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When it comes to reality shows, the best on television right now features a family making motorcycles on The Discovery Channel's show 'American Chopper.'
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By ROB HEDELT
THERE ARE several new television shows popping up on network television or the larger cable channels this summer as short-lived series, and I'll get to some of them in the next few weeks.
But first, I have to write about my latest find: "American Chopper: The Series," on The Discovery Channel Mondays at 10 p.m.
Though this isn't a corny reality show, or even dramatic fiction or comedy, this story of one family's motorcycle design and fabrication shop in Rock Hill, N.Y., has got more excitement and grit than you'll find in 10 shows on the big networks.
This is largely because of the larger-than-life egos of a father-and-son team that makes the place work: Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr.
Paul Sr. is this big bear of a guy who started all this years ago as Orange County Ironworks, a shop that made different types of iron products.
Inspired as a younger man by the many custom motorcycles that began appearing on streets and in films, Teutul Sr. started making his own custom bikes and then realized he could make a full-time business of them.
That was in 1999, and Teutul Sr., who has forearms as round as bowling balls, has since drawn three of his sons into the family business.
But nothing makes this documentary-style series light up like the constant battles between father and son in this family shop.
The action normally centers around the construction of a certain custom bike, or preparations for a big show, like the big bike week in Daytona.
Paul Jr., whom we quickly find out is a whiz at combining plain-looking pieces of metal and spray paint together to create rolling works of art, will be in the middle of some project and--WHAM!--in comes Paul Sr. to launch into him about something.
It's never anything real specific, because Paul Jr. would have an instant comeback to that.
No, as Paul Sr. begins grumbling and griping, strolling back and forth with his leather-clad chest puffed out like a cobra, he slowly rouses the ire of his son, an apple that hasn't fallen far from the tree.