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Tuesday, 16 of September of 2014

Psych – “Dual Spires”

“The town gets together every Thursday night to watch reruns of Everwood.

Gus takes the first bite of cinnamon pie and Shawn awaits the verdict.

Orgasmic pie and “damn fine” cider.

If you came here looking for more Twin Peaks fan service, detailing all the little references and inside jokes about the iconic series, you’ve sadly come to the wrong place. My experience with the show is severely limited to the kind of education best described as osmosis where I understand the jokes other media properties are making but have no real point of reference myself. So, instead, I’m just going to talk about Psych. Sorry.

But CNN has a good list of the references if you really want one.

It’s interesting, though, that, in its fifth season, Psych has a number of parody/homage episodes under its belt, a trend that is no more identifiable than it has been lately, what with this Twin Peaks version and the upcoming It’s a Wonderful Life take the network has been promoting for months. Careful, Psych: you’re already a show that rough-rides that line between inspired content and series-of-pop-culture-references-that-don’t-fit-together-cohesively-but-people-believe-it-does-because-it-has-a-good-message. That’s right. I’m warning you that you’re a modern pop culture reference and musical episode away from being Glee. And that is dangerous territory, my friend.

At the same time, though, I trust Psych more than I would ever trust Glee. Granted, I haven’t seen Glee since the first episode but with media coverage of their upswing and my Twitter feed ‘splosions on the night it airs (Tuesday?), I feel like I have a relatively decent grasp of the show. While they both share a history of making theme-episodes that reference other media properties, whether that be celebrity (though Lady Gaga and Curt Smith probably shouldn’t be compared) or cult-popular properties, and being as episodic as they wanna be, Psych has something Glee is severely lacking: commentary on what it’s servicing.

What I do know about Twin Peaks: small town, homicide, weird people, pie, Sherilyn Fenn, red herrings. The episode ties all this stuff together in a way that’s methodical and intelligent. Rather than just throwing a bunch of famous lines together and getting the actors to come back and play their parts, Psych basically does a MST3K send-up of the show without physically sitting Shawn and Gus down in front of an episode. Shawn’s struggle to make a media reference that the townsfolk will understand, having the characters see events from Twin Peaks not happen and commenting on it (I imagine that’s what the scene about “running around in the store” meant), and a redone opening all make the point of this being an episode dedicated to another series but with a little Psych tag on it. The clear example of this is when they find the original victim in a scene that is almost painfully sentimental (at least in the scope of this show) with the parents suffering the loss of their niece and everyone mournful to be knocked down to 287. As a Psych fan, watching the scene makes you keenly aware that this is a send-up. Gus “sympathetic crying” brings you back into this being Psych. This isn’t just Psych covering Twin Peaks — they’re commenting on the series.

While the mystery itself this week was full of twists and turns that are a little more complex than a typical late-series Psych episode (to be expected for the source material), the other interesting tidbit is Shawn and Juliet’s relationship. For something that has been moderately built-up both inside the storyworld (with Shawn “liking” Jules but never pulling the trigger) and out (the understanding that Shules will eventually happen because of the actors’ relationship has been in coverage since at least last season), I’m glad to see they haven’t dedicated a whole lot of the show to it. Gus’s reaction when Shawn informed him in the last episode (“In Plain Fright”) was nonchalant and almost offended that Shawn assumed such ignorance (even if Gus did dig into the caramels at the end) and that “Duh” vs “Hooray” sentiment was refreshing. This week, there are small hints of the tension but it’s nothing they’re going to base an episode on (hopefully) and let their relationship be, at best, C- or D-story.

That’s not to say I’m not a fan of Shules. I’m very positive on Shules. But if this relationship torpedoed what we love about Psych (mystery, references, bromance, sarcasm, Lassie being weird), I would’ve been upset. Instead, I’m glad to see the relationship nestle in comfortably with the rest of the aspects of the program rather than constantly foist it upon us for fanservice (is there a Shules movement?).

And you see that? I didn’t even make a Sherilyn Fenn/Gilmore Girls reference once. — – Dang it.


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