From the Couch: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (2020)

For the past few weeks, I have been watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. 

Personally, I am obsessed with theater. I love big choreographed numbers, I love hearing the harmonies, I love the everythingness of it all. While COVID-19 has taken away most everything theatrical that can be done live, there is nothing stopping it from taking away pre-recorded, choreographed, and recorded numbers in shows like Zoey’s. 

Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist follows the story of Zoe as she goes through a lot of very hard to handle situations while living in San Fransisco and juggling a job at an up and coming technology company. The story starts with introducing us to her father, who is gradually losing a battle with a degenerative disease that is slowly taking his motor functions and bodily functions. When Zoe starts to have issues with headaches like her father did before he got the diagnosis, she decides to get an MRI just to make sure everything is running smoothly. Of course, since she lives in San Francisco, an earthquake happens while she is getting the MRI. This grants her the power to hear people’s inner thoughts expressed through song and visually through dance, kicking off the plot nicely

From first impressions, I really thought that the songs would get to be annoying, but the creators have created a nice balance between song and storyline. This sitcom features a large amount of traditional sitcom storylines such as love triangles, “there’s more nothing we can do” medical situations, flirty office situations (not as extreme as Mad Men but not as corny as The Office) as well as many of the newer issues faced by more modern situations such as LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, depression, and more. I believe that this sitcom can really be enjoyed by a large age range because it takes the time to deal with the issues of today in the storylines of yesterday. I really do enjoy this sitcom, I have LOTS of wonderful things to say about it. I love the bright colors od the sets, I love the setting in a big city, I love the way the family fits together in the modern world context, where both the kids have left the nest but they still come back despite their busy lives in the city. I love the choreography from the big numbers to the very intricate singles or duet ones, but if you’ve read any of my reviews, you know the negatives I have for this show are just around the corner.

For the first time in forever, I don’t have very many negatives for this show, in fact, I have one: The use of autotune. It varies from HEAVY use to nothing at all, and as a singer, I can tell that the HEAVY users could have been fine with less use of it, hopefully in season two the show creators allow the actors to have more of a raw singing voice shown.