Though Hitchcock, “Jaws,” “Friday the Thirteenth” and a number of other less-elaborate homages have all come before it, star (and episode co-writer) James Roday says this is the thematic one-off he always wanted to do.
Zap2it spoke with Roday before the episode’s premiere, and the “Twin Peaks” �ber fan explained how it came to be — and how tackling the eerily whimsical tone was not an easy task.
“I started talking about it in the first season,” Roday tells us. “We thought it was a good idea, but we hadn’t really established ourselves as the kind of show that did stuff like that. So we didn’t really know how to do it. Two, three years later, we branched out, changed the landscape of our show. We got more confident. I think waiting is the best thing we could have done.”
Conveniently timed to the series’ 20th anniversary, the labor of love notably includes a number of original “Twin Peaks” cast members. One of them, Roday’s friend Dana Ashbrook, helped rally the alums for the episode, which finds Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Dul� Hill) in a Twin Peaks-esque town (Dual Spears) trying to solve the murder of a young woman not too different from Laura Palmer.
“We sort of crafted these characters specifically for the actors that we wanted and crossed our fingers,” says Roday, who ended up getting Catherine E. Coulson, Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee and previous “Psych” guest star Ray Wise, among others. “I think what we discovered is that a lot of them haven’t seen each other for 15 or 20 years.”
Writing in the characters wasn’t a problem for Roday, but capturing the Lynchian tone was a bit more daunting. He started by writing scenes he thought would work in the original series and then went from there.
“Our audience is willing to give us some stretching room,” he says. “There’s always going to be jokes and Shawn and Gus are going to have their little banter, but I wasn’t so much worried our tone as I was about nailing the tone of ‘Twin Peaks.'”
And though the episode hadn’t premiered yet when we spoke, he had screened it in front of his toughest audience. The Paley Center for Media hosted a viewing party for the “Psych” cast and participating “Twin Peaks” alums in Los Angeles on Nov. 29.
“It was pretty awesome to watch them watch the episode,” says Roday. “It’s just one of those experiences. We’ll always remember shooting it, we’ll always remember meeting them. It’s the gift that kept giving.”
Here’s a first look of the gift in question: