“Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss” has a standout guest-star as Joan’s narcissist husband, but Zoey’s love life continues to be a lowlight.
This recap of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 1, Episode 3, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 1, Episode 3 establishes its girl-power bona fides by honing in on the marital difficulties of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss” Joan (Lauren Graham), who until now has largely been an archetype. No longer in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Episode 3, which makes an effort to characterise her as a woman who has spent far too long holding on to a broken marriage.
It makes sense – Joan’s controlling nature at work is an effort to maintain the power in that part of her life that she lacks in her marriage to Charlie, a beloved designer who the entire office fawns over, played to exaggerated perfection by Justin Kirk. Zoey’s power helps her to figure out Joan’s marital woes but it’s her decision whether or not to intervene; being able to hear peoples’ thoughts in song is one thing, but that ability can’t decide things for her.
At least Zoey can make some kind of difference, though – the inability to do that for Mitch (Peter Gallagher) is what Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) has to deal with in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Boss”. Despite improvements in his condition, including a new program designed by Zoey that allows him to type out words, the burden of a loved one suffering finally got to Maggie. Anything involving this family stands out as being considerably more emotional than the material elsewhere, and it’s good that Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Episode 3 continues to develop the dynamics – they are, mostly, much more engaging than Zoey’s tumultuous love life, which still seems determined to veer between Max (Skyler Astin) and Simon (John Clarence Stewart).
The romance is the weakest aspect of this show, largely because it feels the most clichéd, so I’m happy that it’s frequently backgrounded in favor of a greater focus on individual characters. Max might have been the focal point of the previous episode, but now that he’s shacked up with Autumn (Stephanie Styles) the brakes have been pumped a little. It’s obvious that the relationship Zoey herself set up will be the proof she needs that she really does have feelings for Max, but I’m happy to let that simmer while we enjoy the exploits of Joan and Mo (Alex Newell), who remains a clear highlight.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.