TAG TEAM TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL – Episode 1: “First You Dream, Then You Die”
Jerry: Tonight’s kick off episode of Bates Motel is here, and while it’s not perfect, I really enjoyed it. Sure, there are a couple of things that made me scratch my head, but all in all I was happily satisfied. So, to give readers an interesting new angle of reviewing, our editor Justin and myself both decided to tackle it together. What did you think Justin?
Justin: I was skeptical, expectedly. I think we all were. PSYCHO is pretty dear to the horror community (and one Icons of Fright creator in particular!). It’s just something you don’t really want to see updated or touched. It’s Hitchcock, it’s a classic, and Anthony Perkins is the embodiment of Norman Bates. But to be honest, I’m actually on board with BATES MOTEL.
Jerry: Me too man. The very small amount of things that drove me crazy about the pilot aren’t enough to kill it for me. It’s going to take me a while to get used to Norman sounding like Morrissey (his accent, yikes…), I don’t completely get Norman being somewhat popular with the ladies, but all in all, it’s really well written, and holy crap is Vera Farmiga great. She reminds me of my mom.
Justin: That irked me too! I fully expected to see Norman walking down the hall and giving high fives TEEN WOLF style. His accent absolutely needs some work, but he sells it well so far. The more said about Vera Farminga the better. She’s gorgeous, can act so damn good, and you believe she’ll go on to be this demented matriarch. Also, I think that means your Mom is a babe.
Jerry: Haha no I meant my mom is overbearing and crazy. See, while I was kinda irked at first with Norman going to a party and drinking it up, it made sense for him to make that mistake while the bummer stuff was happening with Norma. It made sense that the show would need Norman to feel bad about not being there for his mom when she needed him and it’ll make it easier for her to hold it over his head later in the series. I also think the popularity aspect will backfire and they’ll turn on him, helping develop the homicidal aspect of his personality too
Justin: Right, they’ve definitely planted the seeds for that. He’ll rebel, and try his best to escape Norma’s clutches, but it’s inevitable that she’s the only true person that cares for him. And possibly wants to get it on. It’s an interesting dynamic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes. How cool was it seeing the infamous Bates house on the hill? It tugged on my nostalgia strings hard, and it wasn’t done in an exploitive manner. The crew behind the scenes knows the PSYCHO mythos is cherished, but they’ve got to introduce it to a whole new generation as well.
Jerry: Oh totally. The moment they pulled up at the beginning and it showed the house, I felt my blood rushing man. I love the series, and yeah you’re right, it does need to be reintroduced to a newer generation. Sure I would’ve loved to see the show be based in the original time period and such, but I doubt the mass public would, and god knows I’m not enough to make a show successful, so I definitely understand the producers making the show modern. I’m on board for sure. What about the cops? I’m extremely interested in seeing how they play into the whole new take on it. They seem to be somewhat sketchy. The bathroom scene…yikes. Talk about tension
Justin: Nestor Carbonell had the creep factor turned up, does he have a sinister agenda or did he just have to take a leak!? Right about there is when I started to feel the TWIN PEAKS vibe. I know that’s always associated with coastal/woodland/rural TV series, but it really seems that the town may have a bit of darkness to it.
It’s strange seeing the PSYCHO world being brought into 21st century TV because, the amount of violence that’s allowed onscreen now is pretty graphic. Hitchcock’s film was certainly controversial in it’s day, but it’s a rather tame film otherwise. I mean just in the first 30 minutes of the pilot there was rape, murder, and a pretty hefty amount of blood.
Jerry: Totally. I really think BATES MOTEL will push the envelope when it comes to what can be shown on a TV show. The rape scene was hard to watch, and yeah I agree with you regarding Carbonell. It feels like something’s definitely off in the town, like everyone has an agenda. I’m excited to see how it plays out.
Justin: Yeah, what the hell was going on with that notebook Norman found?
Jerry: I think it was the sheriff’s book to be honest
Justin: Dude, did not even think of that. No wonder he was eyeball creepin! The Japanese anime artwork made it even more unsettling, it’s like someone’s gross DeviantArt page in a notebook.
Jerry: Yeah totally. I’m also curious as how the Norman having a brother angle will play out, because if anyone is familiar with Ed Gein, which Psycho was obviously based on, then they already know that Ed Gein killed his brother, so…
Justin: His voice was only heard, but looks like Norman’s brother is played by Max Thierot. Famously known for the insanity that is Craven’s MY SOUL TO TAKE, and, uh, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET.
Jerry: yeah for sure. I do think I might be the only person I know who halfway appreciated MY SOUL TO TAKE…I did say halfway.
Justin: I believe Horror Movie A Day’s Brian Collins is a pretty big fan, so we’re in good company. So yeah, I’m not 100% hooked yet, but I’ve seen & liked enough to keep my attention. Farminga is aces, seeing the Bates home in pop culture again is nostalgia soothing, and the premise beyond Norma & Norman is intriguing. I’ll be tuning in next week. Plus, I just wanna keep doing these tag team reviews. It’s so much more fun than screaming at myself to write a review.
Jerry: haha I agree. I’m intrigued by the show, and yeah I’m not 100% sure yet, but it pleased me enough to keep me watching.
Justin: Also, if anyone involved in the show is reading this, MORE NORMA BATES IN LINGERIE.
Justin: Well, we hope you dig this format of reviewing Fright-fans! We had a blast doing it, and we’ll be back next week for the second episode of BATES MOTEL!
Jerry: Until next week!