USA Network’s series "Psych" returns from its hiatus chock full of action, starting with a guest appearance by WWE’s John Cena. This marks the continuing fourth season for the show, and Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a man whose unique observational skills has the Santa Barbara police mistaking him for a psychic. Along for the ride is one of the few people who knows the truth and continues the charade, Shawn’s best friend Burton "Gus" Guster (Dule Hill). Together they run the small business ironically named, Psych, as in a psychic detective agency.
Recently Blast was able to join John Cena and James Roday in a conference call prior to the premiere episode aptly titled, "You Can’t Handle This Episode." This latest chapter continues the show’s tradition of remarkable casting by introducing Detective Juliet O’Hara’s big brother Ewan O’Hara (John Cena), a military officer helping Shawn and Gus with a case situated on an army base.
When asked about his familiarity with "Psych" John Cena explained:
"Well, just because of the relationship with the network I’ve seen bits and piecesâ€¦[I] saw that it was my sense of humor and definitely when I got on set I knew I would fit right in. The show’s very well writtenâ€¦I love how it’s put together and I wasn’t a die hard fan, but have since become one. I really do like what they’re doing with the show and I’m happy that I can help kick off the new season, the new time slot…but it was it was an educational experience. I made some new friends and certainly had a newfound respect for what those guys."
As the character of Ewan O’Hara, Cena takes the familiar route of an action hero…at least, in the beginning:
"It was really cool, but at the same time, to have a bit of a mercenary type feel. It wasn’t the “Johnny-do-good” sort of baddest-man-on-the-planet style. This guy, the guy that I play, is a true mercenary. You know, he’s very good at what he does, but at the same time is certainly out to make money and knows he has to compromise some morality issues to get the job done sometimes, and I think that’s what leads up to a very interesting ending.
Speaking of the end, Cena answered questions about a possible return. Although uncertain, he did reveal his thoughts on the subject as well as the cast:
"I would certainly love to make another appearance. I’m so glad that they didn’t [end] my characterâ€¦I would certainly love to come back if, let’s hope we get some good ratings for the premier episode. And if we do, then hopefully I’ll be seen again.
Those guys, you knowâ€¦they take everything in stride. They got a great sense of humor, they’re willing to laugh at themselves and wink at the camera and that’s really what I like to doâ€¦we had a bunch of laughs, but those guys have a wonderful sense of humor."
Despite the ambiguous fate of his character, Cena won’t have problems filling up his schedule with work:
"I’m actually wrapping a film that’s tentatively titled â€˜Brother’s Keeper,’ but the title will change. It most likely will be released in August. Patricia Clarkson is in it as mother of the boy [who stars in it]. Danny Glover is also in it. It’s going to pan out to be a really, really good movie. It’s a drama about a young man who uses amateur wrestling as a backdrop to kind of bring a family closer together."
For fans of WWE wondering if Cena will continue to bring it to the ring or transition out into other projects like "The Rock" (aka Dwayne Johnson) did, it would seem he’s not entirely Hollywood bound yet:
"I really love what I do for the WWE. All these opportunities have spawned from my success in the WWE. So that’s, I guess that’s where my allegiance lies, but everything I do is pretty much to promote the extension of our brand, all the movies, all the TV spots.
There really hasn’t been a game plan. It’s just, I’ve learned since the first day I came on board in the WWE to be ready for anything. You know, I’m a gold recording artist. We came out with an album and I sold over half a million copies of that. I’ve done a couple movies now, I’ve had some TV spots, and all of this is opportunity is literally developed out of nowhere but it’s all been from the WWE. You just have to be ready for your opportunity and just make the best of it when it comes."
James Roday, whose portrayal of the witty and high energized Shawn Spencer, wasted no time in reminding all of us why viewers love him. When asked about the show’s theme song, Roday had to take a moment. One of several ongoing themes with "Psych," apart from finding the pineapple hidden in each episode, revolves around the theme song. Every so often, it will be revised to fit an episode. In a previous season, Shawn and Gus solve a crime revolving around the set of a Spanish telenovela, so the intro was translated into Spanish. Intro title credits were even altered to a Hindi script in order to match the recent Bollywood episode.
