Everything Is Under Ctrl
A little over a month ago, NBC took an unusual approach to its promotion for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, premiering the first episode and allowing word of mouth to spread the hype for this one ahead of its debut over the weekend. Relying on this sort of organic press is always a tricky thing to pull off but given the quality of the first episode there was always a possibility this one would catch on.
While it’s not the best musical drama out there, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is an extraordinarily addictive drama, one that does a great job entwining its quirky comedy with some genuinely poignant moments. This makes the cable show unusually layered and one that’ll almost certainly gather a growing audience over the weeks.
We begin episode 2 of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist with a musical number as our entire ensemble sing and dance their way outside Zoey’s work until a piano falls from the sky and Zoey awakens with a start. She heads out and speaks to her neighbour Mo, who asks her whether she’s experienced anything unusual or not and they talk about her musical gift for a while. With plenty to chew over, Zoey heads out to the doctors where she learns her Father is starting to get better. The new meds he’s taking are working and although it’s not a cure, it is a bold step forward.
At work, Zoey speaks to Max and the other programmers, handing them a memo of improvements along with journals to write down their thoughts and feelings – which the team scoff at. After another ill-timed love song, Max invites her out to dinner but Zoey awkwardly dances around the idea, believing it to be a date. Simon arrives to save the day though and takes her aside to discuss a work project, which she agrees to collaborate with him on.
In the coffee house, Mo tries offering Zoey noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the music but it doesn’t work. The place erupts into a Whitney Houston number and as it subsides, Zoey tries to deflect Max’s date proposal by hooking him up with the barista there, Autumn.
Zoey’s brother calls with more good news; their Father appears to be communicating more after hooking him up to a buzzer and allowing him to beep with a simple yes and no. Back home, Zoey talks to her Father again but as she does, he suddenly bursts into song. Zoey uses the lyrics of Moondance to try and decipher what he wants and it’s not until she speaks to her Mother does she understand what this means.
Zoey’s parents first expressed their love during this song at a concert back in the day, which Zoey interprets as his way of telling her he loves her. It’s a touching moment and one that sees her Mother put on a sexy dress and dance for him while he sits teary-eyed, watching her.
The next day, Zoey addresses her team and reads her diary to them, including home truths about her management style and what she thinks of the team, promising to step back and let them do their thing. With everyone on the same page, Zoey heads home and speaks to Mo about her abilities and the variety of different songs she hears. Defiantly, Zoey decides to stop fighting this gift and try to live with her musical powers and see what the universe throws at her, where the episode ends.
With an eclectic cast of lovable characers and a real ball of energy running throughout the show, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is one of those guilty pleasures you can’t help but love. The singing and dancing is controlled, with a distinct lack of lip-syncing too which is a big plus. The choreography, including multiple one-shot tracks, is a great addition here and there’s some really clever, creative ideas oozing through this.
Zoey and her Father communicating through the singing is an ingenious use of her powers, while her right-hand woman Mo is a charismatic bubble of energy that really helps anchor the drama to a voice of reason. Her flamboyance and charisma is very reminisce of Titus Andromedon in Kimmy Schmidt and out of all the characters in the show, she’s the one who ultimately elevates this beyond “yet another musical drama”.
The verdict on this one is still out but right now, the show is certainly harmonizing itself to become a really solid ensemble to add to 2020’s roster.
—This Week’s Playlist—
Kiki Dee Band – I’ve Got the Music in Me
Jonas Brothers – Sucker
Whitney houston – Dance With Somebody
Moondance – Van Morrison
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!