When it comes to OTP moments between our favorite characters and ships, let’s be honest. We shippers can never get enough. So as we go through our weekly rewatch of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (not for the first time), Fangirlish author Lizzie and I thought we’d break down moments that…okay, maybe they wouldn’t entirely have made sense for Zoey and Max (aka Clarkeman) to kiss…but we certainly wouldn’t have objected to a kiss or two!
This week we’re looking at episode 1×03, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss”:
Deny, Deny, Deny
Jade: This episode is where things get a little tricky, because I can’t really say that Zoey should have kissed Max at any point in this episode. He’s dating Autumn, and I’m not a fan of infidelity. So it’s less “times Zoey should have kissed Max” and more “times Zoey should have thought about kissing Max and regretted her stupid, stupid plan to set him up with another woman to avoid confronting his feelings as well as her own.”
With that established, the moment I certainly wanted her to want to kiss him was when Joan let them kick off work…at the early, early hour of midnight. And while that temptation was certainly not overt, I think there might have been a little bit in there. She was giving him some serious heart eyes. We also got some distinct jealousy at the bar when she saw him (consensually) air-spanking Autumn. It’s at least the second time she’s been a little jealous, and even Mo called her out on it. Is Zoey starting to realize her feelings for Max, or do you think she’s still in complete denial?
Lizzie: I actually think this is probably the first time SHE realized her feelings for Max weren’t entirely platonic, which in turn probably made her go into even DEEPER denial, because we know Zoey and she just doesn’t do well with feelings. So I think she was doing better with the whole “I have no feelings” than she was when she realized she might have some tiny feelings. Before she wasn’t actively trying to avoid anything, she was just being Zoey, and then at this point it just became I REFUSE TO FEEL THINGS SO THEREFORE I DON’T FEEL THEM, you know what I mean?
Funny Always Wins
Jade: Okay, that’s so accurate it hurts. I think that Zoey and Max actually have a lot in common in terms of emotional obliviousness. (It makes sense; they’re both coders. And we all know what Zoey said about that in the Pilot.) However, Max has at least a little bit of an edge on her because he’s more aware of his own feelings than she is. (Though his “pure of heart, dumb of ass” self still thought she was mad at him when she was looking at him like he was an entire snack in the finale. So he still has a ways to go.)
There weren’t many Clarkeman scenes in this episode. However, Max was so adorable in the scene in which he was talking to Zoey about Joan. He was so happy Joan yelled at by the right name. He’s funny, and as Mo says, “Funny always wins.” It’s worth noting that this episode foreshadowed Max’s capabilities as a manager. He was focused on the project while Leif and Tobin were distracted by Charlie. If Zoey had seen that, I’m almost certain she’d have wanted to kiss him, because she was clearly attracted to his demonstration of maturity (and willingness to embrace responsibility) in the finale.
Lizzie: I also find that scene super adorable, because it establishes that Zoey and Max share everything about their day. The change in Joan was so noticeable and something they should discuss, because I bet they discuss Joan, and Leif and Tobin and like, everyone. That’s what best friends do. So, of course, when Joan actually proved that she knew Max’s name, part of the fun of that, for him, was telling Zoey. He didn’t much care about Joan, but he did care about Zoey’s reaction to it.
Love Him, Love His Hair
Jade: Joan’s “hot and cold” attitude towards Max is really interesting. Until this rewatch, I had forgotten that she yelled at him by his name – proving she knows it. Which really just adds to Max’s (rightfully) feeling under-appreciated on the fourth floor and everything that will eventually lead to. It also really makes me curious to know where they take the career arc next season – with both Max and with Joan, as she continues to become more open about the fact she genuinely does care about her employees. Even if she doesn’t necessarily show it.
All right. I’m going to throw this out there because I know how you feel about what Autumn did to Max’s hair. Is that a deal-breaker for Zoey wanting to kiss Max for you, do you think? Or does her (unacknowledged, perhaps unrecognized) love for him override unfortunate hair product choices?
Lizzie: The good thing is Zoey can always take him home, get him into the shower, jump in there with him, and scrub all that horrible hair product out of his hair! The bad thing is that I will never get that mental image out of my head. Zoey, however, doesn’t seem that upset. That’s true love right there.
Jade: If it makes you feel any better, I’m pretty sure you just described…at least a dozen fanfics. At least.