Dear Psych: It's So Hard to Say Goodbye (to Yesterday)

If you have never watched Psych, or if you're not a fan, then this post is really not for you. At the least, it will make you curious about a great new series to watch on Netflix... but at the worst it will make you wonder why on earth I'm so devastated over the end of a show that is, in fact, fictional. Don't worry... my people understand. =) They also understand that the title of this post comes from one of the best episodes, High Top Fade Out. 

Growing up, I watched TV, but I wasn't that great about knowing all the new shows or keeping up with them. So, it wasn't that unusual for me to have not heard of a particular series, even if it was super popular. Sometime in 2011, my Uncle Mike (or Uncle Awesome, as he prefers to be called) kept telling me about this hilarious show called Psych. Since I am a loser I kept putting off watching it, and finally one night fate intervened it happened to be on and Uncle Mike insisted we watch an episode. After that one episode ("In Plain Fright," Season 5), I was hooked. I immediately went home, did a happy dance when I discovered that the first five seasons were on Netflix, and promptly started binge-watching to catch up. I finished season five just in time for season six to begin, and I have been a faithful Psych-o ever since. It had finally happened. After 24 years of casual television viewing, I joined the elite club known as "fandom." 

And oh, what a fandom. As James Roday, star of the show and one its executive producers, has said, "Other shows have viewers. We have fans." Especially with the interaction available on social media, Psych-o's have become a force to be reckoned with, regularly "blowing up" Twitter with trending topics, particularly during the airing of new episodes. Fan-based awards are a shoe-in for this show. I really don't know of another show with a more fiercely loyal following. (Also, I just re-watched the cast's "thank you" videos to the fans, so I'm a little teary-eyed even now.)

But this is sounding a little like a TV review, and it's not. It's a farewell letter from a true fan (albeit one late to the game). As we all know, Psych is ending this Wednesday. After eight spectacular seasons, our favorite Santa Barbara family will be saying goodbye in a series finale that will have me, for one, in (gushing) tears. But what is it about this show that's so unique that its fan base is, seriously, "psycho"? What makes us so devoted? There are other comedies on TV, other crime shows. What sets Psych apart? I could write an entire post (or several) dedicated to aspects (a fake psychic! a grumpy but lovable head detective! the world's creepiest coroner- in the sweetest way possible!) that I love about this show, but combined, they've made it an incredible experience for a whole lot of people. 

First of all, it's hilarious. As in, every single episode makes me laugh out loud multiple times. And some of Psych's best jokes have now taken on a life form of their own, from the hidden pineapple to Shawn's nicknames for Gus (Lavender Gooms? SillyPants Jackson? Hollabackatcha?) to Lassie's "I would rather" statements ("I'd rather date a vegan.") to my favorite: "Gus, don't be..." (a myopic chihuahua, Pete Rose's haircut, this crevice in my arm). Of course there's plenty of physical comedy, and few people go at it like Dule Hill and James Roday. But the clever wordplay is what makes the show so "quotable"; one of my favorite lines ever is (Juliet) "Detective Lassiter is literally on fire today." (Shawn) "Literally as in Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial or as in a misuse of the word literally?" I could fill this post with lines like that, but I digress. It's hysterical and never fails to make me laugh. My husband and I find ourselves using "Psych-isms" all the time. ("Big fat kisses.") 

And while a lot of shows are funny, not very many shows are so cleverly written that all this physical/verbal comedy is actually centered on an actual police case with suspects and motives and murder weapons and all that. And since solving the case always depends on Shawn's observational skills, all the details have to work together. In other words, the writers are extremely clever and actually think these cases through instead of just putting together vague backgrounds to set the jokes up on. 

As much as I love to laugh, I wouldn't be that emotionally invested in a show that didn't really appeal to my... emotions. Psych makes me laugh, always, but we know that it has made us feel so much more than that. I have laughed my head off watching this show, but I've also cried (wept, actually), been scared out of my mind, concerned, worried, excited, happy, overjoyed- you name it. How does a comedy make you cry? By creating characters and relationships that you really care about. So many relationships in this show have evolved over time, from Shawn and Henry's (that moment at the end of Season 6? When Henry kissed his head? Weeping) to Lassie's slow, begrudging acceptance of Shawn and Gus, to Gus and Shawn's friendship (the end of "Yin/Yang" when they almost died together... tears) to my favorite, Shawn and Jules's journey all the way from Season 1... I care about these people! 

I cry when they're sad (Season 7 just about killed  me, thank you Psych writers), I am happy for them when they figure things out, I worry about them when they fight. Naturally, most of the cases involve dangerous situations that put them in harm's way, and that can be scary, but the most painful moments have been watching them experience hard personal moments, like Shawn finally learning that his mom left when his parents divorced, or Gus acknowledging his need for Shawn's friendship, or Juliet leaving the force (um, I cried like a baby during that episode.) Those classic moments (Juliet and Lassie's hug at the end of Season 5, Shawn avenging Henry's shooter) are proof that this show is far, far more than "just" a comedy. It's taught us about love, and true friendship, and loyalty, and essentially we've been able to watch Shawn and Gus "grow up" onscreen. 

It's pretty obvious that even with fantastic story lines and scripts, a show isn't going to be great without a great cast. James Roday, Dule Hill, Maggie Lawson, Tim Omundson, Corbin Bersen, and Kirsten Nelson- these people nailed it every single time. And not only do they sometimes have us terrified, occasionally make us cry, and consistently make us laugh hysterically, they also take the time to interact with fans online and do all kinds of fan events. Most hit shows don't have stars who will chat it up with fans on Twitter or have an entire "Fan Day" event, but the Psych cast is just that awesome. They are good at what they do, but they've also been having a ball for eight years, and it shows onscreen. They're so talented (um, the musical episode, anyone?) and have been able to pull off literally any scenario from a "Clue" remake to a '60's themed episode because they are just so good. Sure, they've had some unbelievable guest stars (like William Shatner!) but the core cast (with a few extras we adore, like McNabb and Woody!) is what makes the magic happen. 

I don't like writing this in past tense, like the show is already over and gone. There's one episode left, and I'm sure it will be unforgettable. I'll laugh, yes, but I'll definitely be ugly crying shedding some tears on Wednesday night. There are still some questions about the future up in the air, especially for Shawn and  Gus. I've tossed around the possible endings, but no matter what happens, I won't like it. I can't like it. I'll still be heartbroken over the end of the show I've planned my Wednesdays around for the past three years, the show I've turned on every time I needed a laugh after a long day, the show I've quoted more times than I can count, the show I've pinned a few hundred times on Pinterest, the show that has helped me smile on some really rough days, and the show that will never, ever be replaced. (Although I wouldn't say no to a spin-off about the Lassiter family.) Over these eight (eight!) seasons and over one hundred (!!!) episodes, it's been an absolute pleasure to watch these characters grow and develop, not just as detectives or cops or pharmaceutical salesmen (it's a very noble profession!) but as people that we genuinely care about. 

To Steve Franks, you giant genius, I say thank you. I thank the cast, and the writers, and my fellow Psych-O's. Let's finish this series out with a bang... I love you all!

From me to you, here's a fist bump and a big serving of delicious flavor. 


1 comment

  1. I know, I am crying too:........( But am looking forward to re-watching every episode on Netflix!! I will always have a special place in my heart for you Psych!


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