Psych started out as a comedic detective show featuring Shawn Spencer (James Roday), a hyper-observant man-child who pretends to be psychic in order to get hired by the police force, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), his semi-cowardly and often unwilling partner, and the police detectives Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), the latter of whom is Shawn’s paramour. He also receives help from his father (Corbin Bernsen) and jobs from Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson). It later became a buddy fake-cop comedy, which occasionally moved back into the detective range. It even had some very dark episodes in the run. The Yin/Yang serial killer trilogy is an exceptionally dark work of homicide fiction. The show also loved to do parody or tribute episodes. One of the Yin/Yang trilogy, for example, Mr. Yin Presents, was a tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Throughout the episode, there are countless direct references to Hitchcock films, both the famous ones and the more obscure. That episode was a solid homage, but it pales in comparison to this episode.
Dual Spires is Twin Peaks, concentrated. In the episode, there are more than 200 references to Twin Peaks… in the last 10 minutes alone. It is absurd how much effort the crew put into their tributes, but it is clear from the performances that it was a labor of love. Weird camera angles, strange lighting, props, extras, signs, you name it, they’re a reference.
Dual Spires’s plot is the murder of Paula Merral (an anagram of Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer), while Shawn and Gus visit the town’s cinnamon festival. Since it’s Shawn and Gus investigating the murder in place of the original series character Dale Cooper, everything is a little more light-hearted. Since it’s Psych, all the supernatural elements of Twin Peaks are replaced with semi-realistic explanations, including having Ray Wise’s character from Psych reprise his role in this episode after accidentally dyeing his hair white (as opposed to it just changing in Twin Peaks). The episode successfully manages to be a loving tribute to the original show, while maintaining the dynamic of the usual Psych episodes. Perhaps the best example in the episode is the re-imagining of the Psych opening song sung to the tune of the Twin Peaks theme by Julee Cruise, who sang the Twin Peaks theme. It’s haunting, and almost a shot-for-shot remake of the intro sequence of Twin Peaks. The show constantly manages to duplicate the otherworldly and abnormal feel of David Lynch’s original vision.
While the twists and turns of the mystery of the murder on Psych turn out to be less supernatural than those of Twin Peaks, they are just as interesting, and are resolved for the most part in the episode (though, just like Twin Peaks, some things are just left out there). The jokes of the episode are well delivered, even if they are mostly bad puns, and the atmosphere of the episode is a blend of both shows. Overall, this episode manages to be a love note and a mockery of the original, much like a Mel Brooks film. And I love Mel Brooks.
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NEXT – 46: South Park
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Here’s star James Roday’s loving intro:
And the Episode, which you should buy: