Bates Motel claims to put the "y" in "Psycho", but cannot even manage to put the "what" in "What the fuck were the writers thinking?"
I initially maintained an optimistic potion when the barrage of advertisements came forth. The horror TV series
has been ripe with misses for quite a bit. Tales from the Crypt was one of the few that earned an immortal reputation. Masters of Horror was excellent, though short lived. The first season of American Horror Story was a gigantic let down in my eyes, but Asylum redeemed the series for me and I'm looking forward to Salem. I've never cared for The Walking Dead. I've always had a deep appreciation for Hitchcock and his very structured and strategic directorial style, and Psycho is one of the stand out horror films of all time. I thought that it would be difficult to get the formula for Bates Motel wrong. As it would turn out, I'm wrong, and so is everything about Bates Motel.
The beginning of episode 1 felt very off to me. The dialogue differed dramatically from how I had initially envioned it would be. Things seemed to be going in an odd direction, and then the iPhone made a cameo appearance. I lost my mind.
Psycho is an era appropriate film from 1960. Ten years before that would be 1950. They've taken the time period before Psycho, and placed it in 2013, thusly moving Psycho into an era that is yet to come. The entire premise of Psycho would not work now, let alone ten years from now. The technologically advanced era we live in now would make the entire plot of Psycho crumble. When cell phones, the internet, forenc sciences, and industrialization grew to the point that they're at now, horror films had to start taking these things into account in order to keep up. Psycho could never happen tomorrow, and it couldn't have happened yesterday. It couldn't have happened ten years ago, and the writers of the show want us to believe it COULD happen ten years from now.
One of the most annoying elements of the aesthetic of the show is undoubtedly that, even though it's been established that it's set in current time, wardrobe and set degn that would have been from the appropriate era are constently used.
You know what we call people with iPhones who wear clothes and buy furniture from decades ago and flaunt it like it's fashionable? Hipsters. We call them hipsters. We constantly ridicule them for being annoying assholes. The writers of Bates Motel have taken Hitchcock's characters, and made them fucking hipsters. I am outraged, and everyone who is deeply devoted to horror should react with identical disgust.
Norma Bates' character is wholly unbelievable as how they're trying to portray her. A good actress could have salvaged the part, but of course they didn't cast one. Vera Farmiga's acting skills are best suited to dramatic re-enactments on crime and medical shows. She does not make a convincing cold-hearted killer and instead reads more like a flaky, apathetic college student. Norman is dry and boring. You cannot empathize with the character, and he's genuinely difficult to care about. Norman's troubled brother is the only character with any dimenon, and you'll like him only because he treats the others badly.
The writers somehow thought it was a proming idea to add in that the town they live in is a violent marijuana distribution town full of crooked cops where people kill each other over pot on a daily bas. I'm not sure if they watched Reefer Madness and took every bit seriously, but the premise comes across as ridiculous. They've also integrated something about manga and Aan girls being sold into sex slavery. I cannot fathom where these subplots came from, or how they could be in any way reasonably relevant to the supposed dered end of the series, and chances are, they won't be.
Overall, I am genuinely saddened by the whole debacle. I really wanted this to be something I would love, and I really have tried to keep an open mind, but I just can't. I happily ate my words about loathing American Horror Story after the second season started. It was artistically fantastic and wonderfully complicated. The era and elements were portrayed beautifully and I deeply appreciated the effort that was put into Asylum. Where AHS differs from Bates Motel is that AHS is an anthology. Every season is about something completely different. That's not going to happen with Bates Motel, so there's no foreseeable way to fix it.
The best use I could come up with for Bates Motel is making it a drinking game. Take a shot every time you feel homicidal while watching it. By the end, you'll be so plastered, you'll forget what you even watched. That'll be the best part of the whole thing.