Psych: 10 Ways Gus Is Actually The Main Character | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

USA Network’s Psych might be thought of as Shawn Spencer’s story. But it’s easy to make the case that Burton Guster is the real main character.
When Psych first premiered on USA Network in 2006, viewers were led to believe that the crime dramedy series would focus on the mischievous Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez), a fake detective who causes as much trouble as he solves. Soon enough, however, it became clear that the series was in fact crafted in the style of a buddy cop series, with Shawn’s best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), entering the scene.
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Although Shawn is still treated as the primary main character throughout the series, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that Gus is, in fact, the series’ rightful main character. He is universally loved by fans and even preferred by many over Shawn. Gus may even be the best character to come out of the series, which is a title that not many main characters can lay claim to.
There are many words that could be used to describe fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer, but responsible is definitely not one of them. Burton Guster, however, is the very pinnacle of responsibility. Out of the two of them, he is the one who thinks about the bigger picture and who makes plans for their future.
He is also responsible for financially supporting both himself and Shawn, going so far as claiming Shawn as a dependent on his taxes. Shawn and Gus might be the same age, but Gus is really the only adult in the friendship.
Shawn may be able to pass as a psychic due to his incredible perception skills, but there are some areas of life in which he just isn’t as knowledgeable as Gus is. As previously discussed, Gus is the only one of the two with a real understanding of the adult world and everything it entails.
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But even more importantly, Gus is the only one who knows what it means to be Black. He frequently offers insightful commentary on cases with racial inequity involved and even sneaks in some choice snarky commentary along the way, especially at Shawn’s expense.
Without question, Shawn and Gus are friendship goals, but never once does Psych make it feel like Shawn is the only main character and Gus is just his best friend supporting character. Shawn and Gus function as true partners, and Gus is given his own fully realized life outside of their friendship, no matter how close and codependent they can sometimes act.
Gus has a vibrant career in pharmaceutical sales outside of his work at Psych, a close relationship with his parents and sister, many nerdy hobbies, and ever-changing love life. His character is never once reduced to a punch line or supporting player.
It’s true that Psych, the series, would never work without Gus as Shawn’s partner. But it’s also true that Psych, the business and detective agency, would never have made it without Gus’s expertise. As one of Psych‘s smartest characters, Gus is the one who takes care of all of Psych’s financials and formalities, often paying their work-related bills with his own income.
Beyond his key proprietary role, Gus is also the logical half of the detective duo. He reins Shawn in from his worst and often reckless impulses on a regular basis. It’s safe to say that Psych would never have gotten off the ground as a business if it were just Shawn on his own.
When Gus is first introduced in Psych‘s pilot episode, he is a mild-mannered pharmaceutical sales representative who is hesitant to embark on yet another one of Shawn’s hare-brained schemes. But by the end of the series, he is a proud member of a detective agency who relishes every adventure and his and Shawn’s “friendship for the ages.”
Even though Gus is consistently neurotic and even though his interests and love of junk food never change, Gus grows up and grows into his own confidence over the course of the series’ eight-season run. Shawn doesn’t mature very much, if at all, but Gus matures in spades.
Shawn may be half of Psych‘s main romantic storyline via his relationship with Juliet, but Gus is the character who is trying to find love even more frequently than Shawn. Across the entire series, Gus embarks on one unsuccessful relationship after another, with many of them not ever getting past a first date.
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He does eventually find what he believes to be real love with girlfriend Rachael in season 7, only to wind up heartbroken. The subsequent Psych films still find Gus looking for love, which he has now found with Selene. His romantic journey has been longer than Shawn’s, and receives just as much focus, even if it isn’t as successful.
Psych is a series with incredibly quotable characters, including Woody Strode’s hilarious quotes and Shawn’s relatable and snarky one-liners. But few characters get as many hilarious catchphrases as Burton Guster does, or are the subject of as many cheeky catchphrases as he is.
Gus is, of course, the target of the series’ famous “Gus, don’t be…” quotes. But he also has his own unique catchphrases, including “You heard about Pluto? That’s messed up, right?”, “C’mon, son,” “You know that’s right,” and a particularly suave delivery of “Hello” as a pickup line.
Shawn Spencer is a hilarious character, thanks to a combination of the series’ incredible writing and James Roday Rodriguez’s natural comedic talent. But time and again, Burton Guster proves that he is the series’ true comedic star, thanks to Dulé Hill’s unflagging commitment to the role and all of the ridiculous behaviors and idiosyncrasies it requires.
In many episodes, Gus is the dramedy equivalent of a scream queen, with a piercing childlike scream that instantly brings the laughs. He also has a real knack for physical humor and repetitive, fast-paced dialogue, which leads to multiple hilarious stunt sequences and Shawn and Gus’s frequent “whisper fights.”
There are very few episodes of Psych that could be classified as truly bad ones. But most of Psych‘s best episodes are ones that feature a particularly strong focus on Gus’s character. In fact, two Gus-centric episodes in season 6 and season 7 are widely considered the series’ very best.
Season 6’s “Last Night Gus” is the series’ The Hangover tribute which finds the gang retracing their steps from the night before, leading to Gus getting caught up in a murder mystery. Season 7’s “Office Space” finds Gus worrying he could be framed for murder after his boss, with whom he had a hostile relationship, turns up dead. The episode features Hill’s best physical performance in the entire series.
Sometimes, there are quotes from a show that really say it all when it comes to the argument that they’re trying to make. Shawn may have been considered by many to be the lead character of Psych, but leave it to Shawn to prove viewers wrong by pointing out that Gus is “the only Black lead on a major cable network.”
The significance of this fact, both in Shawn’s wording and in the importance of Gus’s role as a major cable representation of a well-written Black character, speaks for itself. Psych may have started as Shawn’s show, but Gus is the star at the end of the day for reasons that mean so much more.
NEXT: One Quote From Each Psych Character That Perfectly Sums Up Their Personality
Katerina is a List Writer here at Screen Rant with a background in literary criticism and creative writing. She has been in love with all things film and television since she saw her first movie in theatres at 2.5 years old (Muppet Treasure Island, in case you were wondering). She has a passion for character-driven stories with dynamic but flawed leads, and a special weakness for all things 1980s. If she’s not ranting about characters who deserved better or typing away at one of her many fan fiction epics, she’s probably asleep.
She’s been living in a galaxy far, far away since she was 11 years old, though she makes the occasional stop in Themyscira, Hawkins, and Westeros – and she wouldn’t have it any other way.


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