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September 3, 2015

Psych: Daredevils!

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 2nd 2008 10:38AM

Shawn Spencer and Dutch the Clutch

(S03E03) "Deboned. Killed and re-killed. How does that work?" -- Gus, while filling out stunt forms.

Hi all. Before I begin I want to give a tip of the hat to Allison who covered last week's review of Psych while I was waiting in line over at Comic-Con. There were some moments, as I was contemplating gnawing on a a $7 hot dog, that I wished I was home watching this show.

I want to start this week's review not at the beginning, but at the reveal. Don't worry, I'm not going to let you know who the culprit was before the jump -- that would be a criminal offense. What I want to talk about was how Shawn went about it this time around. Usually, young Mr. Spencer is quite boastful during the reveals, sometimes to the point that he rubs in the fact that he solved the mystery. This time around there wasn't much boasting. In fact, Shawn took a very dramatic route when he revalued who was trying to kill Dutch the Clutch. Hey, when James Roday said there was going to be 20% more drama on the show he wasn't kidding.

Want to know why he was so dramatic, then read on. If you don't want to know yet, then wait until you watch the show to jump ahead.

When Shawn discovered that Dutch the Clutch was trying to kill himself in order to allow his family to collect on his life insurance he showed a side of himself that we don't see too often on the show. He's been sympathetic before, but he was downright compassionate when talking to Dutch. There was no boastfulness, no swagger, no 80s pop references. It was a reveal that was one of the more straightforward of the series.

I think part of that came from why Dutch was doing what he was doing. Despite all of the death-defying stunts, despite all of the injuries, Dutch was dedicated to his family. Not his craft, not the vehicles he road through fire, but his family. It touched Shawn because it put him in his reflective mode about his own family. One of the more poignant moments was when Shawn asked Dutch if he would rather get his family financial security after he died or an extra six months with him. If Shawn was in the same boat I would think he would say the six months.

I didn't take Dutch for the culprit in this week's episode. Frankly, I didn't realize who it was until Shawn met Dutch in the entryway to the auditorium. As more and more suspects were eliminated the only person I thought it could be was Dutch's wife Vicki. Then again, she was barely shown so it was hard to make a determination. By the way, was that Mercedes McNab as Vicki? For those unfamiliar with the name, think more of the character Harmony on Buffy and Angel.

After diverting over the last two weeks from Psych's standard format it was good to see Shawn and Gus working the streets to solve a mystery. What I really enjoy is all of the various locations that the Psych duo end up in week after week. It helps keep the show fresh. Though, I'm a bit worried that they'll eventually run out of location in 'Santa Barbara' and have to look elsewhere for mysteries.

I was also happy to see Shawn and Gus making a return to the precinct when either Lassie or Jules are there. We haven't seen much of that since the beginning of the season and it is always good when they all get together. Lately, the stories of the Psych detectives and the detectives of the Santa Barbara police department have been separate, which I guess helps to build the characters. Still, I miss the interaction between the quartet.

Speaking about the detectives, it's good to see Carlton on the dating path again. He still has feelings for his ex-wife -- that much is evident. But, at least he's trying. Unfortunately, he still doesn't grasp the concept of dating. I mean, telling a story about a dead clown and providing crayon drawings describing the incident isn't my idea of a date. And, after being a detective for so long, you would think he wold know the difference between a friend of Jules and a professional.

All right. Before we go it's time for the weekly pop reference tally and pineapple locator. I didn't see the pineapple this week. Although, I have a feeling it was at the tiki-style bar that was part of Dutch the Clutch's after-party. The pop references were flying this week and featured a number of esoteric items. These included That's Incredible, the Allman Brothers' 'Ramblin' Man', the television series Police Woman (referenced by the chief during a story to Juliet), mime Marcel Marrceau, the movies Blue Thunder, Blue Lagoon, and High Road to China, and, for all that his holy, Aldo Nova.

That's it for this week. Next time on Psych, Steven Weber makes an appearance as another Spencer relative.

What is your opinion on Shawn's reveal on this week's Psych?
Very dramatic. A nice change for Shawn253 (72.9%)
Neither here nor there. Nice acting, but nothing special61 (17.6%)
Very forced and schmaltzy. Drama is not James Roday's suit33 (9.5%)

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Very nice review Richard. I have noticed that more and more there are negative reviews about Psych lately. Before it was all positive, now many are upset with the new premise of the show. I agree that more drama, more action etc is fine, as long as the main backbone of the show is still there. No longer do we see the silliness of Shawn, his flipping and flopping etc. I think it's the silliness that's missing, Shawn seems to have matured and I don't think we want to see that. We know he can't be silly all the time but we need those really crazy moments. I hope they bring them back. I am a huge fan still but miss the banter.

