On Wednesday USA’s flagship series Psych airs its series finale after 8 seasons of incredible comedic crime solving. Though the show’s producers have left the door open for possible follow up movies or specials (Psych: The Musical 2?) this is the end of the road for Shawn, Gus, Jules, and Lassie. They will forever live in our hearts, and syndication of course, but today I pay tribute to the show in my new recurring feature: In Loving Memory of.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the basic premise is this: Shawn Spencer (James Roday) tricks the Santa Barbara Police Department into thinking he has psychic powers, when actually he just has heightened powers of observation and deduction. He and his best friend Gus (Dule Hill) then help the SBPD solve cases all while maintaining the idea that Shawn has psychic powers. For further explanation, watch this clip from Psych: The Musical that basically lays out the show’s presence, but in song.
USA shows often have premises like this, a genius who has to lie his way into doing what he’s meant to do. But unlike Suits for example, whose main character’s deception is brought up constantly (So what, He didn’t go to Harvard, it’s been 3 years why do you guys even care anymore?), Psych was never concerned with it’s main character’s dual identities. It’s just there to have fun.
And have fun it did. Psych did whatever it damn well wanted to, from an incredible musical special, to an episode dedicated to the Spanish Telenovela, Psych solved crimes while having fun. This fun is contagious. Psych, for me at least, was one of the most reliably entertaining shows on TV. Not because of plot twists or interesting mysteries, but because each week I knew I would have a lot of fun watching Shawn and Gus solve the case. The show at its core is a bromance. Shawn and Gus’s friendship, their banter, their immaturity is where Psych thrives. Much of the show’s comedy comes from fantastic running gags. Shawn and Gus constantly telling each other to “suck it” or Shawn telling Head Detective Lassiter “He’s heard it both ways.” But the most famous Psych running gag of all is the nicknames. They’re all funny, but I have a soft spot for “MC Clap Your Hands” *Gus Claps* “with a Z”
But amidst all the fun, Psych had real human emotions too, and I’m not just talking about Gus’s sympathetic crying. The relationship between Shawn and his father Henry gives the show some much needed reality checks. Henry is often the one to tell Shawn to tone his act down a notch so that he can focus on the case. His father, a former cop, doesn’t necessarily approve of Shawn’s immature crime solving technique, and numerous times proves that he is in fact a better crime solver then Shawn, but nevertheless is proud of what his son has accomplished. Their relationship is probably the most grounded in the world of Psych, but the will-they won’t-they relationship between Shawn and Detective Juliet O’Hara injected almost all of the emotion into the show. The romance carried on both on and off screen as well, as Roday and Maggie Lawson, who plays Juliet, have been together since 2006. The storyline brings heart and character depth that one wouldn’t expect to be there in a show known for being outrageously silly.
Psych technically has an ensemble cast, but the real star here is James Roday. He brings so much to the character of Shawn Spencer. Shawn’s lackadaisical genius, his pent up emotions, his inherent immaturity battling with the real adult responsibilities he has, they all are portrayed effortlessly when Roday’s onscreen. Even from his audition, Roday was in total control. Even the people in the room couldn’t keep themselves from laughing.
But, all good things must end. And as Psych airs its series finale, the show celebrates the success it never should have had. Who would’ve imagined this silly show would become the pop culture phenomenon it is. Psych holds a special place in my heart as well. The show was one of my first true binge watches, I’m talking six episode in one night binge watching. It’s just fun to watch.
Psych is never going to win any Emmy’s nor be the best written, well acted show on Television. But, Psych will always be the most consistent, entertaining, enjoyable hour of crime solving out there. It doesn’t matter what else was happening in my life, Psych never failed to put a smile on my face. Though I don’t want the show to end, I can’t wait to sit down tonight and see how it all wraps up. If you’re not watching, I have one thing to say, C’mon son!
MY FAVORITE EPISODES: (In no particular order and with many missing because I don’t think you want a list of like 30 episodes)
-The Yin/Yang Trilogy
-Psych: The Musical
-Gus Walks Into a Bank..
-Last Night Gus
*Expect: In Loving Memory of How I Met Your Mother sometime next week. I know, I don’t like to think about it either, but it’s happening.