American Chopper: The Series: Second Season (DVD)

I’m not going ask twice, ’cause the second time I’ll use my size 12s.

America’s favorite father and son team are back for another round of building custom motorcycles and aggravating each other in the second season of American Chopper.

Rock Tavern, NY, looks a lot like a sleepy little New England town, with long, snowy winters and carnivals during the summer. But every once in a while, locals catch a glimpse of man-mountain Paul Teutul Sr. test-driving one of Orange County Chopper’s latest creation, a highly-detailed work of art that can roar down the road.

Outsiders could never guess the chaos that goes on during the making of one these monstrous bikes. Paul Teutul Jr. amazes everyone with his groundbreaking designs. Everyone except Paul Sr., that is, who is convinced his son is a lazy bum. Their arguments lead to shouting matches of epic proportions. Meanwhile, little brother Mikey Teutul is on hand to…Hey, just what does Mikey do around the shop, anyhow?

This three-disc set contains 13 episodes from American Chopper‘s second season, almost. See the Rebuttal Witnesses below for details.

Disc One
• Tool Bike
• Tool Bike 2
• Football Bike
• POW/MIA Bike

Disc Two
• POW/MIA Bike 2
• POW/MIA Bike 3
• Miller Welder Bike
• Miller Welder Bike 2

Disc Three
• Celebrity Bike
• Celebrity Bike 2
• Liberty Bike
• Liberty Bike 2
• Mikey Special

For an unscripted series, it’s impressive how every two- or three-part episode follows the same formula. A high-paying client enlists the Teutuls to create a custom bike. Paul Jr. starts coming up with genius design ideas. As deadlines loom and pressures mount, an explosive confrontation between Senior and Junior is inevitable. But once the bike is done, it’s revealed in front of hundreds of adoring fans for the happy ending. Well, I’m feeling a little formulaic too. After viewing the entirety of the Season One set, I feel like I’m going through the motions with more of the same on Season Two.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the points made in my Season One review that apply equally to Season Two:

1. Unlike a lot of reality TV, this series doesn’t come across as staged.

2. Everyone’s outrageous personalities are what make the show entertaining, more than the actual bike-building.

3. Once finished, though, the choppers are amazingly designed.

4. What does Mikey do around the shop again?

New for this season are a few more trips outside the shop, including pheasant hunting, a raucous game of basketball, a hot air balloon ride, and a spontaneous visit from a 10-ton army tank. Also, mechanic Vincent “Vinnie” Dimartino gets a lot more screen time this season. Vinnie comes across as an ordinary guy who just happens to work alongside the larger-than-life Teutuls, which makes him easy to relate to. He adds some normality to the otherwise crazed goings-on inside the shop.

Another way this set parallels Season One is in the picture quality, which shows no errors, but which also is not much different than the repeats on the Discovery Channel, either. The 2.0 sound does its job, so the constant shouting or the rock music montage comes through with clarity. If the powers-that-be wanted this set to stand out from the constant repeats, they should have included more extra features than the far-too-brief interview clips and a handful of commercial outtakes.

One of the reasons we love TV box sets is our sense of completeness. Knowing we have every episode of a favorite series in the original broadcast order is a treat. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case with this box set. What we have here is just the first half of the second season. The Christmas Special, featuring a chopper based on Santa’s sleigh, is missing from this collection. Meanwhile, the “Mikey Special” should have been the last episode of the first season, but it concludes this set instead. If we’re paying for a season of a TV series, that’s what we should get.

I forget: What does Mikey do around the shop?

The Verdict

American Chopper is found not guilty, but this DVD presentation does not live up to OCC’s standards of perfection and attention to detail.

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