“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is beyond being another musical comedy, it will make you Kerry Washington style, lip tremble, cry.
|Created By||Austin Winsberg|
|Directed By||Richard Shepard|
|Written By||Austin Winsberg|
|Genre(s)||Musical, Comedy, Drama|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Simon||John Clarence Stewart|
|Leif||Michael Thomas Grant|
Zoey, an app coder in San Francisco, has a lot going on in her life. There is her neighbor, Mo, who wakes her up daily by singing various songs. There is also her dad, Mitch, who, 6 months ago, was healthy, vibrant, her rock, but now is barely there thanks to a neurological disease. But, luckily, Zoey has her best friend Max, who has a bit of a crush on her, Simon, the new guy who Zoey has a crush on, but he is engaged to be married, and Joan. Someone who isn’t her friend, but rather her boss, but does give her the tools and hints required to move on up at her job SPRQ Point. Which, when it comes to the antagonistic Tobin or the two-faced Leif, causes problems.
Though, all of those issues don’t compare to Zoey developing the ability to hear people’s thoughts through song. Be it hearing someone sing “Mad World” while depressed, “I Think I Love You,” and so many others. Leading her to wonder why she, of all people, ended up with this gift and her questioning if it might be a curse?
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- I get she is the only one to hear them, but when they move and dance, and she says something, can she be heard? Do others see them moving to different parts of the room, just not in a dance?
This Will Have You Crying To The Point Of Your Bottom Lip Trembling – Kerry Washington Style
Despite coming off as a comedy due to Zoey gaining the ability to hear people’s thoughts through song, and most of the songs being advertised being upbeat, this is by no means a straight-up comedy. Multiple times, as Simon opens up to Zoey, or when Zoey is desperate to have her dad back for a prep talk, you will be crying tears. Not just from one eye, but both and your lower lip will tremble.
Mind you, none of the moments are so overwhelming you’ll produce snot, but between the music used and the extra oomph they give people’s performances, you’ll be caught off guard.
Jane Levy as Zoey, And Zoey’s Relationships
What you have to admire about Levy as Zoey, and Winsberg’s writing is that Zoey doesn’t become the bore we have to suffer through into the next high energy moment. Zoey, rather, taking on the persona her father is known for, acts like a rock or support. Making it so, as much as you can appreciate her reactions to the madness surrounding her, it is also watching her relationship with Simon develop which makes you realize she is as much an asset as the many songs that will be used to embellish emotions from characters.
For in the long run, the songs are but a trigger for some type of feeling out of you, be it the depressing, suicidal tone of “Mad World” to a moment where Mitch is singing “True Colors.” However, it is up to Levy and her co-star to not rely on the feelings those songs invoke and to carry them throughout the scene and the thereafter. Which, for us, they consistently do and make it so, as much often does, it may set the tone of the scene but it remains the actor’s job to deliver what the audience needs and should feel. Be it tears or immense awkwardness.
On The Fence
The Worry It Could Become Formulaic Like A Hospital Or Police Procedural
With the heights of what we saw in episode 1, comes the fear of what will happen in the future when Zoey hearing people’s thoughts through song loses its luster. For really, can the perfect song continually be picked to create emotional or comical moments? Can the antics of Zoey’s co-workers or even Mo keep things going? Heck, will Mo end up the Titus to Zoey’s Kimmy, from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?”
Don’t get us wrong, there is so much done right in the first episode. It’s just, there are so few shows that do things right from the beginning, and keep it going until the end of the first season. Add on this is a network show, and the likelihood of this getting an episode order beyond what it needs or should have is high – that creates worries about the show’s longevity.
This completely exceeded my expectations. It brings not just excellent covers and choreography but also presents a level of heart which was not expected at all.
First Impression: Optimistic
While there is a serious need to wonder what is the long game when it comes to the show’s storyline, there is no denying the first season could potentially be one of the best freshmen series for the mid-season. It has Levy as the type of lead any show would be lucky to have, in terms of having both the capabilities to be the star as well as let others control and shine in a scene. Then when you add the musical sequences and her co-stars’ antics? Oh, whether into music, comedy or in the mood for a good cry, this is the show for you.
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