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It was anything but serious tonight at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills as the cast of USA's comedic crime series "Psych" was honored. The cast and creative team were there and so was our Jim Halterman, who followed the proceedings minute by minute.
7:06 PM - "It is probably accurate to say that the premise of 'Psych' follows in the tradition of classic TV detective teams but most similarities end right there," says Paley Center guru Craig Hitchcock, who kicks off the night.
7:08 PM - Actor Jimmi Simpson, who has guest-starred on "Psych" and is currently on the big screen in "Date Night," is tonight's moderator and jokes that he will be the 'Ferry Man' taking us from one end of the evening to the next. "We'll be getting in my rickety little boat made of half-baked anecdotes, ill-timed pauses and lies. It's going to be fun."
7:09 PM - Jimmi invites "Psych" creator Steve Franks to the podium. Franks' opening line? "I am this tall." (He's 6'8") Steve jokes "Even though tonight's crowd is a first for the Paley Center, it's the first time the crowd inside the room has been larger than our average broadcast audience." He also says that the show appeals to not only 15-year-old boys but also 16-year-old boys. (It's going to be a joking kind of night, folks!)
7:11 PM - Steve introduces the screening of the "A Very Juliet Episode," which is one of his favorites because, he says, he co-wrote it (with Tim Meltreger) and directed it but first up is a short blooper reel that gets everyone in the right, goofy spirit to watch the episode.
8:02 PM - After the screening, Jimmi returns and brings the "Psych" crew to the stage - Kelly Kulchak! Chris Henze! Kirsten Nelson (Chief Vick)! Tim Omundson (Lassiter)! Maggie Lawson (Juliet)! Dule Hill (Gus)! James Roday (Shawn)! And Steve Franks!
8:04 PM - Everyone happily greets Jimmi, who, in turn, gets the audience to lend a round of applause for the show. Jimmi also asks who sings the theme song and everyone points to Steve Franks.
8:06 PM - What is Shawn's five-year plan? Jimmi asks. James says, "Discovering, inventing or stealing a pill that reverses the aging process and kidnapping Barbara Hershey and watching 'Boxcar Bertha' with her, convincing Gus to purchase one of those Japanese video games where you dance for your score and possibly kissing Detective Juliet O'Hara on the mouth."
8:08 PM - Jimmi asks Dule if there's a breaking point for Gus, who is often the good spirit to Shawn's antics. Dule admits that Gus and Shawn are joined at the hip and doesn't think there could be a breaking point. "Gus wouldn't know what to do without Shawn."
8:09 PM - Jimmi reads an online viewer's comment that thinks Juliet is "bringing the sexy back in female law enforcement." Roday adds that nobody has done that since Tyne Daly in her "Cagney & Lacey" days.
8:11 PM - Jimmi (and a curious Steve) wants to know from Kirsten if Chief Vick actually knows that Shawn really has no psychic ability. While it's never been exactly addressed on the show, she says that she doesn't believe Shawn but he manages to get results and that's what's important. "Shawn keeps the bottom line satisfied," says Jimmi to Kirsten. "Yes, he does," she coyly agrees. Steve comments that he loves the relationship between Vick and Shawn.
8:13 PM - Would Shawn ever work full-time for the Santa Barbara Police Department? Roday says no because his character could only do police work the way he does it without growing bored with the process (as he undoubtedly would if he had to follow the rules).
8:14 PM - Why does Roday think that Shawn is something of a commitment-phobe with the ladies? "The sad but true answer is that they aren't Gus... I think if he could find the female version of Gus he would settle down." Big laughs all around.
8:16 PM - What is Gus's five-year plan? Dule says Gus probably wouldn't do the Psych thing for a lifetime but he'll be at it for a while longer. Dule does reveal that Gus will be bringing in da noise and bringing in da funk in an upcoming episode. Maggie reveals that she may be involved in the noise and da funk but jokes that she can bring the krumping aspect to the dance floor.
8:18 PM - How would it be if Lassiter was running the show at the Santa Barbara Police Department? "There'd be a hell of a lot more arrests." Who would win a wrestling match between Lassiter and Chief Vick? Everyone agrees it would be the Chief.
