'Psych' plays it for laughs at Paley

Panel discussion covers show's origins, upcoming season

Ready for some pineapple goodness?

The creative team and cast of USA's pseudo-psychic detective series "Psych" definitely were on Thursday night at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Topics at the show's panel discussion ranged from five-year plans and pineapples to "The Mentalist" and bromances.

The very tall Steve Franks, creator and one of the many writers on the show, started the night off with jokes – and it continued throughout the panel. "It's the first time the crowd inside the room has been larger than our average broadcast audience," Franks said to a sold-out crowd.

"The show appeals to 15-year old-boys and 16-year-old boys," Franks joked later, introducing a screening of "A Very Juliet Episode" that he co-wrote with writer Tim Meltreger and a gag reel from Season 4 that got the audience going.

When you've been on the air for four years like "Psych" has, the serious questions no longer apply, and that was obvious from the get-go when moderator Jimmi Simpson, who played a vital role in the pivotal Season 4 finale, took the reins.

Right off the bat, Simpson asked James Roday (Shawn) about his character's five-year plan.

"Discovering, inventing or stealing a pill that reverses the aging process, kidnapping Barbara Hershey and watching 'Boxcar Bertha' with her, convincing Gus to purchase one of those Japanese video games where you dance ... and possibly kissing Detective Juliet O'Hara on the mouth," Roday deadpanned, with the last comment garnering the most interest from the audience.

For Dule Hill, his character Gus' five-year plan would follow a more familiar route. Gus would "do 'Psych' for a few more years, but not a lifetime," Hill foresaw, adding that Gus – also a pharmaceutical rep – would probably like to have a family and somehow keep Shawn involved.

Shawn and Gus' friendship is central to the show. Best friends since they were tiny tots, it was clear that there was nothing that could keep the two apart. When Simpson asked why Shawn has trouble committing to the ladies (aside from Shawn's long-term relationship in the fourth season with Rachael Leigh Cook's Abigail), Roday served it straight.

"The sad and true answer is that they aren't Gus ... If he could find the female version of Gus, he would settle down," he said, prompting heavy laughter.

"Gus wouldn't know what to do without Shawn," Hill commented at one point.

In every episode of the show, a pineapple makes its way into the background of a scene. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not, but the pineapple that started it all almost didn't make it into the pilot.



Roday shared that they were shooting a scene in Gus' apartment and he noticed a random pineapple above the refrigerator, picked it up and ad-libbed the following, "Should I slice this baby up for the road?"

To add more relevance to the pineapple, Franks used to work at Disneyland's Tiki Room where they serve the Dole pineapple whip.

At one point in the evening, a question was posed about "The Mentalist," the other psychic detective show that consistently grabs more than five times the ratings "Psych" receives.

Franks couldn't help but joke about star Simon Baker's waxed chest, saying that that was the reason "The Mentalist" has 14 million viewers each week. "Simon's dreamy," executive producer Chris Henze jumped in, an observation the panelists supported.

When asked if Chief Vick was in on Shawn's non-psychic abilities, Kirsten Nelson gave some insight. "I've been playing it that she doesn't believe him," she shared to the crowd and to Franks, who confessed he wasn't too sure himself.

For Vick, Nelson says she views Shawn and Gus' help like a business agreement, thus the formality and turning the blind eye to Shawn's lack of ability. When it comes down to it, Shawn gets results and it doesn't matter how he does it as far as Vick's concerned. Simpson chimed in: "Shawn keeps the bottom line satisfied."

As a hypothetical, if the gun-loving Lassiter ever were to run the Santa Barbara Police Department, Tim Omundson said there would be better results. "There would be a lot more arrests," he said.

Because of his weekly team-ups with the SBPD on "difficult" cases, would Shawn ever consider working full-time at the station?

"I think Shawn's found himself in a good situation," Roday said, adding that Shawn would feel pigeon-holed if he were forced to do police work on a daily routine. Plus, Shawn would easily be bored by the set of rules and guidelines he'd be expected to follow, according to Roday.

Roday shared his experiences getting his role on "Psych." "I had to go to Steve Franks' house and I had to spend 15 minutes in the closet where 'anything can happen,' " he joked.

Franks, Henze and executive producer Kelly Kulchak teased to several episodes viewers can expect in the upcoming fifth season, which begins production in Vancouver on Tuesday. Among the themes are Jackie Chan/"Rush Hour," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," UFOs and "The Fast and the Furious." It was also teased that Lassiter and Gus will be tap-dancing in an early episode.

Geeks can also rejoice because according to Franks, it is almost confirmed that the cast will be back at Comic-Con this summer after a hugely successful panel last year.

"I just want to have Comic-Con every week!," Franks exclaimed.
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