With Bates Motel starting back up, Chassity and I thought it would be fun to each write a post about the show. One in favor of the show, one against it.
As anyone who reads my Walking Dead posts could probably guess, I am against it.
Let’s get a couple things out of the way first.
I love Psycho. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I’m also a huge fan of Psycho II. Psycho III is kind of enjoyable, though there’s nothing special about it (although Jeff Fahey really seems like he’s having a great time in it). Psycho IV is an interesting concept (a prequel, more or less), but a poorly executed movie. Pretty boring, really.
I went into Bates Motel with mixed emotions. I assumed it would work on the same timeline as Psycho IV (with slightly fewer scenes of Norman rolling around in his underwear with his mother, preferably). That is to say, I assumed it would be a prequel, showing the relationship between Norman and his mother. And, while I had my doubts that it would translate to a good TV show, I was still looking forward to what they would do.
Sadly, it didn’t grab me, and I ended up giving up on it after 5 episodes.
Here’s my main problem with Bates Motel: I don’t understand the thought process behind the show. It’s almost as if the creator had an idea for a show about a small, seemingly idyllic town with a secret (drugs, sex slavery, the mob, etc.), then said, “Let’s throw Norman Bates and his mother into this.” It didn’t have to be the Bates family. In fact, it probably shouldn’t have been the Bates family. The show could have worked without throwing Norman and Norma into the mix. Instead, it just feels like there’s too much going on, and it comes off as a bit of a mess.
If the goal was to tell a story about Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother, do that. That would have been more interesting than taking those characters and dumping them into “a town with a secret” scenario. It’s almost as if they didn’t trust the Bates story to be interesting enough to carry the show by itself.
That’s my main issue with the show. However, I have a handful of smaller issues. I could possibly overlook some of these, but not all of them. In an effort to keep this from getting too long, I’ll try to make these short.
Why is it set in modern day, yet the Bates’ clothes/home look like they’re from the 50s/60s? If it’s not working on the original timeline, what’s the point of using that style?
There’s no one to identify with. No proxy. Who exactly am I supposed to connect with in this show?
Where does it go? We know how their story ends, and there’s nothing keeping my interest to get to that point.
Freddie Highmore has all the nervousness of Anthony Perkins, with none of the magnetic charm.
It’s not a terrible show. I don’t hate it. I had quite a few problems with it, and I found it extremely boring. I stopped watching because I honestly didn’t care what happened next, and the thought of starting another episode made me tired. I can see why people like it, but it didn’t grab me.
It’s quite possible that I’m just a little too critical, but I didn’t go into this looking for things to dislike. I honestly didn’t. Because of my of love of the first two Psycho movies, I went into this with an open mind. I wanted to like it. I just couldn’t.