Breakfast With Pineapples And Memories

Phil Rosenthal, the Creator/Showrunner of the long-running, award-winning television series Everybody Loves Raymond, has mentioned in various interviews over the years an experience he had before ELR, while working on another hit show making its network millions of dollars at the time.

One day, the show’s staff got a memo saying, “We noticed some of you are coming in in the morning and putting milk on your cereal. The milk is for coffee. The cereal is for snacks. We do not provide breakfast for you.” He decided right then and there if he ever wound up running his own series – which he did with ELR – everyone involved would always have milk for their cereal.

The cost of just about everything in the world went up significantly in 2022. We’ll see how 2023 plays out.

In the meantime, my belated New Year’s Wish for everyone…milk for your cereal.

If we characterize something as silly or goofy, I don’t think it’s much of a leap to say it is also close to entering the realm of immature or even childish. Yet, that’s the very successful vibe the television show Psych was known for giving off during the eight seasons it aired on the USA Network. And even though its original run ended back in 2014, I think in this ever-so-too-serious time we often find ourselves in these days, there isn’t a better time for newbies to join the cult following known as “Psych-O’s.” Psych currently is available on platforms via subscription, and reruns air on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel as well.

The synopsis for the show is fairly straightforward. Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez) has an uncanny power of observation courtesy of his no-nonsense dad, Henry (Corbin Bernsen). Henry was formerly a police officer on the Santa Barbara police force, and back in the day he taught young Shawn to take in even the tiniest of details from his surroundings. When “adult” Shawn has called in one too many knowledgeable tips to help the police force solve crimes, and they threaten to prosecute him for them, he then manages to convince the cops he’s a psychic. Shawn’s childhood bestie, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), who knows how Shawn’s talent really works, ultimately gets caught up in aiding and abetting his buddy’s psychic detective agency. He reluctantly starts helping Shawn help the police solve crimes.

Roday Rodriguez and Hill form one of the craziest, funniest, wackiest duos ever to operate in the ultra-serious, quite-mature space of crime investigations. Comedy momentum is hard to maintain over a thirty-minute episode, let alone an hour-long format like Psych, but when there are no rules and mayhem is the norm it’s easier to achieve. Pop culture references from the 70s and 80s abound, as well as stand-out, laugh-out-loud physical comedy. Yet, there are on occasion dramatic, intense scenes where the laughter is much more restrained and stakes could not be more serious. The stellar cast ensures when throwing that switch from manic to menacing it feels quite natural to the audience…not forced.

Creator/Showrunner Steve Franks created wonderful characters who have garnered so many fans there already have been three Psych movies since the series concluded. There is little doubt Franks, the cast, and the crew enjoyed making this show. The performers look like they’re having as much fun acting it out as the audience watches it play out. Episodes feel spontaneous not only because of the talent involved, but because the stars clearly had the freedom during filming to make the script theirs to run with. There is a current podcast called The Psychologists Are In hosted by co-stars Maggie Lawson (Detective Juliet “Jules” O’Hara) and Timothy Omundson (Chief Detective Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter) where each week they go in-depth on a rewatch of each episode, sharing behind-the-scenes info and hosting drop-in visits from Franks, cast and crew, and even guest stars (Psych attracted as impressive a list of guest stars as you’ll ever find).  You can hear the genuine excitement and pride from those who made Psych as they riff about the no-limits, creative process of bringing each episode to life.

And then there are those pineapple sightings.

In nearly every episode of Psych, a pineapple is either referenced or in view. That all started with an unscripted line from the pilot episode where Roday Rodriguez picked a pineapple up and asked, “Should I slice this up for the road?” The pineapple was there only as a prop, but the moment resonated with both he and Franks as a fun one, and it became such a hit with fans the USA Network once had a Spot The Pineapple sweepstakes.

USA recognized from the start they had something special in Psych, launching it while their other oddball-detective show – Tony Shalhoub’s award-winning Monk – was at the height of its popularity. They not only aired commercials which advertised both shows at the same time, but scheduled Psych to immediately follow Monk.

