Friday the 13th may be well known, but it is inevitably followed by Tuesday the 17th, which is also the name of an episode of the television show Psych. Following Shawn Spencer and his childhood friend Burton Guster (Gus) as they solve crime while Shawn pretends to be a psychic. What makes Psych different from the ridiculous number of mystery or cop shows on television is that it is primarily a comedy, full of references to other movies or television shows that I, as someone who doesn’t watch much TV, really doesn’t understand, but the show is still fun regardless of whether these references mean anything or not. Because I am unable to appreciate a large part of the show, my list of favorite episodes might be different than someone else’s, but here are seven Psych episodes that I believe stand out among a show that really doesn’t have any bad episodes.
(How does this relate to books, you might ask? Well, there is a companion book to Psych called Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified. (See below))
Psych is typically more focused on comedy than anything else, but occasionally the characters find themselves in extremely tense situations. This is especially true in any of the episodes involving serial the killers Yin and Yang. The killers leave clues for the characters – or really Shawn – to solve in an attempt to track them down. The hunt gradually becomes personal as significant characters are kidnapped and placed in danger. There is hardly a dull moment in any of these episodes, though they are lower on comedy than the typical episode.
“Disco Didn’t Die. It Was Murdered!” – Season 3, Episode 5
This episode is excellent in everything, from the costumes to the exceptionally unsafe car the group purchases as part of their hunt for this episode’s particular murderer. If I’m being honest, the exact plot of this episode is lost on me and it appears in my memory as a collection of funny moments. The father-son team up is also an element that I appreciate since, due to Shawn and his father’s rather tumultuous relationship, isn’t something that happens all that often.
“American Duos” – Season 2, Episode 1
When attempts are made on the life of a particularly unpleasant judge on the singing talent show American Duos, it’s up to Shawn and Gus to make sure all future attempts fail. Their charge is ridiculous in his cruelty, and Shawn and Gus’s attempts to participate in the show’s competition, where they receive dance lessons from Juliet, are fun, even though they inevitably end in failure. Anyone who watches talent shows will find a humorous parody of their favorites.
“Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion” – Season 2, Episode 15
While I typically do not care at all about fashion, “Black and Tan” might be my all-time favorite Psych episode. (Shhhh. Don’t let the other episodes hear me say this). When one of the heads of a popular fashion line is electrocuted by a microphone, Shawn and Gus take it upon themselves to infiltrate the agency and discover who the killer is. The characters in this episode are absolutely ridiculous, which somehow results in Shawn often being the voice of reason, which is an uncommon occurrence and makes for interesting dynamics between the characters. Juliet, detective and Shawn’s love interest, also receives a confidence boost and a reminder that she can simultaneously be feminine and good at her job, which is a reminder I feel like a lot of people need.
“Lassie Jerky” – Season 7, Episode 3
How to describe “Lassie Jerky”? A couple of film students decide to hunt Bigfoot and are convinced that they’ve found him. They call in Shawn and Gus to assist, but the movie gets sidetracked when they discover a hole full of dead bodies. What follows involves bear traps, sing-alongs, camping, and Juliet taking out bad guys with a crossbow. Really, what more could you want?
“100 Clues” – Season 7, Episode 5
Sometime in the Past: Shawn and Gus get a rock star arrested for murder. In the present: Shawn receives an invitation to said rock star’s mansion for what is supposed to be a celebration of the rock star’s new-found freedom. This fun episode plays a bit like a very strange version of the game Clue, but without any guessing of the room or weapon.
“Deez Nups” – Season 7, Episode 7
Lassie (Shawn’s nickname for the head detective of the Santa Barbara Police, who nurses a strong dislike for Shawn for a good portion of the series) is finally getting married, but the celebrations are interrupted by the appearance of a group of criminals that Lassie decides to pursue. As comedy weddings tend to be, the various events are absolutely bizarre and it makes for a fun episode, at least until the surprise ending, which is interesting in its own way, but ends on a considerably darker note. Episodes that bring you through a range of emotions are always fun, and “Deez Nups” certainly delivers in this regard.