August 23 2008 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So far I've been enjoying the added drama to the episodes and this episode was no exception. A few things seemed a little odd to me though: 1) The motorcycle chase. Did this action sequence seem a little un-psyche-like to anyone else? 2) The aforementioned Dunkin Donuts product placement. and 3) when shawn and gus were given beers, there was this strange little cut where the shawn smelled the beer, made a face, then set it back down. It just seemed unnecessary and awkward. But maybe i'm crazy and nit-picking. Overall though, i liked the change of pace in "Daredevils." And it seemed to have a much bigger budget that previous episodes

August 06 2008 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

I noticed the pineapple hanging from the inflatable palm tree at the carnival right away. They showed it pretty clearly behind Shawn and Gus at least three times. But more importantly, on the showing that I caught, they showed this scene IMMEDIATELY AFTER the commercial asking people to spot the pineapple.

August 04 2008 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No dreams spoiled....everyone knows the show is shot in Vancouver.

August 03 2008 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I live in Santa Barbara and I figured I would spoil the dream for everone and let them know that no part of the actual scenes with actors are located in Santa Barbara. Because of this they will never run out of places to have zany stories they just make a new spot up.

August 03 2008 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, Shawn didn't ask Dutch if HE would rather have 6 months or 1 million dollars. He asked him, if he were to ask his family/friends/crew which THEY would rather have, what would they choose? Perhaps even a bit more poignant.

August 03 2008 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget the reference to Homer Simpson jumping Springfield Gorge!

August 02 2008 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I saw it hanging in the inflatable palm tree, at the fair/carnival. I got a Psych text asking where it was, so I was really looking lol

August 02 2008 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, the thrill is gone. I made the mistake of watching all of season two just before season three went on the air. I don't know what kind of producer says, "this is working so well, let's change it!" Lost is the joyful silliness, banter, and development of the two main characters.

Now we have the pseudo-serious Shawn Spencer Show. No psych-moments, and Gus has a weaker, supporting role. He wasn't even present at the reveal. The newer "mysteries" (if there is one) are thinner, and yet the pace seems rushed.

The actor playing Shawn is not nearly as good at the more serious moments as he is (was) in lunatic moments. I suspect they didn't give his character a new focus or motivation so much as to tell him to "dial it down" a few notches. So now we get a lukewarm performance that I'm more used to seeing on Lifetime dramas.

Lost are the playful moments of total goofiness. You could see how much fun they were having making the show with the old Psych Outs. Now the Psych Outs are just flubbed line readings.

It's as if there's a new creative team behind the show now, and they either (a) didn't get that what made Psych unique and entertaining was its lightheartedness, or (b) they really wish they were writing for Buffy or Angel and they're having to put up with Psych instead.

More reactions to the "new, improved, less fun" Psych:

Why was the SBPD even featured in this episode? Are we going to see that entire half of the ensemble axed in order to make room for more Serious Shawn Speeches?

Thank God we still have those lame Lil Gus and Spence spots. Is it strange that the animated spots are just as ridiculous as ever, when the show is more down?

Is it me, or are there more race-related jokes now? And not the hilarious 'Black and Tan' kind of absurdity. Shawn and Gus's relationship used to occupy a kind of ideal race-free zone, and now there's at least one "hey, Gus is Black" joke in every new episode. This is so what I was lacking in my entertainment--more race humor.

August 02 2008 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Darrell's comment

Dude, you're so right about the fun being lost. I have no problem with further developing the characters and having an occasional "straight" moment - in fact I'm all in favor of it - but it doesn't seems that nearly as much has been gained as has been lost.

August 02 2008 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

Don't forget the extremely lame product placement for Dunkin' Donuts. If the advertising can't be worked in less jarringly, along with all the other changes to the show, I will seriously consider giving it a pass--although I want to see if more is done with Cybill Shepherd during her arc. I think the best part of this episode was seeing Buzz again.

August 02 2008 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved Shawn's reference to the 4 "Die Hard" movies. It went something like "I'm 'Die Hard' and he's 'Die Harder'. We have 2 more operatives, but they're no where near as good."

August 02 2008 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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