Psych: American Duos (season premiere)
(S02E01) Lassiter: We found prints.
Shawn: Was he driving a Little Red Corvette?
Gus: Under the Cherry Moon?
And so, with that reference to 80's pop culture, I welcome you back to the second season of USA Network's Psych. After watching this week's episode I have come to the conclusion that this show has replaced Gilmore Girls as the program with the most pop culture references. In addition to it's nod to American Idol this week there were references to Prince, Michael Jackson, A-Ha, Tears for Fears, Hall & Oates, David Lee Roth's song Yankee Rose, and so many others that I'm sure you, the beautiful TV Squad reader, will remember and point out in the comments.
The good thing about these references is that they are peppered into the dialog without sounding forced, which was the problem Gilmore Girls had this past season. The characters on Psych speak about these references from past experience. Take for example our main characters Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and Burton "Gus" Guster (Dule Hill). They can relate so much because they were children of the 80's. This is clearly seen in the opening scene that takes place in 1987. Leave it up to the somewhat un-hip Gus to portray Thriller Michael Jackson in 1987 rather than Bad Jackson.
The other good thing about these references is that, when mentioned, they strike a chord in all of us children of the 80's. For instance, I admit I cracked up when I heard that little Prince conversation mentioned at the beginning of this post. That's because I remember that time in the Purple One's career. We probably have to thank James Roday for all of these pieces of pop culture. That is especially true for this week's episode, which was co-written by Roday.
Along with director John Landis, James did a good job keeping the funny going in this week's episode. I personally felt that the first half of the show was the strongest and produced the most laughs. It also helped set up what has happened to our characters over the long period of time we didn't see them. Shawn and Gus are definitely equal partners now with Gus not taking the dirty jobs anymore (like digging a necklace charm out of a toilet). There's also more of an interaction between the two and Detective Juliet O'Hara (the adorable Maggie Lawson). Then there's Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). All of a sudden he's channeling some of the worst film noir dialog I've heard. It's almost like I'm watching the movie Detour (the original, of course. Worst. Noir. Ever.)
Having guest stars Tim Curry and Gina Gershon as the Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul-like judges on a show entitled American Duos (a copy of the copy of the copy of the original, according to Shawn) helped to raise the funny in this week's episode. Curry was his usual tart, abrasive self. The writers were smart in keeping him a pompous ass throughout the entire episode, even when he was in danger. Gina Gershon perfect in her role of the drugged-up, extremely confused Emilina. No offense to the talented Ms. Abdul, but I've been watching her on that Hey Paula show and Gershon could be her twin sister.
There were only a few things wrong with this episode of Psych. First was the case itself. I'm glad that it was a funny episode because the mystery surrounding who was trying to kill Curry's character was a bit weak. I would even go so far as to say that it was a secondary notion to all of the stuff that was going in the episode. Is it a trend? Well, I'd have to see next week's episode to find out. The other thing that felt off to me was the show's editing. I don't know why but the some of the scenes seemed very short and jumpy. I didn't feel a flow of action between scenes like I normally do. Maybe this was due the directing style of John Landis (although, he did an episode of Psych last season that didn't seem as fragmented). Again, we will see if it's corrected next episode.
Despite those two issues I found the second season premiere of Psych to be a strong start. I can only hope for further character development and 80's pop culture drop-ins in the next few weeks.
|1 -- Worst piece of crap on television||3 (0.7%)|
|4 -- It was okay, but could be better||26 (6.3%)|
|7 -- Really outstanding season premiere||182 (43.9%)|