Mega-marathon: 99 hours of Psych lead up to Wednesday’s Episode 100

Psych 100th episode

We’re beginning Hour 31 of the “99 Psychs on the Wall” Marathon on the cable channel Cloo here at midnight Monday morning.  Have you seen all 99 Psych episodes?  We have.  Many times each for some, like the Halloween episode “Tuesday the 17th,” or when Henry goes undercover in “The Old and the Restless,” and Juliet dons roller skates in “Talk Derby to Me.”  And we have found a pineapple (or something that looks pretty darned close) hidden or not-so-hidden in almost every episode.  The funniest ever detective-crime-drama-comedy beat the odds to get renewed for yet another season with next year’s Season 8, and hits the rare benchmark of 100 hours on television.  We’re eager to watch the 100th episode premiere Wednesday, March 27, 2013, on the USA Network.

If you haven’t watched Psych before, tune in any time to the Cloo cable channel before Wednesday night and pick any episode.  Psych stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a guy who was raised by cop father Henry (Corbin Bernsen) to pay incredibly close attention to details, and he uses this to fake psychic abilities with a detective agency of sorts called “Psych” with lifelong best friend Gus (Dulé Hill), who at any time may be randomly renamed on a case by Shawn as anything from Ghee Buttersnaps to Lavender Gooms to Lemongrass Gogulope.  Shawn and Gus create a perfect buddy team-up and once you get on their wavelength you’re in for a lot of fun keeping up with pop culture references dropped sometimes wrong and sometimes right.

Psych banner

Early episodes began with a flashback of Shawn and dad Henry, leading to some kind of parallel experience later in the episode.  Young Shawn and Gus were as funny as old Shawn and Gus.  Corbin Bernsen’s Henry is a great codger who knows about his son’s fake business and disapproves but never lets on to anyone else.

Shawn and Gus are often hired on by a likable and trusting police chief, Karen Vick, played by Kirsten Nelson.  The change-up compared to other detective shows is Chief Vick knows Shawn’s tactics are a little off kilter but he gets results time and again so she ignores his eccentricities and keeps bringing him back to help with Santa Barbara Police Department cases.  The SBPD actually is filmed in Vancouver, BC, which can add its own humor as actors can be in a scene wearing shorts on a typical California afternoon yet you see their breath when they speak.  The SBPD includes two other key characters, Shawn’s late season love interest Detective Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and her partner, Detective Carlton (“Lassie”) Lassiter, played like Sergeant Joe Friday by Timothy Omundson.  Lassiter never approves of Shawn’s methods, yet Juliet believes in Shawn’s “powers” no matter how strange–a bit like Lois Lane not recognizing Superman is Clark Kent.

Shawn and Gus

Other great recurring characters are Officer McNabb (Sage Brocklebank), the hilarious coroner Woody (Kurt Fuller), Shawn’s sweet and equally quirky high school crush Abigail (Rachael Leigh Cook), Shawn’s mom Madeleine (Cybill Shepherd), the really, really strange Mary Lightly (Jimmi Simpson), the psychotic Mr. Yang (Ally Sheedy), Juliet’s love interest Declan Rand (Nestor Carbonell), and Lassiter’s criminal girlfriend Marlowe (Kristy Swanson).

Countless episodes should be included in the annals of classic television, and many bring in some of the best big actor guest stars as well as many blasts from the past.  If you miss the Cloo “99 Psychs on the Wall” marathon this week, nearly all the episodes but only the latest from this season can be found on streaming Netflix.

Here are twelve episodes that are not to be missed:

“Dual Spires” (Season 5) – Cast members from the cult TV classic return for a Twin Peaks-inspired episode, guest starring Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Robyn Lively, Lenny Von Dohlen, Catherine E. Coulson, and Ray Wise.

“Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger” (Season 6) features Princess Bride star Cary Elwes in his third episode as art thief Pierre Despereaux, with Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Sallah, John Rhys-Davies, as a museum curator.

Shawn with guest star Danny Glover

“The Greatest Adventure in the History of Basic Cable” (Season 3) features Wings star Steven Weber as Shawn’s awesome Uncle Jack in a search for treasure.

“Tuesday the 17th” (Season 3) is one of the best pop culture reference episodes and one of several great holiday episodes on Psych, featuring Mackenzie Astin (the coolest actor who should be in more great series and movies but for whatever reason isn’t) in a great Friday the 13th/teen slasher movie send-up.

“Gus’s Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy” (Season 2) introduces Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad and Ghostbusters’ Ernie Hudson as Gus’s parents.  Later, Gus’s dad would be played by They Live star Keith David.

“Bounty Hunters!” (Season 2) features Hercules, the Legendary Journeys star Kevin Sorbo as a cool bounty hunter Shawn and Gus idolized as kids.

Tao of Gus

“Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers” (Season 4) guest-stars Life and Fairly Legal star Sarah Shahi as Gus’s adventurous girlfriend who Shawn believes to be a murderer.

“In for a Penny” (Season 7) introduces William Shatner as Juliet’s estranged con-man father Frank O’Hara, who Juliet wants to keep her distance from but Shawn embraces.

“Lights, Camera, Homicidio” (Season 2) features Shawn starring in a popular Spanish Univision-style soap opera to learn about the death of a cast member, featuring Warehouse 13’s Saul Rubinek as the showrunner.

“Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” (Season 1) guest-stars the awesome Academy Award-winning Mercedes Ruehl as Detective Goochberg, a perfect and over-the-top new partner to Lassiter, and Juliet goes undercover in a sorority to take on The Riches star Shannon Woodward as the crazy, crazy, crazy Alice Bundy.

Shawn and Gus with sci-fi props

“Shawn Versus The Red Phantom” (Season 1) is a classic episode featuring Shawn and Gus attending Tri-Con, the annual Santa Barbara comic book and science fiction convention, guest-starring Star Trek’s George Takei as a demanding convention headliner.

“Not Even Close… Encounters” (Season 5), another pop culture favorite, guest-stars Freddie Prinz, Jr. as a closet fanboy and Charles Martin Smith as a new believer in aliens.

Psych episode #100 titled “100 Clues” premieres on USA Network March 27 at 9 p.m. Central/10 p.m. Eastern.  Guest stars include Christopher Lloyd (as Professor Plum?), Martin Mull (as Colonel Mustard?), and Leslie Ann Warren (as Ms. Scarlet?), original cast members from the movie Clue, which is known for its multiple endings, along with original Saturday Night Live Not-Ready-For-Primetime Player Garrett Morris (too bad they couldn’t get Clue star Tim Curry to return–he guest-starred on the Season 2 John Landis-directed Psych episode “American Duos”).  Fans can check out the Psych website to learn how to be part of selecting the “100 Clues” ending in real-time Wednesday.  We wish they’d hide 100 pineapples in the episode.

We’ll leave you with one of our favorite features of Psych, the rare change-up of the Psych opening theme song (written by series creator Steve Franks and performed by him with The Friendly Indians) including the Christmas theme, Spanish theme, Hindi theme, a Boys II Men version, a Curt Smith from Tears for Fears version, and a Twin Peaks version by Julie Cruise:

Psych fans can join the show’s digital celebration leading up to the 100th episode on the Psych website, play “TheS#cialSector,” and share their favorite episodes and classic moments or snacks on USA’s social water-cooler “Character Chatter.”

C.J. Bunce

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