Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist 1x03 Review: “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss” (Marriage Woes) [Contributor: Jenn]

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss”
Original Airdate: February 23, 2020

I’m 31 and single, but spend a lot of time with married friends. Though they all love their spouses, each one of them will tell me a single truth: marriage is hard. Even under the best circumstances, people are messy and complicated and it makes sense, then, that marriages are too.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist spent its first two episodes focused on our titular character, Zoey Clarke. But Zoey takes more of an ancillary role in this episode in order for the show to spend some time focusing on Joan and Zoey’s mother, Maggie. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss” features a storyline about Joan’s desire for more in her marriage, and Maggie’s slow descent to a breaking point. And it provides a new layer of interest and emotion to the show. So let’s dive in!


Zoey has found a new way for Mitch to communicate with his family since that whole yes/no button method last week didn’t quite fulfill their needs. Now Mitch is able to type his responses to the family and the first thing he communicates is... lemonade. Maggie hides her disappointment from the family, but Zoey can hear the sad song within her. We soon realize that Maggie is disappointed that the first thing her husband said to her was a request for something she wasn’t providing. Zoey’s brother, David, watches his mom have a full-on meltdown at the grocery store when a pair of sorority girls take the last of the lemonade from the store.

Maggie isn’t fine. And David makes a great point: he and Zoey get to return to their lives. No matter how much they can help out when they’re at their parents’, at the end of the day, they go back to their own lives. This, meanwhile, IS Maggie’s life. She gets no reprieve and even though she fakes a smile for everyone and generously plays the hostess, pretending nothing bothers her... things do. She’s hurt and scared and doesn’t accept help readily.

Zoey pointing out that her mother’s smile is one of the things she loves most about her, but knows when it’s fake was powerful. It’s so nice to see television shows that feature adult children helping and guiding their parents. We’re so often used to seeing parents portrayed as impenetrable forces of wisdom. And though Maggie is, of course, wise, she’s still a human who needs help. And Mitch knows it too. That’s why, at the end of the episode, he tells his wife to accept help from their kids. It’s a lovely little moment that reminds us while being strong is fine, we can’t always be strong. Sometimes we need a little help.


Lauren Graham really gets the chance to shine as more than just a one-dimensional “all business” boss in this episode. The main plot is as follows: Joan’s husband is a big deal and he’s supposed to appear at a party for SPRQ Point watch launch. But Joan’s on edge and it turns out it’s not because of work, but personal stuff. Zoey indulges her boss in a conversation about her relationship (because she hears her secret frustrated song and continues to hear the song everywhere she goes), which I think is actually quite great for a few reasons. One, we get a new dimension to Zoey’s powers in this episode; if she hears someone’s personal song and does nothing with the responsibility she’s given, the song won’t just go away. It demands action!

Second, we get the chance to see two women on this show bond. Granted, it’s mostly about a man and that’s a little disappointing, but Joan being vulnerable with Zoey is wonderful because Joan is right: they’re the only women there. Zoey works in tech, and it’s a male-dominated field. Even though Zoey is exhausted after her day drinking and marriage discussion with her boss, Joan is clearly appreciative and in a way better mood the next day! She even gives Zoey a pair of Louboutins. But just as Zoey feels like she’s truly made a difference in Charlie and Joan’s marriage. Until Charlie shows up and we see exactly how selfish and conceited he is.

Joan’s clearly spent so much of her life playing second place to Charlie. And it’s a reminder that even strong women aren’t heartless. Joan really cared about Charlie at one point and has been bending over backwards to make things work. The moment she tells Zoey that she had to beg Charlie to come to the SPRQ Point watch launch by apologizing to him is heartbreaking. And what’s even more heartbreaking is the fact that Joan has never been able to confide in another woman about this. Or at least we don’t see her confide in anyone until she talks to Zoey.

The most important part of the episode happens in the bathroom (where all important women conversations happen) when Joan mentions that Charlie left the event before debuting the watch like he’d promised. (After he, like the jerk he is, told Joan he was under a time crunch and she told him where he could shove it.) Zoey points out that Joan should to the demo. She’s the one who knows the product best. She’s the one who should be in front of everyone, not Charlie.

Joan debuts the watch to “Roar,” which is pretty perfect, and she and Zoey share a subtle acknowledgement of their new bond as the episode ends. I love episodes of shows that focus on female-centric stories and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss” was one of them. It reminded us that women are allowed to be vulnerable, ask for help, and take charge of their own destinies without needing to rely on men for everything.

As Zoey continues to understand her powers and use them for good, I’m excited to see what kind of relationships form as a result!

Additional things:
  • Favorite to least favorite song rankings: “Superstar,” (because that made me laugh out loud) “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and “Roar.”
  • “I haven’t breathed outside air in 48 hours.” “Outside air is for winners.”
  • “Do you just make these statistics up?” “35% of the time.”
  • “She day drank.” “I did.”
  • “You know I’ve got my fighting nails on. I’m like Wolverine, but daintier.”
What did you enjoy most about this episode?


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