Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has aired three episodes of season two, and despite a lot of promo for the love triangle that consumed most of season one, the show just pretty much settled that in the premiere, and hasn’t looked back since.
This is a good thing in our opinion, and not just because we were all Team Max around here. Truth is, we don’t really like love triangles. And yet, we wanted to go deeper into this topic, because the question on everyone’s mind seems to be: can the love triangle truly be over?
We believe the answer is yes. So join me and Jade as we break down our expectations on this regard, what we think about the show’s decision and what comes next.
Zoey made a choice in the season 2 premiere of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Has anything that has happened in the next two episodes made you think she’s in any way reconsidering that choice? Do you get “the love triangle is still alive” vibes?
Lizzie: What love triangle? Is there a love triangle? I don’t even remember when there was a love triangle. Love triangles are so season one.
No, but being serious, there’s no love triangle. Zoey made a choice. She chose Max. If you want to be factual, she chose him twice, in the season 1 finale when she – instead of “waiting for Simon to be ready” decided to just go for it with Max, and then again in the season 2 premiere. Her recognition that this isn’t the right time for a relationship doesn’t mean the choice disappears. She hasn’t even entertained Simon as a romantic interest this season – and more importantly, when it comes to establishing a love triangle, he hasn’t even acted like he’s still interested. Maybe part of it is that he’s a good guy and he’s respecting her choice, which I appreciate, but he’s not presenting himself as a romantic possibility right now, and the show isn’t treating him as one because ….*drumroll* there is no love triangle anymore.
Jade: Absolutely not. And I know that sucks for Zimon fans. But it has been clear since the Pilot which ship would be endgame, and I generally don’t think dragging out a triangle or non-endgame ship and getting some hopes up only to later crush them is really what fans (even of the non-endgame ship) want. So I do like that the love triangle appears to be well and truly behind them, but I appreciate even more that it seems – so far, at least, to be a mutual thing. Simon isn’t still pining for Zoey! He isn’t sitting there bitter that she chose to be with someone else. Which shows that there is genuine friendship and caring on both sides, but also that perhaps whatever was between them wasn’t as deep as fans might have hoped. Now I just hope he’s able to find love that makes him happy, as well, because he certainly deserves it.
Why do you think the promos, the people involved with the show and sometimes even the fans, hang onto the idea of a love triangle so much? Aren’t we tired of love triangles?
Lizzie: Yes, yes we are. But I think, mostly, we just don’t trust shows …? So even when we’re told a love triangle is over, and we’re shown a love triangle is over, we somehow are still scared that we’re being lied to, and the love triangle is going to come back up, so we prepare for it by just …pretending we’re okay with the love triangle coming back? This is what we’ve been trained to feel, and so we base our expectations on what TV had done before. It’s TV PTSD. I mean, I did it too, after episode 1, but nothing is left of that after the “A Moment Like This” duet in episode two.
I also think part of it is we’re used to the “other side” of the love triangle just being pushed to the side and ignored after the triangle is over, and most of us truly like Simon and don’t want that for him? But I have high hopes the show is not just going to forget about him. Zoey needs a work friend with Max gone, after all!
Jade: Oh, I think we’re definitely over love triangles, but I also think we’ve seen enough television to know how it usually works. And while fans almost unilaterally hate love triangles, love triangles work. They get fans excited about the show. They generate buzz. Stringing fans along can also (theoretically) keep them tuning in week after week, hoping that their preferred ship will get scraps. Even when they’ve been burned before.
Make no mistake about it. Putting an end to a love triangle this early in a show is almost unheard of. Typically, it goes: Season 1, there’s unrequited pining, with the non-endgame ship taking the lead and the endgame ship getting a big moment at the end of the season (to establish where the story would go in case the show gets cancelled). Season 2, there’s movement in the endgame ship, but something keeps them apart and maybe the non-endgame ship stays together for a while. The season ends with endgame moving closer but not being together. Season 3, maybe the endgame ship finally gets together, if writers feel like moving forward quickly (for TV Land). Otherwise, it could take 5 years or more for endgame to get together.
We expect triangles to last through the first couple of seasons because we’ve been well-trained.
What do you want to see from the show going forward – in this non love-triangle world?
Lizzie: Max and Zoey aren’t together, no, but the feelings they already admitted don’t disappear, and they shouldn’t have to. Besides, Zoey’s going through some things, and Max has always been, not just her romantic interest, but her best friend. I want them to continue building on that dynamic that has brought us here, that has made us want them together. I can list about a thousand fun ways to do it now that the sexual tension is acknowledged that would be hilarious, and about a dozen different songs that the show could use for some fun scenarios in this regard.
And as for Simon, can we get him some happiness? I want the man to be actually, truly happy. He deserves to process his grief, at last, and to start looking forward. And just because that won’t be with Zoey doesn’t mean we can’t see the journey for him. Get him some happiness, we already know he’s getting some therapy, and maybe, in the not-so-distant-future, a love interest?
Jade: I think it’s valid to say that they both have things they need to deal with right now. And some of that must be done apart. But some of that can be done together, and I want to see that. I want to see the show explore what they learned from the mistakes they each made in season 1. I want to see the things that prove why, when they do come together again, that’s it. Why they work. Why the other person is the only person with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. I want to continue to see what they find in a relationship with each other that makes what they have so special. I want to see them continue to navigate that weird transition from friends to something more, and from something more to something more still. And I want to see their friendship explored as much as their romance. I want to see Zoey supporting Max and Max supporting Zoey – which doesn’t necessarily mean they always see eye to eye, but I want to see them always working to move forward together. Also, I just really want some simple domestic scenes like the two cuddled up on the couch together, because those small moments mean so much.
And like you, I want to see Simon get some happiness. He’s been through grief, and that’s important. But happiness is important too. I want him to find someone who makes him break out in heart songs of joy. I also want to see him and Zoey continue their friendship, but I want to move him away from the majority of his interactions with her being to provide her advice and counsel. Yes, that’s important, but he is more than that as a character. Keeping him in a position where he’s always the advice-giving friend, always having to be understanding and give sage advice…well, it provides for lovely scenes, but it doesn’t provide him a chance to be human and make mistakes and deal with his own problems and grow. I want to see how he learned from his own mistakes last year and how he isn’t falling into the same patterns. I want to see him make new mistakes and have to figure out how to navigate the fallout. I want to see him fall down and get up and keep moving. And, while that may bring periods of drama for him, I want him to continue to find joy.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.