I have a confession to make: up until a few days ago, I had never seen a full episode of Psych. Heck, I didn’t even know what the show was about! USA’s hit show had been on the air for five years, and I still hadn’t given it the time of day. I don’t know what my problem was. I had missed the first season and then never really made it a priority to try and catch up. I mean, I was giving other USA dramas the time of day (see: White Collar, Covert Affairs, Suits, etc). Psych just wasn’t one of them.
Until … I attended Psych Fan Appreciation Day – an event thrown by USA and the Psych team last week in NYC to celebrate the show, the fans, and the premiere of the sixth season (airing tonight on USA at 10pm EST). The entire cast came out, including stars Dulé Hill, and James Roday, as well as creator Steve Franks, a slew of guest stars from past and present (Ally Sheedy, Phylicia Rashad, Dana Ashbrook, among others), producers, and network executives. Oh, and over 1,200 fans – or “Psych-Os,” as they call themselves – all lined up to honor their favorite show.
The evening included a flashy green carpet (a signature color of Psych), an advanced screening of the Season 6 premiere episode, a killer Q&A with the entire cast and Franks, a few trivia competitions between fans, and more free Psych swag than I’ve ever seen in one place. We’re talking footballs, skateboards, foam pineapple fingers, real pineapples (apparently there’s one in every episode), personalized Polaroids. T-shirts, toasters – the list just goes on and on. Couldn’t make it in person? Well the green carpet and the Q&A were all streaming online, in an exclusive show hosted by Andy Berman. And the official Psych Twitter account was giving you the play by play.
It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. They had thought of everything. The cast interacted with the fans in a way I’d never seen done before. The network executives seemingly talked to every single person in that room. The excitement was impalpable. This was something special. And I was out of my league.
Luckily, I had a secret weapon. Days before the event, as I tried to make it through five seasons of Psych on DVD, I had taken to Twitter to find help. I needed the biggest Psych fan out there. And when I found Kathryn Treadway, it was clear I had hit the jackpot. We’re talking a girl who knew this show inside and out. Who could cite episode titles, notable dialogue, and all kinds of crazy facts about the cast with ease. She was my ace in the hole. So I invited her to come along, work the press line with me, and show me what Psych Fan Appreciation Day was like for a true Psych fan.
See the perks of following me on Twitter? (Shameless plug)
PHOTO CAPTION: Our Psych-O Kathryn Treadway with the stars of Psych. Clockwise from Top Left: Dulé Hill, Corbin Bernsen, Maggie Lawson, and James Roday
Kate did pretty well for herself on the green carpet, snapping photos with most of the cast. We learned a lot of interesting tidbits and spoilers. Don’t go looking for cross-over episodes anytime soon. USA co-president Jeff Wachtel pretty much shut that idea down. In other disappointments, we won’t get to find out the father of Karen Vick’s baby this season – though actress Kirsten Nelson would love to see Hugh Laurie, Pitbull, or David Bowie play the role. Good choices! Corbin Bernsen wants to follow in the footsteps of Psych’s Twin Peaks and The Shining cast reunions by staging a L.A. Law reunion. If Dulé Hill was forced to spend some time on a deserted island alone, he’s bring costar James Roday with him. Maggie Lawson isn’t at all ashamed of her 2002 starring turn in Nancy Drew – and is a die-hard SYTYCD fan. And for all the true Psych-Os out there, James Roday is only in five fantasy football leagues right now, worships the Tennessee Titans, and wants quarterback Aaron Rodgers to guest on the show next season. Oh, and Roday uses BedHead straightening product in his hair. Don’t ask how that came up.
But what did come up in every interview we had that day was just how much the Psych folks loved and appreciated their fans.
The whole idea for the event started with them in the first place. As USA network co-president Chris McCumber told us, the fan enthusiasm at Comic-Con a few years back planted the seed: “We saw the way fans were so fanatical about the show. And they treated these guys like rock stars. So we said, ‘let’s give back to the fans.’ They’ve made it such a hit for us, it’s time to say thanks.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Kirsten Nelson. “We have the best fans. I’m freaked out by how many people there are. It’s really incredible.” Maggie Lawson agreed. “Is this not the coolest thing ever?” she asked us. And Corbin Bernsen put it the most bluntly: “You don’t see this for Burn Notice!”
Even Ally Sheedy – iconic Brat Pack member and star of such hits as The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire – and who’s only guest-starred on Psych three times – couldn’t get enough of the fandom: people come up to me all the time on the street to ask me about the show,” she told us. “There’s a huge following for this show – and deservedly so!”
But the two people who probably feel the effects of the fandom more than anyone are stars Dulé Hill and James Roday. Hill – no stranger to hit shows after his seven-season run in The West Wing – was still “floored” by the turnout. “After six season, that there’s that much interest in the show is amazing,” he told us. “It’s really important we tell them how much we appreciate the support through the years.”
Roday had bolder things to say: “Our fans are the greatest fans in the world,” he boasted. “I say that without being on any other shows, of course. But I just feel like they get it, you know? They get what we do and why we do it. It’s just really really cool. And it doesn’t matter if we’re here at this event or at Comic-Con or if I run into a bunch of them at the airport. Just really cool fans who appreciate what we do, and as a result, we appreciate them right back.”
Going into Psych Fan Appreciation Day, I had only made it through about three episodes of Psych. Now, the show’s got a permanent spot on my DVR. Part psychic detective drama, part quick-witted comedy, part pop-culture tribute show, Psych has just about everything I look for in a USA show. But most of all, it’s surrounded by a phenomenally grateful cast, an enthusiastic fanbase, and network executives who go out of their way to bring those two groups together. Pretty cool, huh?
So while I did appreciate all the great intel super-fan Kathryn Treadway provided me, ultimately, it was easy for me to see for myself just why Psych was so special – and fall for the show all on my own. If you’re like me and you’ve never caught Psych before, I suggest you tune into the Season 6 premiere TONIGHT – Wednesday, October 12th at 10/9c on USA networks. Don’t make me turn the Psych-Os on ya!
PHOTO | ADAM DAVID KISSICK