Bates Motel Season 1

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bates Motel
Created by: Anthony Cipriano
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot
Season One is on Netflix.
Season Two airs Mondays on A&E.

*This post contains season one spoilers.*

I started watching Bates Motel about a week ago on a whim. I looove old school movies and especially love Alfred Hitchcock.

If my ankle tattoo is any indication.

Even though I had heard of the show I wasn't interested in it, because 1) it was on cable and I don't have cable and 2) I wasn't sure that they would do it right.

Well, last week I was at home, bored, looking for something to watch and I finally decided to start it. I finished all ten episodes in about a week and even though I couldn't stop watching it - I'm not sure I like it.

I even took to Facebook, about halfway through to see if it was worth my time. The responses were pretty much split down the middle.

So, basically if you're interested you're going to have to watch it for yourself and see if it's something you'd enjoy.

But here are some of my thoughts on the show.

Vera Farmiga, as Norma Bates, is pretty amazing. She can go from caring mother, to crazy, jealous woman in a second and it's incredible. She is believable. The audience can tell that she is mentally unstable but when she acts, it is so natural. She does not know she is crazy, she is simply being herself; which makes the scenes between her and Norman that much more uncomfortably rewarding.

When I first started watching, I was a bit disappointed in Norman Bates, played by Freddie Highmore. I thought that they should have gotten a better actor; but as the season goes on, his acting ability really seems to come out. The more you learn about him, the better you understand how great an actor he is - because of his reserve. To be that dull, that stoic, is actually a testament to his acting ability. It would be so easy for an actor or overact in this role and he downplays it so well.

I love the vintage aesthetic that is added to Norma, Norman, and the house. As one of my Facebook friends mentioned they didn't like the fact that the show couldn't pick a decade. Norma's clothes are very reminiscent of 1930s - 1960s with high-waisted skirts, floral patterns, cardigan sweaters, and a touch of evening glamour. As a lover of vintage fashion, I love the modern-ish take on the classic silhouettes.

The house contains a 1950s refrigerator and the decor to match.  It definitely hints back to the time of the original movie but I can see how some people might get tired of the old-style clashing with the newness of the show.

The one major thing I cannot stand are the major plot developments used within the show. In only ten episodes they have dealt with rival gangs, an illegal sex operation, and a meadow full of weed.

It seems as if the writers are afraid that the relationship between Norman and Norma alone won't keep the ADD audiences of today satisfied. These crazy plot devices drive the story faster and further along, not at all like the original movie.

Alfred Hitchcock's suspense greatness came from his subtly, his nuance, the gradual reveal of the situation at hand. These plots, to me, don't make Norman an anti-hero, don't make him relatable. I do not wonder why he turns into what he does. In this situation, with his mother, his brother, these crazy people in the town...the only thing I do ask is how could he NOT have turned into what he is?

And I don't like that.

I wish the writers would have given the audience a chance to get involved in the relationship with Norman and Norma before starting in on the crazy plots. Because I would have much rather waited a while, see their relationship develop, stunt, grow, and deflate in a natural way. Norman is a teenage boy! I think a normal life - one filled with girls at school, female teachers, and his mother's suitors would have been enough of a drama, without the added drug and illegal sex.

Sometimes, the things that people do, don't stem from situations that are completely insane and out of control; they come from situations you never knew were wrong - like a mother who is just a little too loving.

I give it 2 out of 5 popcorn.

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