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Laura Reviews: Psych

I saw the first episode of the new show Psych the other day. If you haven't heard of it, like I had, from the hippest entertainment beat there is (The Providence Journal), it's about a young guy with a photographic memory who convinces the police he's a psychic in order to solve mysteries. It sort of seems like they came up with the title first, doesn't it? It's just too too perfect, except there's nothing about psychology. Maybe he should be a psych major. His maybe-gay friend Gus works for a pharmaceutical company so maybe that's close enough.

Unlike Cam Jansen, Sean Spencer does not say "click" when is trying to memorize a scene. But he does look at clues and they light up so we, the audience, can see the totally obvious thing he is definitely looking at. It's worse than when you're playing a LucasArts game and you know you can do something with that particular object because it gets a little description ("mug o' grog") when you scroll over it. At least some of those objects are sort of small and hard to find.

I'd be interested to see the episode again (or, a different one, where I didn't know the outcome) without seeing the light-up follow-at-home hints. Some of the clues Sean saw at a crime scene, he didn't realize the importance of until later (or, maybe he did, but we didn't get them explained to us until later.) It would be cool to see things through his eyes as totally normal, and then maybe later when he's explaining it we see the scene again, and have the clues pointed out to us. That way it would be a fun game, like, watch along, maybe pause the video, see if you can tell what's going to be important later. Instead, it's like, "A CLUE! A CLUE! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!" and, you know, when Blue's pawprint is all over everything you are supposed to notice, it's really not much fun to play along. ("Kids, what crime can we reconstruct with a gun, a fallen coffee mug, and a bloody table corner?") Besides, it diminishes Sean's abilities. I mean, seriously, I could solve mysteries if I had Clue-Cam.

But the show isn't really about the cleverness of the mystery (I think the insipidity of the pilot episode's mystery really demonstrated that), as much as it is about Sean's quips. Look! He's lazy! He's a slacker! He's a genius! He's cute! He's funny! Love him! Actually, he is pretty funny.

And I like his cute friendship with Gus (although, no, I'm not a 'shipper--YET). Gus is the friend who reluctantly tags along on Sean's adventures. My only quarrel with Gus is that I think he's TOO reluctant. He always argues and bitches and then goes along with whatever Sean wants to do anyway. I suppose that in itself shows that Gus actually does want to help out, but he doesn't want to show it; but I feel like we need to see a little more, some kind of clue about what Gus is getting out of this. (The slasher in me wants to say "blowjobs from Sean," but no! Focus.) The only time we saw him agree to go with Sean willingly is when Sean wheedles, "Come on--there'll be forensics guys!" "Forensics guys?" Gus asks, intrigued. (Thus my assumption that Gus is gay-- I'm focusing on the "guys" part. Because if he was interested in forensics, why would he put up a fight in the first place?) In the end, Sean gets Gus to quit his job and join him in starting a private detective agency by forging his signature on the lease. Gus is just like "Why I--oh, you!"

Most humbling moment: Upon seeing that Sean had named his detective agency "Psych," I ranted long and loud about how Psych is a good name for the show since he is a fake, but a bad name for the agency since it would tip people off that he is a fake. Shushing me revealed that Gus was giving the selfsame rant (except for he didn't break the fourth wall about the show name). It's nice that they addressed it, but Sean's response (something along the lines of "the best way to keep people from thinking you are lying to them is to lie to them") made no sense.

Overall: At the beginning there's a flashback showing Sean's dad quizzing him in a restaurant, having him close his eyes and say how many hats are in the room, etc. (I's not clear whether the show wants us to believe that Sean has a photographic memory BECAUSE of his father, or whether his father just encouraged the talent ruthlessly.) The waitress comes by while Sean is answering questions and says "Hey, that's good." The dad responds, "It's adequate." That's kind of how I feel about this show.


- Laura