It’s a feel-good show which will entertain you and leave a smile on your face whenever called upon, starting with its catchy earworm of an opening theme song. Highly recommended if you’re looking for some silly, goofy, immature, childish, adult-ish fun.

My brain – more specifically memories within it – never ceases to amaze. Every once in a while, words or phrases come out of my mouth I haven’t uttered in ages, and can’t for the life of me ascertain how I came to utter them now. Perhaps on occasion your brain has provided these kind of surprises as well.

My most recent example? A few evenings ago, Mrs. Chess asked me my thoughts on what seemed like three different discussion points simultaneously, and I wanted her to slow down just for a moment so I could thoughtfully consider my response to each…and proceeded to blurt out, “Hold on there, Murgatroyd!”

At which point both of us stared at each other not knowing where THAT response came from.

She then asked me where THAT response came from.

I told her I knew “Murgatroyd” had something to do with a cartoon character from my childhood, but I still had to reach out to The Google to confirm which one it actually was. Many moons ago, there was a Hanna-Barbera character named Snagglepuss, who was a pink lion prone to break the fourth wall and address the audience. He most often appeared in a regular segment on The Yogi Bear Show back in the 60’s. Snagglepuss was known in part for quickly departing any scene referencing a stage direction such as “Exit Stage Left.” Or Right, Up, or even Down. Specific to the discussion Mrs. Chess and I now found ourselves in, Snagglepuss was also known for whenever coming across something he couldn’t believe…instead of saying “Heavens to Betsy!” he used his catchphrase “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Ironically, from my little bit of research the origin of using “Betsy” appears to be just as mysterious as “Murgatroyd.” I also learned the Canadian rock group Rush named their second live album Exit Stage Left in tribute to Snagglepuss. And saving the best discovery for last…there is a brand-new Snagglepuss Hanna-Barbera cartoon series in the works with Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) set to provide his voice.

Once I relayed all this to Mrs. Chess – who wasn’t as familiar with Snagglepuss – she was now not only more aware of my cartoon past, but somewhat reassured I wasn’t having a medical emergency.

I don’t know why my mind brought forth memories of Snagglepuss. We’re talking a cartoon character from sixty years ago…cartoons I hadn’t seen in fifty. Still, I do embrace rediscovering this little piece of my childhood, and who knows what my brain will un-file next? Until then…

Exit Stage Left.

 

Pictures Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/USA Network/National Geographic/Hanna-Barbera

98 thoughts on “Breakfast With Pineapples And Memories”

  1. Psych, Heavens to Murgatroyd…be still my heart. I’m a little older than my husband, but I’m from Jersey whereas he’s a born and raised Florida boy. We figure different parts of the country watched different things on TV because some things I say, he has no idea what I’m talking about.
    This was such a fun post, Bruce. Have you watched ‘Will Trent’? He’s a bit like ‘Monk’ but not quite as Monkish. The female cop in the show has a lot of the best lines, though. At least I think she does.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember Snagglepuss from The Yogi Bear Show and recall the whole Murgatroyd reference, too. Haven’t thought about any of that in ages!

    And the producers of the pre-ELR hit sitcom were nuts. Cream (or half-and-half) is for coffee, milk is for cereal. Duh.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such a nice walk through memory lane, Bruce. Thanks for the review of Psych. Will try to catch it. Yes, I remember snaggle puss. While babysitting the kids Snaggle Puss was the only other adult in the room. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the work Dule Hill and Corbin Bernsen have done in their careers. In recalling his part as self-absorbed third baseman Roger Dorn in the movie “Major League,” Corbin Bernsen told Sports Illustrated, “I was never a great hitter, and (the director) told me to hit a line drive between second and third for one scene. I finally hit one to the track, and I was so amazed that I didn’t even think to run. I blew the shot.” Bernsen also said that during filming in Milwaukee many of the cast members hung out at a bar owned by former big-league pitcher Pete Vuckovich (who also had a role in “Major League.”)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A mystery in what caused that neuron to fire in your brain and pull up such an obscure part of the past. Hearing any of those character catch phrases from the old cartoons is a big old hit of nostalgia for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ditto with the other commenters who got the Snagglepuss reference right away. I used to say “Heavens to Murgatroyd” years and years ago.

