If you haven’t come across the American Chopper meme yet, you clearly haven’t been online this month.
For those unfamiliar with American Chopper, the reality show from the 2000’s followed Paul Teutul Sr and his son Paul Teutul Jr as they manufactured custom chopper-style motorcycles.
The majority of us had completely forgotten the Discovery Channel show had even existed until it became enshrined in a meme.
Me when someone bad mouths brutalism pic.twitter.com/IjabTFQVkO
— Rebuild Hamilton (@RebuildHamilton) April 2, 2018
me talking to my cat 5 times a day pic.twitter.com/XldODAfqAg
— mothma'am (@drakesgurl420) April 4, 2018
As you can see from the above tweets, the meme comprises of five screenshots taken from an episode which aired seven years ago.
Teutuls Senior and Junior are clearly arguing but the original context of the fight has been stripped away so people can use their eccentric imaginations to put whatever text they want on top of the images.
To date the two men have been seen to argue over everything from the gender pay gap, to Star Wars to net neutrality according to the internet.
However, now we know what was really going on as Senior himself explained the fight to Vice.
It turns out the pair had so many arguments Senior couldn’t even pinpoint what the confrontation was exactly over:
It was horrifying. The problem is, there were always those incidents. I’m not sure if that was when I fired him, or if it was just another everyday dysfunctional situation going on between me and my son, you know?
We never staged anything. I am a blue-collar guy, so you throw me into TV, and it’s like, wow. And that’s the type of person I am.
I worked in construction all my life, so that’s the guy I was: a high-strung, values type of person. We couldn’t do scripted because we never really remembered the words.
They weren’t looking for script because of the way things went down in the family anyway. Yes, it’s real.
If this is what the show was like all the time, I really have some binge watching to do!
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Senior also revealed he didn’t even know the meme existed until recently when his girlfriend’s daughter showed him the viral moment.
He then admitted he was unsure what a meme was saying:
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.
Thankfully Senior sees the funny side to the meme and is looking forward to seeing more having only noticed ‘a couple’.
I remember when those incidents were happening for real, and it was like, big-time crazy, you know what I mean?
So you’ve spun it, you know? Now it’s funny. People who knew what those incidents were before, it was kind of, like, horrifying.
And now it’s flipped, and people keep coming up to me, and they keep sending me different ones. I didn’t get it, and now, so many people are coming up to me, and so I’m more involved in looking at it now, and the more I look at it, the funnier it is.
Since we don’t think this meme will be dying out anytime soon, I am sure Paul Teutul Senior will see plenty more of the American Chopper meme in the future!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.