Psych Episode 1 Review
It’s always interesting going back to a pilot episode after a show has been on for 5 or more seasons. If you go back and watch the pilot episode of Seinfeld it looks absolutely ridiculous. The sets are cheap, the camera work raw, George is wearing these ridiculous plaid shirts, and Kramer has a dog that never shows up ever again. The fact that so much is NOT what you’ve loved for the last how many years almost adds another layer of funny to the whole proceeding.
This was my experience when revisiting the pilot episode of Psych, a USA show about a man Shawn Spencer (James Roday, Beerfest) who pretends to be a Psychic to get out of being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s not his fault he could tell who robbed the electronics store just by watching the news. From a young age, his father groomed him to be a detective. But not just any detective, he taught him how to be the best detective ever. One of the most important lessons he taught him: how to always know the number of hats in a room.
But like many sons of overbearing fathers, he didn’t quite take that path. Instead he’s had countless jobs and gets extra money by calling in tips to the police. But like we already know, if you call in enough (correct) tips just based on what you see on the news, the cops get suspicious. So he “guesses” things he couldn’t possibly know about the officers around him, even outing the lead detective Carlton Lassiter’s dirty little secret that he’s been sleeping with his partner after being separated from his wife for 5 months. The detective, played by Timothy Omundson (Judging Amy, Xena: Warrior Princess), doesn’t appreciate that too much. That, coupled with his bullshit detector going haywire, make him the perfect same-side-antagonist that any underdog needs.
Luckily for our protagonist though, he’s not the one calling the shots. As he leaves the station, the pregnant Interim-Chief Karen Vick asks his help with a kidnapping case. So what is he to do? Say yes, of course. He immediately ropes his best friend from childhood Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill) into a second job away from the glamorous life as a pharmaceutical rep.
Okay, so I’m just going to cut to the chase and say this show is excellent, superb, above the pay grade of most cable television programming. After all, I’ve seen every episode for Christ’s sake. And not because I had to. Did I watch every week on USA, catching every episode? No. I mass watched on Netflix. But it’s a show that’s good enough I could have been inspired to do so.
Knowing that it’s an ace in the hole, it was funny going back and seeing all the differences. Things ranging from the pilot-only partner (and sex partner) of Lassiter, Lucinda Barry (played by Anne Dudek) who I have to say would have been the weak link of the series, with her less than “breath of fresh air” performance that his next partner brings (you’ll meet her in episode 2 and she is a mainstay, thank the TV gods and goddesses) to the fact that the now iconic logo of Shawn Spencer’s Psychic Detective agency was purple in the first episode but was changed to an awesome green for the rest of the series. Also, it’s a tad surreal to see the “flashback Shawn” change for the first couple of episodes before they land on the Kid Shawn and Kid Gus that they use for the rest of the series. Even things that were funny but surely invented for the sake of solving the case (like Gus’s “super sniffer”–aka his incredible nose) evolve to play important parts later on. And it feels good to know that Buzz McNab (Sage Brocklebank–omg, that’s an amazing name), a police officer that is always a supporting (and often comical) cast member, was actually there in the first episode. I really get tired when I see the classic “hey, remember the sister/ex-fiancee/illegitimate offspring I’ve literally never mentioned before? Well they’re coming to town and it will conveniently tie in to this week’s story” bit.
But I digress. This is an amazing, fun, and funny show. If you have Netflix or are considering a 30-Day Free Trial, it is a great bet that you should swing over to this show for many many hours of viewing pleasure. Just watch and see how funny/creepy/stalker-y Shawn and Gus can get when they’re interested in a girl. You won’t be sorry you did. And a little tip: play Spot The Pineapple while you’re watching. There’s one in every episode.
And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.
If you’re still on the fence about Psych, check out the very fun (possibly fan made?) trailer below:
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For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copies: