After a long, long, long break, Psych season 7 will finally be coming to our TV screens with an episode called “Santa Barbaratown 2, Lethal Weapon 5.” The premiere airs on Wednesday, February 27, but TV Equals was on the Psych set last summer when the series celebrated filming its 100th episode. On that day, we got a chance to sit down with three of the executive producers of the series, Steve Franks, Chris Henze, and Kelly Kulchak, to find out what fans can expect now that the show is finally back.
Psych Season 7 is going to be even better than season 6. If you think that Psych has gotten better every season, you’re not alone. Franks said, “Last year, we actually said about three episodes in, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, this season’s the best one.’ And by the way, I think Season Seven is actually significantly better than Season Six already. What we’ve seen and what we’ve, what we’ve written and what we’ve put together, it just feels really strong and we feel like we’ve figured it out. Oddly enough, this far into the process, we’re not bored or feel like we’re repeating ourselves.
Yes, the musical is coming, but who will be singing and what kind of songs will there be? By now, everyone knows that the musical episode is coming. Back then, it was just a glimmer in Franks’ eyes. “I’m working on [the musical] right now. It is all-encompassing, and it’s going to be epic in scale, and it’s really fun, and incredibly hard. It encompasses multiple genres; all my favorites. But my template is classic Disney, late ’80s, early 90s animated. So I’m starting with Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid and working out from there. I have a playlist of every song that I own from a musical, and yeah, there’s a lot of Beauty and the Beast. So I’m not ashamed.”
Pressed for more details, Franks also added, “Lassiter sings, [and] he does do some dancing at some point. There’ll be some surprises. There’s some fun stuff [and] people we’re bringing back that will make everybody happy and excited. The musical has a killer on the loose aspect, but it’s not that dark.”
Kelly Kulchak added, “There’s a lot of door closed at Steve’s office – which never happens – and you just hear the guitar playing and the laughter, and then more guitar playing and then louder laughter. And then he’ll sneak out and he’ll be like, ‘No, you can’t hear it yet.’ It’s like, ‘Come on, we gotta hear something.’
They want the audience laughing as much as possible. Asked about the lightness of their show, compared to other comedies, Steve Franks said, “It’s like everything was just dark, and even comedians, there were mean-spirited and comedy of pain. And you know we struggled with that in every episode, ’cause for me, it’s like I want people to be laughing as much as possible, but in the moments they’re not laughing, I’d like them to be grinning. And it’s just important that you feel it’s a positivity that’s coming out of it. [Shawn and Gus] make fun of each other to a certain degree, and they do horrible things to each other occasionally the way friends do. But it’s never about ‘let’s humiliate this person’ and all of that. I would like this to spread a little sunshine into people’s world, as silly and ridiculous as that sounds.”
But they like giving us the emotional stuff, too. Asked about how well they balance in those few serious moments with the funny ones, Franks said, “We never wanted to go to melodrama, but we like the drama. We like the reality of real emotional conflict and having to deal with those moments. If we get to a moment that’s too serious, we know that our fans will get a little antsy. [I like to have a serious] moment and then get to the joke as soon as humanly possible without undercutting or taking away what it is. And I think it’s such a tricky balancing act because we operate not just with funny serious; we operate with so many tongues. We get farcical at moments, and then satire; there’s so many things that we can do. The harder balancing act is funny and macabre because we go to the dark corners every once in a while. I say there are 88 keys on the piano and we want to play ‘em all. So we want to make sure that we play all the types of comedies: smart comedy, funny comedy, smart comedy, you know. I embrace the silly. I love the silly, [but] too much silly, and it’s like [our fans say], ‘Eh, what are they doing? They’re jumping the shark.’
Shawn is on a journey and so far he’s right on track. Asked whether they have a plan in mind for where Shawn is going and how the show (gasp!) would ever end, Franks said, “I know where I want to go, and-and we’re getting there. I knew what I wanted to do with the Shawn character, and I knew what his-his needs were right from the beginning. I feel like we’ve actually traveled a lot of that road in his relationship with his dad, which is always one of the two core relationships that I imagined from the pilot. Obviously, I didn’t know that the Juliet character was coming in until later, but I sort of had designs of bringing Shawn down that road. But I think they, especially with what happened at the end of last year, [are] traveling down that road. I always thought of this show as a movie. I thought of it as 120 episodes, and each episode was one minute of a movie. So at 30 episodes in, there should have been this turn of the character, this incident that sort of starts him on the journey of the change. And I think we’re kind of right on track.”
So what does all that mean now that Henry has been shot and Shawn is looking for the man who did it? Will Henry live? Well, you’ll just have to tune in on Wednesday to find out. Also stay tuned the rest of this week as we feature more interviews from our day on the Psych set, including our chats with stars James Roday, Dule Hill, Corbin Bernsen, Kristen Hill, Timothy Omundson and Maggie Lawson.
As Psych‘s 100th episode draws near in the coming weeks, we’ll also have interviews with guest stars Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd and Lesley Ann Warren, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of the 100th episode celebration with the cast and crew.
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