"Psych" Friday night at on USA
REMEMBER the first time you saw "Monk" and knew you were watching the impossible - a show that was not only totally original, but was funny, quirky and unclassifiable?
Well, believe it or not, USA has another one for you.
It's called "Psych," and it's not only laugh-out-loud-until-soda-squirts-out-of-your-nose funny, but it's also perfectly cast - another miracle so rare in modern television.
The show is about a lovable slacker, Shawn Spencer (James Roday from "Miss Match" and "The Dukes of Hazzard"), whose disapproving, estranged, retired cop father (Corbin Bernsen) taught (and taunted) him as a kid to have insanely keen observation skills.
The only good it did him is, as a professional slacker/girl chaser, Shawn has managed to make a small living collecting reward money from calling in tips while watching news coverage of crime scenes. He does exactly what Dad taught him to do - observe.
A couple of detectives who also happen to be having an affair (Julia O'Hara and Carlton Lassiter) decide there's something very fishy about this guy and attempt to arrest Shawn when he comes to collect his reward money for a case he nailed.
When he can't explain how he actually knows all the stuff hesays he knows, he makes up a story. That's right, he's - yes! - a psychic detective!
To further play his hand, he fakes a seizure while "under the influence" of his psychic spell. He does this a lot, and you will howl every time.
When Shawn realizes he can actually make a living by faking people out, he opens a private psychic-detective agency and tries to drag his best childhood friend, the very responsible Gus (Dulé Hill from "The West Wing") into it.
Hill, who was a real stiff on the "Wing," has come into his own here as an uncomfortable metrosexual, neat-freak, drug company sales rep.
Gus never wants anything to do with Shawn's Ralph Kramden get-rich-quick schemes, but he always ends up going along because, well, his life is so boring without risky, annoying Shawn.
Shawn's scam takes in everyone - except for his dad, who has recently moved back to town.
It's a pure delight to see Bernsen - who's looking mighty fine, by the way - back in a role that's perfect for him.
You don't have to be psychic to figure out that this one could do for these guys what "Entourage" did for those guys - and do for USA what "Monk" continues to do: put them on the map. "Psych" is just terrific.