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December 6th, 2009


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09:04 pm - Psych? More Like Puh-sike-uh!
I've heard it both ways.

When Psych first premiered, it seemed to be an amusing show that my friends liked, but because it was a procedural, it didn't seem like appointment TV. My cousins watched it every week, however, and sometimes when I visited on weekends, we would watch the show together. It was very enjoyable. During the third season, however, I began liking the episodes a lot more since they focused on character development and continuing stories; there seemed to be more to the show than I first suspected. The fact that my friend Dahlia was working on the show and I could see her name in the credits every week encouraged me to watch the show more often. Once I planned to hit the Psych press room at Comic-Con, I started catching up as quickly as I could, watching episodes on Hulu and DVRing reruns. And after meeting the cast and creator at Comic-Con, I resolved to be a regular viewer of the show. But I did want to watch all the episodes I'd missed, and, luckily, Dahlia hooked me up with seasons 2 and 3, and Seanan let me borrow season 1, and as of tonight, I have seen every episode of Psych.

The premise/gimmick of Psych is simple: Shawn Spencer is a fake psychic who acts as a consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department. His dad, Henry, was a cop, and he raised Shawn to follow in his footsteps, which allowed Shawn to hone his observational skills such that he can make Holmesian deductions from minute details. His partner, Burton "Gus" Guster, is a pharmaceutical sales rep who plays the straight-man Watson. Why Shawn needs to pretend to be psychic is something you just have to go with if you want to enjoy the show. You have to handwave the apparent gullibility of the police department and everyone else Shawn runs into and believe that at least some of them see through the bullshit and just humor him anyway because he is a very good detective.

Shawn is a lovable jackass who never considers anyone else's feelings or desires (except when he does, and it's sweet), not necessarily because he's full of himself but because it just doesn't seem to occur to him. He is very confident in his own charm—but he can be vulnerable! James Roday is hilarious as Shawn, imbuing him with a manic energy and effortlessly spouting nonsensical lines at a rapid pace, but he can also play the dramatic moments (Psych never gets too serious, but the great thing is that it manages to successfully take itself seriously when necessary).

Gus is just plain lovable, no jackass. He is the sensible one, the guy who tries to rein Shawn in (usually in vain). He is a total geek with a seemingly infinite number of hobbies and interests, and he probably spends his free time reading Wikipedia. He has his own charm, although he's not as smooth as Shawn sometimes. Dulé Hill is hilarious as Gus, contrasting Roday's manic energy with a very careful and composed delivery and effortlessly spouting nonsensical lines at a rapid—but controlled—pace, but he doesn't seem to get that many dramatic moments, now that I think about it. Which is sad. His dramatic moments still tend to be seen through the "Oh, that Gus!" filter.

The heart of the show is Shawn and Gus's friendship. They've been friends since they were five, and they have such a shared history and knowledge base between them that they can have entire conversations in '80s-movie references. They also both seem to have amazing memories since they still hold grudges over things that happened in elementary school. There are probably too many mentions of ways Shawn has endearingly screwed over Gus while they were growing up, but Gus always forgives him because they are BFFs. They have a very natural chemistry, and even when they bicker, it's clear why they're friends, since bicker frequently turns to banter.

Henry, Shawn's dad, provides another heart of the show. This show has two hearts. Henry and Shawn are estranged at the beginning of the series, but once Henry moves back to Santa Barbara, they can try to reconnect. Shawn frequently goes to his dad for help on cases, and when I only watched isolated episodes, I saw Henry as little more than a plot device. But watching the series from the beginning showed me just how important he is to the show. His relationship with his son is one of the best and most interesting things about the series. It's very clear he's disappointed that Shawn never became a cop, that he seems to have squandered all his potential on little jobs that he quit after a few weeks, but Psych gives Shawn a place to shine. And as hard as it is to admit to himself or to Shawn, he's proud of him and the work he does. Corbin Bernsen actually gets to play two Henrys every episode through the magic of a wig that makes him twenty years younger! Also he acts differently. Because he's an actor.