"Yeah there’s actually a couple people I’d love to see take a turn,” said Roday. “I think the Chipmunks should do it. I think that maybe we could structure, like, a holiday episode or something where the Chipmunks just come in and blast it and do their thing. And then I think David. A David Bowie cover of our theme song would probably go over pretty, pretty nicely as well."
With the recent departure of the show "Monk," "Psych" is now one of the longest-lasting original series’ for its network, having started back in 2006. When asked about how it felt to have lasted this long, Roday replied:
"I feel older. It’s a testament, I think, to the sort of “Little Engine That Could” mentality that we’ve had from the very beginning with the show. We have sort of stuck around long enough to be anybody’s flagship. USA does such a great job of branding and packaging their shows and you know, they move and you’ve got to keep up. You’ve really got to keep up with the train. And we’ve managed to sort of kind of continuously reinvent ourselves and become this sort of hybrid show that can stick around hopefully no matter what else is going on around it. So it feels good for us. I’m not sure if it makes any difference to anyone else, but it feels good to have lasted this long and still be standing, for sure. "
The new episode takes viewers not only into the military base, it also pays an homage to the love of WWE-style wrestling the characters Gus and Shawn share onscreen. With a surprising guest like John Cena, it begs the question as to what new identities Gus and Shawn would create if in the ring:
"I’m going to go ahead and call us Black and Tan, me of course being Black and Gus being Tan,” said Roday. “And I’m going to say that we come to the ring in our Black and Tan, (in) male model attire, and that we are what is known in the WWE universe as ‘jobbers,’ meaning that it is our job to come in and get our asses beat by whatever tag team that they’re trying to push at the time. There it is, there’s my estimation of Shawn and Gus as wrestlers."
Besides wrestling, Roday got into more detail about the setting for the episode, which was new for them:
"It was interesting because there is no military base where we shoot in Vancouver. So we managed to transform an old asylum for the mentally and criminally insane into a military base, and when you watch the episode, like, I mean I’m sure military experts you know, will probably be cringing, but I’d buy it. And anytime you put on fatigues and you get yourself into that military mindset, especially in these timesâ€¦you have to take a moment to reflect. I mean, we’re obviously silly and we don’t take ourselves very seriously and we’re a comedy. But you know the truth is there areâ€¦there are a lot of young men and women out there wearing those uniforms that put their lives on the line every day. So there was that, there was that element going on as well where we would just stop and look at each other and be like, ‘Wow. Here we are making jokes but there are other people that don’t get to make jokes.’ So it was interesting."
There’s a lot of subject matter the series has delved into from haunted houses, gunslingers, and even werewolves. But when asked about his dream episode, Roday had fun with it.
"Well, actuallyâ€¦okay, I have one and 1A. One is we do so much singing on our show and everybody sings. It just seems like we’re way overdue for a musical. We’ve just got to come up with a clever way to do it. And now that ‘Glee’ has sort of, captured the country’s attention and is in everyone’s subconscious, I think it’s probably the best time ever, because they do it so well that I think the expectation for us would be to just, just do it okay, and I know we can pull that off. So we should do a musical episode. Beyond that, I think an episode where Shawn and Gus agree to participate in some sort of dream therapy experiment where they could actually go into each other’s dreams. To me, that’s no boundaries. That’s like Shawn walking around Gus’ dream world, and everybody being able to see what Gus dreams about. I don’t know if we could top that."
Overall, "You Can’t Handle This Episode" proves that the new year looks good for the series; it’s a mixed bag of suspense, humor and drama. The most notable sequence is the departure of Shawn’s girlfriend Abby when she decides to follow her dream and work abroad for six months. This leaves the door open for a potential Shawn and Juliet union. And while it wasn’t amped up in its typical fare of hijinks, it did deliver memorable lines such as Gus’ refusal to meet up with Shawn on the docks: "You know how I feel about piers like this Shawn! They’re covered in pelican urine!" Despite its trend of "geek chic", the strength of show continues to be a product of witty dialogue and a phenomenal ensemble cast whose onscreen chemistry is easily one of the best on television.
Psych stars James Roday, Dul© Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen airs on its new schedule Wednesdays 10PM/9C on USA Network.