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September 4, 2015

Psych: American Duos (season premiere)

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 14th 2007 12:31AM

James Roday, Dule Hill

(S02E01) Lassiter: We found prints.

Shawn: Was he driving a Little Red Corvette?

Gus: Under the Cherry Moon?

Lassiter: Fingerprints.

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.

(Psych - S02E01) What did you think of the 2nd season premiere?
1 -- Worst piece of crap on television3 (0.7%)
23 (0.7%)
37 (1.7%)
4 -- It was okay, but could be better26 (6.3%)
567 (16.1%)
6127 (30.6%)
7 -- Really outstanding season premiere182 (43.9%)

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The biggest thing wrong with the episode was that they didn't spend half of it letting Maggie keep dancing. She's what keeps many of us guys tuning in. I'm waiting for her to have to go undercover as beach babe.

Hopefully this episode means that the are toning down the spaz psychic thing just a bit. Shawn and his epileptic psychic seizures were just a bit over the top.

The show has a lot more potential, but they are going to have to kick it up a bit and deepen the personalities or add new ones. Otherwise it's going to start to feel like one more Murder She Wrote where Jessica has yet another life-long friend in trouble for murder. The predictability factor is pretty strong.

July 17 2007 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Funk

I love this show a lot actually although the pacing of this show was a little rough. To be honest, I felt like it got a little too slapsticky (is that a word?). I love the interaction between Shawn and Gus most of all and will look forward to more of that. And yes, the Maggie Lawson character is awesome and cute and on one hand would love to see she and Shawn hook up...but maybe that would kill the tension. Here's looking for a better week 2!


July 16 2007 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was it just me or was Gina Gershon awfully hot despite how drugged up she was? Just me?

July 16 2007 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Steve

Maybe it's completely nothing, but what's up with the characters being incredibly hungry in this episode? Were the writers not allowed to eat until they finished the script or something? heh.

Nigel couldn't eat the sandwich or the noodles, Gus was completely starving at the dinner table for some reason, and Gina asked for food after being let go from the station.

Eh, I'm just rambling. Don't mind me. :)

July 16 2007 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I have to say that I found this episode pretty weak. It really seemed like Shawn's funnier antics were less prevalent (I don't consider the singing to be that funny, although the finale singing bit was slightly better), the mystery was weak, Lassiter was decidedly more annoying than usual (I really like when they don't have this character do anything directly funny, but have his straight reactions to Shawn bring the comedy), etc.

The weakness of the episode was especially jarring as I just rewatched two episodes of the last season, and while they got me incredibly "psyched" for the season premiere, they were so much better than the premiere.

July 15 2007 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it a trend? After one episode? Seriously? And even two episodes doesn't make it a trend. Jeez give the show a break it just restarted.

July 15 2007 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A bit late to the table, but the Daft Punk call was worth remembering and coming back to mention. At least, I liked it.

July 15 2007 at 4:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Viewer

It was a decent episode, and I thought it was overall very funny.

THe thing that really got me was the first segment (after the 1987 flashback, before the theme song), which I thought was a very sharp satire of all of those talent competition reality shows.

July 14 2007 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved this episode for it's funniness. I love being able to watch this show and just keep it on in the background. I love having a show where the soundbites are just fantastic.

July 14 2007 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's nice to have this show back. I watched it through it's summer run, but it kind of got lost in the shuffle of my other shows when it returned midseason. I really enjoy the show, very funny, and the characters are great. I did enjoy this episode a lot (I will admit to several giggling fits), especially the look on Shawn's face seeing how much Gus was taken with American Duos in the opening scene. As someone who has a strong aversion to reality shows (especially American Idol), his disbelieving face really struck a chord with me and was one of my favorite parts of the episode.

July 14 2007 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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