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The Most Explosive Arguments In American Chopper History

There's truly a reality TV show for everything, and the art of creating a motorcycle was introduced to audiences through "American Chopper." The show followed father and son duo Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. — frequently only referred to by their suffixes — as they worked together at their shop Orange County Choppers, creating custom bikes for a variety of clients. Debuting on Discovery with two pilot specials in 2002, the show aired its first six seasons on the same channel before swapping over to TLC. "American Chopper" was then revived once more in 2019 for Discovery, while promoting the spinoff "American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior" during its years of absence.

Although the original show supposedly focused on the team's artistic craft, it often descended into chaotic fights between father, son, and the rest of their employees. While "American Chopper" was canceled again in 2012, that didn't stop Senior and Junior from making waves and getting involved in various scandals — with the business eventually moving from New York to Florida. Even though Junior now has his own thriving shop, the father-son legacy lives on. Ready to rumble? Here are the most explosive arguments in the history of "American Chopper."

The argument meme

Way before Kim Kardashian lost her earring in the ocean or any of the drama involved in "The Real Housewives," one TV argument was so memorable that it became an instant meme. Back in 2008, the infamous "American Chopper" father-son duo Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr. became embroiled in their most explosive argument in the show's history. During a Season 5 episode, Junior is brought into his father's office to discuss his continual tardiness at work. Their conversation immediately escalates, as Senior lays into Junior with all guns blazing, pointing out that he should no longer have to continue to babysit his grown son.

Instead of seeing where his father is coming from, Junior loses his self-control. The pair continuously scream in each other's faces before Junior is officially fired from Orange County Choppers — but not before he hurls a chair, a garbage can, and kicks a door down on its way out. It's these last few moments that inspired the "argument meme" that we know and love today, though it wasn't created until 2011 (and gained social media traction in early 2018). Reflecting on the meme's popularity in a 2018 YouTube video for Discovery, the father and son didn't quite understand why they became a viral success, but they're pleased that their once mean words are now having a "positive effect on people."

Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. in Daytona Bike Week

When "American Chopper" is at its most authentic, a typical scene will usually involve Paul Junior and Senior at each other's throats. In the Season 1 episode "Daytona Bike Week," their colleagues immediately pick up on a tense atmosphere when Senior arrives to inspect the shop floor. While Junior is heavily occupied with getting the finer details of his work correct, Senior begins to question what's going on — resulting in him putting his son in his place for speaking up. Their colleagues head outside to get some respite while the two call each other every name under the sun.

Though this is a typically explosive argument between the two, the scene does go some way toward showing Junior's softer side. Talking to the camera, he reveals that he thinks that his dad makes him a personal target while looking for anything to find fault in. Some viewers are in awe of the fact that Junior is able to effortlessly argue while he works, while also recognizing his ability to stay respectable as he defends himself. Junior was able to reflect on his relationship with his dad in hindsight, explaining during an interview with The 700 Club why the time came for him to eventually leave the shop.

The final argument

When "American Chopper" turned off its engine for the first time in 2010, the show made sure that it went out with a bang. During the Season 6 finale, Junior explains to his colleagues that Senior is en route to look at a new production bike, meaning that they have to get the shop floor in perfect condition. By the time Senior arrives, he's brimming with suggestions for how to improve their product — which doesn't go down too well with Junior. Unlike their more visceral and insulting arguments, the explosive drama unfolds in a different way for the father-son duo.

Unusually for them, there are no raised voices or swearing during this scene — only looking back at what family drama has passed them by. The two get quite emotional as Junior points out that their communication is changing for the better, leaving the days of flying fists and verbal insults behind them. That being said, there is still plenty of tension bubbling under the surface, as Junior cites his dad's sudden arrival as being a bit too coincidental.

Paul Sr. vs. Jason

Even though Junior might not always be the target of Senior's rage, that doesn't mean that the other "American Chopper" cast members get away scot-free. In an earlier season of the show, Jason comes under scrutiny for not working the way that Senior would have expected. As Senior purveys the shop floor like it is his personal kingdom, he comes across a bike design that Jason is working on and takes an immediate disliking to it. The result? Jason breaking the existing structure of the bike into pieces and throwing it across the shop.

