Sunday, February 16, 2020

REVIEW: 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' - Zoey Remains Confused About Her New Abilities in 'Zoey's Extraordinary Best Friend'

NBC's Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Episode 1.02 "Zoey's Extraordinary Best Friend"

Zoey tries to figure out how to control her new abilities while navigating her best friends' romantic feelings for her. A new medical victory for Mitch gives the family hope.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

"Zoey's Extraordinary Best Friend" was written by Austin Winsberg and directed by Adam Davidson

This episode concludes with Zoey deducing that there is no rhyme or rhythm to her new musical talent. That is potentially problematic because it's important for this show to establish a set of rules for itself so that the audience can follow along with everything that's happening. Instead, it may just all be completely random. In some moments, she is moving around the set alongside those actually performing these big numbers. When Max is serenading her with "Sucker," she is a part of the choreography around the office with him. When Mitch is performing "Moondance," she follows him around the house to see how intimate it is between him and her mother. These moments buy into the fantasy of it all. She isn't having these experiences firsthand and everyone is staring awkwardly at her trying to deduce what she is doing. Instead, it may only be an instant before she snaps back to reality and whatever she was previously talking about. People may not think it's strange at all. However, there are other times when she is fully interacting with the world around her even though she is experiencing a mob of dancers and singers. When she is at the café with Mo, she views everyone getting swept up in the "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" number. Meanwhile, Mo is just bummed that she is missing out on the precise thing that is giving life to this space. It's an ongoing conversation that happens between the burgeoning friends while the song is being performed. As such, it allows things to be happening simultaneously. Similarly, it's clear that the songs themselves may not always be presenting the specific feelings the person is actually feeling on the inside. It certainly comes across that way a lot of the time. With the Whitney Houston number, Zoey immediately understands that it's all about this crowd of people wanting someone to hold them. That means she crafts the idea to send Max out on a date with the barista Autumn who gets a staring role in the number. That move comes from a selfish place of not wanting anything to change in her friendship with Max. They have worked perfectly for so long as friends. And now, everything is awkward because she knows that he thinks of her in a romantic way. Of course, he doesn't know that she knows that. All of that can be confusing as well. Right now, Mitch and Mo are the only people aware that Zoey has this ability. She is largely keeping it to herself because she doesn't know how to explain it. She doesn't quite know how to live with it either. Yes, the episode ends with her choosing not to do anything about it. She simply has to see what happens and allow it to take her on a profound journey. It's hardly the only obstacle in her way either. Seeing musical numbers in her head doesn't help her suddenly become the boss her colleagues can immediately respect. In fact, they largely laugh at her suggestion of keeping personal journals. She knows the value that can bring. She understands the power of words when they come to expressing one's feelings. She now has that experience in a bold and bright way. It can be chaotic for her a lot of the time. Plus, it can be a mystery too. With "Moondance," it's easy to assume that Mitch just wants to have sex with Maggie. It's a conversation that Zoey doesn't want to have with her parents. Instead, it's a reflection on a memory the song holds for the couple. It takes them back to a time of love and innocence. Their relationship has changed. The struggle is ongoing. However, it's just as loving as it has ever been. That is the message Zoey helps convey even though she doesn't want to explain how to her mother just yet. That's probably going to be a problem in the long run. How long can this premise be contained to just a small group of people? They don't have to actively be in the know in order to have fun in the narrative. In fact, everyone joins in on the big opening dance number. Jane Levy sings as well even though it's just an elaborate dream instead of her own thoughts and feelings coming out through this new ability. But it will still be beneficial for others to know and for Zoey to be open and honest with those she cares about. This is a huge new part of her life. It can be confusing and that's why she should rely on the support from those she values in this world.