Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bates Motel and CF

It's taken me a long time, but I've finally started watching Bates Motel, A&E's sort of prequel series to Psycho. I say sort of because the series takes place in modern day and not the 1960s. The show is well written and has the look and feel of Twin Peaks. I believe that's what the producers were trying to achieve.

Toward the end of the pilot a young girl named Emma introduces herself to a teenage Norma Bates. She's walking around with an oxygen tank and tells him that she has CF. That's it, just 'CF.' It's not until the second episode that Emma explains that CF means cystic fibrosis and how it is destroying her lungs.

Needless to say I was immediately intrigued. Emma is one of the main characters on the show and I was curious to find out why the writers chose to include a character with cystic fibrosis in their show.A little research and I discovered that one of the show's writers, Bill Balas, actually has CF. According to Wikipedia (the only place I can find a bio), Balas received a double lung transplant when he was in his late teens or early 20s.He's originally from Cleveland (go figure) and moved to LA to pursue a career in film and television. Congratulations, Bill.

As a CF parent, I'm always aware about how accurate the portrayal of CF is done in films and television. If there's one thing I want, it's that CF gets wider known and that more people will help support the foundation. However, I also hope that writers including CF in the films and TV episodes don't just uses it as a disease of the week and that the depiction is accurate.

Now I know, when you're dealing with TV some liberties are taken in order to make things a little more dramatic. Still, I'm very excited to see the rest of this first season of Bates Motel to see where they take this character and how close the portrayal of someone having CF resembles the life I know. With a writer on staff able to tap into his own experiences for the character, I have faith that this will be realistic look at CF... as much as a show about a crazy mom and the effect she has on her off balance son can be realitic.

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