It's a big question. I hope the writers spend several more seasons explaining it to us because I love this show.
One of the really brilliant ways "Bates Motel" connects to the film is, even though it's a contemporary show, the set design and the costumes are very midcentury. Norman's mother, Norma, is a crazy woman for a modern age but she's surrounded in the trappings of a Donna Reeves life. Check out the vintage Formica table and her little apron.
Norma loves a circle or A-line dress, especially with little cardigans.
Norma bakes cookies for after school snacks and auditions for community theater. At night, she buries dead bodies. But you'd never suspect that of a woman in a peter pan collar.
And this suit! I can't think of Norma in this suit without thinking of Tippi Hedren's Edith Head-designed green outfit in "The Birds".
And of course, we can't ignore the fact that Norma is blonde. Hitchcock famously said, "Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints." It makes sense because--again, the brilliant complexity of "Bates Motel"--Norma is as much a villain as she is a victim and sometimes you're not even sure what role she's playing.
"Bates Motel" just ended its third season, which means there's plenty of time for you to catch up before the show comes back!
This post first appeared on The Vintage Bulletin