If ever there was a dedicated Psych fan it is most definitely me. That being said I waited with great anticipation for the last few months for the two-hour special finale of season seven that would usher in their presumed last season in 2014. It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that Psych: The Musical is a ridiculous mess from the word go and left me majorly bummed with one of the most overused and annoying plot devices that TV shows are still obsessed with in this Glee-happy world of people just breaking into song for no apparent reason. In theory, it absolutely should have worked with two of the most genuine leads on cable who have more catchphrases than you can shake a stick at. The entire cast puts in a tremendous effort for what is an absolute disaster from the first non-rhyming number of ridiculousness.
It is a major bummer because despite my distaste for the genre (musicals began and ended with Grease in this reviewers opinion), if there was one show that I thought would be able to pull this off it would be the USA network’s longest running program. This is a case of a great idea on paper turning into an absolute mess that meanders around without reason for two full hours. Instead of trying to incorporate the music into the usual jokes they reverse the formula making it feel awkward and completely out of place. A definite “A” for effort but a clear case of the “hot trend” in TV not working on an otherwise terrific show.
While they preface at the beginning that this is a fairy tale of an episode, it simply never gets off the runway and realizes its potential. The plot is convoluted and unnecessary because the hype is all about the music so the non-musical parts of the episode are the background noise. For the first time in the Psych canon I actually found the plot to be totally irrational and damn near impossible to follow. Not that it really matters though, because the idea was to see Shawn, Gus, and company belt it out to the rafters. And its not that their voices suck at all but the heart of what makes Psych so darn likable is just not there. From stiff background dancers and lulls between numbers where you just do not really know what you are waiting for, I was disappointed on all fronts.
Psych: The Musical is set against the Santa Barbara theater scene and a play called Ripper that went under because of a psychotic playwright named “Z” who was institutionalized for the murder of a critic that bashed his opus…or something to that effect. Like I said, it’s really murky just what exactly is happening because you are so focused on waiting for someone to break into song at any given moment. At one point the playwright is singing during a rehearsal of his musical…which makes things all the more confusing. Somehow, Z is put away with none other than Yang (played by Ally Sheedy) in years prior. She does her loopy best as usual but it is just not enough to lift the cloud that circles this production. Neither Jules or Lassie seem like they even want to be in the episode and are fine taking a back seat to Shawn & Gus’ tired numbers that try their very best to squeeze as many Psych-isms into the lyrics as possible. It just comes off as hacky.
I have to admit that this is really tough for me to write because it isn’t every day that your favorite show royally disappoints you. It is as if the guys have finally confronted a situation that they just cannot charm their way out of…and that situation is musical theater. The halts from singing to dialogue and back and forth really prevent any continuity or momentum from being established. Basically it doesn’t really “pick a lane.” Is it a musical or a regular murder mystery? It doesn’t really commit to either.
I really wanted to love this episode. From the time that I heard about it over the summer at San Diego Con, I was counting down until the big premiere tonight. Sadly this show is not getting out of previews. I wish I had better news for the Psych devoted but this is a definite pass with zero repeat value and not one zinger worthy of the Pineapple. Lets hope that Season 8 starts off with a bang in England when it premieres on January 8th. Sorry guys but hearing them rock out to 80’s power ballads would have been a heck of a lot more fun. I recommend checking out the “American Duos” episode from Season Two and taking a pass on Psych: The Musical.