Psych: The Greatest Adventure in the History of Basic Cable
(S03E04) "You keep a stun gun in the birdhouse? What do you keep in the garden gnome? An M-80?" -- Shawn to his dad, Henry, on his choice of weapon storage.
Ah, now the pieces of the puzzle that are Shawn Spencer are coming together! We've known for years that the younger Spencer has gotten his analytical skills from his father Henry. And, in the first episode of this season, we found out that he gained his recall abilities from his mother. Now we know where he got his sense of adventure and his ability to snow others with his "psychic" abilities.
Meet Jack Spencer -- role model, adventurer, historian...and con artist.
Steven Weber has been in so many dramatic roles lately that it was hard to recall his days as the free-wheeling Brian Hackett on the NBC comedy Wings. Yet, his role as Jack on Psych brought some of Brian Hackett back. At least the free-wheeling portion. Even though Brian had a bit of con artist in him.
At first, I liked Jack as much as Shawn likes him. He's personable, caring, and adventurous. As the episode progressed, this opinion of him changed. He became shifty and greedy and, well, not as great a role model to Shawn as we first thought (which is too bad, because Shawn really looked up to his uncle). You could see that when he first showed up at Henry's house. Even though Shawn is probably edging towards 30 he was definitely showing signs of Young Shawn in his mannerisms and his voice.
I guess you could chalk it up to the stereotypical sibling setup that we have seen on hundreds of television shows previously. The older brother is the one who is mature, serious (sometimes a bit too much), and worldly. The younger brother is rebellious, confrontational and, in many cases, a risk taker. Such was the case with Jack and Henry. Though, in many cases, we tend to side with the younger brother in these situations. This time around, I was personally siding more with Henry than I was with Jack.
Despite my feelings about Jack Spencer, I really enjoyed this episode of Psych and thought it was the strongest of this young season. Some of the comedy and banter that was lost in the first few episodes was back this time around, making it feel like an earlier episode...even though the situation surrounding Shawn and Gus was different than their usual case. There were even a number of comments and situations made by the characters that made me laugh out loud.
One of the reasons that it felt like a normal episode was the fact it was the first episode where all of the principal characters of the show interacted with each other this season. For the first few weeks the members of the Psych Detective Agency and the Santa Barbara Police Department were in separate universes, barely even crossing paths. But, with the book-end (book page?) scenes taking place in the police department interrogation room their meeting was inevitable. I was just a bit sad that there wasn't more interaction between Shawn and Lassie, which makes for some good banter. However, the angry outburst by Jules for Shawn and his pals to confess made up for some of that.
Another reason why this episode felt right was the use of Shawn's much-neglected "psychic" powers. With Uncle Jack unaware that nephew was faking it (even though he said 'You can't snow a snowman'. How ironic.) Shawn was able to use his showmanship to obtain clues to the lost treasure of the pirate Bushard (Bussard?). When you think about it, Shawn would be the perfect person to hunt for the lost treasures of the world due to his photographic memory. Should Psych be canceled one day, they should consider a spinoff featuring the boy as a world adventurer.
Yet another reason why this was a good episode was the editing and, let's face it, the lack of gratuitous product placement. While last week's episode was okay something was missing from it...there were some scenes where the editing was just off. Plus, the placement of the Dunkin Donuts' ad within the show threw off the entire rhythm. You could tell that the producers took some extra care with this week's installment. Possibly due to the scene switches between the present and past events.
A final reason it was a good episode was the further reconciliation between Henry and Shawn. During a phone conference a few weeks ago, star James Roday said that there would be an understanding between the two after Shawn came to the realization that his father wasn't the one who asked for a divorce. You saw some of that here, particularly in the last scene of the episode where they meet at the Red Robin (Oh, there was the gratuitous product placement!). It was a father-to-son chat that didn't feature any animosity, any barbs between them. It was a nice ending to a good episode.
All right, you know what time it is. Since I didn't see one pineapple this week, let's just move into the pop references. At first, it didn't seem like there were going to be that many. But, as the episode progressed they began to come at a furious pace. Mentioned were: sporks, wow wow wubbzy, fedoras, The Rat Pack (in a very amusing back-and-forth), the bands 'Tony! Toni! Tone!' and 'Wet Wet Wet', Puma sneakers, Erasermate, Jack Lord and director John Woo. Movies references this week were Idle Hands, Iron Giant and The Secret of Nimh and The Secret of my Success, which apparently had the same secret.
Next time on Psych -- Shawn and Gus go back to the 70s. And, if this episode isn't full of retro references I'll be shocked.
|Great! Reminded me of his days on Wings.||283 (84.0%)|
|Okay. Neither here nor there.||48 (14.2%)|
|Not good. He wasn't the right fit for the show.||6 (1.8%)|