    Had a nice bowl of cereal this morning. With raisins, no pineapple.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mrs. Chess will eat craisins, but not raisins. So there’s that. I have never had raisins in cereal, but wouldn’t be adverse to trying that. I am happy to hear you not only know of Snagglepuss, but have used one of his catchphrases. I have a funny feeling I’m going to start now…

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  7. Everybody Loves Raymond is one of my favorite shows. And Rush is one of my favorite bands. And I remember Snagglepuss vividly. I must admit I’ve never seen Psych but I’m sure I have scrolled over it in my seemingly never-ending hunt for something good to watch. I’m overly picky I suppose and if a show doesn’t grab me in the first few minutes, I pass over it. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice blog, Bruce — thanks for sharing. Love the milk/cereal intro. I’ve worked in offices where doing something like putting “coffee” milk on “snack” cereal would get the same mid-management/bureaucratic treatment. A scene right out of “Office Space….”

    I have never even heard of the “Psych” show. I’ll have to check it out. Any show that makes regular use of pineapple is my kind of show. I’m trying to think of other shows that might have had something similar, using the same prop or same phrase every show. I do know on the old Bob Newhart show, the one from the 70s, the phrase “Hi Bob” was used so much that some game was made out of it, maybe a drinking game where you take a shot every time you hear it. Something like that.

    Thanks for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vance, we were just talking about Bob Newhart the other day! “Hi Bob” definitely is the kind of thing that the pineapples are like. With social media, some fans were turning their feeds off while Psych was airing because others would post asap when they found the scene the pineapples were in, and others really wanted to hunt them down on their own. The show really hit its stride in Season 3, so if looking to sample it Seasons 3-4 might be a good starting point.

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  9. I loved Psych and what was better, was pleased at how they wrapped things up
    My introduction to Rush was through the TV show Chuck where he had to play space invaders to Rush’s music to stop a bomb from going off in LA 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ELR is one of my All-Time Top Five tv shows for sure. Snagglepuss obviously had a bigger influence on me than first thought, and glad to hear you are a fan as well. I’m admittedly a little worried about the Birds on Saturday. The mojo has gone from the early success and I think they’ll have to scratch and claw their way to a win.

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      1. Or….”Bingo”! Ha!

        Gus:
        Don’t say bingo, you know how much I hate it when you say that.

        Shawn Spencer:
        Ok, fine… Yahtzee?

        Gus:
        We are not doing this, Shawn.

        Shawn Spencer:
        Mah-Jong!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. All of them? Ha! But I especially like “Talk Derby to Me”, “There Might be Blood”, “Ferry Tale”, “The Greatest Adventure in the History of Basic Cable”, the one with the haunted house, the one with the Christmas at Gus’s family’s house…okay, yeah, all of them!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I grew up with Snagglepuss as a kid on Saturday mornings. When you said that word…I had to think for a second like you did…then it came back.
    I’ll give Psych a watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, when I made that Snagglepuss reference I didn’t connect with why I said it, or where it came from. Had to look it up and then, wham-0. I hope you get a chance to sample Psych. It’s not the kind of show where you have to see it from the pilot on. It hit its stride in Season 3 and really took off after that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure will watch it. I need to watch something else but the animal youtube shows I am hooked on. It sounds like something right up my alley.

