Checking Into Bates Motel


Bates Motel

On Monday night, A&E’s highly anticipated “Bates Motel” premiered to a record breaking 4.6 million viewers despite early negative reviews.

I was one of those 4.6 million, and I don’t know about you guys, but I’m hooked.  As an avid “American Horror Story” fan and lover of all things Hitchcock, I was counting down the days to the “Psycho” prequel and it did not disappoint.

What I find interesting about the show, is that it’s breathing life into an iconic character that we’ve actually never met:  Norma Bates.  From the movie, we know that she’s the mother of a monster.  “Bates Motel” depicts Norma as woman consistently threatened and taken advantage of by men.  It then artfully poses the question “How did a woman, who is abused by men, create a man that abuses women?”  (Mind Blown!)

The acting is superb.  Vera Farmiga is perfect as Norma, keeping her emotions at bay and compartmentalizing in a crisis.  Freddie Highmore (love me some August Rush) is Norman Bates.  Without trying to impersonate Anthony Perkins, Highmore creates his own Norman Bates.  A handsome, sensitive, soft-spoken young man that’s a little socially awkward, but isn’t every teenager?

Where the show shines is depicting the relationship between Norma and Norman.  Norma easily manipulates Norman to avoid her own loneliness.  Norman gladly does his mother’s bidding, but at the same time seems wary and almost scared of her instincts.

In a premiere filled with hard-to-watch scenes, the show creates this odd, sexual tension between mother and son.  A&E is depicting it brilliantly.  It is not being thrown in your face, but it’s just enough to make you uncomfortable and a little icky.

Things to Consider in the Shower

  • Why did Norma kill the dad?  Are we going to find out later?
  • When is this taking place?  The clothes and the settings scream 1960s, but Norman has an iPhone?
  • What’s with the girl and the oxygen tank?
  • When do we get to meet the cute brother played by Max Thieriot?
  • Are we supposed to be surprised that Norman doesn’t fit in with his peers?
  • Is it too soon to wonder about the syringe situation?

What about you?  Are you planning to watch the rest of the season?  What are your big questions?  What was the most uncomfortable part of the premiere for you to watch?  Was the kitchen scene too much for you to handle?

Author: elizbond

Creative Project Manager at the CFPB, Appalachian State alumni, Emerson College IMC graduate. Lover of movies, television, junk food, her dog Dexter, James Dean, and all things southern. North Carolina native, DC resident.

5 thoughts on “Checking Into Bates Motel

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