Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Season 1

‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ OTP Series: Missed Opportunities in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Failure”

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 1×05 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Failure”:


Source: Tenor

Jade: I’m going to be honest that it’s really hard to focus on the missed opportunities in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Failure,” knowing what’s coming in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Night Out.” But after the previous Max-lite episode, a lot happened this week, which set up some pretty major arcs coming up. Again, it’s a little awkward to say that Zoey should have kissed Max in this episode, since he was still dating Autumn (for most of it, that is). But she should have wanted to kiss him, at least. 

The first “Zoey should have wanted to kiss Max” scene had to be the one at the bar, when he was talking about his relationship with Autumn, and it was clear that things weren’t going that well between them. Zoey looked a little too happy that their relationship was no longer…operatic, don’t you think? But again that begs the question – is she aware of why she seems a little too happy about that?

Lizzie: She looked like she both wanted the relationship to NOT go well, and the relationship to go well, not because she actually wanted them together, but because a single Max would have presented some issues for HER feelings. Which leads me to think that she’s gotta be at least somewhat aware? Maybe the crossing of so many lines with Simon has her thinking of all the lines she routinely crosses with Max?


Source: Tumblr

Jade: She does cross some serious lines with Max. However, I don’t know if she’s still aware how often that happens. It’s probably been something the two have done for a while in their friendship, so it may be hard for her to separate typical friendship behavior from…whatever they are to each other.

In terms of other possible kisses, it obviously wouldn’t have made sense for Zoey to lay one on Max when he was spiraling about Autumn, laying out his vision for how one dinner with her parents was inevitably going to lead to him moving to Minneapolis for “the simple life.” Which I assume means he thinks he would have to take up farming or something (what does he think people do in Minneapolis)? But come on. You know we’re going to have to get at least one scene in the future where Max is spiraling over something ridiculous – like how his decision between Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms is going to negatively impact the next NASA Space Launch – and she’s just going to lay one on him. We have to. Right?

Lizzie: It’s the only reason for this scene to exist. Though, fine, I guess it can also exist to get Zoey to sort of start thinking of what she could lose. We know where this leads, but how did Zoey get there, what journey did her brain take to “I’m Yours?” Because, if you think about it, that’s pretty unequivocal and not really something you sorta get to from nothing. So, maybe her analytical mind was just putting the pieces together, since before this moment, but this moment in particular. Sure, she’s scared, but is she so scared to lose Max that she’s going to allow herself to ….you know, lose Max?

Thankfully (or I’m sure Zoey thinks so) she never really has to do something because Max is an actual adult who understands that making googly eyes at someone else while you’re in a relationship is a BIG NO NO, and yes, that is a dig at Simon.


Source: Tumblr

Jade: You may have a point, although I also think the scene neatly showed the difference for Max in terms of how he responds to these “next level” moments with Zoey versus with Autumn. The thought of meeting Autumn’s parents sent him into a tailspin, but he’s apparently closer to Mitch than he is to his own dad. A cup of coffee with Autumn’s parents nearly sends him into witness protection, but spending the holidays with Zoey’s family doesn’t? Come on, you two idiots. That means something. That said, I am glad that while he was with Autumn, his heartsongs to Zoey stopped. He genuinely tried to give his relationship with Autumn a chance. As soon as he realized they weren’t on the same page, he ended it rather than stringing her along. I appreciate that.

That said, I think the most obvious missed opportunity for a kiss was following the phone call at the end of the episode. Not only is he not put off by her serial killer mask, but he breaks the news to her that he and Autumn broke up. He’s a free man, and that means those lips are up for grabs! She totally could have tracked him down and laid one on him! However, Simon’s arrival interrupted the call, and their conversation led to a borderline Moment between them. What do you think would have happened if Simon hadn’t shown up when he did? Was Max really just calling to tell her about the breakup? Or did he want to let her know how he felt about her? And would Zoey have come to terms with her own feelings for Max sooner?

Lizzie: This annoys me because you can tell Zoey wanted to continue the conversation, and I wanted them to continue the conversation and for Max to be a mess and for Zoey to be like do you need a drink and a buddy and then he’d end up at her house and then they’d drink a little too much, and then WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED BETWEEN TWO SINGLE CONSENTING ADULTS.

Instead we get engaged Simon and his line crossing – because, at this point, it’s crossing a line, I think. Before, maybe they didn’t see it. After this …? Yeah, they see it, and if they choose to ignore it, well, that’s a decision. 

Jade: I really like how you were about two seconds away from a full fanfic right there. And, for the record? I would totally read that fanfic.

I don’t think Simon saw the line before he came to her apartment. He’d had a revelation about his father that clearly brought with it a mountain of undeserved guilt. It drove him to seek out someone he thought would understand. Is it a problem that the person he turned to wasn’t Jessica? Absolutely. I’m still not sure how fair he was to her about that. Did she really not understand? Or did he never gave her a real chance to understand? We may never know. However, even without the last song and the few seconds against the door, this should have been a wakeup call to him that all was not well in the kingdom, and if he’s really turning to his coworker instead of his fiancee for things like this, that’s a big, big problem.

But with the heartsong (which, again, he cannot control) and especially that moment against the door? Lines are getting crossed. As oblivious as Zoey and Simon either are or want to be, those few seconds make that line crossing undeniable. Even to themselves. And, like you said, anything after this is a decision. Unfortunately, when it comes to decisions, people don’t always make the best ones.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist available on streaming now on Hulu and through the NBC app.

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