That's what we fans of Psych, USA's comedy procedural about a phony psychic detective, call ourselves. And now that it's ending after eight insanely good seasons, I might need to check into a psych ward. (I'd be in good company: Psych guest stars Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald and Cuckoo's Nest-er Brad Dourif have all appeared in mental hospital storylines.)
My friends and family are genuinely concerned about my welfare. On the day its cancellation was announced, my Facebook wall, Twitter feed and email inbox were flooded with messages of support, including people I hadn't heard from in years. One pal even offered to deliver a casserole.
The fervor of Psych fans is rare for a show that doesn't lend itself to the OTP furies known as "shippers." The romance between Shawn (James Roday) and Juliet (Maggie Lawson, his real-life girlfriend) -- cheekily dubbed "Shules" in a nod to other popular portmanteaus -- was preordained, always "When will they?" instead of "Will they?"
But the bromance between Shawn and Gus (Dulé Hill) was always the backbone of the show. In the early seasons, Gus -- a responsible, gainfully employed fraidy-cat -- was Shawn's sidekick and straight man. It's a testament to Psych's writers that they recognized Dulé Hill's comedic genius and gave him major storylines, letting Gus's geek flag fly while Shawn played second banana. (What Shawn defined in "Spelling Bee as "a yellow fruit. Also, a kind of pudding. A delicious pudding. Anna Banana would like to hear 'Phoenix' by Bananarama.")
Moreover, Gus was "allowed" to be black. His ethnicity was acknowledged and embraced (and often appropriated by Shawn) in a TV landscape where many pretend to be color blind -- and in so doing fail miserably. One of the show's running gags is Shawn chastising Gus by comparing him to something ludicrous ("Gus, don't be a rabid porcupine"; "Gus, don't be exactly half of an 11-pound black forest ham"), but sadly he was speaking the truth when he said, in season five, "Gus, don't be the only black lead on a major cable network." Psych celebrates Gus's a unique perspective and experience as an African American, but refuses to conform to stereotypes. The result is refreshingly honest and wildly funny.
Psych is a lighthearted caper whose audience runs the gamut from kids to senior citizens (including my 80-year-old mother-in-law). These are casual fans who thoroughly enjoy each episode without appreciating its in-jokes and obsessions with pop culture -- and that's OK. So what if you don't know Chad Michael Murray from Ed Lover? "C'mon, son" is amusing in any context on this show. And that's another reason I love Psych: the writers never dumb things down to appeal to a broader audience. If they crack themselves up (and they do, a lot), it's a success.
And for people like me who watched Airwolf, played Frogger and popped cassette tapes of Tevin Campbell or Tears for Tears into our boom boxes, every obscure reference to the greatest decade -- and other more recent cult classics -- usually results in a Count Chocula spit-take.
Revered for its themed episodes, Psych's affectionate tributes to iconic films and TV shows seem hand-picked for me.
Take "Dual Spires," their homage to Twin Peaks -- my all-time favorite TV show before Psych premiered in 2006. I met my husband almost 24 years ago at a Twin Peaks viewing party (when we could only converse during commercials because of course), so this episode was truly a Reese's peanut butter cup collision of awesome. Because of Psych, I had the opportunity to interview Laura Palmer herself (Sheryl Lee) -- along with her murderer (spoiler alert!), Ray Wise--who reunited with other Twin Peaks stars as guests on "Dual Spires."
Star Roday co-wrote "Dual Spires" and penned more than a dozen other Psych classics. That includes their homage to American Werewolf in London, which I saw 22 times in the theater. I'm a big fan.
Psych has also paid tribute to most of the music I listened to on my Walkman. Roday is such a fan of the '80s hit-making duo Tears for Fears that he dressed up as Roland Orzabal for their American Idol spoof, "American Duos" (Hill was Michael Jackson), and persuaded Curt Smith to play himself in three Psych episodes. I got to interview Smith, too, during their filming of "100 Clues," Psych's century-episode homage to the cult film Clue -- which also featured several of the original players. In fact, you can't throw a pineapple (an incarnation of the tropical fruit appears in every episode, because it's delicious) without hitting an '80s icon in Psych. (Sadly, it finished its run just one Estevez short of a full The Breakfast Club.)
I'm the luckiest Psych-O on the planet. I've interviewed the actors and writers a dozen times and visited the set in Vancouver. Watching the magic happen behind the scenes and getting to know the cast and crew -- the closest to a family you'll ever see in this business, who clearly all loved their jobs and each other -- has been the highlight of my career. I am uniquely blessed and cherished every minute I shared with these hilariously creative and generous people. I will mourn its end deeply.
And to those who dare to dis my devotion, I will quote Shawn and Gus: "Suck it."
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