The comedic adventures of psychic detectives Shawn Spencer and Burton “Gus” Guster are unlike any other police series, in that the ridiculous shenanigans of the two lead characters are what make the show work so well. Shawn and Gus like to have fun with costumes, and there’s plenty of physical comedy, but Psych is really known for its pop culture references.
The duo are clearly children of the 80s, so a lot of their favorite jokes come from that decade. Of course, the show was also great at including current news into the tomfoolery. For all the fans who are still using these in everyday conversation, these are the 10 most relatable quotes from Psych.
10 “GUS WANTS TO KNOW IF YOUR BOAT HAS CABLE. IT’S THE SEASON FINALE OF LEVERAGE AND HIS TIVO’S ON THE FRITZ” - THE HEAD, THE TAIL, THE WHOLE DAMN EPISODE
Never one to shy away from competition, Psych features a lot of jokes about shows in the same time slot or with similar premises. The Mentalist was a constant foil, as the show also featured a fake psychic helping the police solve crimes.
We imagine that this Leverage quote came when the shows aired on the same night. Keep in mind that all these references were always very tongue in cheek, with no ill will actually intended, and most producers took them that way.
9 “I LIVED IN AN AIRPORT TERMINAL FOR A MONTH.” “THAT WAS TOM HANKS IN THE TERMINAL.” - DIS-LODGED
During season one, we learned that Shawn had several jobs while he was away from Santa Barbara. Every once in awhile he would randomly mention his former occupations, either to help during the case or just for laughs.
In classic Shawn style, we were never quite sure which ones were real and which ones were just him being him. One such moment came when he suggested that he once lived in an airport. Fortunately, Gus immediately reminded him that it was actually the plot of one of Tom Hanks’ lesser known films.
8 “I WARNED YOU SHAWN, FIRE-FIGHTERS ARE TROUBLE. I DID EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO KEEP YOU OFF THE POLE” - EARTH, WIND AND...WAIT FOR IT
Almost every police show has done a version of the cops vs fire-fighters story. Obviously, Psych couldn’t play things straight. Shawn and Gus teamed with an arson investigator to figure who set a series of fires.
True to form, Henry was none too pleased with Shawn working with the enemy and used some unfortunate words to express himself. Shawn told Henry, “And you succeeded Dad...in every conceivable way.” This was all made funnier by the fact that Henry was somewhat clueless to his hilarious flub.
7 “ONLY WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. SO EVERYTHING” - SHAWN AND GUS IN DRAG (RACING)
With our heroes headed into the world of drag racing thieves, we knew there would be Fast & Furious jokes, and the show didn’t disappoint. This one comes after Lassiter asks them what they know about street racing.
When this episode aired there had only been four Fast & Furious movies. As we all know, they’ve made it up to nine, so this joke continues to get funnier every time they make a new movie. Let’s be honest, while on the freeway we’ve all pretended to be in one of those movies at some point.
6 “WE’RE KARMA CHAMELEONS.” “WE COME AND GO” - HE DEAD
The best Psych jokes are the ones that come from nowhere and have no place in the scene. In the episode “He Dead” Shawn and Gus are trying to figure out who intentionally crashed the plane of a rich businessman.
While meeting with a woman connected to the case, Shawn responds to her question about karma by immediately dropping the Culture Club classic, with Gus jumping in without missing a beat. It’s also a great example of how in tune Shawn and Gus always are.
5 “ACTUALLY I’VE BEEN PROMOTED. IT’S CAPTAIN CRUNCH” - WEEKEND WARRIORS
Shawn and Gus were never ones to shy away from a crazy costume. We got our first glimpse of this in the season one episode “Weekend Warriors.” The guys investigated a crime at a civil war reenactment. Naturally, they had to dress the part.
As usual, Shawn took things way over the top when he added all the accessories possible to his uniform. He started with Lt. Crunch, just so he could save the captain for his big entrance. There was no question he resembled Captain Crunch, and had no problem letting everyone know it.
4 “GUS DON’T BE HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF MARZIPAN” - BOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE
One of the signature jokes of Psych are the “Gus don’t be” lines. Whenever Gus tried to be the voice of reason or reel Shawn back to reality, he would hit Gus with a don’t be. Some of the best include, “don’t be the 100th Luftballoon,” “don’t be the one game at Chuck E. Cheese that isn’t broken” and “don’t be the only black lead on a major cable network.”
A particularly memorable one came during the episode “Bollywood Homicide” where Shawn compels Gus not to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Marzipan, which is funny because it’s so wrong and Gus is such a huge Potter fan.
3 “REMEMBER DAD, YOU TREAT A WOMAN LIKE A PERSON, THEN A PRINCESS, THEN A GREEK GODDESS, THEN A PERSON AGAIN” - BLACK AND TAN: A CRIME OF FASHION
One of the hallmarks of Psych is the flashbacks to lessons Henry teaches young Shawn and how they relate to the case they are working on. Sometimes those lessons are about criminals and sometimes they’re about life, but they’re always important to the episode.
As the boys were becoming models to figure out who poisoned a local designer, Henry was reentering the dating scene. This prompted Shawn to give him some advice about how to treat women. Of course, we discover that this is the same advice Henry had given a pre-teen Shawn.
2 “HELLO I’M SHAWN SPENCER AND THIS IS MY PARTNER RADIO STAR. I’M AFRAID YOUR VIDEO WILL KILL HIM” - DEAD BEAR WALKING
Perhaps the most memorable running gag Psych has are Shawn’s introductions of Gus. There are one offs like season one’s Felicia Fancybottom or season four’s Jazz Hands, while some are more real like Gus being Bud from The Cosby Show.
Though it’s not as talked about as the others, this long introduction goes deep and has a backstory for anyone who grew up in the 80s. What makes all of these funny while still working is that Dule Hill keeps a straight face and just plays along with whatever nonsense Shawn dreams up.
1 “WE FOUND PRINTS.” “WAS HE IN A LITTLE RED CORVETTE?” “UNDER THE CHERRY MOON?” - AMERICAN DUOS
While every Psych fan has their favorite episode, “American Duos” makes the top five on everyone’s list. From Gus’ obsession with the American Idol rip off to their hilariously awesome rendition of Take On Me to dinner at Henry’s, it’s full of so many laugh out loud moments.
Shawn and Gus amp their nonsense up to spectacular levels as they work undercover to find out who’s sabotaging the talent competition. When Lassie shares fingerprint evidence with them, he gets the best response possible from the guys. It’s a joke that remains funny no matter how many times we watch it.