I’ll put this out there: I think Psych is one of the most underrated series on television. It’s oftentimes broad and James Roday is an acquired taste, but rarely do I LOL more than watching an episode of the series.
So of course I was excited to have the series back for its fifth season premiere. Unfortunately, “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet” was full of the stuff that probably makes most people not care for the series, making it the most disappointing premiere in Psych history (I’m not sure anyone else cares about that).
I never expect Psych to deliver complicated interpretations of different races or racially charged situations, but Shawn’s indifference to the Asian gang culture and his insistence on using the just-fired Asian guy to help them was a little much. The jokes about Chinese food, PF Changs, etc. were to be expected and sometimes funny, but I don’t know, this episode didn’t stand above water on the funny-stupid level in many spots. Perhaps it’s because I was actually thinking about the series on a more critical level, I don’t know.
However, “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet” did have a number of good parts. For one, the beats with Juliet were really good, especially for a USA comedy. I didn’t expect the characters to mention the events of last season’s finale — I don’t recall them doing so after the also grim S3 finale in the S4 premiere — but a lot of the episode saw Juliet kind of deal with her emotionally draining situation with Yin. I really liked that the series decided to intermix some more serious episodes amid the stupidity, but this is the first time that there was any connection to those episodes outside of the efforts themselves. Of course, it wasn’t overly emotional or serious in tone, but Juliet’s insistence on not coming back to the department and all the characters coming to try to change her mind was both heartfelt and funny in the best Psych way possible.
Also, it seems the situation with Yin has also left its mark on Gus, who is now looking for more control over his personas and nicknames. It will be interesting to see if that actually sticks moving forward, but in this episode, Gus was awesome. His performance as the sleezy lawyer who sues everyone at the dojo was a major highlight and one of the funnier moments in recent Psych history.
Finally, despite the stupidity of Shawn’s actions and the constant references to Asian food, I did like his anger over not being able to take karate classes. The relationship between Shawn and his father is a big part of why I like the series so much and bringing Henry in to the department could create lots of territory to mine, both dramatically and comedically. We’ll see, though. Either way, glad to have Psych back.