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Friday, 23 of April of 2021

Tag » Psych

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.

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Psych – “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part”

“I accidentally turned McNab and my dad into confidantes. It’s a weird day.”

Pierre attempts to be transparent for Team Psych.

“This is way easier than sawing my leg off and being scared of a puppet with a voice modifier.”

Previously. On Psych.

Declan is trying to escape using the most convenient aircraft to him. He tries to get Juliet to go with him but the Man in Puka Shells constantly thwarts him at every pass. You see, the Man in Puka Shells wants Declan to be on his side but then violates his trust and recruits Declan’s followers behind his back. Although, to be fair, Juliet’s heart has always belonged to the Man in Puka Shells. Declan never really stood a chance. So, confused about where his destiny lies, Declan tries to kill himself with dynamite found on a beached pirate ship. Wait, that last part might actually be from Lost.

Really, Psych? A previously on? Just who do you think you are?

Welcome to the post-hiatus or, as the kids like to call it, season 5.5. A lot of promise from the first half of the season is meant to carry over to this half, especially with stunt episodes (It’s a Wonderful LIfe coming up shortly) and the on-again, off-again storyline that has popped up more frequently in season 5, especially with the Declan arc.

Shabbat’s come early because it’s time for Shules.

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Psych Live! – or How the World Will Ruin an Old Woman’s Victory

Shawn and Gus bump fists in a Psych promo.

Let’s take it down. What?

Saturday Night Live is busted. It’s not broken forever and the format isn’t dead. But it limps into every Saturday evening on the backs of Weekend Update, The Lonely Island, maybe the musical guest, and whichever topical host that wants to shill their product that week. The show is burdened by unfunny sketches and a desperate search for its identity. We are in the midst of building years for the series (as it has gone through several times in its history) and, while the writers try to rediscover their voice and themselves, the show is grasping for hooks anywhere they can.

Notice I said “topical” hosts. This typically means whatever male or female actor who has a new movie coming out or a television project on the network with some synergy value. But with hosts like Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, and Taylor Swift stepping into Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken’s shoes, the host position isn’t just the coveted prize of any quick-thinking, steady-nerved actor but is a contribution of fame to anyone remotely recognizable.

It speaks to our times that viewers could amass enough clout to campaign for a woman they mostly knew as Rose Nylund to host the show in the twilight of her life. Betty White was a brilliant choice for Saturday Night Live host, even if most of the participants in the campaign weren’t aware of her decades of legit and television history before spinning tales of St. Olaf. It was remarkable that a grassroots movement could affect the casting decision of an institution. They never needed help before. But that is something that identifies the current paradigm of television audiences. We’ve gone from accepting what little we were given to turning the channel on something we don’t like to attempting to dictate what we consume, no longer viewing the medium (and those in charge) as being walled-off from the masses. And in an industry where viewing habits are shaking the foundations of an aging, if not antiquated, business model, the industry is willing to let the people speak (a little bit anyway).

But it may have opened the door to madness. Facebook is flooded with nominees to host SNL from Stephen Colbert to Joe Rogan to, er, Blake. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with these pages inherently. Sure, the unified effort to push Betty White back into the spotlight has to splinter a little bit among all these choices but pages like this have always been around, just no one expected much of them (although I fully support the Nathan Fillion and Bruce Campbell efforts).

Among these efforts is one to place James Roday and Dule Hill as joint hosts. And I support it, if only because this might be their golden opportunity to do it and it could mean a deconstruction of SNL‘s hobbled format. But I fear the expectation of what a desperate network might require if this thing is successful. It could mean great things. Or it could be completely disastrous for the franchise.

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What to Look Out For This Week

As you’ve probably read a thousand times today in your friends’ Facebook statuses and uninspired tweets, Labor Day marks the end of summer. But that means it’s only the beginning for television. The fall season is fast approaching and, with it, a slew of new content to watch, consume, and make you feel good about life/hate the hacks that trick you into watching stuff on the picture tube. Here at Monsters of Television, we hope to help you cut through the garbage and check out the things we’re looking forward to this week.

Mad Men – “The Suitcase”

I know this aired on Sunday night but the episode is that good. If you haven’t caught it yet, set your DVRs for the re-runs this week. Then read the reviews (including ours).

Gilmore Girls

You’ve heard me mention it about a hundred times on this site, between Parenthood reviews and any opportunity I can fit it in (it’s like Lost with Matt), but it’s time you caught up. ABC Family will start the re-run cycle of Gilmore Girls this Tuesday and play the entire series in order from the beginning. Stick with it. It’s good. Swear, dude. Well, until Season 3 and then it goes bad for a while. But come back for late season 3, early season 4. I defy you to deny Lorelai Gilmore. Starting Tuesday, 5PM on ABC Family

Warehouse 13 – “Where and When”

