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What's Up With Pineapples On 'Psych'?

Pineapples have become an unofficial symbol of the "Psych" fandom. If you're not in on the joke, here's all you need to know. 

By Tyler McCarthy
Psych actors sitting with a pineapple pliushy

Even casual “Psych” fans have likely figured out the show has a bit of an obsession with pineapples. Although they don’t have much to do with the plot or characters, the fruit makes an appearance in every episode of the series and its spinoff movies, prompting even diehard fans to ask questions like “why?” and “seriously, why?”

For those unfamiliar, throughout its eight seasons and three movies, “Psych” ensured that there was either a pineapple incorporated into a scene, hidden in the background or vaguely referenced in each installment. As a result, fans have adopted it as the unofficial mascot of the show and their fandom for it.

To truly understand the commitment and odd humor it took to get pineapples to become so ubiquitous to the show, one has to go all the way back to the pilot. Like all great running gags, the origin dates back to an off-the-cuff piece of improvisation — in this case, from the series’ star James Roday Rodriguez.

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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2016, series creator Steve Franks told the story of a surprising joke that somehow stuck with the entire cast and crew that the actor improvised at the end of a scene in the first episode where he and Gus (Dule Hill) were going to drive somewhere.

“So, there was just a prop pineapple on top of the fridge and it was just tickling James to pick up the pineapple and say, ‘You want me to cut this up for the road?’” Franks explained. “He loved it so much that I, off of his enthusiasm, grew to love it as well because we’d done this scene 15 times in all of the different pieces of coverage and every time he got to that pineapple part, he sold it in such a way that it was the most acting he did the entire day. So, I felt the need to really put it in and it was so funny.”

Hill added: “The simple thing of the pineapple  — ‘You want me to cut this up for the road?’ — started from the brilliance of Roday where he would just take what’s around him and go with it and having the freedom to do that, because that line wasn’t in the script. From there, we had this whole runner about pineapples. It was little things like that and getting happy when we thought that we solved the case. They stayed throughout the show and we were able to grow from there.”

Roday even did a callback to the pilot episode joke in a video celebrating National Pineapple day around the same time “Psych 2: Lassie Come Home” premiered. 

As a result of that simple improvisation, the minds behind “Psych” decided to keep the gag going. Like all things having to do with the show, it ended up adding an intriguing and fun layer to the show born of something that was, frankly, kind of stupid for the sake of being funny. Now, eagle-eyed fans like to go back, rewatch the show, and do their best to spot the pineapple in each episode.

In fact, a fan even took the time and effort to make a website revealing each pineapple cameo and reference throughout all eight seasons. There are also several videos that cover the same topic, all done either by “Psych” fans or for “Psych” fans. 

There’s a lot more to the series than just pineapples. However, thanks to a talented actor, a committed crew, and a good-humored fandom, the fruit made its way into the hearts and minds of all those who watch and remains a symbol of the show to this very day. 

Catch up on the USA Network original series “Psych” on Peacock now. 

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