Filling out the cast are Shawn and Gus's contacts at the SBPD. Detective Carlton Lassiter is an even straighter man than Gus, a by-the-books cop who despises Shawn and his antics but has to reluctantly admit that he's right sometimes. Detective Juliet O'Hara is basically everything Lassie is not, except she's also a good cop who proves herself as the series progresses. She tends to get way into her undercover assignments, and she has a soft spot for Shawn, who has a soft spot for her, and these soft spots eventually develop into the full-blown UST that any long-running series must have. (Interim) Chief Vick isn't really a fan of Shawn's flamboyant "visions," but she does respect his detective skills. Vick was another character that I first saw as extraneous but grew to really appreciate when watching the series from the beginning. She plays a very important intermediary role between the two real detectives and the two psychic detectives.

When it comes down to it, though, the reason I love Psych is because it's funny. The tone is very whimsical but still grounded. Shawn and Gus will frequently digress into ridiculous non sequiturs and references to obscure movies, and there are several running gags (that even get lampshades hung on them at times), but it doesn't veer into 30 Rock territory. The humor extends into the episode titles: "Meat Is Murder, but Murder Is Also Murder," "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me, Oops He's Dead," "Any Given Friday Night at 10 PM, 9PM Central," the upcoming "You Can't Handle This Episode." I enjoy the variety of mysteries and locales: a spelling bee, a comic book convention, a Civil War reenactment, a telenovela, a secret illegal cross-country road race—no, wait, they haven't done that one yet. And why not! This is the show that did an episode about the murder of a sea lion. And then there are, of course, the guest stars! I started listing all the cool ones but there were too many.

There are a lot of procedural shows on the air, but Psych is the only one I watch regularly. It consistently entertains me and makes me laugh, and I think the mysteries are pretty clever most of the time. I love the characters and the actors. It has a little bit of continuity (and the occasional callback, of course), but it's not serial like I like my shows. Regardless, I love it, and I am sad I have no more episodes to watch. The great thing about Psych, though, is that it holds up to rewatches.

You know that's right.
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
Current Music: Fort Minor - Slip out the Back

(22 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:amberlynne
Date:December 7th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
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\o/!!!!!!!

I am so excited that it is coming back soon!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
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But it is moving to Wednesdays! That messes with my head! And it might be on at the same time as Leverage.

Amber, I demand more comment from you, since you're one of the biggest Psych fans I know. Tell me all the things you love now that I know what you're talking about!
[User Picture]
From:amberlynne
Date:December 7th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
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Yeah. I am that happy about the move either. I liked it on Fridays. I only hope that it gets more viewers this way. And it's very dumb that it is on against Leverage because I know the audiences are so similar.

Aw man, I don't even know where to start! I love the relationship between Shawn and Henry. Like only Shawn could find a way to use what his dad taught him AND being as annoying as possible about it. And they have such a wonderfully realistic father-son relationship that is also hilarious.

I love that Gus is such a nerd but Shawn adores him anyway. And their little slap fights ALWAYS makes me laugh! And the singing! And the 80s references!

And the fact that Vick and Jules are smart, tough ladies that don't just serve as props for the dudes on the show. And the Shawn/Jules thing is sweet but doesn't feel drawn out or forced. And Lassie!! And Shawn's MOM! And Gus's PARENTS!

Oh oh! And the different versions of the theme song! SO BRILLIANT!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
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I love the relationship between Shawn and Henry. Like only Shawn could find a way to use what his dad taught him AND being as annoying as possible about it.
Ha, seriously! It's interesting to see Henry's influence on Shawn, even though Shawn hates admitting that he wouldn't be half as awesome as he is without his dad.

I love that Gus is such a nerd but Shawn adores him anyway.
Yes! He doesn't seem like the kind of person Shawn would be befriend, but they have a special relationship. I like that he never—or at least rarely—condescends to Gus or makes him feel like his nerdiness puts him beneath him. He mocks it, sure, but he accepts it as part of him.

And their little slap fights ALWAYS makes me laugh! And the singing! And the 80s references!
There are some great little montages on the DVDs! Not just the slap fights, but the arguments where they speak in incoherent whispers.

And the fact that Vick and Jules are smart, tough ladies that don't just serve as props for the dudes on the show.
It's true! I like it when Juliet gets to show that she's a competent detective and not just some pretty blonde chick with a badge.