Bridging the gap between the end of summer TV and the beginning of the fall season, Warehouse 13 continues blending historical fiction with science fiction and adding to the reasons why Syfy might actually be able to compete with network and cable original programming. Allison Scagliotti (who plays Claudia Donovan, a student of the Veronica Mars school of snark) teased via her twitter account: “Ever wonder what would happen if #Warehouse13 ate an episode of #MadMen? Tune in tonight for a blast from the past.” Tuesday, 9PM on Syfy

Hellcats – “A Word Full of Strangers”

Stars Alyson Michalka and Ashley Tisdale aren’t just trying out for the competitive cheer squad, they’re gonna have to prove to the audience that they can step up from their Disney Channel pasts. Keeping with the CW staple of very pretty pretty young people and a Top 40 soundtrack, Hellcats is hoping to help land its network at the top of the pyramid. Will it stick the landing? Wednesday, 8PM on The CW

White Collar – “Point Blank”

The summer finale looks to explore what’s inside of the music box, a lazy plot point that has meandered through this season, ranking in importance just under what happened to Kate (something Neal has only had a casual interest in this season). Interesting in the promo is Neal’s use of a gun, which, as any viewer knows, is the mark of dubious characters in the series. 98% of me says that it’s part of a con but part of me thinks it might be the act of a desperate man (plus, Alex comes back — hooray!). Tuesday, 10PM on USA

Psych – “One, Maybe Two, Ways Out”

So Psych’s summer finale probably won’t finish as strong as the season finale (or probably most of the episodes coming up on the latter half of this season) but it should be a fun romp, especially now that they’ve introduced the possibility of Shules (though odds that something important in that relationship will occur here: slim). Wednesday, 10PM on USA

Terriers – “Pilot”

The pedigree is strong with the writer of Ocean’s 11 and Shawn Ryan from The Shield. Donal Logue appears to be playing the character I wanted Jason Lee to play in Memphis Beat, a detective down on his luck, sinking to rock bottom, hustling, trying to make it all work. It looks good and has a lot of potential, even though FX is throwing a ton of marketing behind it (which, as we know from Paul Blart, Mall Cop, that means they’re not sure the show can sell itself). Wednesday, 10PM on FX

Nikita – “Pilot

Remember when USA aired an action show about a highly trained operative with vague ties to the government? No, no, not Burn Notice. Le Femme Nikita! Yeah, it aired on USA from 1997 to 2001 (right before the network’s retooling began), and has no been remade with the ever awesome Maggie Q. No doubt some things have changed, but as long as there’s conspiracy and ass-kicking, it’ll hopefully be entertaining. Thursday 9PM on The CW

Chuck Presents – Buy Hard: The Jeff and Lester Story

While not necessarily something that’s going to air on television, the people at Chuck did the thing we hoped they would by making a webisode series based on Jeff and Lester going on the lam. (Un)fortunately, they used this opportunity to also tie in some sponsorship so the series will serve as a paid advertising for Halo: Reach. You can catch the web series all this week on the Warner Bros. page for Chuck.

There is a Problem with the Pears – This Week in Monster

These are pears.

We’ll discuss it later.

It’s been a busy week at Monsters of Television. This whole “summer-is-just-another-season/no-rest-for-the-weary” thing the networks are doing is wearing me out. But we can’t really complain about some of the great television we’re getting. Well, mostly great television. Hopefully Melissa & Joey doesn’t create a great abyss that sucks the life out of everything we hold dear. Forget the atomic collider in Switzerland: that show might obliterate the universe on its own, unraveling the fabric of time and space with ill-timed canned laughter and overacting that would make the cast of SNL blush.

Sorry. I digress.

We have some really great reviews for you to take a look at this week, from Mad Men to True Blood to Sherlock to, gods help us, that aforementioned pit of despair. If you missed any, it’s new to you!

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Psych – “Viagra Falls”

“That’s exactly what we look like.”

Peters, Shawn, Boon, and Gus collectively interview a pretty witness.

Shawn ages horribly.

I have a feeling the title of this post is going to get me a lot of spam. Maybe I should have titled it “v1agra.”

It appears that Season 5 is going to be the one that the show rife with references to myriad media properties and pop-culture-historical artifacts is going to start toying with its own mythology and reference itself. Ushered in by last season’s finale with one of the few times a legacy viewer has been rewarded (Yang to S3 finale’s Yin), S5 has already had an episode where characters make fun of Shawn’s “I have a clue” face (“Not Even Close … Encounters”), this episode exposing the dynamics of Shawnngus with versions of themselves 30 years aged, and then, coming after the hiatus, It’s a Wonderful Life gets the Psych treatment in December.

What results is this show actually rewarding long-time viewers. Okay, not necessarily long-time viewers but an audience that has seen at least a handful of episodes. While Psych is generally an esoteric show in its extensive knowledge of pop-culture, we’re starting to see some jokes where the punchline is purely for long-time viewers. And they land.

Mark of a good series is able manipulation using its own mythology. Right?

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Psych – “Feet Don’t Kill Me Now”

“Dude, all your permanent teeth are in, okay?  You’re playing for keeps now.”

Lassiter performs at the recital with his fellow classmates.

Smooth criminal detective.

Ah, much better.

