Gone But Not Forgotten: Psych

It’s pretty safe to say that everyone here at Pop Culture Pipe Bomb is a nerd. We are passionate about pop culture, and that passion presents itself as a powerful love of certain things, be it movies, television, comics, wrestling, what have you. Some may call it obsession; I call it unbridled loyalty. We congregate with others who share our passions and debate ad nauseam the finer points and minute details of whatever has grabbed our interest. But sometimes our loves are ripped from us far sooner than we wish. In this series, I’m going to talk about some of mine.

First up is Psych. Starring James Roday and Dulé Hill, it’s the story of Shawn Spencer (Roday) and Burton “Gus” Guster (Hill), who have been friends since childhood. Shawn is the free spirit of the duo, in part a rebellion against his super-strict police officer father, Henry Spencer, played by Corbin Bernsen. Henry trained his son in observational skills from an early age. However, instead of joining the Santa Barbara police department as his father expected, Shawn runs off and goes through a litany of jobs before ending up back in town. He goes to the police department to report a crime and finds he’s more adept at solving cases than the cops are, so he claims to be a psychic.

Gus is mostly the straight man of the duo, although the comedic moments are parceled out pretty fairly between them. He works for a pharmaceutical company, or at least he attempts to when Shawn isn’t roping him into a case. Shawn coerces him into forming a psychic detective agency called Psych, and a double entendre Gus points out since Shawn is basically telling his clients that he’s fooling them right up front. Both are charming and are excellent foils for each other.

The main cast: (r-l) Lawson, Bernsen, Roday, Nelson, Hill, Omundson

The supporting cast is brilliant as well, with Timothy Omundson as Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter, the real straight man of the comedy, Maggie Lawson as Juliet O’Hara, a love interest for Shawn, and Kirsten Nelson as SBPD Chief Karen Vick. Each and every cast member is perfectly suited to the ensemble. There were some great guests stars as well: Cary Elwes, Ally Sheedy, William Shatner, Jeffrey Tambor, Tim Curry, Lou Diamond Phillips, Malcolm McDowell, George Takei, Christopher Lloyd. The list goes on. Basically, a smorgasbord of the ’80s pop cultural icons. And the ‘80s references fly fast and thick as well. I guarantee you, if you lived through any part of that decade, you will catch some remark or reference, and it will make you smile. And that’s the beauty of the show. It’s a funny procedural, yes, but it’s also charming and endearing, something no other show that’s currently on air can say.

Hill and Roday

Shawn “gets help” from Gus for a vision

According to Wikipedia, the series debuted on the USA Network in 2006 with one of the highest rated premieres the network had achieved at the time. USA paved the way for original programming on the smaller cable networks beginning with Monk, starring Tony Shalhoub, in 2002. Before that, the network was mostly showing game shows, sports, movies, and some sitcoms that hadn’t reached the 100 episode threshold to get picked up for syndication. When Psych came along, it developed a rabid following, keeping it on the air until 2014, a feat which no other series on the network has topped as of yet.

Those rabid fans, those Psych-Os as they call themselves (ok, ourselves), just received word via Twitter a few days ago that Santa would be bringing them a 2-hour reunion special that will begin filming on May 24th in Vancouver, to hit screens in time for Christmas. According to Variety, all the original cast will be returning, including Omundson despite a recent health crisis, picking up the action three years after the finale.

As of right now, the only way to watch Psych is by purchasing it from iTunes or renting the DVDs from Netflix (who stopped streaming the show in October, much to my chagrin, as I was in the middle of a re-binge), and the USA is no longer showing reruns (although maybe we can expect a marathon as December gets closer? Maybe??). Of course, it makes more room available on Netflix for some pretty amazing original programming, but for us, TV nerds, having our loves readily available is a precious commodity. Unfortunately, losing access to our loves is getting to be a regular occurrence, as you’ll see with other Gone But Not Forgotten shows, Chuck, Sports Night, and Pushing Daisies by following their links here.

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