Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was a show that appeared when I needed it the most in 2020. The first season was full of heart, and soul, and the full range of human emotions. If you haven’t watched the first season yet, here’s the briefest summary I can manage: after a freak accident involving an MRI machine, Zoey is able to hear people’s thoughts…in the form of musical numbers.
Now, get. yourself to Hulu and binge the first season (and last week’s season premiere!) because spoilers are ahead, darlings!
What’s Going On With Zoey?
After spending six+ weeks heavy in the grieving process, Zoey is ready for, as she describes it, a “grief vacation.” Her chosen distraction? Max.
Her physical relationship with Max is getting hot and steamy, but life keeps getting in the way. First, it’s her mom walking in on them, and then, it’s Zoey’s new position as leader of the fourth floor at SPRQ Point (you can’t just walk away from a crisis when you’re the boss…especially when that crisis is literally your product exploding), and then, it’s Mo.
On the homefront, Emily’s sister comes to visit, and there’s obviously tension between the two, leaving Maggie to run interference. We don’t know exactly what kind of history is between the sisters, but it’s certainly a new source of tension for the season. Luckily, Maggie also needs a distraction after Mitch’s death, and helping Jenna and Emily get along seems to be working for her.
Meanwhile, at SPRQ Point, Zoey’s superpowers certainly come in handy, as she soon finds out. The Exploding SPRQ Watch Crisis usurps a lot of Zoey’s—and Leif’s—attention while they are at the office, and at one point even the CEO, Danny Michael Davis (currently under house arrest), calls in to check up on the crew. It is during this call that Simon also gets a promotion, and is now the new PR spokesperson for all of SPRQ Point. I guess this means that Zoey is no longer his boss? Which, coincidentally, also clears the path for them to date…at a later date.
The fourth floor crew, however, has become more like an eternal frat party since Zoey got her promotion. The “brogrammers” are more interested in playing “Nut Punch” than working to fixing the exploding watch problem, leaving their new leader, Leif, to pick up the slack.
Much like Zoey did when she first became the manager of the programming team, Leif is doing all the work that he can’t seem to get his team to do, which, unfortunately leads to watch-exploding mistakes. Now that Zoey is on the outside looking in, it’s obvious that the team’s dynamics are sorely missing, well, Zoey. Ultimately Zoey thinks of the solution: more female coders to change the dynamics of the male-dominated team. And to bring an end to the “brogrammer” era.
Outside of SPRQ Point, Mo and Max are plunging full steam ahead into creating their new restaurant together, but when Max brings out a (very) simple partnership for he and Mo to sign, Mo’s interest instantly cools off. This bothers Max so much that it leads to Zoey and Max once again postponing their uh…quality time?
Zoey’s sexually frustrated y’all, and she needs this distraction, and she’s willing to help Mo and Max work out their issues so she can finally get some. She first tries to ply Mo with the promise of a makeover night, but Mo quickly figures out what Zoey’s doing and sends her packing.
After Zoey plys Mo again with the promise of a full head-to-toe makeover, Mo and Max finally sit down to do some team building exercises at Zoey’s request, which doesn’t go too well at first. After Max opens up about his troubled relationship with his father—is this a hint that we will meet Max’s family this season?—Mo divulges that this isn’t his first time going into business with someone, and it’s not that he can’t trust Max, but that he can’t trust himself.
It’s more vulnerable than we’ve seen Mo be in a while, and I can’t help but be so happy at the direction of this character. I try not to have favorites, but I just love Mo so much, and I just want him to be happy and successful at everything he does! Mo and Max seem to have worked out their problems for now, and I, for one, can’t wait for them to have more scenes together, and, perhaps, the long overdue duet of Alex Newell and Skylar Astin??? Pretty please?
Now that Zoey’s finally cleared all her other distractions from her Distraction, she and Max can get down to the business.
A Moment Like This
“It’s not about being with anyone; it’s about being with you.” -Zoey
Alright, y’all, I’m not-so-secretly #TeamMax, but I was unprepared for the long-awaited hook up scene to unfold quite like this! I flip-flopped between holding my sides in hysterical laughter and cooing “awwww” at my ship coming together on screen. To prepare for this moment, Max has been practicing some, uh, “techniques” to prevent heart songs from leaking through and ruining the moment. This cues a hilarious medley of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” by Max.
Turns out that part of the reason for Max’s medley is that he doesn’t know what Zoey is thinking, so when he starts singing Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” she joins him. Cue my heart squeeing from the cuteness of it all.
If you haven’t seen it yet—or if you just want to rewatch it 4,500 times—here ya go:
As cute as this scene was, I still have some hesitation about the progression of Max and Zoey’s relationship. There’s the whole Simon thing—I know that at some point she is going to have to deal with her feelings for Simon—and Max obviously is still a bit unnerved by the fact that Zoey can hear what he’s feeling.
And, uh, Zoey right now views sex with Max as a distraction from her grief, and while that may be okay in the short-term, we all know that at some point Zoey is going to have to deal with and process her emotions. She’s come a long way since she got her powers, but has she really accepted how deeply she feels for Max and that he’s more than just a ‘distraction’? He may be okay with being part of her grief vacation for now, but we all know the man is in love with Zoey and he needs/deserves more than that from her.
Lastly, Zoey needs to process the loss of her father. Distractions are momentary, and someday soon she’s going to have to realize that her father’s gone, really gone, and deal with his loss. I know it’s going to break ours (and Zoey’s) hearts to watch her grieve, but that’s kind of the beauty of this show. It doesn’t shy away from the difficult emotions, even if it takes a while for the characters to get there.
But for now, you know what? It’s okay to have distractions when the world is topsy turvey and insane, so I’m going to just focus on how cute Max and Zoey are, because I, like Zoey, need a distraction, and the Max/Zoey ship is it.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs on NBC on Tuesdays, and is now streaming on Hulu.