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Bates Motel

Did Bates Motel Jump the Shark Already?

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Bates Motel

I was psyched for “Bates Motel.” Love “Psycho” and all things Alfred Hitchock. Love Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, who star in the new A&E show as the young Norman Bates and his infamous mother, Norma. But something didn’t set well with me about the premiere last night.

Here’s the way my notes went as I was watching the show:

  • Oedipal complex. Is she a mom or a girlfriend?
  • Older brother named Dylan.
  • Norman is volatile; undercurrent of explosion just below the surface.
  • Camera work has a Hitchcockian feel to it. Suspense. Shadows.
  • Whoa! Rape! Murder! Dead body in a tub! Pulling up bloody carpet in the middle of the night! Cops show up!
  • Dumping body overboard into the water.

So yeah, things went dark fast. Real fast. When we first saw the drunk guy whose family used to own the house, he looked like trouble, but more in the vein of “annoying drunk” trouble than “scary rapist” trouble. Did the rape seem out of place to you? Or did you know right off the bat this guy was a bad seed?

I’m going to give it a few more episodes, because as I wrote in my preview of the show, I appreciate that they’re trying to fill some big shoes with the “Psycho” backstory.

But for me, I wish they had upped the suspense and dialed back the graphic violence. I mean, what’s going to happen next week? Will they start stashing the bodies in the attic?  Will his friends die in a fiery car crash over a seaside cliff?

At this point, anything could happen. I’m just not sure I want it to happen so fast. I know Farmiga said they’re not remaking “Psycho,” but rather using it as an inspiration.

I just hope they take a little inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock and give us more suspense, less gratuitous violence.

What did you think of the premiere episode of “Bates Motel”? 

Jane Boursaw is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Her credits include hundreds of print and online publications, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Variety, Moviefone, TV Squad and more. Follow her on Twitter at @reellifejane.

Jane Boursaw has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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3 comments

  1. Alexandra

    I did not watch this show, and now that I have read your review, I will not search it out. I like the idea of backstory to Psycho, but it sounds like they flubbed this one.
    Alexandra recently posted…We’ve Moved!My Profile

  2. Melanie Votaw

    I agree with you, Jane. I was definitely taken aback by the rape scene. I didn’t think that guy was so dangerous. Then, it was a bit much that all of that violence happened in the first episode. I think more of a psychological build-up would have been more satisfying. That’s one of the things I like so much about Dexter – there’s so much psych build-up before he kills someone. But I still want to know what they have in mind with this show and what they’re planning. If this is what they call the “set up,” what can come next?

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