Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Season 1

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

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 our favorite OTP moments between Zoey and Max (aka Clarkeman)…and a few opportunities that were missed along the way.

This week we’re looking at episode 1×011, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Mother”:


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Jade: It’s hard to believe, but we’re almost to the finale. And you and I both know what’s awaiting us in the finale. So since next week I have no doubt we’re going to have plenty to talk about, I thought it would be a good time to bring together everything we’ve discussed so far: the kisses we should have gotten, the state of and growing tension in their friendship/romance, and the kisses we have yet to come. Looking to season two, what is it we want to see, and what is it we think we will get? Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: the makeup at the end of this episode. Was it enough for you, or do you feel dissatisfied by this reconciliation at all? And do you think they should have (or could have) kissed?

Lizzie: I know this is a yes or no answer, but I think I feel both. I appreciate what Zoey said and the way they made up, and I understand why – plot wise – the show didn’t do more (THEY WERE SAVING IT FOR THE FINALE), but I think I would have liked a longer conversation, or like, at least a hug? This didn’t feel like a kiss kind of moment, as Zoey still sounds super uncertain about her feelings, but was a hug too much to ask for? I don’t think so!

However, moving away from all of that, I think it’s worth examining how Zoey got to the point where she knew she had to go talk to Max and how the show is presenting their makeup as some sort of inevitability. Even Zoey’s word, in and of itself, are important when we’re trying to figure out what she’s really thinking and feeling, because she literally said that she’d been thinking about time, and presumably death, and the one thing she couldn’t stand was the thought that she was this far apart from him, implying that if something were to happen to her, her one regret would be that Max didn’t know how much she cared. I mean, I don’t know about you, but that’s biiiiiig.


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Jade: Oh, that’s absolutely huge. I know there are a lot of signs that these two are endgame over the course of the season, but this is a big one. I also found it notable that she asked him if he would listen to her. Earlier in the season, she either just started talking to him, even when she knew he was angry (like when he was leaving for Hand Picked and she asked him what she was doing wrong with the team), or she disregarded him telling her he wasn’t ready to talk (after he saw her singing to Simon). Maybe I’m reading too much into it – as shippers do – but her actually asking if he would – and was ready to – listen seemed like a moment of character growth for her.

Obviously, we know things take one step forward and two steps back between Max and Zoey next episode. As much as I want to gush about that, I’m curious to know what you think about the supposed continuation of the love triangle next season. I know Austin Winsberg has said that the love triangle will continue. It’s not even a surprise, because television do what television do. At the same time, it’s a little strange to think of the love triangle continuing in the traditional sense. After everything that they’ve been through together – and what we know is to come – Zoey seems to have finally had some sort of realization about her feelings for Max. Doing the traditional “torn between two men” plot next season would not only be a rehash of this season, but it would make her seem fickle. I have to think it’ll come down more to the love triangle “existing” purely because Zoey just isn’t in the frame of mind to address it, make a decision, make that decision clear, and move forward. A love triangle of inaction rather than indecisive action – possibly highlighted more from Simon and Max’s perspectives than from Zoey’s. What do you think?

Lizzie: I 100% agree with you. I don’t have much hope in TV shows knowing when to stop with love triangles, because even some of my favorite shows have somehow managed to make it last at least one more season than it should, but I do think it’s conceivable that this could be a “the love triangle still exists” because Zoey just hasn’t had time to make a public decision kind of thing. I even would forgive them giving Zoey a bit of a pause and make her second guess it all a bit if she gets some support from Simon in her grief, which I know she will. But I don’t think this can be a thing that lasts much longer AFTER they sort of get Zoey over the first hump of grief. Which, hey, maybe the show will take a while to do that, they are, after all, committed to telling a realistic story about grief, and that doesn’t last a specific amount of time. 


Source: Tumblr

Jade: You and I have always been on the same page with regards to the fact that Zoey needs to take care of herself next season, before she worries about entering into any romance. So as much as we love our ship, let’s put that aside for now. We just discussed that the friendship between Zoey and Max was unequal this season, and as much as we love her, Zoey was not as good a friend to Max as he often was to her. It seems like, while Zoey’s healing, it would make sense to focus on repairing and strengthening their friendship. I know we’ve talked privately (more times about this show than is probably reasonable, let’s be honest) about the fact we really need Zoey to go to bat for Max next season. (To be fair, she does in the finale, but still.) So what would that look like to you? What else would you like to see in their friendship next season – not just from Zoey, but from Max, as well?

Lizzie: I think what Zoey needs from Max next season is what she’s always gotten from Max, so in that respect, I think Max has it “easy” in that what she needs is for him to be there for her, for him to be her rock, to distract her when she needs it, to let her cry when she needs that, and just …to be her friend. On the other hand, what Max needs from her is a tad more complicated, and I’m not even sure it’s something Zoey can focus on next season, at least not at the beginning, because the situation will just not present itself, but she needs to show Max that she values him as much he values her. And that will require Zoey going out of her way for Max at some point, even a little bit, which she hasn’t really done other than in the finale. But I see that being a later-in-the-season kind of thing, because I fully expect the first few episodes to put these characters in a place where she just doesn’t have a chance to do that, whether she wants to or not.


Jade: I would agree with all of that. However, I would also add that I think what Zoey will also need from Max is patience. It was clear in the finale that he was aware she would need time and he was willing to be patient with her. But if there was one thing I wanted to sit Max down this season and tell him, it was that he needed to be patient. That will be even more important next year.

Okay. Let’s lay it all on the table now. Prediction on when we get our next kiss? And do they end Season 2 as an established couple, or does Austin find a way to torture us a little more?

Lizzie: I don’t think you’re gonna like my prediction, because I think they can – and will – basically take this one to the NEXT season finale. First there’s the dealing with the grieving, then Zoey will have some second thoughts or re-consider her choice for an episode or two, then she’ll make her choice and have to do something to prove to Max that she is serious, she’s 100% in, and she means it, it’s not a reaction to …well, everything that’s going on. And only THEN will they get together, which probably takes us to like …the last episode of season 2.

I mean, it’s what I would do …

Jade: Well. On that note. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner. Sobbing.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is available on streaming on Hulu, through the NBC app and on Peacock.

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