Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was a show that appeared when I needed it the most in the hellscape that was 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 the first ten episodes of the second season!) because spoilers are ahead, darlings!
Is it just me, or is everyone a mess?
“Extraordinary Girls’ Night” picks up right where the previous episode left off; Emily apologizes to Zoey for crying in front of her, and it becomes apparent that she doesn’t want to worry her husband. Zoey, now that she realizes that Emily was in pain right in front of her and she didn’t notice, feels like it is her mission to help Emily—whether or not Emily consciously wants help. When David sings “Make You Feel My Love,” Zoey realizes that her brother also is worried about his wife, and that makes her more determined to get Emily to open up. She and David plan a “Check-In Chicken Dinner”, but it doesn’t go as planned….much like everything else in this episode.
Bernadette Peters returns as “Deb”, Maggie’s friend who understand the loneliness and unfamiliarity of widowhood. She interrupts the “Check-In Chicken Dinner” with an absolutely epic rendition of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills”, expecting to take Maggie out for a girls’ night. Girls’ night gets postponed…but it gives Zoey the idea to have a “bonding night” for her and Emily, hopefully getting her sister-in-law to open up about her depression.
Meanwhile, Simon is distraught because he can’t feel as emotionally close to Zoey as he would like (little does he know that knowing Zoey’s Big Secret might end their relationship). Max is distraught that Rose, his new Official Girlfriend, is leaving soon to return to New York. They had promised to keep their relationship “casual”, but Max is finding it increasingly difficult. Lastly, Mo wants to meet Perry’s kids—he even got CPR certified and started fostering a hamster (appropriately named John Hammster…)! Perry, however, isn’t ready to take that step so soon after his divorce, and this noticeably hurts Mo’s feelings.
The night Zoey plans to have a “girls night” with Emily, Simon and Max go to Mo’s to hang out while their respective partners are busy, and it culminates in an angsty rendition of *NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Y’all, twelve-year-old-me is very happy with all the *NSYNC that appears in this show. Check out their ensemble song in this clip:
Also, petition for Mo, Max, and Simon to start their own fabulous musical group, please.
The boys start out watching sports very disinterestedly, but soon all of their relationship woes wear them down to the point that “Aunty Mo-Mo” needs to step in. Enter…spa night with a side of talking about feelings!
Can I just take a moment to say how refreshing it is to see two pretty masculine dudes open up to their openly queer friend and embrace their feelings and engage in a ritual that is stereotypically feminine? Gender is fluid and nothing more than a concept, my dudes. Get that manicure, put on that facemask, drink some chardonnay and talk about your feelings about your significant other, yaaas queen (or kings. comme tu veux)!
When Emily arrives at Zoey’s apartment, and discovers Zoey wearing pajamas and bunny slippers…it becomes pretty clear that Emily’s idea is of a “girls night” is very different from Zoey’s. Emily wants booming dance music and tequila shots, much to Zoey’s dismay. Lots of tequila shots. On another version of girls’ night, Deb takes Maggie to a casino, where they pretend to be fine southern ladies and become increasingly obnoxious as the evening drags on. However, eventually Maggie finds herself alone at a casino table, looking a little down. We don’t know what happened between Deb and Maggie, but we can assume that they had some kind of falling out perhaps that will be explored in a future episode.
Across town, at the club that Zoey definitely doesn’t want to be at, Emily seems to be drinking and dancing out her feelings rather than addressing them. It’s definitely not the heart-to-heart that Zoey had envisioned for her and Emily.
And then Emily finally breaks down in the restroom of the club, and sings Halsey’s “Gasoline.” Not only does Zoey truly realize the depth of Emily’s despair and pain, but she also seems to get a glimpse into her own grief and mental health…you know, those things she’s been avoiding since her father’s death. “We’re going to be okay,” Zoey tells Emily. It seems like half a promise, and half a realization.
Emily finally tells David the next morning that she likely has Postpartum Depression, and my gosh, they are couple goals, because he doesn’t ask her why she feels like that, or questions if that’s what she’s really going through. He just supports her, and promises to help her get the help she needs. Hetero Men, pay attention, because that is what women want: a partner who is supportive and doesn’t make them second-guess their emotions.
Mo performs the next day at church, and my god, Alex Newell can do anything. Also…where do I buy that sparkly sequin gown? (Asking for a friend.) Zoey and Simon attend to support their friend, and you know who else does? Perry, and his two children. It’s a huge step forward for their relationship and for Mo in particular, who struggled with commitment earlier in the season. Honestly? I wouldn’t be mad if Mo embraces the domestic life and spends an eternity playing happy family with Perry. It’s not like we have to worry about Mo cutting back on any of his glitz and glamour; if anything, Mo being happy makes his light shine even brighter. And Perry seems to make Mo happy, and really, that’s all I want from this show, okay?
Zoey and Simon are also at church, and when Mo sings “I Look To You”, it seems to be the moment when Zoey finally cracks and realizes that she cannot handle her father’s death, her promotion, her new relationship, and her superpowers all on her own.
Maybe some problems are too big for us to handle on our own.-Zoey
The end of the episode shows Simon comforting her—indicating that he’s finally getting the emotional closeness he wants with her—and the final scene is Zoey visiting a therapist. When I first saw this scene, I exclaimed, “It’s about time, Zoey!” but then I realized how hypocritical that was of myself. As someone who struggles with their mental health, I should know that everyone’s mental health journey is their own, and you cannot rush it. Zoey goes to therapy because she’s ready for it, and honestly, that’s a really powerful message to end the episode on. With only a couple episodes left in season two, it seems like the ZEP team is really going to drive home the myriad journeys that mental health can look like, and maybe give us another glimpse into how Zoey’s superpowers work.
Hey, NBC, where’s season 3?
As of the writing of this post, NBC has yet to renew Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and what the heck are they waiting for? This show is unlike anything else on television, and it would be a big damn shame if it were cut short.
So, internet ZEP fam, you know what to do. Tweet NBC, hashtag #ZoeysPlaylist and tell them to give our girl another season! Talk about the show and tell all your friends/family/mail carriers to watch it. I, for one, will be really irked if the show ends and we never find out what Zoey’s MRI results were…
Get to it, NBC.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs on Sundays at 9 pm on NBC or is available to stream on Hulu or the Peacock app.