8:20 PM - "Glee" star Jane Lynch played Chief Vick's sister so Jimmi asks what Chief Vick would do if she was in a mall and she saw a bunch of annoying kids start to sing a Journey song? "See if she could approach this as a sane situation, get things under control and then take the lead... the Chief needs to control."
8:22 PM - Chris also says the WWE crossover event earlier this year with actor/wrestler John Cena really helped bring in more young viewers. Kelly adds that they weren't really doing anything different but the move to Wednesday night made a big difference. Kudos given to standing-in-the-back USA President of Original Programming Jeff Wachtel for moving the show from its Friday timeslot.
8:25 PM - "We're doing an 'Alien'/'Close Encounters' type-episode and it's never 'Close Encounters'... first of all we can't afford that because we're shooting in Vancouver but we do our own spin on it and, for us, we get to play in a really fun world." - Steve on some upcoming episodes. Kelly also mentions they'll be riffing on "The Fast and the Furious," UFOs and the Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker film "Rush Hour."
8:27 PM - Steve admits that he doesn't get a lot of calls from James except when he is asked to do a fight scene in a rock quarry, a motorcycle race and slide down a tree all in one episode, which were his tasks in the episode screened tonight. What story point would make Dule call Steve? "Gus is in a dress... "
8:30 PM - Who would be faster in a foot race - Dule or James? Jimmi observes Dule's thighs as "stallion-like" but Dule says that while James is pretty fast he would inevitably get ahead of him.
8:31 PM - Does Juliet think about Shawn in his underwear? Maggie, after acknowledging that James's face has gotten awfully red, said that Juliet has a rolodex in her mind that has a little of everyone, including the Chief.
8:33 PM - Tim marvels at the range of his character on the show. "Lassiter gets such ridiculous, silly moments and then the next episode it's the most dramatic stuff I've ever played as an actor."
8:35 PM - "Because they are guests in my station and they are due that sense of formality," Kirsten on why the Chief normally addresses Mr. Spencer and Mr. Guster instead of by their first names.
8:38 PM - Roday on getting to be a part of "Psych" - "I had to go to Steve Franks's house and spend 15 minutes in a closet where anything could happen." Then, he gets more serious and says of his experience on the show, "Every opportunity I could have dreamed they have given to me."
8:40 PM - The first Q&A is about the regular ribbing that CBS's super hit "The Mentalist" gets on the show. While everyone agrees that star Simon Baker is dreamy, Steve says that Baker waxing his chest is worth 14 million viewers. He also says that "The Mentalist" people are dancing in money.
8:42 PM - Steve confirms that the show will be back at Comic Con.
8:43 PM - What would the cast like to take from the set once the show wraps? Kirsten would like to take a leopard print shirt that she wore on the show once for the sole reason of igniting it. James would like the toy frog in the Psych office named Winkie. Dule would like the Michael Jackson jacket he wore in an episode and also the Jheri curl.
8:45 PM - Steve says he would take actor Sage Brocklebank, who plays the recurring character Buzz McNab. Some trivia Steve offers - "Sage Brocklebank is this world class poker player who plays poker in these basements with Russian gangsters so if, for some reason, you stop seeing Sage Brocklebank on the show, don't blame me!" Kelly admits that if she could take anything it would be Dule.
8:47 PM - How did the pineapple come up and who gets to hide it each week? All fingers point at James. James says it started in the pilot when he shot a scene in Gus's apartment, saw a pineapple on the fridge and improvised picking it up and saying "Yo, should I slice this baby up for the road?" The pineapple moment almost got cut from the pilot but stayed in and the rest is history. Steve tosses out more pineapple trivia - he once worked at DisneyLand for 8 and a half years and he was the foreman to the Enchanted Tiki Room that was sponsored by, of all companies, Dole.
8:49 PM - "Psych" writer Saladin K. Patterson takes the mic and asks Dule if the rumors are true that as a child he played Bud on "The Cosby Show" and/or Dudley on "Diff'rent Strokes." Dule confirms that it was not him in both cases and he also was not in the film "Primary Colors."
8:50 PM - The writing staff is introduced and given a big round of applause by the crowd.
8:52 PM - An amorous female fan asks how one would get a role to play the new love interest of James Roday on the show.
8:53 PM - That's a wrap for tonight from the Paley Center for Media!
The fifth season of "Psych" kicks off this July on the USA Network.