The White Shadow

Season 3 Episode 12

Psyched Out

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 23, 1981 on CBS
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  • Episode Spotlight: Psyched Out, Season 3, Episode 12, 51st episode aired.

    6.6
    The White Shadow was definitely at its best when episodes focused either on Coach Reeves, one or more of the Carver players and their troubles, or a combination of both. And then there is the occasional episode that focuses on someone outside the sphere with Reeves and the players reduced to being the background. This approach occasionally produces some strong efforts (Mainstream, The Stripper, and Burnout being among them) and, while this one isn't quite as strong as they, it has its moments.



    Allow me to get a couple of criticisms out of the way. First, what was the purpose of the conversation between Reeves and Salami about his being in love with his girlfriend's 40-year old sister? The only way I can see this even remotely fitting in is maybe a parallel with Reeves establishing a dating relationship with someone older like Miss Stanley, but that's grasping at straws. And, second, about that relationship. There's something about Christine Stanley being a girlfriend for Reeves that just doesn't work. I mean, in real life, Christina Pickles was nine years older than Ken Howard. Did Reeves tick off all his other previous options like Marlene Sandler or Kathy Plunkett and was he now just trying to get what he could?



    OK, that's done. This episode was obviously an early starring vehicle for Michael Winslow, better known as the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects and as Officer Larvell Jones in the Police Academy franchise. Winslow is made for comedy, but in this episode he plays a much darker character named Lee, one who on the surface seems to be merely looking to belong and be accepted. In reality, however, he knows he never will be and is eerily capable of destructive behavior if provoked. The scene of him imitating a psychotic Tom and Jerry was down right creepy to watch.



    Lee finds his moment in the person of Miss Stanley, especially so once he learns the truth about her past. Miss Stanley has dealt with mental problems herself, to the point where some of her colleagues don't believe she is fit to teach at Carver. But, she is very capable, and it shows very strongly in her handling of the Nick Vitaglia character and helping him perform to his capability in her class. Vitaglia's part in this episode was a pleasure to watch, especially when he and Reeves came to her rescue when Lee almost succeeded in the mayhem he plotted.



    The Bellerini character was given a little more play here, and he didn't come across as particularly likeable.