James Roday Rodriguez is well aware that there are folks out there who have written off his ABC drama A Million Little Things as a flagrant clone of NBC’s This Is Us. He’s also well aware that the best way to fight fire is with a little frivolity, hence his decision to address the critics straight on in Psych 2: Lassie Come Home.
Early into the Peacock sequel, Rodriguez’s Shawn scolds his father Henry (played by Corbin Bernsen) when he makes a passing reference to This Is Us. “Dad, why are you watching This Is Us?” Shawn shoots back. “They have the same show on ABC — but newer!”
As Rodriguez points out, the “silly meta” line is very on brand for the Psych franchise. (What’s more, it immediately followed a scene that cast Rodriguez’s Million Little Things scene partner, Alison Miller, as the manager of a cat-themed cafe occupying the old Psych office space.) “We basically made a show out of poking fun at ourselves and blowing up each others’ resumes,” the sequel’s star, co-writer and and EP tells TVLine. “We just felt that it was fortuitous that I’m on a show that everybody compares to This Is Us. People are like, “It’s a knockoff!” So this just seemed perfect.
“Back in the [early days of Psych] we poked a lot of fun at the Mentalist [comparisons],” he adds. “So this is old hat for us. We never miss an opportunity to break the fourth wall.”
And for the record: Rodriguez is a friend of the Pearsons. In fact, Psych vet Timothy Omundson is currently recurring on the NBC drama.
“At no point was I worried like, ‘Uh-oh, this could rub someone the wrong way,'” he says. “I know Mandy [Moore] and Sterling [K. Brown] and [series creator Dan] Fogelman. I’m stoked for those guys. They’re making a great show over there.”