An open letter to “Psych” on the USA Network:
It’s hard to believe, but (just like your characters might say) I’ve heard it both ways: More than a hundred episodes have aired since you first premiered, and now only a few remain to be seen before you must resign yourself to syndication alongside such notable nobles as the detective series genre as “Monk” and “Law & Order.”
During the years, I’ve looked forward to your weekly solving ventures with as much anticipation as one can reasonably ascribe to the occurrence of a fictional murder without arousing others’ suspicions. Lately, however, my excitement has been particularly high. More than likely, this is because your main character, a lovable loaf named Shawn Spencer (James Roday), is becoming more and more relatable inasmuch as he possesses two qualities that are increasingly well-known to me in my life as a second-semester senior: a penchant for theatrics and a photographic memory. Whereas some (like me) use these qualities to neglect Renaissance lit in favor of the McConaissance while still maintaining passing grades, others (like Shawn Spencer) use them to moonlight as a fake psychic detective with the Santa Barbara Police Department while still remaining about as active as a sea anemone.
Still, my excitement goes beyond the supposed relatability of your main character, as it stems from a deeper and more enduring admiration for the consistency with which you have effectively matched quality production with engaging performances. To get away with (and pull off) such a wide range of thematic episodes (from “Psych: The Musical” to “Dual Spires,” a tribute to “Twin Peaks,” to “Mr. Yin Presents,” a spoof of all things Alfred Hitchcock) requires not only great writing and producing but also great acting and directing.
To celebrate the practitioners of these elements, and to commemorate the success of your eight-season run on the fortnight’s eve of your departure from the primetime cable lineup, I’ve assembled a list of five farewell lines that attempt to parody famous exits in pop culture. Consider them an homage to your tongue-in-cheek wit, which you have evidenced at nearly every level and has helped to distinguish you from the many other crime dramas and buddy comedies that have aired.
1. You had me at “hello,” Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill). Or should I call you by one of the many fake monikers which Shawn has used to introduce you? Maybe “Clementine Woollysocks?” “Longbranch Pennywhistle?” Given the chemistry that you share with him, it’s safe to assume that neither you nor he — no matter what you’re calling each other — will ever have a friend later on like the one that you both made when you were 12-ish. Not even Shawn’s ladylove, Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), could make such a partner. Without designs of replacement, let me say that I’ve loved being the third wheel more than Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) has enjoyed being a killjoy to your schemes.
2. Where you’re going, you don’t need roads, Blueberry. You’re bound to rest within the limits of recent memory as one of the most memorable get-away vehicles. Even there, however, you should keep a mixtape at the ready that catalogs all of the various ways in which “I Know You Know” by The Friendly Indians (the theme that opens your show) has been repurposed to match many an episode’s tone. If I’m ever at the wheel, I’ll be looking for the version en Español.
3. Here’s looking at you, kids who play younger versions of Shawn (Skyler Gisondo) and Gus (Carlos McCullers II) in the flashbacks that open every episode and offer a taste of what’s to be learned from the subsequent action. Corbin Bernsen, who plays Shawn’s father at both times, uses a hairpiece whenever he joins you in the past, and here’s to hoping that you both received equal pay to what was budgeted for that head-bound squirrel’s room and board.
4. I’ll be right here, creator and showrunner Steve Franks, awaiting your next sojourn into the television landscape.
5. It wasn’t just a story, was it? Over the past eight years, you’ve brought a unique vision to fruition, making plausible what at first seemed implausible, and thus mirroring the way in which the fake psychic at your center operates.
I leave you with the hope that you know just how frankly, my dear, I (and other fans) gave a damn. I put my hand to my brow.