        Isn’t it strange how things will just come back to us after decades? Completely out of the blue.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. As always when I read your blog posts, I enjoy them tremendously. Truly, bad management and bureaucracy in action with “no milk for your cereal.” Ridiculous!! And we need more shows like Psych. I’m so tired of dark edgy TV shows with mean-spirited and nasty characters. Thanks for reminding me that I can find Psych reruns – I’m going to do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the posts compliment. It is very much appreciated. I’ve worked in some crazy places, but they never made that “fine” of a request regarding something they were providing. I saw some folks on social media saying Psych actually helped get them through the pandemic because it is so upbeat and crazy. When they come on Hallmark M&M in the afternoon, I’ll put them on while working on the computer…and admittedly don’t get very much done during those two hours!

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  12. Wow, you covered a lot of ground there! I remember Snagglepuss. I don’t remember if I saw them Saturday mornings, but that was probably when they aired! As for Psych, I never understood the premise (I started watching too late in the series, I guess) so I couldn’t get into it, but now that you’ve explained it I’ll go back and try again. Hey, congrats to the Eagles for all their success! I’m proud of the Vikings, too, even though they lost last weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 1. I had not heard of Psych. I’ve been too busy watching uber-serious British crime series (on a side note, a brilliant series can be serious and hilarious at times, such as Slow Horses on Apple+–Gary Oldham is crazy good). I can’t wait to try Psych, so thank you! 2. Love the references to Snagglepus (I remember Yogi the Bear) and to Rush, my husband’s favorite band (he took our son to a concert in Boston several years ago as a rite of passage). 3. I think we all could be friends. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kerry, nice to “see” you here. I have seen Slow Horses get fabulous, rave reviews and you may have just tipped the scales in me giving that a go, so thank you for that. Rush was wildly popular in our area in their prime, and that is really neat your husband took your son to their concert – indeed a rite of passage/passing of the torch moment. Happy New Year!

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  14. Milk will always be for cereal, no matter how old I get.

    As for those cartoons, I remember Saturday mornings were all about getting up early and gorging on the stuff because that was IT for the entire week. There were no networks devoted to cartoons 24/7 and really, I kinda loved it that way. Saturday mornings were special.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was. And remember the potluck channels of UHF? You never knew what you might happen upon.

        Cereal and milk, cartoons and the rest of the weekend in front of us? Yes, yes it was!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I also wanted to say that my husband has a thing with always taking a pineapple to his cousin when he travels to visit her and the rest of his family. Can’t remember how it started, but it always evokes laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Chaplin: “Hmm I wonder if our Mama would like that ‘Psych’ show. She is very particular. Maybe I’ll whisper it into Dada’s ear that they should give it a try …”
    Charlee: “Heavens to Murgatroyd! Whispering into Dada’s ear is MY job, not yours!”
    Chaplin: “But when Mama watches TV she sits on the sofa and then I get to sit on her lap making muffins on her blanket. So I have a vested interest in this.”

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reading your post made me think of all the great cable-based shows from my past. The early 2000s, way before the advent of streaming, had some excellent cable TV like “Suits” and “Burn Notice,” usually found on TNT or the USA network. Or the amazing “Battlestar Galactica” reboot on SyFy. I’m unfamiliar with “Psych,” although I remember Dule Hill from my beloved “West Wing.” From your excellent review, I’ll have to give it a watch. I’ve been revisiting a lot of classic sitcoms lately, like “Night Court” and the “Golden Girls.” I’ll try to add Psych to my ever-growing list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true that USA Network had many original, successful series at one time. Sad to see what that network has become. Syfy is a channel that also had a great run of original programming. I agree that prior to streaming I was watching way more cable-based shows than network. Dulé Hill is fabulous on Psych. I’m still “down the rabbit hole” watching Buffy and The X-Files on a semi-regular basis – it’s fun to keep these shows on my radar. Makes me feel less old knowing they’re still being run somewhere!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I saw several episodes of Psych. Now I wish I had watched it more often. As for the milk, we fought that battle when I was in charge of the administrative expenses (in addition to IT) at our office. People wanted me to make a sign. The woman who ordered our supplies simply added milk to the list. When you see how much your company pays for rent and Internet and Microsoft, a half-gallon of milk can’t really bother you.

