Posted: 01/09/2009


Monk and Psych Return for the Winter Season

by Laura Tucker

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I always get stuck in a rut, watching regular network TV during primetime, but when I venture out of my safe zone, I always enjoy myself so much more. I resolve to live free and not pen myself in anymore, but then I go right back to my rut. I refuse to do this anymore, and with the season premieres of Monk and Psych tonight on USA, they are finding a permanent place on my DVR, starting now.

The feeling is almost like I’m holding onto a secret no one else knows about, as I’ve had the advantage of seeing advance screenings of the new episodes of Monk and Psych that will be showing Friday, January 9 on USA. I don’t want to be the keeper of this secret, though, so here’s what you don’t want to miss out on tonight.

Psych is like a much campier version The Mentalist. They both feature “psychics” that help the police on cases, but that don’t really have psychic ability. They’re just very astute and don’t let anything pass them by. Simon Baker has a lot of fun as Patrick Jane, but I think James Roday has a bit more fun as Shawn Spencer on Psych.

Spencer isn’t content to have all this fun himself, he drags his best friend, Burton ‘Gus’ Guster (Dulé Hill) along with him, begrudgingly. He’s also usually acting against the wishes of his dad (Corbin Bernsen), a former cop. In the episode premiering January 9, Gus forces Shawn into attending a funeral with him, and what his friend isn’t happy to find out, is that he’s being dragged to the funeral of Shabby the sea lion. It’s Shawn and his keen eye as he views the open casket that realizes that it looks like Shabby has been shot, setting off their investigation.

Monk, however, is like no detective ever known before with his numerous neuroses, namely his O.C.D. What I find really interesting is that I had been assuming the character of Monk was much different than his portrayer, Tony Shalhoub, but seeming his appearance on Bonnie Hunt’s talk show recently, I found quite the opposite. He spent quite some time talking about the fast flush he was about to go through, as he couldn’t stand looking at his own physique, something that is certainly undetectable to my naked eye.

In the new episode showing tonight, Monk’s long lost little brother, or half-brother as Monk points out (Steve Zahn, more familiar to us as the guy that coins the “Cap’n Geech & The Shrimp Shack Shooters” line from That Thing You Do), shows up on his doorstep. He’s escaped from prison and is intent on proving his innocence, that he didn’t do it. If there’s anyone that isn’t looking for some extra bonding time with a recently discovered brother, it’s Monk.

Both of these series, Monk and Psych, are quite different. So much so than the normal offerings on primetime, and that alone makes them worth watching. However, an even better reason to watch is that you’re always guaranteed to leave the experience with a smile on your face.

Laura Tucker  is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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