You’re a good, rational thinker, right? Well then, quit whining about all the credulous BS infecting your television and start enjoying brainier fare. To help you out, I’ll be periodically reviewing TV shows, movies, DVDs, and whatever else I feel like. Yeah, this might get a bit random. First up: Psych!
Like every other show on television right now, Psych is about people who solve crimes. Unlike every other show on television, it isn’t a spin-off of CSI or Law & Order. Instead, it revolves around two childhood friends, Shawn and Gus, one of whom (Shawn) happens to be remarkably talented at observing people and situations. His skills were honed by his cop dad (Corbin Bernsen!) as a little kid, and these days he’s so good that he can occasionally solve mysteries just by having a quick look around the room.
Shawn pretends to be psychic so that the slightly credulous cops keep coming to him with cases and giving him the reward money when he solves them. If you can just buy all that, you’ll probably find the show pretty amusing, and even better, the show does a fantastic job of showing that there’s no difference between “being psychic” and being a good observer. Shawn constantly uses cold-reading techniques that TV psychics use — first taking note of every last detail about his mark, and then making educated guesses. When the guesses are right he latches onto them and builds them up. When they’re wrong, he wiggles out of it and leaves people thinking he was right all along. The character’s name might as well have been Shawn Edward.
Psych is unabashedly goofy, and some of the plots are ridiculous enough to make your eyes roll of their own accord. But still, the lead actors are kind of adorable (just look at them, don’t you want to give them a big hug?) and David Caruso sure never looked like he was having this much fun on CSI. Plus, they name their episodes things like “Meat is Murder, but Murder is Also Murder,” and “Shawn (and Gus) of the Dead.” I told you, adorable.
Psych is on the (basic cable) USA Network at 10pm on Friday, and you can catch reruns of the show until the next season debuts this summer. I was going to link to their web site where you can watch full episodes (helpful for our foreign friends), but they have some ridiculous video that starts automatically and plays annoying commercials over the top of my music while I’m frantically trying to figure out which of the dozen Firefox tabs was the cause. So screw you, USA Network, but still, seriously, go watch Psych.
In case you’re too lazy to read all the above, here’s a rating system I just pulled out of my can:
SKEPTICAL RATING: 4.5 out of 5
OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5