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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crime can be funny, so why can't crime shows?

This might sound strange coming from someone who counts "The Wire" and "Law and Order" among her favorite television shows, but I like funny crime shows.

Not like "Columbo" funny (which is just funny in a sad way, sorry "Columbo" fans), but the shows that either plainly mock the crime-show format or inject a little humor into the serious faces over at "CSI" or even my beloved "Law and Order." Because, let's face it, a lot of crime is funny -- just read the daily blotter items in any newspaper (but preferably the Press-Gazette) for a glimpse of the stupid and the ridiculous.

Apparently, I'm not alone. Both "NCIS" and "Bones" -- best described as "CSI" with humor and eccentricity -- are hits with audiences who may be a little fed up with the standard stab-and-uncover procedurals or the true-crime grittiness of a show like "The Shield." Don't think these shows aren't smart or cool, although admittedly the hipness of "NCIS" definitely skews to an... ahem... older crowd (that's right, mom, I know you love Mark Harmon but he's still old).

So, anyway, I guess that's why I'm pretty excited to see one of my favorite funny crime shows return to television on Jan. 9 for a short winter season. Now, I can totally understand why someone would not find "Psych" funny. I know some of those people, and I don't care what they think because this is one of the best comedies on television. Period. It's ridiculous. It's irreverrent. It's witty. And it doesn't take itself -- or its implausible storylines -- too seriously. Fake psychic Shawn (James Roday) and his reluctant best friend detective Gus (Dule Hill) are adorable in their bromantic quests for criminals in always sunny Santa Barbara. With a little help from Shawn's dad (Corbin Bernsen, no longer Arnie Becker from "L.A. Law"), the duo are the new-age Holmes and Watson, if Holmes and Watson were twentysomething bffs who start all their stories with flashbacks to their childhood.

It's been a long cold lonely winter... so check out some of the sun on "Psych. Episodes start airing Jan. 9 on the USA Network at 9 p.m.

-- Malavika Jagannathan,

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