It's easy to understand why Jason gets so frustrated and angry. Several YouTube commenters have picked up on the fact that Senior seems incredibly difficult to work for, in addition to him berating Jason for something seemingly insignificant. Jason states that this isn't the first time that Senior had seen the plans for the bike, leaving him perplexed by the sudden outburst. This leads some viewers to believe that the heated argument could be set up for the sake of the show — although those fired-up emotions definitely can't be seen as fake.

Junior punches the office door

When things get ugly in any episode of "American Chopper," things get broken. At one point, a classic case of a father not understanding his son ends in a spurt of violence against the office itself. While Junior visits Senior's office to try and calmly talk an issue through with him, Senior's instinctive reaction is to walk off and not face the problems at hand. Frustrated with not having his voice heard, Junior isn't content with just slamming the door to knock things off the office shelves — he punches a hole straight through the wall.

As some viewers quickly appreciated, it's a heck of a punch. There is absolutely no resistance between Junior's fist and the closed office space — meaning that either Junior is incredibly strong or that the door is particularly weak. Either way, the scene makes for incredibly explosive entertainment, accented perfectly by the footage that follows of the hole being discovered some hours later. The Orange County Chopper workers might be quick to make a joke of it, but Junior's temperament doesn't look to be calming down any time soon.

Paul Sr. vs. Mikey

Jokes can sometimes be taken too far, but it's especially true when a casual workplace thrives on them. In the Season 6 premiere of "American Chopper," the competition to be the biggest prankster turns sour when Mikey decides to mess around with an electric guitar. Junior isn't having any fun and games and quickly unplugs the guitar to try and get back to work. Not taking no for an answer, Mikey plugs it straight back in, playing loudly enough to easily disrupt the entire shop floor. Taking the drama up a notch, Junior and Senior throw an entire electric keyboard through the office window.

Though this isn't the beginning of their beef, it's a fight that eventually leads to a showdown between Paul Senior and Mikey. Feeling as though he's being pushed out of the business, Mikey decides to pay a visit to Senior, resulting in the two quickly screaming at each other. Although his fights with Junior often painted him as a villain, some viewers sided with Paul Senior's version of events, agreeing that Mikey seemed to do very little to make the shop a continued success.

Paul Sr. Vs. Paul Jr. and Mikey

Though they ended up throwing musical instruments around to wind each other up, there was a time when Junior and Mikey joined forces to try and take on Senior's angry attitude. In Season 5 of "American Chopper," Paul Senior takes issue with the fact that parts for a bike aren't available on the shop floor, causing Mikey to push back on how long he works there. With Junior playfully trying to take his side, Mikey explains that the shop is like his home, with him sometimes unable to distinguish the two. While Senior says that personal things have to be left at the door, Mikey argues that Senior never practices what he's preaching.

The explosive argument is then taken in and out of the office, involving multiple members of the Orange Country Choppers while Senior sounds off at all of them. For the father and son, it's a typical day in the life, but it's rare to see other employees so fired up about what's happening in the running of the business. It's a scene that some fans find particularly entertaining, with others recognizing that Mikey might be going through more than he's letting on. As many comments suggest, this argument is "American Chopper" in a nutshell — meaning a look at a terrible relationship between two family members.

Rick makes two enemies

Amazingly, it's not always Senior who's at the heart of drama on the shop floor, even if he does manage to get himself involved in it. During a later episode of "American Chopper," Junior picks up on an axle being too long for a bike design, bringing up his query with Rick. With two bike designs being worked on at the same time, it's a great chance for the team to engage in some friendly rivalry — until someone inevitably takes things too far. With Junior continuing to try and summon Rick over for his help, Senior takes issue with his tactics, causing a fight between the two with Rick stuck in the middle.

