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October 24, 2014

Psych: Poker? I Barely Know Her

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 24th 2007 9:33AM

James Roday and Dule Hill of Psych(S01E14) You knew that a moment like this would eventually come up . . . a time where a father needed his son's help. I mean, even though Henry Spencer shows reluctance about his son's detective skills (especially since he masks them with a fake psychic power), inside he is extremely proud of how far his son has come. So, when an old friend of Henry's asks for help in finding his son the senior Spencer happens to drop Shawn's name. Ah, parents.

Shawn doesn't disappoint this client. In fact, he goes over the top in solving the mystery. By 'over the top' I mean going severely psychic in the presence of the father and his client. As I've mentioned in previous posts Shawn has been pretty subdued when using his psychic powers. Not this episode, though. He went whole hog just to put his Dad in an awkward position. Ah, children.

All in all, it was a very entertaining episode to watch. It was also quite different in tone then previous offerings. Usually the mystery surrounds someone dying or being greatly injured. Not this time around. The only injury occurred when the client's son got kneed in the nose by a goon in a black suit. It was more a story about fathers who think their sons don't try hard enough no matter what they do.

What worked well was Shawn's utilization of his abilities when it came to gambling. With his keen sense of observation he's a natural at games such as poker, where any type of facial or hand movement can signal a good or bad hand for another player. It also helped in solving the mystery of why their client's son was stealing money from his father. Turns out the guy in the black suit was someone the son kept losing money to. Luckily, Shawn figured out he was using marked cards.

There were a number of 1980's references in this week's episode, starting with guest-star Dan Lauria as Shawn and Gus' client. No matter what he stars in I will always remember Dan as Jack Arnold from The Wonder Years. Then there was a brief riff about the NBC sitcom 227, which starred Marla Gibbs, Jackee, and Hal Williams as Lester Jenkins (that's Gus favorite character on the show). Finally, there was a reference to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, one of the greatest movies of the 80's. It came when the client's son said he would confront his Dad and take full responsibilities for his actions. In response Shawn muttered, "That's very Cameron Frye of you". The son didn't have any idea what he was talking about.

Now, I need to ask you all a question . . . Is this the first time that Shawn and Gus had no interaction with Lassiter and O'Hara for the entire episode (at least until the end)? Their two storylines never merged throughout the show. That's okay, because Lassiter and O'Hara's storyline was fairly incidental: Juliet trying to find out what Carlton wanted for his birthday. We did get to meet Lassiter's mother, though, and find out that his nickname was Booker. By the way, a nod of thanks to the producers of Psych for letting Juliet wear her hair down throughout the episode.

That is for this week. Next week I review the season finale, which involves a haunted sorority house.

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Toby OB

My favorite line came from Lassiter's Mom, when she screamed over the phone, "Oh my God! It's The Call!"

In any other situation, that would be morbid, but here it was hysterical!

March 02 2007 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pam

I thought his nickname was booger. Maybe I was mistaken. Booker would make more sense since he's a detective. Anyway, all I can say is that this show is so refreshing. I am 39, so I grew up with mostly 70's and 80's t.v. You just don't see a lot of shows like the in those days anymore. This show is unique, the characters refer to things I can relate to, it's not too serious, the one liners are so clever and funny. It's just an all around great show for me and looks like many others too. I think the last episode was great too. I always TIVO it so a lot of times I find myself rewinding to listen to the one liners from Shawn over again, either for the laugh or because he says them so fast that if you don't catch it you kind of miss it. T.V. shows like this should be entertaining--not too realistic but not too unbelievable. This one is like that.

March 01 2007 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

You'd be surprised what parents would forgive. I work with someone who told me this story of how she and her husband stole his father's identity and maxed out credit cards in the father's name to buy furniture and a plasma. The father's credit is absolutely horrible now, and he is many thousands of dollars in debt, but he didn't press charges. It is really hard for parents to send their kids to jail, no matter how horrible the things they do.

February 25 2007 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

Tim UF-

That Lassie/Henry bonding only lasted the length of that episode. At the end, Lassiter did not enjoy fishing with him because he corrected him over just about everything, the way he does to Shawn.

If anything, it gave Lassiter a little sympathy for what Shawn had to deal with growing up.

February 25 2007 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TimUF

The more of OHara, the better!

And, What happened to Shawns dad and Lassie being all buddy buddy? I thought thatd open a whole new level of awkward banter between lassiter and shawn, huzzah for humorous awkward moments!

February 25 2007 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

I normally hate it when a television show or movie references poker, especially in recent years. With the big Hold'em craze still in full force, many writers think it's great to capitalize on the game's popularity without knowing a lick about it.

However, I like how it was included in this episode. Aside from the crazed illegal game runner (it's not like sports gambling... the money's lost on the table, not to a "bookie" that would get all mad and beat you up), they kept things pretty factual, even bringing the online component into things. (I loved Gus' reference to the $7-million he has made -- in play money -- making him think he's a poker ace). I also liked how when they flashed back to Shawn playing as a kid, he WASN'T playing Hold'em. Back then, Hold'em wasn't a very big game like it is today, so it's likely he'd be playing some other variation of the game.

I still don't like how TV/movies seem to put all the weight on the skill of recognizing player's tells, which includes the episode of "Numb3rs" from a couple weeks back, but overall the storyline stayed true, which pleased me very much (since "Psych" is one of my favourite shows).

James Roday had some killer one-liners in this one!

February 25 2007 at 4:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trachein

Next week's episode was co-written by "Shawn Spencer" himself, James Roday, and was directed by John Landis, the famous director (Blues Brothers, Coming to America, the "Thriller" video, among many many others).

February 25 2007 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
treegoat

Lassiter's surprise party was a very funny moment! Now all his ex-cons know where he lives - classic!

February 24 2007 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BillS

In addition to the 80s TV references you mentioned, I happened to notice that the episode was directed by Joanna Kearns, who played Maggie Seaver on Growing Pains.

I was worried about this episode... I get easily bothered by Hollywood takes on poker. I played professionally for about 18 months, so I know the game pretty well. And TV and movies always include the scenes where the great player stares into your soul and knows exactly the cards you're holding, when really that never happens. But fortunately my suspension of disbelief held up, just cause the show's so silly. Very entertaining.

http://popculturejunk.blogspot.com

February 24 2007 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

The dad also said it would be a while before he would TRUST him again. Of course your parents can forgive you but regaining their trust is the hard part.

February 24 2007 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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