HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon August 25, 2011
Without a doubt, Shawn Spencer is the public's favorite fake fictional psychic detective. Of course as far as I know, he's also the only one.
But that doesn't stop the second season of "Psych" from being a rollicking good time, full of crazy schemes and baffling murder mysteries. James Roday and Dulé Hill actually become even more entertaining, with less slapstick and more of a reliance on eccentric plot twists, pop culture references, and crimes that get ever weirder.
Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Hill) get swamped by reality pop culture when American Duos comes to Santa Barbara. The cruel British judge Nigel St. Nigel (Tim Curry) hires them to protect him, because he thinks that someone is trying to kill him.
A live wire and a poisoned sandwich later, Shawn agrees -- especially when a drugged-out female judge almost dies. But out of all the people who loathe Nigel, which one tried to kill him? Then the police suspect that Shawn has lost his touch when he announces that someone was killed by a dinosaur, and is confronted by a sexy FTD psychic.
But that isn't the last or least of Sean and Gus's problems -- a chop shop with secrets, bounty hunters, Gus's parents accused of Yuletide murder, jockey deaths and fixed races, nanny-related robberies, electrocutions on the catwalk, and going undercover at a telenovela, a school for the gifted, and a retirement community. They even have a run-in with a wealthy, crazy woman that Gus drunkenly married on spring break years ago... and it turns out her new fiancee is a bit shady.
Finally, Shawn and Gus are pursuing one of their weirdest cases ever. First a security guard is suspected of stealing a 3000-year-old mummy -- but then it appears that the mummy actually murdered the guard. Can Shawn figure out what is going on -- with the mummy murder, the police chief, and his oddly-behaving father?
Although it didn't break much new ground, the first season of "Psych" was very fresh and entertaining TV. Fortunately creator Steve Franks is sticking to the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and the second season doesn't deviate from what works -- there's still lots of comedy, spoofery, silly dialogue ("It's spontaneous psychic krav maga!") and enjoyable mysteries.
The first episode kicks things off a bit weakly, since the "American Idol" joke gets stretched out too far. Fortunately the mysteries after that get much more solid, deftly juggling even the funny-sounding plot twists (strangulation by mummy bandage? Refrigeration trucks?). You even get an endless parade of pop culture references, from Michael Jackson to "Shaun of the Dead," James Bond to wikipedia.com. Gotta love that.
But the best aspect of "Psych" continues to be its kooky dialogue. Usually Shawn provides it ("I hunger for the meatballs the way a jackal salivates for an injured possum"), but other characters get to as well ("Hola. Me llamo Inspector Carlton Lassiter. Me gusta queso").
Shawn and Gus remain an entertaining pair of twentysomething everymen, with Roday continuing to be eccentric, lovably charming and kooky -- although Shawn gets quite a shock in the cliffhanger ending. And Hill gets more attention, with Gus pursuing models and faking psychic powers. We even discover a secret past involving sweater vests, spring break, and a drunken wedding -- lots of fun.
And the supporting cast remains solid -- Corbin Bernsen gets to participate in a couple of the cases as Shawn's hard-nosed dad, sometimes in loud tropical shirts. Timothy Omundson continues to be entertaining as harder-nosed cop Lassiter. And Maggie Lawson rounds off the cast as the "enigma wrapped in a little blonde riddle" who is Shawn's love interest, as well as a counterpoint to Lassiter.
The second season of "Psych" continues the eccentric crimes and equally odd crimesolvers, mingling comedy and mystery with only a couple weak spots. Sweet black licorice!