Originally this was going to one of those classic Reviewing the Reviews posts that all your friends have been texting about, but here’s the crazy thing: the Netflix commenting community LOVES Psych. Normally, expressing your fandom for a particular television series isn't considered out of the ordinary, but the Netflix comments section is not only where irrational hate was first conceived (by a Monster Truck and an ornery porcupine named Jed) but also currently lives (inside of an old, half-eaten Salisbury Steak Lean Cuisine box). The fact that I could only find a fraction of negative comments is the greatest compliment a television show, nay, any artistic endeavor ever performed by a human being, can receive.
For the uninitiated, Psych is a television series about a man who uses his heightened sense of observation to convince the Santa Barbara Police Department that he’s a psychic. It’s a real Romeo and Juliet story—you know, if Romeo and Juliet were platonic friends, lied, and solved crime. I’d totally watch the heck out of a television program titled Romeo and Juliet and Law and Order, by the by.
I’ve added a few of my favorite quotes so we can all shed a few "hahas" together. (You read that correctly. Laughter is the happy crying of the mouth.) Here are 5 reasons why we love Psych!
Shawn Spencer: Hang on, Doogie. Where'd you get that juice box and does it come in grape-alicious?
Solving Mysteries with your Best Friend:
At its core, Psych isn’t about fictitious psychic abilities or the fact that murder in Santa Barbara appears to be as common as receiving a parking ticket, it’s about playfully solving mysteries with your best friend. A major reason why Psych is both critically and commercially successful is that it boasts one of the most realistic representations of friendship on television (in your face, BERT AND ERNIE). Shawn and Gus often fight and constantly disagree, but their friendship works because they both recognize and accept one another’s flaws and choose to endure them instead of trying to change them. Just like me and my best friend: sour apple Jolly Ranchers.
Burton 'Gus' Guster: Brazilian airport codes. How do you know that?
Shawn Spencer: I lived in an airport for a month, Gus.
Burton 'Gus' Guster: That was Tom Hanks in The Terminal.
Shawn Spencer: Same difference.
I Have a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Nicknames:
If you’re not familiar with Psych’s frequent use of “word darts” (my nickname for nicknames), this should catch you up. Psych may not have created the nickname, since nicknames were invented by a time traveling Mario “Don’t call me Luigi” Lopez back in 1775, but they did perfect it.
Another running gag beloved by fans is the “Gus, don’t be a ____,” as demonstrated below via many a Psych quote:
Gus, don't be an incorrigible Eskimo pie with a caramel ribbon.
Gus don't be an old sponge with hair hanging off of it.
Gus, don’t be the ribs that flip over Fred Flintstone’s car.
Gus, don’t be the one game at Chuck E. Cheese that isn’t broken.
Gus, don't be a melted chocolate chip cookie.
Who Doesn't Want to be Shawn Spencer?:
If I ever happen to find myself in an abandoned auto shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a gun to my head, I'd like to think I'd answer the question, "Any last words?" with a confident quip like, "I've always found the word rutabaga to be strangely satisfying,” or "Cool jazz, baby. Cool Jazz." That's what I'd like to happen. In reality, my last words would be an inaudible combination of sobs and high-pitched bellows as I paint the town yellow with frightening amounts of panic urine.
One of Psych's most charming attributes is portraying life and death stakes with an entertaining amount of smart-alecky irreverence. It’s fun to indulge in the escapism of watching the cool guy remain unflappable in even the most dire of circumstances. While some shows share the same irreverent tone about death, nobody treats it with as much comical indifference as Psych. We want to be Shawn Spencer. We want to be the smartest person in the room and stifle our conversational enemies with fast paced, pop culture-laden retorts instead of living in reality where we meekly mutter “takes one to know one” to that condescending barista who rolls his eyes when I ask for an extra dash of vanilla in my latte. I will not be ashamed, Raul! Vanilla is delicious!
Shawn Spencer: How can you tell that someone's a compulsive liar? I mean, assuming that their pants aren't on fire.
I Know You Know That the Psych Theme Song is Amazing:
Psych is a television program that does a lot of the little things well. Gus' expressive reaction shots, the effortless conversational pop culture references, Lassiter's overly stringent devotion to both law and order—these are elements that transform a good show into a great show. But another reason we're so excited for the new season of Psych is their theme song. It's fun, it's catchy, and according to my neighbors, it is not okay to listen to 55 times in a row.
Henry : Shawn never really was one for roughing it. We went camping once. Found him curled up in his sleeping bag because a raccoon was hunting him.
Shawn: Stalking me. The raccoon was stalking me, Dad.
The Perfect Hybrid of Smart and Silly:
I like to (endearingly) refer to Psych as the television equivalent to pizza, since pizza is generally enjoyed by everyone. Free life advice: be skeptical of people who don’t like pizza, don’t use Facebook, or are a little too into stuffed animals.
Psych’s success is somewhat of a television aberration since an hour-long comedy that doesn't include 20 minutes of singing is a television rarity. Psych’s combined the simplicity of a typical procedural program with enough minor serialized elements to entertain casual viewers and rabid fans alike. Gus' phobias, Shawn's nicknames, the pineapple references—all of these can be enjoyed by the newbie viewer while simultaneously rewarding longtime fans.
Psych, much like Shawn Spencer, is much more than meets the eye. On the surface, its irreverent tone and referential dialogue might initially lead the casual viewer to mislabel this program as a silly romp, but they’d be dead wrong. There’s only one person who can truly partake in a silly romp, and that person is not a person. He’s a dog; a dog with boundless athletic ability named Air Bud.
Underneath the quippy one liners and surface emotions, Psych is an immensely well-written show with lots of understated heart. The genius of the show lies in its subtle brilliance. Much, as I assume Shawn Spencer would surmise, like a slinky.
To end this post here's a montage of the cast of Psych dancing to the song Safety Dance. What? I can post clips of people dancing if I want to. I can, and will, leave this post behind.
What’s your opinion on Psych? Overrated/underrated/properly rated? What’s your favorite Psych quote?