Obscure ’80s references, absurd nicknames and the occasional dead body are all just part of a normal day for fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer. Well, at least as normal as you can get when your career revolves around lying about supernatural abilities.
Shawn isn’t actually psychic. He’s just hyper-observant and really good at deductive reasoning. He’s the Sherlock Holmes of Santa Barbara—if Holmes had a fondness for pineapples and psyching people out (pun intended).
A few years ago, Shawn moved to San Francisco to be with his then-fiancé, now-wife, Det. Juliet O’Hara. But after Carlton Lassiter (Juliet’s former police partner and current chief of the Santa Barbara Police Department) gets shot on the job, Shawn, Juliet and Gus (Shawn’s best friend, business partner and fellow pineapple connoisseur) return to Santa Barbara to solve the crime.
There’s just one problem. Actually, several problems: Lassiter’s insights into the case are compromised, since he’s still recovering from the mental trauma of being shot; Shawn and Gus have been told to back off, since feeding into Lassie’s fantasies could worsen his condition; and Juliet has also been instructed to stand down and let the locals do the investigating, since she’s no longer a part of the SBPD.
But of course, the words of a few professionals have never stopped Shawn and Gus (or even Juliet) before. Come on, son! No, they’re ready to stick their noses where they don’t belong, break all sorts of rules and yeah, probably solve the mystery in spite of their shenanigans.
After surviving an assassination attempt and a massive stroke during surgery, Lassiter pushes his family away, not wanting them to see him so vulnerable. He even considers the option that they might be better off without him. However, Lassiter remembers what it was like growing up without a dad (his own father died suddenly during a routine operation when Carlton was very young), and he overcomes his pride in order to be there for his family.
Shawn worries about becoming a father. He and his own father, Henry, constantly butt heads—partially because Henry was very hard on him as a kid. Shawn doesn’t want to raise his own child with that same strict scrutiny. At first, Henry is offended and says that Shawn will probably fail as a father; but then he apologizes, says that being a dad is one of the best things a man can do and tells Shawn that Shawn will be a better dad than he was.
Juliet, Selene (Gus’ girlfriend), Marlowe (Lassiter’s wife) and Karen Vick (the former police chief of Santa Barbara) are all held in high regard by the men around them. They often stand up for themselves and protect the ones they love in the face of danger.
Someone says that Gus’ dad was a good role model for fatherhood. A man stands up to an attacker to protect his wife.
Although the premise of the Psych franchise is based on a man pretending to see into the future and read people’s minds, nothing supernatural ever actually happens. Here, Shawn and Gus indulge in fantasies that involve ghosts and zombies, but each of their theories are proven wrong.
Elsewhere, a man sees visions of his dead father and has conversations with the apparition. We see a picture of a demonic-looking woman and someone calls her a “hell hag.” Someone calls an apostrophe “God’s comma.” Someone says, “From my lip to God’s ears.”
Gus and Selene hug and make out. Another couple kisses several times and hugs. A woman kisses a man on his cheek. Someone tickles a man’s foot, and the situation is perceived as sexual by onlookers; the tickler in question is accused of having a foot fetish. A woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, and we later learn that she is married—just not to her baby’s father. A nurse flirts with a man even though she knows he has a girlfriend.
People make jokes about sex, arousal and male genitals (some of these jokes are paired with crude hand gestures). A ringtone plays a song called “Mr. Bootyman” several times. A man accidentally takes a picture of another man using a urinal.
Carlton gets shot multiple times (we see the shooter pointing the gun and several bleeding wounds) and put into an ambulance. A man is shot in the chest. A woman tries to force a man to take pills that will kill him; when he refuses, she injects a lethal medication into his IV drip.
Juliet finds a girl with an infected gunshot wound. Police officers draw their weapons on several occasions. A criminal points guns at several people before getting stabbed in the eye with a pregnancy test. A dog meanders into a hospital room with a severed human hand.
Two guys crash a motorcycle into a shed while being chased by men who threatened them with knives. Someone’s corpse is found in a freezer. A bleeding person hides in some stables, and his bloodstained clothes and bandages are later found. Shawn and Gus engage in several slap fights. Gus wrestles another man. A man faints.
Someone says a dog is a known “biter.” We hear that a man had his hand cut off by bad guys and then jumped off a bridge, but we later learn that only the hand part was true.
We hear 14 uses of “h—,” seven of “d–n” and three each of “a–” and “d–mit.” We also hear the term “douche-hawk.” God’s name is misused four times. A woman scolds herself for saying “h—” instead of “heck.”
Shawn and Gus discover that doctors are illegally administering psychotropic drugs to their patients, and several people who are given these medications experience hallucinations. (Shawn and Gus see their dead friend, Mary, after accidentally ingesting the drugs.)
People drink in a bar. Someone compares vodka to kerosene. A medical patient appears high from his medications. We learn about a former drug dealer.
People lie continuously. Shawn and Juliet feel particularly bad for lying to each other about working on Lassiter’s case, but keep finding ways to justify their fibs. A police chief discourages lying while underhandedly supporting breaking the rules. A man rides a motorcycle despite promising his wife that he wouldn’t anymore.
A woman mocks a man for hallucinating his father as he dies. A man confesses to a crime he didn’t commit, despite having a family, because he is scared of being killed. Several people are blackmailed. A man admits to money fraud and also pretends to be comatose. Some people steal a doctor’s identity.
Toilet humor plays a large role in the dialogue, with multiple jokes regarding bowel movements. We see the backs of two men while they urinate. A man sticks his finger down his throat to spit up a pill. Two men sing a short song about breastfeeding. We hear about an infant playing with a spleen in a coroner’s office.
Shawn and Gus sometimes act childish, being greedy and insensitive towards recovering patients. They also sometimes joke about race.
Psych 2 is a sequel to the 2017 movie Psych: The Movie, which itself was based on the popular TV series that ran on USA Network from 2006 to 2014. And in many ways, it gives fans of the show (also known as “PsychOs”) a reason to celebrate with the return of beloved characters, “Shules” and catchphrases from the original series.
Fans will especially appreciate the return of Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (played by Timothy Omundson) whose character was largely omitted from the first movie due to Omundson having a real-life stroke (much like his character) just before the start of filming. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Omundson said that he missed being on set with the cast and crew for the first film but was “swaddled in love” upon his return for the sequel.
Unfortunately, despite fun, fan-oriented Easter eggs hidden in this cinematic spinoff, Psych 2 also has quite a few content issues too.
Perhaps it’s just me, but incidences of sexual innuendo in Psych 2 feel far more frequent than the original series. (That said, Plugged In’s Paul Asay also noted some inappropriate material in his review of the show back in 2014.) Meanwhile, Gus and Selene’s extramarital relationship, while played for laughs, is also problematic. And there’s still some issues with toilet humor and foul language.
All in all, I would’ve been a lot happier for Lassie (and the rest of the cast) to come home if I hadn’t had to cringe through a disappointing amount of cheap humor, gross jokes and sexual references.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.