Moral Duties


Bates Motel creators have been both praised and criticized for their choices regarding the show’s aesthetics, as it relates to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, of which the show is based. This presents the question of what moral tensions/conflicts have emerged from the production of the show.

Out of the 6 moral duties, one of the questions that Bates Motel raises is of society and the beneficiary of the public interest. The show is a sort of modern-day “prequel” to the cult classic, Psycho. The show-runners wanted to give the viewers a feeling of Psycho‘s universe without creating a distance between the show and the modern-day life of its audience. If this were a period piece true to the movie’s timeline, it would have happened in the 1940s. The show keeps a balance between the aesthetics of the 1960s, when Psycho was released, and modern aspects of current life. Co-executive producer Kerry Ehrin is quoted saying, “we didn’t want it to take you out of the reality of the world. Once you think of it as a movie it’s not real anymore.” The show-runners paid close attention to details in the show’s visuals, assuring the audience still feels connected to it due to its timeless stylistic choices. Like Orlik states, “if media professionals pay attention to the needs of their audience, then moral and economic achievement often follow hand-in-hand.” The Bates Motel‘s producers’ care for their social responsibility is reflected in their high ratings, just as audience researcher Willis Duff explains in the textbook.

Another moral duty is individual conscious. The show’s creator, Carlton Cuse, says he would not have made Bates Motel if it were a period piece and that a modern setting was essential, abiding by Jeff Smulyan’s quote, “if we can’t win the right way, we’d rather not win.” Some critics think Bates Motel isn’t true to Psycho, saying that Hitchcock would have hated it. The producers wanted it to be an homage, not a sequel within the correlating time frame. The show-runners stuck to their decision, refused to jeopardize their integrity, and were successful.