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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: 'Psych' Pays Homage to 'Twin Peaks' and Star James Roday Talks About the Tribute

by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 29th 2010 12:15PM
'Psych' is all about having goofy good fun, so what's behind the USA show's homage to the twisted classic 'Twin Peaks,' which airs 10PM ET Wednesday?

'Psych' star James Roday said in a recent interview he'd wanted to pay tribute to David Lynch's weird TV classic since the lighthearted detective show first began, but the timing wasn't quite right until now.

"We were certainly not ready in our first two seasons, because we were figuring out our identity, but once we established that we can do these tribute-type episodes and we like paying homage to other stuff we love, it became more real," Roday said of the episode, brings together a host of 'Peak' veterans, including Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook and Sherilynn Fenn. "Because the show is near and dear to me, I wanted it to be done the right way, and it had to be the right story. I didn't want to rush it."

Did Roday and 'Psych' succeed? Check out the video below for an exclusive clip of Fenn in 'Dual Spires,' and read on for more exclusive intel on 'Psych's' trip to the land of Laura Palmer.

Roday, who co-wrote the script with Bill Callahan, sat down and re-watched the first 15 episodes of 'Twin Peaks' in order to refresh his memory of one of his favorite dramas. Concentrating on those episodes made the most sense, he said, given that many TV viewers are more familiar with that section of the show's 30-episode arc.

Once the ideas for the episode were in place, part deux of the 'Dual Spires' effort involved convincing former 'Twin Peaks' actors to revisit that weird and compelling material in a more lighthearted fashion. Roday's friendship with Ashbrook helped when it came time to recruit him, and the show had already cast Wise as a priest last season (he reprises that role in Wednesday's episode).

The 'Peaks' actors "have great loyalty to David Lynch and obviously it was an iconic experience for all of them, so I think they're very protective of the material and they're very protective of people poking fun at it," Roday said. "They came in cautiously, and then immediately discovered that this is a love letter and Roday is in fan-boy heaven. [So the feeling was,] 'They're going to do this right' and they just dove right in."

So did Roday: He ate a lot of pie during the filming of 'Dual Spires.'

"I said, 'I'm going all out with this episode, I'm committing to everything 120 percent.' Usually with something like that, I would be faking, but I did in fact eat a lot of pie," Roday said, who I spoke to a few days before Thanksgiving. "I might skip the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. And next Thanksgiving."

'Psych' and USA were so committed to 'Dual Spires,' in fact, that Wednesday's outing will run longer than normal: The running time for the episode is 49 minutes, instead of the usual 42.

But wait, there's more: When it comes out on DVD, the episode's running will be even longer -- 56 minutes. In that DVD version, fans will get to see a sequence in which Gus and Shawn get lost on their way to that troubled Pacific Northwest town.

"Shawn and Gus kind of go down the rabbit hole in their search for the town," Roday explained. "They find a guard rail that's been welded over and they [figure out] that's where the exit used to be for this town. There's this sequence where they're lost in forest." (On the soundtrack: The Cure's 'A Forest,' of course.)

Of course, tonally the show is still 'Psych,' which is a world away from the strange and somber atmosphere that Lynch created so memorably in 'Twin Peaks.' But for this longtime 'Peaks' aficionado, it was hard not to be won over by the obvious love with which this tribute was done, even if 'Dual Spires' never had any of the characters refer to damn fine coffee.

"We did our best to put our own little spin on every major element, so that it wasn't note for note, it was more of a love letter, [done with the] understanding that, 'Hey, we could never do what you guys did, so we're going to do what we do, and while doing that, tell you how much we love you," Roday said.

Below are a few tidbits from Roday about upcoming 'Psych' episodes, as well as the network's full description of 'Dual Spires':

* Roday directed 'Psych's' Christmas episode, 'The Polarizing Express,' which airs Dec 15 and which takes on the holiday classic 'It's a Wonderful Life': "Shawn gets a glimpse into what everyone's lives would be like if he never came back to Santa Barbara," Roday noted. "It's pretty twisted, it's kind of like 'It's a Wonderful Life' on acid. Prepare to see characters in ways you probably never thought you'd see them."

* Ralph Macchio guests in the Dec. 8 episode, which is 'Psych's' tribute to the 'Police Academy' films.

* An upcoming episode will wrap up 'Psych's' "Yin Yang" trilogy once and for all.

* I asked if there would be a sequel to "High Top Fade Out," one of my favorite 'Psych' episodes, and Roday said another episode featuring Gus' former bandmates had been discussed. Those characters turned out "way better than even we could have hoped for. We would love to see them again," he said.

* Here's USA's description of 'Dual Spires': "[T]he episode celebrates the 20th anniversary of the cult favorite with guest star casting that includes Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Ray Wise, Robyn Lively, Lenny Von Dohlen and Catherine Coulson. ...The episode kicks off with Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) receiving a mysterious e-mail inviting them to the annual Cinnamon Festival in Dual Spires, a quirky Northern California town nearly invisible on the map. When they arrive the pair quickly find themselves embroiled in the mysterious death of local high school student Paula Merral. As Shawn and Gus unravel the many secrets of the town, they meet several local residents including town doctor/lawyer/veterinarian Donna Gooden (Sheryl Lee), Sheriff Andrew Jackson (Lenny Von Dohlen), proprietors of the local diner Robert and Michelle Barker (Dana Ashbrook and Robyn Lively), the mysterious Woman with Wood (Catherine Coulson) and enigmatic bookish beauty Maudette Hornsby (Sherilyn Fenn). The pool of suspects proves to be deeper than suspected as Shawn and Gus must work to figure out who killed Paula Merral. Ray Wise reprises his role from last season as Father Westley. Additionally, songstress Julee Cruise, who performed music during the original run of "Twin Peaks," has signed on to perform the 'Psych' Theme Song for the episode. The landmark series... is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year."

'Psych' airs 10PM ET Wednesday on USA Network.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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Fantabulous! Dam fine idea...

December 01 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mo! Thanks for the psych info. This is one of my favorite shows and this season they've really hit their stride. It's just plain fun escapism and darn funny.

November 29 2010 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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