And the Shawn/Jules thing is sweet but doesn't feel drawn out or forced.
TWoP would disagree with you on that! Heh. I think it's sweet too, although the knowing looks and angst angst angst could be toned down a bit.

And the different versions of the theme song! SO BRILLIANT!
OMG YES. I think my favorite is the Spanish one. It works really well.
From:sainfoin_fields
Date:December 7th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
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COW YOUR RHYMING SUBJECT LINE IS NOT SHOWING UP ON MY FPAGE I WAS VERY ALARMED.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 06:34 am (UTC)
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YOUR FPAGE IS RACIST AGAINST HTML.
From:sainfoin_fields
Date:December 7th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
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HTML HAS A SORDID HISTORY OKAY
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
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HTML STANDS FOR HOT TORRID MONKEY LOVE.
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From:squaringkarma
Date:December 7th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)
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Yaaaaaay for finally being full on the Psych love train :D

If Psych and Leverage compete with the same timeslot, I am going to be very annoyed even if I'm on the other side of the world and have no influence on the ratings.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Shawn had just gotten SO ANNOYING and mean to all the other characters
I didn't really see this. I saw him doing some awful things in the first two seasons too. But I'm glad you're watching the show again!

I found the most recent Washington Post reference to Psych, just for you.
Of course you did.
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From:musesfool
Date:December 7th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
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GUS! ♥!

I need to watch all of the first two seasons. I haven't seen most of those episodes.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, you definitely should! You should go back in time and pick them up on Black Friday. The first two seasons are great; there are some really good episodes.
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From:raelee
Date:December 7th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
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I agree with you about the third season though I still have several episodes from S1 and S2 that I love dearly. This current season has been the weakest in my eyes but I'm hopeful that'll change in the last half.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:December 7th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
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I definitely have a soft spot for the third season since that's what hooked me on the show, but, yeah, there are great episodes in the first couple seasons. This season has had some good stuff too.
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From:skogkatt
Date:December 7th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Hooray for Psych love!
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From:smiling_sunset
Date:December 8th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
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The great thing about Psych, though, is that it holds up to rewatches.

That's so true. I never get tired of rewatching Psych. I think it's my go-to show to watch when I'm bored and I just want to watch something light.

It's damn funny, too. I remember watching the scene where Shawn and Gus went to the tanning salon. It might be just me but Gus pretending to get a tan (and Shawn not realizing the problem) totally cracked me up! Hee.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 8th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
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Oh my God, yes! That one actually took me a while to get. They were just giving each other looks, and it wasn't until Gus actually asked for the tan that I got the joke.

I guess Leverage is another procedural I watch regularly, though it's not a detective show. And both shows are just fun and enjoyable on a scene-by-scene basis, period, so it's always a treat to watch them even if you know the plot.
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From:sisterjune
Date:December 8th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
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This is late but I wanted to share in the Pysch love. I only really started watching this show seriously summer 09, and I had no idea I'd love it so much but I do. It really is great to rewatch, I bought the dvds for seasons 1-2 on amazon recently since they had a great sale. I cant wait to pop them into my dvd player and unwind once my exams are finished. The jokes never get old for me. and Shawn/Gus is OTP 4LIFE. I am surprised the pairing isnt that popular (well compared to shawn/lassie) on lj.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:December 8th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
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I bought the dvds for seasons 1-2 on amazon recently since they had a great sale.
Yeah, I bought season 1 during that sale!

(well compared to shawn/lassie)
...What? I don't understand fandom.
[User Picture]
From:sisterjune
Date:December 8th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
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...What? I don't understand fandom.

Yeah man, have you seen the lj comms? the Shawn/Lassie one is like over 600 members, and the Gus/Shawn one is maybe 200. I just it's mind boggling, when I go to the pysch lj comm so many of the comments are about Lassie, or Shawn/Lassie and I mean it's not that people dont like Gus, people love Gus but they dont put him in their slash fics. I..just dont know what to think about that. Well I know what I do think but I'll keep it to myself.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 8th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
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I know what you're thinking and I think I remember a post about that strange and unbelievable discrepancy.

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