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Don’t be Psycho, watch BATES MOTEL [Remote Control Freak]

If you haven’t already started watching BATES MOTEL, you should do it. Now. The season is probably halfway over or more at this point, so there’s some catching up to do. Eight shows in fact. You need cable to catch it. A&E.

You might be a little apprehensive because it’s a prequel to a movie made over forty years ago based on a novel based on a real life serial killer…set in 2013. If you’re anything like me, you’re picky about the details in a show – especially a show that has a history based in something else (like a show/movie/book/etc.), and if they don’t get it right, then they better make it really freaking good.

bates motelThis show is. Both.

Freddie Highmore – who you might recognize as the adorable August Rush, or Charlie from the Tim Burton rendition of the Chocolate Factory — is the only kid on the planet who could play Norman Bates. He’s incredible in this kind of shy, nice guy, creepy, mama’s boy role. You like him. You really do – even though you know that later in life he’s going to be a total–well, psycho.

You root for him to get away from his mother’s influence, and to win over one of the two girls who seem to want his attention. But at the same time you can just tell there’s something wrong with him. In fact, in episode 6 you realize there’s something really really wrong with him. But we’re not sure what yet, or why. Suspense!

His Mother Norma, Vera Farmiga (hot!), makes you like her, then hate her, then sympathize with her, then hate her, then understand her, then hate her, then pity her, then empathize with her and almost trust her, then hate her some more. She’s really got the overbearing, co-dependent thing down. But you’re not really sure if it’s even her fault, or if she’s the way she is because of the way Norman is. It’s complicated. You’ll see.

There are other people in the cast, too: a second son – brother to Norman; and a deputy sherriff one tends to confuse with the second son at times, they look so similar. This adds a weird element to the mama’s boy angle of things considering Norma beds the sheriff by episode 2. There’s also the two love interests for Norman; a dead guy; another dead guy; an Asian sex slave; and the town sheriff who totally has it out for Norma. (She kind of killed his best friend in the first episode.)

The town itself is its own kind of character – very much a small town that takes care of its own. Everyone has a secret of some kind or is involved in something seedy.

The town members also practice an Old Testament kind of law. In the first episode, a mill owner is killed when his mill burns down. Rather than prosecute, the town holds a public body burning of the suspected arsonist. Then there are the drugs. Every good small town needs a mary jane field to compensate for the high rate of unemployment these days.

Each episode is suspenseful and mysterious, sometimes violent. And isn’t that really what makes good TV anymore? In all honesty, I haven’t been shocked by television in a very long time. And I watch a lot of the stuff.

When the first episode aired, I was a little overwhelmed by the brutal and violent rape scene that happens in the first 20 minutes of this show – it doesn’t hold back on the detail. So if you can’t handle that sort of thing, jump ahead on the DVR and keep going. Don’t let your sensitive stomach keep you from what ends up being a show worth getting hooked on.