Bruce Campbell: Get to know Psych’s Dr. Ashford N. Simpson


Bruce Campbell appeared on the hit USA Network show, Psych back in 2014. In this horror trope themed episode, he portrayed a new age hippy shrink named Ashford N. Simpson. Let’s take a look at some behind the scenes trivia about his role.

Bruce Campbell had just finished up a highly successful 7 season run on the hit USA Network show, Burn Notice in 2013. Fresh off that gig, he was lured back into the USA fold again, this time to guest on the immensely popular comedy show, Psych.

For those of you that have never seen the show, it was a fun series created by Steve Franks starring James Roday, Dulé Hill (formerly of The West Wing) and the wonderful Timothy Omundson. Roday played Shawn Spencer, the son of retired cop, Henry Spencer (in a wonderful turn by LA Law’s Corbin Bernsen).  He pretends to be “psychic,” so that he can work with the Santa Barbara police department solving cases.

Hill portrays his best friend and business partner, Gus who is also in on the sham. The comedic factor really kicks in whenever they have a particularly difficult case to solve. Think of the ultimate “bromance” meeting a madcap version of Murder, She Wrote and you have the right idea.

Nightmares Are the Stuff that Dreams are Made of

James Roday is a passionate horror fan in real life so directing Bruce Campbell in A Nightmare on State Street was a labor of love. In this episode which exploits a variety of horror tropes and is full of winks and nods to classic 80’s genre flicks, Gus is experiencing nightmares that feel as if they are happening in real life.

The nightmares in question contain several direct homages to characters found within particular iconic horror films like Night of the Living Dead and maybe a certain tale about a cabin in the woods.  As he struggles to get a handle on them, as well as some much-needed sleep, he enlists the aid of therapist, Dr. Ashford N. Simpson to cure him.

Of course, to make matters worse, he and Shawn are in the middle of a particularly daunting case. Bruce is playing against type in this role. Clad in loose-fitting Hinduesque attire, he espouses pop psychology and philosophy while maintaining an air of Zen.

Hard to believe that the actor that gave us the chainsaw wielding Ash Williams or laidback ladies man Sam Axe could channel his inner hippy, right? But Campbell does and he does it to perfection! If you haven’t seen this Psych episode, then get thee to Amazon Prime and do so immediately.

Fun Psych Facts

  • Just for fun, we dug a little deep and found some interesting trivia about A Nightmare on State Street that Bruce Campbell fans would enjoy. Let’s get started, shall we?
  • This one is kind of obvious but the reason why Bruce was cast? Well, duh! He is the most recognizable icon of the horror genre that doesn’t wear make-up or a mask of some sort. Plus, he is the King of B movies and you can never go wrong with that title.
  • At the end of the scene where Dr. Ashford N. Simpson is signing books at the college, Campbell utters one of his most famous lines, “Come get some!” Upon which, a Deadite appears out of nowhere. Of course, it turns out to be another nightmare startling Gus out of a peaceful sleep. Nice call back to Evil Dead!
  • Gus and Shawn are watching a 1980’s Val Kilmer movie when Gus utters, “Val is still the king.” To which Shawn replies, “Hail to the King, Baby!”
  • For those of us of a certain age, Solid  was a top 10 single from 1984. The duo that sang it were a husband and wife songwriting team, Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Who were otherwise known as Ashford & Simpson! Hence, Bruce Campbell’s character’s name is a nod to them as well as Ashley J. Williams.

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There you have it! In this Psych episode, Bruce got to showcase his comedy chops and for horror lovers everywhere this was a terrific homage to the genre from James Roday.

Have you seen A Nightmare on State Street? Were you a Psych fan? Feel free to comment in the section below. We want to hear from you.