Though it's a dilemma that causes raised voices and confrontations, it's Rick who ultimately ends up acting as the voice of reason. Talking to the camera, Rick states that the two bikes are actually for the same customer and that he just wants everyone to be pleased. Though it's a scene that eventually ends in good spirits, it's a great testament to how the atmosphere at Orange County Choppers can quickly change — which usually comes back to Paul Senior.

Evan confronts Paul Sr.

Fans of earlier seasons might not be too familiar with Evan, but after his heated argument with Senior, he quickly made a name for himself. Before the first run of "American Chopper" drew to a close in 2010, Senior had just enough time to make another enemy at his workplace. When Evan shows Senior the work he has done on a bike's exhaust, all seems to be well. After learning that Senior has allowed Rick to make further changes without consulting him, Evan starts an argument with the Orange County Choppers boss.

Evan's point of view is that he was hired to do a job that he doesn't feel he can deliver on, given the circumstances. Senior is quick to fire back that he gives the go-ahead or not on the shop floor, and that the buck stops with him. While fans sympathized with Evan's side of things, many ultimately agreed that Senior was the one who was correct, also adding that he would be responsible for everything that the shop shipped out. It's a rare Senior W, but we'll take it.

Paul Jr. and Sr., round 2

No season of "American Chopper" can go too long before Junior and Senior end up in a huge fight, and the Season 3 episode "Caterpillar Bike 1" is no exception. In the first few moments of the episode's opening, Senior is seen to be stewing in his office chair during a staff meeting. While the team discusses a bike order that needs to be completed within the next few days, Junior points out that they will be hard-pressed to turn the work around in time. Senior takes this badly, chalking it up to another instance of Junior trying to pick a fight.

Though it doesn't start out as one, a fight is exactly what Senior gets. Junior accuses his dad of not having his wits about him, while Senior makes an issue of the fact that Junior seems to want the work schedule to revolve around him. While the other employees grin and bear it, Junior ends up shouting into the void, with the meeting never getting properly resolved. Even though some fans claim that the pair love to be at each other's throats, it feels like an exceptionally painful moment for Junior as he once again isn't listened to.

Paintball plans gone wrong

It's rare that fans get to see the Orange County Choppers team outside of the shop floor, but even the change of scenery doesn't guarantee keeping the peace. During the 2019 revival of the original "American Chopper" series, Josh and Senior disagree on plans for the team to create a paintball-themed bike. While the team is designing it, Senior flags up some concerns early on about how the plans align with the client's wishes. A paintball mask is supposed to be incorporated into the final product, but Josh has so far left it out. Biting back at Senior's criticism, Josh says that the issue is down to Senior's lack of communication.

Given how feisty Senior was during the original run of the show, fans will likely recognize that this is a pretty fair point. Though this argument is emotionally intense, Josh is able to effectively call Senior out on his lack of presence at the shop, with Senior mostly listening to what he has to say. In the end, the mask quandary gets resolved and the team ends up paintballing for real, taking out their built-up frustrations in a much safer way.

Donald Trump ruffles feathers

Even before he became President, Donald Trump has always been a divisive figure. During the Season 8 episode "The Apprentice Bike," Trump becomes an unlikely customer at Orange County Choppers, looking for a gold bike to be constructed just for him. If Senior doesn't have enough going on as it is, Trump's visit comes directly after a heated argument with Junior — and it feels as though Trump only stirs up the pot even further. Taking Senior aside for a private word, Trump manages to get to the beating heart of the father-son problems. He later tells the cameras that he can sense the antagonism between the two, implying that the fact they are family might be the reason that things aren't working.

With "The Apprentice" still airing at the same time that this "American Chopper" episode was released, it could be said that Trump was leaning into the drama in order to maintain his appearance as a reality TV titan. Though some fans now think that the dressing down is surreal, others are quick to rush to Junior's defense, claiming that it was him that made their business the success that it became. Even if the father-son business partnership didn't last, Trump's bike definitely did, as the YouTube channel "Rocky's Ultimate Garage" ended up restoring it in 2022.