For every whimsical musical number that Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist delivers, the series also packs an emotional gut-punch, especially when it comes to the titular heroine’s father Mitch. So stock up on tissues, because following her dad’s death, Zoey will very much be struggling with the immense loss throughout the entirety of Season 2 (premiering Tuesday at 8/7c on NBC).
“When thinking of Zoey’s emotional arc and her story arc for the season, I wanted it all rooted in recovery and the different stages that we go through in grief,” showrunner Austin Winsberg tells TVLine, adding that the redhead’s experience will somewhat mirror “my own emotional journey after my dad passed away” from progressive supranuclear palsy.
“I wanted to explore the stages of that for Zoey, the different ways in which she’s trying to recover, the ways in which she might rebel, the ways in which she might relapse,” Winsberg continues. “It’s such a monumental loss for her, and I didn’t want to just move past it as if it was a one-season [story]… When you lose somebody meaningful and important to you, what does that look like for you going forward? How does that affect you? I felt like that was key to the whole season for me.”
Zoey’s grief will also significantly impact her headspace when it comes to romance — remember, she and Max shared a heavy makeout session shortly before Mitch passed away — so when Season 2 picks up, the Zoey/Max/Simon love triangle is in a state of limbo.
“At the beginning of this season, she has been living at her mother’s house and hasn’t left the house in six weeks,” Winsberg previews. “Zoey’s approach to all of this has been to hide from the world… I think she’s not really, emotionally or mentally, ready to deal with any of it yet. And yet, she feels like it’s been six weeks, and at some point, she has to kind of go back out into the world. So I don’t think she’s necessarily thinking she’s ready for anything with Max or Simon.”
Then Zoey gets a bit of “a rude awakening” when she discovers that Max, Simon and her neighbor Mo are all friends now, while things at her workplace, Sprq Point, have also changed quite a bit. “Now she’s got to figure how she can recalibrate and put herself back into a world that hasn’t waited for her,” Winsberg says.
Zoey’s Playlist fans, hit the comments with your hopes for Season 2!