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Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
NBC and NBC App

Zoey Clark is a tech coder hoping to get the next managerial promotion. For a nightshirt she wears a NASA tee-shirt that is as old and loved as the velveteen rabbit, and she listens to MIT podcasts instead of music. She has a best friend, an artistic neighbor who moonlights as a 70’s DJ, the hots for a new coworker, and a slowly dying father. Then an accident in an MRI machine involving an earthquake, a music streaming power surge, and a brain activity spike, causes Zoey to hear people singing out loud what they are privately thinking and feeling. It may be an elderly woman passing by singing “All By Myself”, three ladies belting “What a Man” as they eye up a guy, or people all around her, old, young, lonely, desperate, burdened, awkward and scared, who join in a poignant chorus of the Beatles’ “Help”. Naturally, she thinks she’s going crazy. The turning point for her is when she hears the inner reality of the office’s most cheerful, upbeat guy, which is Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”. Gradually she gets it; she is indeed tuning in to the secret realities around her.

This show is well written, golden-hearted.  It’s like the best of La La Land and Crazy Ex Girlfriend, yet completely original. The cast includes Mary Steenburgen and Peter Gallagher as Zoey’s parents in a tender and loving relationship; Skylar Astin as her best friend Max; Lauren Graham as Joan, the no nonsense boss; John Clarence Stewart as Simon, the new coworker; Alex Newell (Glee) as Mo, the neighbor; and Jane Levy as Zoey. But ALL the cast are great: her pizza-chomping brother, ambitious office coders, and passersby on sidewalks and trams. The IMDb website lists cast members, naming nearly all of them. Well done, IMDb.

The similarities to Crazy Ex Girlfriend  are obvious: a multicultural, multigenerational cast, with good parts for everyone. This show, however, has even more musical numbers, and a bigger budget. Also it looks as though Skylar Astin, who took over for Santino Fontana as Greg for the final season of that most excellent show, has been taking dance classes.  He has moves now, to go along with his Pitch Perfect singing.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a a honest-to-God, feel-good show.  I laughed, I cried, I sang along, I watched it twice. Strongly recommended. — Chris Wozney

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