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Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Zoey's Extraordinary Distraction - Review

Apt to its name, distractions abound this week on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Read on for my review of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction”:

The episode picks up where last week left off, with Max and Zoey kissing in Zoey's room. However, when their passion is quickly interrupted by and accidental intrusion from Maggie, the two agree to call it a night have an official date the next evening.

The following morning, David and Emily come over with Miles, preparing for Emily’s sister Jenna to get into town. When her flighty older sibling arrives, Emily acts happy, but then starts singing "(That Girl is) Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe, signaling to Zoey that the two might not get along too well - she advises Maggie to keep an eye on the two of them and heads to work.

It’s Zoey’s first day as 4th floor boss, but her employees won't stop blowing off work in favor of frathouse-esque games, and Leif can barely hold the team together. On top of that, the new SPRQ Point watch update has caused the devices to literally blow up. As Zoey says, “We. Are. F---ed.”

Because of that debacle, Zoey has to push back her date with Max. To only add to her stress, Danny Michael Davis calls in asking for PR solutions to the watch problem, and when Simon has a good idea, Danny promotes him to PR Manager, a development I can only assume will come into play further down the line (sidenote: It's weird how fast all this show's characters are moving up the corporate ladder: aren't they supposed to be millenials?).

Emily is at her wit's end because Jenna's stories of "life in the city" and her failed career in body art are chipping away at her precious naptime. Coming to her rescue, Maggie begins spending time with Emily's sister one on one - a way to distract Jenna, of course, but also a welcome distraction for herself, still obsessing over PSP message boards and reading stories of other families going through situations similar to Mitch’s.

Zoey tries to leave work (now late) for her date with Max, but she finds that her employees are goofing off again, this time playing “Fire Wrist”...A game where they put on the SPRQ Watch and wait until it burns them, literally playing with the very issue they’re supposed to be fixing. The situation seems out of control, but Leif promises he’ll take care of it, so Zoey heads off.

Finally at her date, Zoey and Max are having a nice time back in Zoey’s apartment...Until Mo starts blasting opera music from the apartment over; “never a good sign,” according to Zoey. When she visits him, everything seems to be fine, but just like Zoey’s encounter with Emily and Jenna earlier, looks turn out to be deceiving when Mo starts to sing Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes.” Max is worried the heart song might have to do with him: earlier, he had drafted up (read: downloaded off of the internet) a partnership contract for their restaurant business idea, and Mo had seemed freaked out by the idea.

Zoey and Max try once again to get down to business, per se, but as the opera music starts back up again, neither have the heart to go through with it. Instead, Zoey volunteers to help Mo out with whatever his problem is and reconvene with Max at a later date.

The SPRQ Point situation has gotten worse, as well, as demonstrated by the 4th floor team singing “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” almost as soon as Zoey walks in the next morning. As it turns out, Leif knows exactly why the watch was malfunctioning: because his new team wasn’t listening to him, he decided to take on the new SPRQ Point update himself and forgot about a key safety check. Zoey encourages him to not beat himself up, but to get back up on the horse and try again, which he agrees to.

The next morning, Zoey finds that Leif was, at the very least, somewhat successful at doing as such: the watch defect was fixed, although it took an all-nighter to do, and was still constantly interrupted by office shenanigans.

Vis-à-vis Mo, Zoey uses the tantalizing promise of a full makeover on her to convince him to do team building exercises with Max the next day. This, too, provides promising results, as, during a game of “Two Truths and a Lie,” Max confesses that he’s never heard his dad say that he’s proud of him, and this causes Mo to decide to open up as well. It’s not that he doesn’t trust Max, he says, but that he doesn’t trust himself, ever since he cheated his former best friend out of a business deal to try and prove he could handle it all by himself. Max reassures Mo that he doesn’t believe that will happen again, and Mo ends up signing the contract (the “least intimidating contract ever,” he says).

With all distractions under control (and Maggie and Jenna out of the house!), Zoey and Max finally have the night all to themselves. Max tells Zoey that he’s been working on strategies to block out any “heart songs” that might come up ...well... during, and the two make love in a hilarious extended scene involving renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (those strategies we talked about), and “I’ll Make Love To You” (not quite working). Finally, after the two give up on pushing down their heart songs, Zoey joins in for a duet of Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.”

And an off-handed comment from Max the morning after provides a solve for Zoey’s last remaining distraction: the 4th floor frathouse needed more women on the team, so Zoey brings over McKenzie, Yasmin and Cass, a few coders from the 5th floor she met a few days before.

Overall, this episode was a really funny counterbalance to last week’s more somber opening. I love the way most episodes muse on many different takes on a particular theme, this week’s being “distractions.” It’s not something exclusive to Zoey, but the formula the ZEP writers have cobbled together for weekly episodic setup and execution is pure, effective, and - let’s be real - very fun to watch.

Two elements combine to make Zoey the show that it is, and this episode was a good example of those two elements at their best: strong, witty, original writing, and the charming, nuanced performance of Jane Levy. I’ve found Levy’s comedic timing as Zoey to be unparalleled, and her take on her material consistently brings it to another level (ie; the way Zoey zig-zagged from barely being able to say the word “sex” to screaming it out loud in an elevator full of strangers). With its unique premise and shortage of major loose ends post-season 1, I was particularly worried that this show would be a prime candidate for the dreaded “sophomore slump,” but it seems now that I was - thankfully - wrong.

What did you think about “Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction?” And what did you think of that “Take Me Out To the Ballgame/I’ll Make Love To You/Moment Like This” medley; weird, funny or sweet? Let me know in the comments!

Zoey’s Extraordinary Quotes-List

David: Ooh, we talking about Zoey’s sex life? 
Emily: Who was it, Max or Simon? Please say Simon. 
David: No, but I feel like Max has put in so much more time. 
Zoey: This family needs better boundaries.

Leif: So I know it might seem like we’re wasting time, but I’m just letting them blow off some steam. Studies show it helps with productivity. 
Zoey: Well, I’m glad you’re embracing your new role as team manager, Leif, but...uh...how does a game called “Nut Punch” help with productivity?

Jenna: I finally found a great life coach who got me to like, such a good place mentally that we started dating. 
Emily: Wait, that guy Xander was your life coach? Isn’t that a professional no-no? 
Jenna: Apparently not for Xander. He left me 2 months ago for his own life coach.

Programmer: I don’t think I’ve been in the elevator with three other female programmers before. We must be breaking some sort of record. 
Zoey: True. Don’t see many of us in the wild. Which is why, as a gender, we must stick together and- 
*Elevator dings*
Zoey: Whoo! Gotta go! Sex!

Zoey: Wait, wait, wait! What if I let you do a full, head-to-toe makeover on me later? I won’t say a word the entire time and you can have your way with me. 
Mo: ...Can I burn all your sweaters? 
Zoey: No. 
Max: Sure.