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Jesse James (a direct linear descendant of the famed outlaw), a noted builder of custom motorcycles in Southern California, assembles a crew and takes ordinary vehicles (like a VW New ... See full summary »
The master fabricator is back! Jesse has closed West Coast Choppers and sold everything to do with it. Jesse, tired of California and no longer happy living there, has moved himself and his... See full summary »
This show fails to live up to its potential because it does not respect the viewer. The premise is interesting: Jesse James takes part in dangerous activities related to his motorhead background. So far, the featured challenges have some inherent interest: the concept of motorcycling on the ice road (made famous in "Ice Road Truckers") is appealing, and I (for one) was introduced to the bizarre world of Figure 8 racing during another episode. And, to be sure, the activities are dangerous, even if the setups are controlled where possible by producers.
Unfortunately, the creators of the show seem worried that the episodes are not daring or exciting enough, so the viewer has to suffer through almost-constant declarations by an annoying narrator that what Jesse is doing is VERY DANGEROUS. Remember Count Floyd on SCTV, the host of the late-night horror movie who kept insisting that things were very scary? I wonder if he is a consultant to this show, because it similarly reveals the truth by protesting too much about its own horrific atmosphere. The second, near-constant subtext is that JESSE IS A BADASS. The episodes simply work too hard to tell us that he is exceptional in all situations. This claim rings hollow in the presence of true experts featured in each episode's particular event. Some episodes also struggle to find an excuse for whatever Jesse is doing. For example, the ice road episode half-heartedly suggests that Jesse must ride the ice road so he can deliver life-saving medicine to remote villagers (apparently the camera crew in the helicopter cannot help with this task). We know he's doing it to challenge himself and provide entertainment, so let's not pretend he's on a humanitarian mission. Finally, I must single out to the police-car-chase episode as an especially bad example of my points, as well as an absurdly staged and edited series of events, accented by a ridiculously fake "real time" play-by-play from a helicopter pilot.
All of this is unfortunate since Jesse James is clearly an accomplished, daring, and talented person, and his various pursuits could be compelling in themselves. I doubt this show will be re-tooled but I hope his next product is a little more honest with itself and the viewer.
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