Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mr. Bates' Motel

This past Sunday marked the end of the fourth season of Downton Abbey, and there’s plenty of buzz on the webisphere that people are ready for Mr. Bates to just be killed off already.  Personally, I don’t have a problem with him, and I certainly don’t have a death wish for him.  But I must admit he doesn’t hold the same untarnished, upstanding reputation and charm he used to.  Did he kill Mr. Green?  Why is he an expert at forgery?  Why does the twinkle in his eye come off as creepy and murderous these days instead of delightful like it used to?  Bro’s got secrets, and I’m betting they are dark ones.

Meanwhile, Bates Motel starts its second season this Monday, and I am anticipating this premiere more anxiously than Vince Vaughn awaits wedding season.  Based on the trailer, it looks like things are going to get even crazier this time around.  Though we’ll see a lot of the same psychos we’ve come to know and love (see what I did there?), there are rumors of some new faces as well.  One newcomer I wouldn’t mind seeing in White Pine Bay?  Mr. Bates.  That’s right, I’m proposing the ultimate collision of worlds: Downton Abbey meets Bates Motel, in the ultimate TV special—“Mr. Bates’ Motel.”

Norma and Norman are back and creepier than ever, and Bates Motel—their family-run motel—is finally starting to pick up business.  But wait, what’s that?  A new motel just opened down the street?  “Mr. Bates’ Motel?”  Is this guy for real with that name?  Frustrated, Norma and Norman head down the street to investigate, hand in hand.  You know, because it’s unseasonably cold out and they forgot to wear gloves.  Not for any other reason.  Nothing to see here folks, just a 17 year old boy holding hands with his mom.  Moving on.

Norma and Norman arrive at Mr. Bates’ Motel with tempers blazing (and, it must be said, a palpable sexual tension between them), ready to ream out the lowlife responsible for putting their business in jeopardy.  But their fiery tempers are abruptly extinguished when a polite, older British gentleman dressed as a butler greets them at the door, proffering tea and crumpets.  Get a load of this guy, Norman mouths to his mother, he is an absolute treat!  Norma nods in agreement.  He really is darling, she mouths back.  Like something out of a Jane Austen novel.  I wonder what he’s doing working for a nasty old deadbeat like this Bates fellow.  The two gaze fondly at each other, then at the butler, who shuffles his feet and clears his throat in obvious discomfort, having been a mere foot away, plate of crumpets still in hand, for this entire exchange.

“Ahem…allow me to introduce myself,” he begins, with what Norma and Norman silently agree is the most adorable British accent they’ve ever heard.  “I am Mr. Bates.  Welcome to my motel.  I’m sorry if the crumpets are a bit dry.  It’s my wife Anna’s recipe, but I don’t think I used enough buttermilk.  Oh bother!  But I’m rambling.  What can I do for you Lord and Lady Bates?”

“Please, call us Norma(n),” replies Norma, smiling and blushing furiously.  “You see, the thing is Mr. Bates…we only just recently opened our motel—Bates Motel—down the street, and business is just starting to pick up.  And now here you are, with your own motel, a mere block away, and those dreamy, twinkling eyes of yours…”  At this point, Norman elbows Norma sharply, snapping her out of her reverie.  “Right, yes, so anyway,” she continues, “surely you can see how this puts us in bit of a tricky position…And you’re wrong about the crumpets by the way—absolutely delicious.  Your wife must be an excellent cook!”

“She was,” Bates replies cryptically, a twinkle in his eyes that Norma and Norman silently agree is both absolutely adorable and also “a little murdery.”  “Anyway, I am sorry for any inconvenience I’ve caused,” he continues.  “Twas never my intention to draw business away from your impressive establishment.  I merely came here to get away from…some things, back in England, and to have a fresh start after some…other things.  I’m afraid I can’t really say more about it than that, but you understand, don’t you?”

They do not understand at all, but nod enthusiastically nonetheless.  Who could disagree with those sparkling eyes, like two glittering jewels set perfectly against the backdrop of a gentle but rugged face?

After an awkward beat during which Mr. Bates realizes that Norma and Norman have nothing to say—and will continue to nod and smile at him with a strange desire in their eyes unless he does something—he continues.  “So, that’s the deal.  Mr. Bates’ Motel is here to stay.  But I do promise not to make any trouble for you two—if you can promise not to mention to the police any of the strange things you may hear or see on or near the premises of my motel.  Do we have an agreement?”  He asks this last question in an ominous, threatening tone that Norma and Norman silently agree is “totally dreamy.”

“Absolutely we do,” Norma and Norman reply in perfect unison.  Truthfully, Norman would agree to anything this perfect man suggests, short of dressing up like his mother.  And even that he might consider.  This Bates fellow is persuasive…

“Goodbye Mr. Bates!” chorus Norma and Norman a few minutes later, skipping down his walk arm in arm.  “Thank you again for the crumpets!”

Mr. Bates smiles warmly, closes the door, and heads to the kitchen to clean up after his earlier baking session.  “That’s the last time I make crumpets,” he chuckles to himself as he puts away the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and rat poison.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

10 Events That Should be Added to the Winter Olympic Games

           The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have been exciting to watch for sure, but at this point, I’ve just about reached my max on bobsleds, ice-dancing, and speed skating.  (Curling is a different story—I will never tire of those silly little men with their brooms…I digress.)  This being the 22nd Olympic Winter Games, you would think by now they might have come up with some new events to throw into the mix, if for no other reason than to “spice things up a bit.”  But again and again with the triple axels, death-defying ski jumps, and record-breaking bobsled runs.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say: yawn!

Having survived the polar vortex these past few weeks, I can think of a number of challenging feats and obstacles deserving of gold medals, and I’m sure anyone else living on the eastern seaboard knows what I’m talking about.  So I’m proposing some new events for the 2018 Winter Olympics—because let’s face it, the 2014 Winter Olympics are “Sochi” thing of the past.

1.       Lasting a whole day with dry socks.
2.       Navigating the streets of NYC without accidentally poking someone’s eye out with your umbrella.

3.       Navigating the streets of NYC without losing an eye to a fellow pedestrian’s umbrella.

4.       Singing “Let it Go” from Frozen in the shower, without crying when you realize that your voice will never be as good as Idina Menzel’s.  Never.

5.       Lasting a 3 ½ hour drive that normally takes 20 minutes, in a blizzard, without cursing.

6.       Passing a Starbucks without going inside and ordering something either gingerbread, peppermint, or pumpkin flavored.  (Ditto to butterbeer.)

7.       Walking in an icy parking lot (or any outdoor space) without slipping and falling on your duff.

8.       Not eating every food in sight when you’re stuck inside on a snowy day.

9.       Driving past a snowman without saying “Awwww!” and reminiscing about your childhood.

10.   Sitting through an entire hockey game without thinking about the movie Miracle, and silently daydreaming of the day Kurt Russell agrees to be your life coach.