Sunday, February 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' - Zoey Helps Joan Through Her Destructive Marriage in 'Zoey's Extraordinary Boss'

NBC's Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Episode 1.03 "Zoey's Extraordinary Boss"

Zoey must decide whether or not to get involved in her boss Joan's troubled marriage after she hears Joan sing a "heart song." Zoey creates a new program for the family to communicate with Mitch, but when his first word is not what they expected, Maggie reaches a breaking point.

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 Boss" was written by Sam Laybourne and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer

It's really starting to feel as if the show is making up its own set of rules as it goes along. That can be an engaging character journey for Zoey. She thinks she is getting a handle on these new musical visions. And then, reality throws her a curveball that necessitates a completely different reaction moving forward. But again, it can make the show seem incredibly inconsistent and not holding firm to a strict set of guidelines. At first, the concept was presented as Zoey hearing the innermost thoughts of the people around her. It was the show taking the subtext of the scene and making it the blatant text. Then, it allowed songs to play just because they had personal resonance for the individual characters that then had to be explained to Zoey in order for her to understand what was happening. And now, it is all presented as these songs being seen as a big, flashing sign that this person needs help and the universe can't simply let her walk away until she serves her purpose. Zoey perceives that her boss is upset because of the last minute details for this product launch. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the work that Zoey's team is doing. Again, that shows how ego-driven the world can be. Zoey fears that these musical numbers are being performed at her and are thus relevant to her own position in this world. Sometimes, they occur completely outside of whatever is going on in her life. This is all about the personal anguish Joan feels in her marriage to Charlie. He is a big celebrity whom the team of coders idolize. And yet, he is a selfish individual who is completely controlling of the lives he and his wife can have together. It's a business arrangement more than a relationship built out of love. Joan tries to position it as them fading away from one another over the years. However, it's eventually expressed that this was always the way in which they operated as a couple. It's humiliating to Joan because it makes her feel small and insignificant. She has to rely on her husband's lucrative endorsement in order to be noticed in the tech industry. That's what makes her so willing to make these changes so that everything goes smoothly during the party. However, she is more than capable of making this presentation by herself. It's just a personal journey that she goes on where she first lashes out at the world for not getting the satisfaction she needs and deserves. It ends with her proudly roaring to a crowd of fans in order to showcase her strength even though she is walking away from this emotionally abusive marriage. That is the arc that this story takes her. Of course, it also just features some weird and random interactions between Joan and Zoey. At times, Joan does understand that Zoey is a subordinate. And yet, the idea of personal boundaries has to fade away in order for this story to be told. It may be necessary for Zoey to feel free to speak her mind to Joan whenever she wants. It's just perfunctory in the execution here. Elsewhere, it shouldn't exactly take a big musical number in order for Zoey and David to figure out that their mother is overwhelmed by all that she is doing for their father. She is happy to do it because she loves him so much. The show once again finds a new way for him to communicate. This particular story just highlights how the expectations built up in one's own head may not be as satisfying as reality. That can be an effective metaphor for the overall show as well. It is bold and expressive when it comes to the musical moments. The rest of the time though it struggles to present a clear and concise journey for its characters to go on that feels unique and full of purpose. Right now, it simply seems like the show is going through the motions of Zoey being in a love triangle with men who are both unavailable to serve that role with her. That makes it a concept that is frequently discussed through Mo going back and forth on which man Zoey should be with. But it never quite rises to the level of the viewer feeling passionate about whatever happens next.