Saturday, August 8, 2009

Psych Vs. The Mentalist

Yesterday in the season premiere of Psych, Shawn expressed what the writers were thinking, essentially that The Mentalist is a carbon copy of Psych. Steve Franks, the Psych showrunner offered this analogy "When you go to the cereal aisle in a grocery store, and you see Fruit Loops there. If you look down on the bottom, there's something that looks just like Fruit Loops, and it's in a different bag, and it's called Fruity Loop-Os."

I have watched every episode of both shows and enjoy both of them, so I think I can provide an objective look at the show unlike the Psych writers who seem to have sour grapes about the commercial success of The Mentalist.

The premise of The Mentalist is a former fake-psychic turned police consultant. The premise of Psych is a fake-psych police consultant. That may be similar, but both come from the idea that if someone is extra-perceptive, he/she can glean information that others can't, giving the impression of psychic abilities. Since Jane in The Mentalist doesn't claim to be a psychic anymore, everyone knows he is just meticulous in examining things a trait in regular detectives of other procedurals. Both Shawn Spencer (Psych) and Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) say funny things, and have problems with authority.

The similarities between the shows stop there. Psych is almost purely a comedy. There are no laugh tracks, but a huge part of the show is dedicated to eliciting laughs. The writing is quick and witty with references to all sorts of things. On the other hand, The Mentalist at times delves into heavy drama though it can be lighthearted at other times. Patrick Jane has a past filled with anguish and he has a lot of issues because of it. Shawn is a classic slacker who fooled around his whole life. Psych's attempts at drama are in my opinion fairly weak and I don't know how they can improve that considering how over the top Shawn is.

Both operate with real members of law enforcement, but often, Shawn will do things on his own ignoring Lassiter or Juliet. They have never managed to stop him from doing something. In The Mentalist, Lisbon can put her foot down on Jane and stop him. Psych is dedicated solely to Shawn and Gus, but The Mentalist has a multitude of other characters to explore and a serial killer they are tracking.

Steve Franks got it wrong comparing them as Fruit Loops to Fruity Loop-Os. It's more Fruit Loops and Total. Completely different products with their own merits. 


Anonymous said...

They're not totally different. It's more like comparing Fruit Loops to Fruit Squares which happen to taste like beef.

Nikki0417 said...

I think a better comparison would Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes. Both are made with the same cereal, but one's sweeter (Psych).

TV Obsessed said...

Sweeter as in more comedy oriented? They are vastly different shows that are different on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

nikki could not be more right with the corn flakes and frosties analogy

Television said...

You forgot to mention one thing. Actually a few. The Mentalist has been more successful, while Psych has been on longer. Psych is also a dramedy. The Mentalist might have funny moments but it's still on considered under the genre of drama. Psych was very original at its time. The Mentalist creator(s) felt if they made a more serious version of Psych for viewers who like drama, geared for adults it would be viewed by many of those viewers. Psych is also geared towards adults but like I mentioned before its a comedy-drama so it's different. Most dramas before The Mentalist were geared towards teens. In the US that is, I can't speak for other countries. Both of these shows are well written in my opinion. Whether you feel one is hilarious and the other is dramatic perhaps over-dramatic is up to you. The theme of The Mentalist has been done before honestly... Yet it has an outstanding cast and the actors and actresses have won many awards!! The main character (The Mentalist) seems to a great actor, I can't think of his real name. However, I've always felt The Mentalist was the crime/cop deceive version of House without all of the attitude. (Even though I've never been a big fan of House). Point is, The Mentalist has problems such as not being diverse. While Psych has problems such as the fact that besides Shawn the other characters need better development, more work on their personalities. Some things grow, though basics should never change. Now that I'm done explaining some things just aren't to be touched with/compared, I'm going to set a series recording of Psych. One of my favorite shows. It's series hiatus is almost over. No two minds think alike.

Television said...

Correction for my last post, my apologies. I messed up one of my sentences above as in my last post-
Original sentence:
I've always felt The Mentalist was the version crime/cop deceive of House.
That was the original what I meant to say was;
I've always felt that The Mentalist was the crime/cop detective version of House-tv show.
Okay well sorry for the mix-up, always as for what the creator(s) were thinking I'm not sure I was just making an educated guess. They could've been planning to make The Mentalist ten years before it aired, thanks for reading!

W. D. Stephenson said...

The reason the Mentalist feels like House is because house is a modern day medical version of Homes as in Holmes Sherlock. Also both Psych and The Mentalist are both Holmsian in creation. That being said I love the wit and humor of psych

Unknown said...

I agree with most of what has been said and would like to add that even though the overall theme is similar, the characters of Shawn and Patrick Jane are completely different, as are their motivations. With Shawn it's mostly about having fun and getting out of trouble. He's a funny guy and easy to like. Patrick Jane is deeply troubled and someone who's true intentions are often well hidden. He's also a bit of a sociopath (though a charming one). He doesn't really let people get close to him for a long time, while Shawn has his best friend Gus.
I like both shows a lot but think The Mentalist has a more serious approach and better defined characters.

Unknown said...

Fuck you

Unknown said...

I'm 8, Nearly 9 years late to this post although I have to agree with the 'fuck you' statement. I personally haven't watched Mentalist, but after reading into it, and been a huge fan of psych in no way does psych bash on mentalist for the very real possibility that CBS took the idea, barely spun it, and released. Really it's not a big deal these things happen all the time. And throughout psych, which did beat mentalist by 2 years, doesn't jab or take shots at them. Although it's in a joking manner but they only praise the show.
There is probably a LOT more behind the thoughts of the writers of psych. But from what's seen on psych you simply take it as a joke, as intended. If there is deeper meaning behind the jokes that's for each individual to evaluate themselves and decide if what they showed was a serious effort in putting Mentalist down as a rip-off series exactly the same as their show. Which isn't true, as I just stated Psych has couple times they praise the Mentalist as an amazing must watch show.

arun said...

I watched both and I like both. But Psych was lighter and I didn't feel the urgency to watch the next episode. Whereas I always was ready to watch the next episode of The Mentalist. I'm watching at the age of 29 and that might be the rain I like the more defined characters in the Mentalist and more drama in it.

danibobmk1998 said...

The Mentalist is a total rip off of premise and idea of Psych even if they made it dramatic and did their own thing. You can love the show but dont deny thats it isn't. They know it, psych knows it, we all know it. In my opinion, The Mentalist is one of the most boring shows I've ever seen with generic characters have have no development or charm. Psych has great characters and is way underrated.

Unknown said...

Psych 8 seasons 2 movies
The Mentalist 5 seasons.... nuff said

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