Part of Psych's charm from the beginning were the coy allusions to outside pop culture. The following is a classic exchange between Gus and Shawn:
(Gus steps on a floorboard, making it creak.)These allusions enhance the dialog and the viewer's enjoyment. I probably catch only about 1/2 of them but the ones I do give me the giggles and a little bit of pride for being able to spot them.
Shawn (to Gus): Dude, there's something under there.
Gus: What do you think it is?
(Shawn starts to make heartbeat sounds.)
Gus: Will you stop it, Shawn. You know how that story gives me the creeps. (When Shawn won't stop making heartbeat sounds, Gus gets behind a creaky rocking chair, rocks it, and speaks in an elderly voice): Norman! Norman! Norman! (Shawn freaks out.)
|Wild West allusions always work with Timothy|
|Omundson who looks fantastic with and|
|without facial hair.|
So the multiple allusions in Psych's early seasons are not only delightful but enhance the episodes, especially when they are joined by non-allusive banter:
Shawn: Is this a briefcase or an attaché?Unfortunately, as the show continued, the allusions become not clever dialog but the whole point. That is, the show become . . . satiric is actually not the right word . . . entirely referential.
Gus: I think it's a briefcase. Attachés have a softer shell.
Shawn: Really? That's all that differentiates them, a softer shell?
Gus: Well, "attaché" does have a better ring to it.
Shawn: Let's go with attaché.
|Really? That was your plan? That has to|
|be the poorest executed attack in history. I|
|was two feet away from you all the time. I mean,|
|you have to be absolutely, without doubt,|
|the worst murderer I have ever seen.|
Yet when Christopher Lloyd showed up in the Season 7 spoof/tribute to Clue, he wasn't funny at all. And he can be! But he wasn't there to be his own crazy/chewing-the-scenery self (which Tim Curry was); he was there to remind us of the other movie.
More and more of Psych's episodes in later seasons depend not on a plot that happens to contain funny references but on the funny references that sort of, maybe, not really try to form a plot--except funny references all by themselves do not a story make. And oddly enough, they eventually cease to be funny.
Humor needs context.