Shawn is a guy who was trained all his life by his cop dad to notice details, quizzed incessantly during his childhood, he was groomed to be a detective. Gus was his uptight best friend. But Shawn was too much of a screw off (likely because of his dad’s zealousness) and didn’t go the cop route. But with his skills he could solve crimes. One day he got blamed because he knew too much when he called in a tip, so thinking fast, he claimed to be psychic. Then he went and spent Gus’ money to create Psych Detective Agency.
Shawn and Gus are at the heart of the humor. There have been episodes where I couldn’t breathe for laughing so hard – where I had to go back and watch again because I missed what came next, but before I got there I was again laughing too hard and missed it again. The humor is a lot about pop culture, some about 80’s references since that was their childhood, and then just their general bizarre-best-friends humor. Admittedly there are times when I cringe for their being too ridiculous, but mostly I just laugh. Hard.
Their relationship, though, is something to behold. Dulé Hill (from West Wing) plays Gus, and he is the yang to James Roday’s slacker Shawn. It’s this ongoing battle with an intense bond going back years. The struggle and the tension meshed with the history and the camaraderie is what really makes this show work.
Corbin Bernsen (from L.A. Law) plays Shawn’s dad who often begrudgingly or unknowingly helps, when that’s the last thing he wants to do because he thinks his son is not taking anything seriously in life, etc. The detectives that regularly (have to) work alongside Shawn and Gus (as they have been contracted to work cases with the police) are hilarious, too.
There is so much about this show that is right. When the show The Mentalist stole the premise but made it more “legitimate” as a drama instead of a comedy, the characters of Psych even poked fun at it. This season they’ve even been poking fun at themselves; at how they have Shawn figure things out. I love it!
I’ve debated sharing one of my favorite scenes ever, but I don’t know how it would work without a little background of the characters and the start of that episode… you just can’t get how off-the-wall funny it is without having the scene set.So I’ll settle for this quote from a recent episode:
(Detective) Juliet: Who ever said work was supposed to be fun?
Shawn: Ron Jeremy for starters… but that’s beside the point.
It was just in the middle of nothing, and plenty of fine, upstanding folks won’t get it… but it slayed me.
If ever there was a show for ridiculous fun, it’s this one. If you’ve never tried it, give it a chance. It might be too low-brow for you, but you might just love it.