Following-up on the long-awaited build-off between Senior and Junior, the American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior season 3 presents a potential new direction for the rival bike-builders, as well as their aging series.
While the familiar sentiment of Senior and Junior's broken relationship remains, there appears to be more of an earnest attempt from both sides to better explain the situation from their respective position, as well as a more defined series divide between the actual bike building and family drama.
As each Teutul reflected upon what had transpired during the much talked about American Chopper: The Build-Off, there wasn't so much of a regret for what had occurred, but more of an explanation as to why it occurred – and why their relationship still isn't repaired.
Even though this aspect could certainly be looked at as "more of the same" – especially considering the subject matter – there is a sense that both Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. (with the help of the producers) are attempting to provide the context needed to not only allow the series to evolve itself past their strenuous relationship, but to also allow each company (Orange County Choppers and Paul Jr. Designs) to follow in the same path.
Admittedly, these elements are better represented in the premiere through Paul Jr. and Paul Jr. Designs, but there's more than enough honest sentimentality presented through Paul Sr.'s veil of emotional contradictions to believe that there could soon be an end in sight for the father-son feud.
And while there are still more than enough venomous conversations from either side to help fuel the fire of fans wanting the series title of "vs" to remain true, it doesn't feel - for whatever reason - as emotionally charged as it once was.
With Orange County Choppers and Paul Jr. Designs presenting lighter bike builds than the typical episode would include (credited to the premiere filming during the holiday season), there isn't a true sense of the direction that this season will take for the subsequent episodes. But, for what it's worth, the producers should be credited for making use of the allotted time to supplement the premiere with storylines that don't include the feuding family.
Of course, for those looking to have gripes with Discovery's long running bike building series, American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior does present two opportunities to complain. This first, of course, involves Donald Trump.
With Paul Sr. joining the cast of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice season 12, the ability to bring a synergy to American Chopper and Celebrity Apprentice was expected to occur. And while Donald Trump may have watched several episodes of the series in the past, it's clear that he was unfamiliar with the Senior and Junior's situation as it currently stands.
Providing Senior with the advice of "Don't leave him anything; not even 10 cents," it's clear to anyone that watches the series that this is the last thing the Teutul patriarch needs to hear – something that even fans of Senior can agree with. Thankfully, these sentiments were encapsulated within several scenes, with no further conversations about it occurring.
Secondly, and perhaps (most) unfortunately, the grievances that will arise as a result of the season 3 premiere's handling of Senior's mother and her passing. While it's clear that both Senior and Junior chose to handle the passing more off-camera than on, the producers could have made more of an attempt to convey the loss that occurred – especially for fans that have watched the show since American Chopper: The Series.
While Senior's mother wasn't a large part in the series, she did elicit a certain side from the Teutuls that is different what the viewers see while they're in the confines of their garage. When it comes to the loss of a family member, it's hard to complain about the way each member chooses to handle it - especially when their lives are part of a television series.
Overall, the American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior season 3 premiere can be considered a disjointed amalgamation of previous storylines, already started bike builds and an unclear approach to the future.
And while this would most certainly be a negative for any other television series, American Chopper is a series that relies heavily on its fan – and for a fan watching this premiere, there shouldn't be any problem understanding what's being presented.
…but let's just hope the formatting cleans itself up with the subsequent episodes (which it most likely will).
American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior airs Mondays @9pm on Discovery
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio