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Archive for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

‘Psych’ channels its own mojo

February 29, 2012

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A bromance fueled by goofball camaraderie and throwaway dialogue based almost entirely on pop culture nerd-dom, “Psych” (9 p.m., USA) enters its seventh season showing few signs of flagging.

The concept of two wisecrackers facing unending peril with glib aplomb dates back at least to the old Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “Road” pictures of the 1940s. The films may seem dated, but their comic sensibility has long influenced funny men, most notably Woody Allen and Conan O’Brien.

In tonight’s episode, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) become embroiled in yet another gallery burglary with shades of “Indiana Jones” thrown in for atmosphere. Things get trickier when Shawn enlists a thief, series regular Despereaux (Cary Elwes), to catch a ring of heist-meisters. A foppish stock character straight out of comic books, Despereaux appears to hold a spell over Shawn. Gus seems more threatened by Shawn’s man-crush on this bon vivant criminal than his romance with Juliet (Maggie Lawson). As in the old “Road” movies and Marx Brothers comedies, girls are strictly for distraction, scenery and comic relief. The real bonds of affection lay elsewhere.

• Sometimes it seems like TV writers never want to leave grammar school. Why else would they so dutifully commemorate every holiday? Sitcoms’ obsession with Valentine’s Day reminds me of third grade, when the sharing of little cards and candy was all but compulsory.

No special day is more special to the under-10 set than Leap Day on Feb. 29, a day that arrives every four years. And to have a birthday on that day marks you as both a minor celebrity and slightly pitiable. “Leap Day” story lines are at the center of tonight’s episodes of “The Middle” (7 p.m., ABC) and “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC). Does that mean they’ll only show up as repeats every four years?

Tonight’s other highlights

• Female semi-finalists compete on a two-hour “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A baby vanishes during a blackout on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Andre Braugher guest-stars on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (9 p.m., NBC).

• The Graysons circle the wagons on “Revenge” (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

A man (Richard Gere) grows increasingly unhinged after discovering his wife’s (Diane Lane) infidelity in the 2002 drama “Unfaithful” (7 p.m. and 9 p.m., WE).

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