Sawed off limbs, gouged out eyes, slashed throats, decapitation, disembowelment, cannibalism, human corpses used as fertilizer, graphic rape and blood splattering stabbings – just another day’s work for TV’s new favorite characters.
Serial killers area hot trend on TV these days. You can even watch your favorite serial killer hero doing all the above, 5 out of 7 days of the week – and then go out and emulate him. Currently there are 20 shows revolving around serial killers, seven of which premiered in the beginning of 2013.
The Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute, along with the Parent’s Television Council, slammed A&E this week for its gruesome new show “Bates Motel,” which premiered this past Monday. The very first episode contained a graphic rape scene and implied incest. And A&E’s rating board thinks this is appropriate and healthy for 14-year-olds to watch.
The PTC has condemned “Bates Motel” for its sympathetic portrayal of a psychopath and its graphic violence in a show rated safe for kids to watch. CMI also wrote about the violence and attempted to get a statement from the network defending the TV-14 rating. A&E not respond, perhaps too busy preparing a press release in which network President Bob DeBitetto boasted of the 4.6 million viewers the premiere received and applauded it as, “the very best of quality storytelling” while being “edgy and provocative.” It’s disturbing to find out that obscene rape scenes are “quality” entertainment and cool and “edgy” to A&E.
Alfred Hitchcock’s film masterpieces thrilled audiences with imagination and suspense, but if Hitchcock focused the cameras instead on graphic violence and rape, “Psycho” might resemble today’s “Bates Motel” series. And throw in some implied incest just because it’s TV.
The A&E show provided a modern-day prequel to Hitchcock’s horror film, “Psycho.” The “Bates Motel” series illuminated the twisted relationship between 17-year-old Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), which later transformed Norman into the infamous “Psycho” killer.