Psych: A Retrospective (10 Reasons to Watch)

Psych had its final show last week. After 8 seasons, 119 episodes, 1 musical, and a ton of laughs… Psych has ended.

Psych is an hour long comedy about Shawn a fake psychic detective, his best-friend Gus, the Santa Barbra Police Department and the cases they work together on. Each episode has a case that must be solved and Shawn’s quirky antics often derail the SBPD and cause more trouble then help but Shawn doesn’t care as long as he gets to have fun and solve cases.

The final episode was filled with everything you would want from a Psych finale: classic jokes, pop culture references, and guest stars. All of this supported an ending that does the show justice without leaving you dissatisfied. Psych is a great show, which is reason enough to check it out. But if you need more here is a list of the top ten reasons why the show was amazing and why you should watch it.

1) The Cast

Psych was built around one of the best casts I have ever seen. It’s lead by James Roday and Dule Hill, whose chemistry has only improved since the great pilot. It’s hard to find a cast that just clicks so well as it does in Psych. The hilarious Timothy Omundson plays the stern Carlton Lassiter, offering the grounded personality that balanced out Roday’s goofy Shawn. Maggie Lawson played the beautiful Juliet who, despite being a romantic interest for Shawn, was allowed to be dynamic enough to often go toe-to-toe with Shawn. Rounding out the cast are the talented Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen and Kurt Fuller.

The cast seemed flawless from the beginning. Being able to jump in on each others lines, the scenes had instant chemistry. With great writers every episode made it seem like the cast was just being themselves. You could tell they loved their work and loved working with each other. The whole cast seemed to be friends even when the cameras weren’t rolling and this definitely came into play onscreen. With great chemistry the show was able to run smooth and focus on the stories and building on this already strong relationships.

2) The Pop Culture References

One of the best parts of Psych was its endless supply of pop culture references from the 80’s, 90’s, and even today. When Psych wasn’t quoting a famous movie line, the odds were the episode was a spoof of a cinematic classic. Psych covered everything from Office Space, Clue, and Nightmare on Elm Street, to The Bachelor, Police Academy and Friday the 13th. The spoofs always maintained a level of respect for the source material while keeping the level of entertainment fresh and engaging.

One of my favorite moments is in “American Duos” where Shawn and Gus must go undercover on an American Idol type of show to protect one of the judges who seems to have barely avoided multiple attempts on his life. The judge is played by Tim Curry and constantly through out the episode Shawn and Gus are singing and making fools of themselves. This is a perfect episode to show off their dynamic and also understand exactly why the show is a must watch.

3) The Guest Stars

With these constant pop culture references came amazing guest stars. Psych’s 100th episode is entirely based on the movie Clue, so naturally most of the cast guest stars. Psych did this for almost all of its references. Every now and then, Psych would mention a famous actor in one episode and that actor will show up in a later episode. This was most prominent in the finale episode where Val Kilmer made a cameo after tons of mentions about him over the seasons. Many of The Breakfast Club cast were recurring characters along with Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride who did an awesome set of episodes. Even some contemporary guests such as Kerry Washington and Jane Lynch made appearances. It also turned out that as much as the producers tried to score these guest stars, many were big fans of the show that wanted to be on anyways.

4) The Music

From its spot-on theme song to Psych The Musical, Psych has been filled with music. That’s right, Psych did an entire episode as a musical. The songs are written to fit the story and even recurring characters returned for this fantastic once-in-a-lifetime episode. Beyond the musical there have been appearances from Jaleel White, Kenan Thompson, and Mekhi Phifer as the members of Gus’s acapella group “Blackapella.” Or, as Shawn prefers when he joins the group, “Quarterblack.”

5) Psych-Outs

The Psych-Outs are basically a brief clip that occurs at the end of the episode with a behind the scenes look from that week. It often features a blooper reel or the cast kicking back and singing classic songs. You really just get to see the cast break out of character and enjoy themselves.

6) The Blueberry

The Blueberry aka the Psych Mobile is the awesome car that gets our two heroes where they need to go. Officially named in season two, when Tim Curry’s character said, “I feel like I’ve been incarcerated in a blueberry.” The car acted as a third member of the Psych team. Often getting souped up for certain cases or used in getaways or even being shot at, the Blueberry held its own.

7) The Flashbacks

Most of Psych’s episodes begin with a small flashback to Shawn’s formative years. Often learning a life lesson from his father, played by Corbin Bernsen in a terrible wig. For most of the seasons young Shawn was played by a perfectly cast Liam James, who captured all of Shawn’s goofy charm as he and Gus got into all kinds of trouble. The lessons explored in each flashback often played a larger thematic role for Shawn during the case he was working on in present day.

8) Burton Guster, if that is his real name

One recurring theme for Psych was that whenever Shawn would introduce Gus he would never say his real name. This was classic Shawn and lead to a lot of laughs.

9) The Pineapples

What basically became Psych’s logo actually started out as a game. In the early seasons a pineapple was hidden in plain sight in each episode for the eagle eyed viewers to spot. As time went on the producers ensured that a pineapple would appear in every episode and act as a staple and side character. The game also became more difficult as it wasn’t always a physical pineapple. Sometimes it was a picture of one or even once: an appropriately flavored smoothie. This games became a huge craze and took over the show. The pineapples may have started as a gimmick for the show but evolved into something greater. It made the audience want to watch each episode multiple times just to ensure that they spotted the pineapple. Now that is a great way to retain an audience.

10) We Can’t Forget The Cases

Psych may have had some fantastic parts, but at its core it was, and will always be, a mystery-crime show. Each episode is centered around a case that Shawn attempts to solve. The show came up with some crazy cases. There was murder by ancient mummy, or murder by dinosaur! Shawn even had to join the cast of a telenovela once. The writers seemed to never be without a creative idea to keep each episode unique and never dull.

I won’t ever truly miss Psych because I will always watch its reruns and I own every season on DVD. What I will miss is looking forward to new adventures the gang will get into, but I’m glad I have 8 solid seasons to look back on and enjoy all over again.

I will forever be a Psych-o.