    I remember Snagglepuss and “Heavens to Murgatroyd.” Thanks for conjuring up that memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recall in one work environment they supplied hot chocolate. The company took up two floors of a building. One employee on the lower level was spotted taking HC packets from the upper level kitchen, so we upper levels took it upon ourselves out of principle to stay with that employee when they were “visiting.” As you noted, the company was paying so much for rent and multiple IT requirements it wasn’t even on their radar to monitor HC consumption. Glad to hear you also remember Snagglepuss.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I remember Snagglepuss. What a name, and I’m amazed that you remembered “Heavens to Murgatroyd.” I feel like I just had a flashback. And thanks for the recommendation of Psych. I’d never heard of it and will see if I can find it. There are times when it just feels good to be entertained and laugh. Have an uproarious weekend. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Don’t know the Psych series, but will try to get around to checking it out when EMMY season is over. Right now I’m trying to watch as many of the new shows as I can. In about 4 weeks I’ll start to get streaming codes from all the networks, cable networks and streaming platforms. There are so many shows now! I can’t honestly nominate, and then vote if I haven’t seen them. Nominations are a bit easier. If I haven’t seen it, I don’t nominate, but if I have seen it I can nominate it….if I like it.
    Voting is another creature.
    Heavens to Murgatroyd! Love that Snaglepuss!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. May the Milk be with you also, Bruce!
    Incredible. A cereal “snack” that was supposed to be eaten dry? As if they weren’t making enough money to provide a little extra milk to the workers! lol
    Anyway, as for Psych, this is really embarrassing to say……. but we captioned that for years, and I always loved getting that show. And I do NOT remember ANY pineapples! lol Oh my god. The powers of observation. No wonder Mr. Holmes turned me down when I applied for that assistant position…………..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Stacey, the thing is it took me some re-watching before I picked up the pineapple scent in all the episodes. They aren’t always apparent, and when you’re trying to keep up with Psych’s whip-smart dialogue and general chaos, looking for pineapples becomes secondary. As for Mr. Holmes’ assistant position, I am sure there was a clerical error which resulted in that rejection.😁

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Well, if “heavens to Murgatroyd” didn’t bring back great memories and plenty of laughing! These ‘ancient’ things often pop up out of my mouth, too. My most recent was “Sufferin’ succotash” with a pronounced lisp. You could have heard a pin drop in the classroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You mentioned so many of my favorite TV shows like Psych and The Big Bang Theory, but then to mention Snagglepuss– well, you have good taste in TV shows. I’m pleased to know you… as I exit stage right.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A very interesting article, Bruce. Isn’t it interesting how we fuss over such seemingly insignificant things. No one considers how much better the staff might function with that little bit of morning boost!

    That term, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” did ring a bell in the back of my mind when I read it. Your explanation brought it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Psych sounds like an excellent oddball crime investigation series! I haven’t ever heard of it before but your thoughts on it do make me want to give it a try. I also find that whole pineapple deal pretty cool. It adds another layer to the viewing experience.

    And the brain definitely does work in a funny way. I often find myself doing the same with things from my childhood. I do remember seeing Snagglepuss in the past but I think I arrived right when he was exiting the scene! 😀 Great post, Bruce!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ah, yes, thank you for bringing my brain back to the pleasantries of Snagglepuss, Bruce. I’ve been known to through a Wayback cartoon term into my nowadays dialogue for no apparent reason at all. Scibbity abitty Ignatz!
    I think I will attempt to binge Psych, thank you very much. I’ve grown fond of the actor Roday Rodriguez in his latest show, ‘A Million Little Things.’

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Toward the end of his working career, my Dad went on a health kick and started putting orange juice on his cereal. It was annoying because he began pushing everyone else to do it. I was in a daily habit of grape nuts, skim milk, and a banana. How much healthier can you get!? My Mom served succotash often and I did love that side dish.

    Liked by 1 person

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