may not be the only one unaware of things here, as most people who have used or laughed at this meme would likely be shocked to learn that the scene's origins are, in fact, from that very moment that changed the series and the Teutul family forever - when Senior fired Junior in 2008.
The meme is clearly used to humorous effect. Father and son are depicted as voicing opinions that are directly at odds with one another, and often exaggerated in the way that memes are for the sake of producing share-worthy humor.
The moment in which Junior throws a chair across the room, therefore, is used to further escalate the ridiculous humor used in the meme.
However, in the original scene, the discussion couldn't have been further from anything remotely resembling humor as father and son screamed at each other in profanity laden tirades regarding the future of Junior's involvement in the company.
They say that humor is often produced from the existence of a non-humorous moment and the distance of time between the joke and the original moment, so maybe the meme has had the right idea all along, even without realizing it.
What other crazy secrets behind the making of American Chopper do you know? Let us know in the comments!