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There once was a time, around 2007, when it seemed that all you needed to get a show greenlit was a premise along the lines of “exceptionally observant guy passes himself off as psychic, solves crimes.” From 2008-2014, there were two shows that both fit the bill: Psych and The Mentalist. However, Psych was a comedy, so only they could get away with making fun of the other show directly. Check out this hilarious supercut of every dig Psych ever took at The Mentalist and its star Simon Baker.
What's most entertaining in the clip is how even while making fun of The Mentalist, Psych's characters and creative team seem to feel the need to defend it. Like they take credit for the show in some small way, and so they feel the need to stick up for it when other characters on the show are criticizing it. In one clip, our leads are making fun of how the show is similar to their own, and later they’re chastising people for making fun of it. It’s even implied that Psych’s fake psychic is a fan of the one on CBS. Simon Baker is like your little brother that nobody gets to pick on but you.
Psych premiered on the USA Network in 2006, and was about a guy who was so good at noticing details others didn’t that everybody thought he must be psychic, so he went along with it and used those skills to help the police solve crimes. Two years later, CBS premiered the drama called The Mentalist, which was totally different because that guy used to pretend he was psychic, but he didn’t anymore, and instead used the skills that made him a great fake psychic to help the police solve crimes. See the shows were totally different. Totally. Different.
At the end of the day, Psych itself was hardly that new of an idea. The number of shows that involve an “outsider” with a useful skill helping the police solve crimes is a fairly extensive list. Besides, if we’re going to make fun of The Mentalist, we really should be making fun of their incredibly terrible California geography. Seriously people, Davis, CA is near Sacramento in the central valley. There are no palm trees there. The only palm trees in the entire town are in front of the In-N-Out Burger. Sorry, that one’s been bugging me for awhile now.
It’s truly unfortunate that both shows ended their runs around the same time, as you get the feeling Psych would have given anything to get a Simon Baker guest spot on their own show. Think about it. Simon is a guy pretending to be psychic. Shawn and Gus have to expose him without giving away their own secret. The script writes itself. The in-jokes would have been epic.