Full disclosure: I’ve watched Psych: The Movie, which premiered on Thursday night, three times already. Not all the way through, though, and not because I just couldn’t get enough of that sweet, sweet fake-psychic bromance. It was mostly because at several times during my viewings, I realized I had no fucking idea what was going on. Which is not really the fault of the movie’s creators. The writing itself made perfect sense, and everything fit within the canon of the show. It’s just I didn’t remember anything about the show.
And that’s entirely the fault of USA and its promotional campaign. It’s like someone hired a guy who says, “So how can I take a relatively straight forward hour-long procedural comedy with nearly endless in-jokes, call backs, and guest appearances, rob it of all of its fun, and make it confusing?” Somebody give that guy a bonus, because he did a bang up job.
For starters, y’all remember that Shawn, Gus, Juliet, and Captain What’s Her Face all moved to San Francisco at the end of season 10? And that Shawn specifically moved there to try to win Juliet back and propose to her with his grandmother’s ring? A ring that was swiped by a thief running past just as Shawn was on one knee in front of Juliet with said ring in his outstretched hand? Because I had no idea about any of that, and it all factors pretty heavily into the plot of the movie in the first thirty minutes. I had to stop the movie (that’s viewing number one) to research over several Wikipedia articles.
But why not just watch some season 10 episodes to catch up? Because they’re not available anywhere. I mean, I guess I could theoretically purchase the season through iTunes or on DVD, but also no, that’s never going to happen. In place of what should be full episodes, recaps, highlight videos, and actor interviews about where season 10 left off (you know, because it’s been three effing years), USA’s website has lists of all the Easter eggs, running gags, and guest appearances. Because they want to suck all of the joy out of this revival.
Quick aside to USA executives: Hey guys? Don’t do our jobs for us. This isn’t how things go viral. “Viral” isn’t when you come up with a list of all the stuff you’ve done. Those are called “the credits.” Your job is not to create any of the fun lists, the comprehensive guides to all things pineapple, snapshots of all the food Gus ate, or each character’s perfect soundtracks. That’s what we, the geeky and easily excitable, are supposed to do. Your only job is to supply us with bytes and bytes of source material through which we can virtually swim, discovering and alphabetizing all of the best parts. You guys essentially created a treasure hunt map with giant “x”s labeled “HERE’S WHERE WE PUT THE FUN STUFF.” It just doesn’t work.
All that aside, the only important question: Was the movie any good? Yeah, it was fine. It was wildly enjoyable in the way all of the Psych shows were. None of it really made sense, the characters acted in wildly idiosyncratic yet uneven ways, and Gus and Shawn are never not fun to watch together. Barring a rather touching and important appearance by Detective
Lassy Carlton Lassiter, it was near two hours of unremarkable, not-very-memorable fun. The plot involves Juliet’s partner being shot by … Well, Shawn was looking for this ring and got chased by some criminals because … And then Henry showed up and …
Damnit, time for a fourth viewing.