Last week’s pooch was rectified by this week’s return to form, or at least the form we recognize. Our characters are back in the slots we recognize (Juliet, of course, is totally over her touch of PTSD) and, even though they switch the dynamics a little in the first half-hour, the comedy and timing seems to be back.

Troubling, however, is Henry’s reduced role to a “nose to the grindstone” boss as opposed to his more involved auxillary role in the Psych agency. My hope was to see him more involved with cases rather than just barking for the detectives and sleuths to get back on track. Instead he’s kind of like Lou Grant but wears a suit better.

But the season is young, yes?

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Psych – “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet”

“I am very offended.”

Shawn practices Wu-Shu with other students, ages 5-8.

The little girl in the front might soon regret being a part of this contribution to stereotype and tired chicanery.

When I first watched this episode, I had very little to say about it.  I knew the concept of “rules” and “breaking them” would be the subject of my post but I had very little else to discuss.  And that disturbed me a little.

I love Psych.  If there was any team I would like to support/hang out with/get paid to work with, they would be at the top (maybe tied with Chuck).  So, like many of us, I looked forward to the return of the USA summer season (a subject receiving quite a bit of media and academic buzz recently) and watching Shawn and Gus quickly put to bed the dramatic ending of last season.  And they do.  The effects of the Yin-Yang plotline appear thinly in this episode and are resolved at the end (more or less), predictably in a way that we don’t have to worry about them again until, oh, let’s say the fall hiatus.  Not that that’s necessarily a bad or good thing.  But, if you watch the show, you know that’s just what they do.  Psych is not a soap opera and emotional crises don’t last long.  This is a show that pops in the summer.  Who wants heavy emotional intrigue in June-July-August?  This is beach reading, my friend.

That being said, the show has also matured over the last few years (now being the veteran series in USA’s stable) and has introduced new elements into the dynamic between characters (namely Henry becoming officially responsible for Shawn’s actions rather than working pro bono and making Shawn free to officially woo Julliet).  Although, with so many things trying to happen in the opening episode (sweeping the old under the rug while establishing the new), the season premiere didn’t have the pop that Psych is known for.  Instead, we get thinly-veiled stereotypes (with a dash of minor racism) and a lot of set-up.

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Psych – “Mr Yin Presents”

“I think that bailiff from Night Court is spot on.”

Mary keeps his eye on Yang in the mental institution.

Hmm. Something smells of herring.

The one thing I learned from this episode: despite my film degree, I have not seen a whole lot of Hitchcock. You would think after spending four years of taking film classes of every kind that I would be sick of Hitchcock, up to my ears in the bald man. But no. Even today, my familiarity with his oeuvre is limited to Psycho, most of Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest and brief clips I’ve seen in passing. Now, base an episode on the Odessa Steps sequence or mimes playing tennis and I’m a freaking expert. But my education on Hitchcock was somewhat lacking.

Like House, season finales on Psych are usually formula-breaking, stylized events. Season 4’s ending brings back the Yin-Yang Killer from last season’s finale, a psychopath obsessed with Shawn that leaves clues around town for him to pick up on like a game only he can play. But, since Yang (the name by which she goes) is locked up in a high-security mental institution, this new string of murders can’t be her. In a twist that should really be no surprise to anyone familiar with the Yin-Yang symbol, Yang admits to having a partner that’s still at large. He goes by Yin.

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Psych – “The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Episode”

“Do not invite me to shut it.”

Detective Lassiter has new vigor after some of Shawn's inspiring words.

Lassie is officially on the train to Crazy Town.

Dear Writer’s Room at The Office: did you see this past week’s episode of Psych? Pretty funny, right? I know. I had a lot of trouble choosing which quote to use as my lede. It was between this (from Juliet), “Dear God, what am I doing? This is half a man” (from the coroner), and “Fishing is one of my top 5 skills, right behind profiling and ski ball” (from Lassiter). Well-crafted dialogue, situations that were germane to the plot, and, in an episode that was pretty much filler (since it didn’t tackle any of the continuing threads like Shawn’s slump or the question of a relationship with Juliet), it didn’t feel like a cop out.

I mean, how cool was it that Lassiter was going to follow in Shawn’s example? An insane Lassie is gut-busting. The fact that Shawn didn’t really even put clues together until the second half of the show as we followed Lassie following his gut was pretty remarkable. Though weren’t you guys a little disappointed that they didn’t go all the way with that? They could’ve let Lassie finish out the case with the Tao of Shawn. But at the same time, that wouldn’t be true to Lassie’s character. So, and I think you’d have to agree, we have to applaud their restraint.

Speaking of which, Office writers, I think we should commend them on their dedication to character. That’s certainly something you can appreciate. Lassiter doing things like pulling his badge and shooting wildly into the water for the sharks to appear (information we gleaned anecdotally from Juliet) is priceless. Shawn wanting to egg Lassie on is also a great use of character since all Shawn’s ever wanted to do is pull the stick out of Lassie’s you know where. You know where, Office guys! Ha ha! Classic.

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