Bates Motel is an American drama television series on A&E starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. The series is a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's iconic Psycho, and depicts the early years of Norman Bates whilst set in modern times.The series kicks off with the sudden death of Norman's father, prompting Norman and his beloved mother Norma to set up a new life in the coastal town of White Pine Bay as owners of the eponymous motel. However, their relationship is far from stable and the town is hiding secrets of its own...
This show contains examples of the following tropes:
Betty and Veronica: Emma, openly smitten but ignored, is Betty to Norman's Archie, while popular, unattainable Bradley is his Veronica.
Beware the Nice Ones: Keeping with the movie, Norman is nice and quiet. He doesn't look like he'd put up much of a fight but he becomes quite scary when he sees his mother in trouble.
Chick Magnet: Norman. Seriously. Every teenage girl seems to want a piece of him for some reason.
Creepy Basement: Shelby has one in his house where he has imprisoned a young girl as his sex slave. The basement ticks many of the creepy basement expectations such as the flickering lights, dimly lit rooms, and shadows all around.
The fruit cellar from Psycho appears in the season 2 premiere, Norma even comments about how Norman spends a lot of time working on taxidermy down there.
Dirty Cop: Considering how many illegal activities are going on in the town it would be more surprising if there weren't any. The main culprit seen so far though is Shelby.
Disproportionate Retribution: Keith Sommers harassing Norman and Norma because the motel and house they bought was his. It's stated outright that it wasn't even their fault, the bank was the one that foreclosed on his family's house and motel.
With a possible helping of Never My Fault - between the day-to-day earnings of the motel and the ostensibly lucrative slave trade just how did he lose it to the bank? He can't have been a very good businessman, and it seemed to take a lot of work to get the place presentable after the Bates moved in...
Dysfunction Junction: Most everyone in the cast seems to have some kind of emotional problem or the like. The Bates family takes the cake, however, in White Pines.
Evil Matriarch: Norma is an incredibly unstable, overly-emotional and psychologically abusive mother, but she may not be evil, just incredibly toxic.
Fake American: Freddie Highmore as Norman. Don't worry, his accent has improved considerably since August Rush though it's still noticeable if you're listening for it.
For example, a member of Emma's family owns a taxidermy shop. There are some significant shots of the stuffed animals and Norman can't help but eye them which foreshadows how Norman will eventually get into taxidermy as and adult because he's lonely and needs a hobby.
Emma straight up states how traumatizing it must be "to be totally into a guy who turns out to be a monster." to Norman.
At the end of the final episode of the first season, we see Miss Watson is wearing a necklace that says 'B'—which is the initial of the woman Bradley's father was having an affair with.
"This road will ruin our lives!" Said by Norma in the season 2 premiere.
When Remo and Dylan disccuss why Gil hates Jerry Martin so much in the season 2 premiere, Remo claims that Miss 'Blair' Watson is the daughter of the drug family - which becomes a key storyline as season 2 progresses.
My Beloved Smother: You only get one guess at who is the biggest perpetrator of this trope. Norma will do anything to keep Norman by her side. She gets angry whenever she believes Norman has abandoned her and continually tells Norman that it's just the two of them against the world.
Put on a Bus: Literally, two episodes or so after have sworned revenge to her father's death, Bradley find and kill the responsible, taking a bus in order to escape. It is done so quiclky, ending what looked like a season-wide plot because the actress who played her was casted to star in a big budget action film.
Really Gets Around: Miss Watson before her death. She had slept with Gil, Jerry Martin, a stoner named Kyle, and quite possibly another unidentified person who may have killed her.
The Reveal: In episode six, Norma reveals that she didn't kill her husband like Dylan and some of the audience have assumed. Turns out Norman killed his father while he was in a trance and doesn't remember any of it. Norma made the death look like an accident so Norman wouldn't have to face what he'd done and moved them away to start over and officially leave his death behind them.
Viewers of season 1 are left to wonder who this mysterious "B" is, who wrote to Bradley's father while they were having an affair. The season 2 premiere does not hold back, immediately revealing that it's Miss Watson, whose first name is Blair. She was also sleeping with Gil, which could motivate him to kill Bradley's father.
Retro Universe: While the show is set in modern times (an early shot of Norman has him listening to an iPod), it does have some nuances, characteristics and feel of the 1950s and 60s, particularly the fashion and cars. If it weren't for the technology, it could almost be any time in the last 50 years.
Split Personality: Just like in the original movie, Norman seems to be developing a split personality that takes over whenever Norma is in trouble. Afterwards, Norman can't remember what he did but when he gets into these states he's always violent, refuses to talk to anyone, and very, very dangerous. As of late, his split personality seems to have the persona of a more vicious version of Norma.
Town with a Dark Secret: White Pine Bay apparently has several, even before the Bates Family moves in. There's certainly a reason why everyone is so well off in the small town. From what the audience sees, many people in the town seem to be in some illegal business ranging from drug trafficking to selling young girls as sex slaves.