Psych

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Fandom
Name: Psych
Abbreviation(s): N/A
Creator: Steve Franks
Date(s): 2006-present
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Official USA Site
IMDB
Shawn and Gus
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Contents

Psych is a comedy mystery series with a reasonably sized and growing fandom.

Canon Overview

Shawn Spencer is immature, obnoxious, and hyper-observant, and puts all these (questionable) skills to use solving crimes. He and his long-suffering best friend Burton "Gus" Guster run a psychic detective agency and consult with the Santa Barbara PD on homicides and various other nefarious deeds. The catch is that Shawn isn't actually psychic, but his ex-cop father, Henry, trained him to observe and remember far more than the average person, and with his flamboyant showmanship and Gus's support, he pulls off the ruse successfully (most of the time). Police detectives Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O'Hara, along with Police Chief Karen Vicks, go along with the game, mostly because Shawn's too useful to ignore.

While Psych is an hour-long show, not a sitcom, and has occasional dramatic moments, the series is primarily humor, often veering into black comedy since the majority of the cases are murders. Many episodes play as parodies of/homages to cop show and procedural drama clichés. Airing on the USA cable network, it is not quite as well-known as main network shows, but has a respectable audience, and has eight seasons as of 2014.

The premise of the 2008 CBS show The Mentalist has strong parallels to Psych that have been noticed by, well, pretty much everyone,[1] though The Mentalist takes itself more seriously.

Fandom Overview

While the Psych TV show is often only one or two steps from outright parody, the fandom tends to take the characters and relationships a little more seriously. While a fair amount of the fanfiction is comedy in the spirit of the show, much of it is dramatic. There is something of a divide between slash and gen/het in the fandom, with the two groups maintaining separate fic archives, though the main livejournal community has fans of all types.

The USA Network & Fans

The USA Network appears to actively court fans and fandom. The official Psych site, in addition to having interviews, outtakes, producer blogs, and complete episodes, also includes a "mash-up" feature, where fans can edit clips of episodes together (akin to music vidding); a fairly active message board, fan art, and links to fan sites, including a link to the main gen/het fanfic archive.[2]

Fanfiction Trends

The most popular slash pairing is Shawn/Lassiter (sometimes called Shassie), which plays as a very mild sort of enemyslash; followed by Shawn/Gus, which is more a classic buddy dynamic - they've been BFF since they were five. Both of these pairings are joked about in canon on occasion, sometimes pretty overtly.

Burton 'Gus' Guster - Essay, Links and Recs which also includes many shippy moments between Shawn and Gus.

There are two main het pairings. The first is Shawn/Juliet (Shules), which the canon toyed with for several seasons, to the delight of some fans and the despair of others. Shawn and Juliet finally got together in season 5. The second is Lassiter/Juliet, which was popular during the show's Second Season, waned in Season Three, and re-emerged after the Season Four finale.

Gus/Juliet is sometimes found in the fandom as well, though less in the canon.

In addition to ship-fic, the fanfic includes a fair bit of gen, usually case-fics (many of which are more dramatic than the show ever gets) and/or hurt/comfort. Shawn is the most commonly targeted for the "hurt", and some fans will identify themselves as Shawn-whumpers.[3] While some of the h/c does focus on the Shawn-Gus, Shawn-Lassiter, or Shawn-Juliet relationships, a lot of the gen fic particularly emphasizes the Henry-Shawn father-son dynamic[4].

Pre-canon stories, especially concerning Shawn's childhood, are often explored in fics (as well as in flashbacks in the show itself), and before Shawn's mother appeared in the show in third season, several fics portrayed her as either emotionally or physically abusive to Shawn.[5]

A common trope in both slash and gen is for Shawn (or other characters) to gain real psychic powers.[6]

Controversy

People wondering why Shawn/Gus aren't a more popular pairing in the fandom, citing maybe it is due to racism.

"S/L is one of those pairings that make it clear that the prevalence of white boy slash in fandom is not just a matter of the very white material that genre TV provides. G/S are more physically attractive, personality attractive, are the leads, and provide far more canon material, yet are a minor pairing. It's not just the TV producers that are racist, sadly." [7]

http://fail-fandomanon.livejournal.com/19265.html?thread=83921473#t83921473

http://chicafrom3.livejournal.com/83366.html?format=light

Resources

It's a small fandom, but a modern LJ-centric one with good infrastructure.

Livejournal comms

For a more complete list of communities, see the Psych Newbieguide

Pairing comms

Fanfiction

References

  1. "From the moment this show was announced back during the upfront presentations in May, there have been snarky questions speculating that CBS has somehow bought into a Psych rip-off." --Matt Roush on tvguide.com, Oct 13, 2008 (accessed 1/29/2009)
  2. Official site links page (accessed 1/29/2009)
  3. "We all love a good whump. But let's try and think of a new way to torture our favorite psychic." Jenn1984 on the Vary the Violence challenge (accessed 1/29/2009)
  4. Four Floors Down, Use the Stairs in Case of Emergency by centipede, the highest-rated fic on Psychfic (accessed 1/29/2009), features all relationships, but especially Shawn-Henry.
  5. Fractures by VampKira may be the most extreme example of this trope. (accessed 1/29/2009)
  6. Saguna-brahman by shotaphile is a slashy example; the A Different Character challenge is for other characters to get the gift. (accessed 1/29/2009)
  7. Anonymous commenter on a thread at Fail-Fandomanon 10 July 2010 (accessed 10 February 2012).
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