Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Proceed at your own risk!
When it comes to love scenes, they don’t get more harmonious than Zoey and Max’s long-awaited first time together. On Tuesday’s episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, the new couple finally found themselves all alone after many thwarted attempts at getting it on.
As the pair started to undress and kiss, Max began to sing a rousing rendition of… “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”?! Turns out a very open-minded therapist advised him to find a neutral song to tune out any heart songs. Zoey was on board with America’s national pastime serving as the soundtrack for their lovemaking, but then Max suddenly changed tracks to the smooth sounds of Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You.”
Sensing that he was volleying between two wildly different songs, a hilariously frustrated Max became determined to get out of his own head (or more into it, depending on how you look at the situation). Zoey tried to assure him that hearing his heart songs makes her feel even closer to him, and to even the playing field, she gave him some insight into her own nervous-but-mostly-excited feelings. The zany moment then turned swoon-worthy as Max began to belt Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” with Zoey joining in, a cappella-style, for an unexpected duet.
Watch snippets of the musical numbers below, then scroll down to keep reading.
The sequence, which took place over an entire seven-minute act, called for Skylar Astin (who plays Max on the NBC dramedy) to deliver three song numbers, comedic physicality and genuine emotion. “It was such a gift,” the actor tells TVLine. “It really read like a play.”
While Max and Zoey’s first kiss in Season 1 took place under similar dueling-song circumstances, this week’s first-time segment “really upped the stakes, and it’s even longer,” Astin notes. “There’s more music, there are more tones that we’re shifting in and out of, and we also wanted to distinguish ourselves from that other scene. So a lot of conversations [and] a lot of rehearsal went into it.”
“I know it took [creator] Austin [Winsberg] and [choreographer] Mandy [Moore] a minute to kind of crack it,” Astin continues, “because, for instance, when I’m singing the Boyz II Men part, you would think that I would feel really smooth and kind of sing that outright, but my character in that moment is actually trying to keep that in, and he’s upset while he’s singing Boyz II Men. So it was like playing against what you were doing at times, completely giving into your subconscious at other times, a moment of scene work in between, and then coming together with the Kelly Clarkson [song].”
During “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Astin put his own comedic spin on the performance by changing the hitch in his voice at the exact moment Zoey took off his belt and unzipped his pants. “That was something I added in rehearsal, and it made Mandy laugh every single time I would say the word ‘shame’ or when I would kind of shorten my breath,” Astin says. “I know when it’s making the people creating it laugh, it’s probably going to make the people at home laugh, too.”
For the final part of the medley, “A Moment Like This,” Astin and leading lady Jane Levy weren’t even on the bed as Max and Zoey shared their intimate duet. “We were kneeling on basically a box, and we had this camera whipping around our heads,” Astin shares. “It had to be the perfect timing, so we actually did that sequence so many times and had to remain consistent. Jane and I had this amazing focus where we could just kind of lock in. There was a lot of stuff going on around us, but we were just really enjoying that moment. I know Jane was having fun, and it’s a very vulnerable moment for Zoey, but also for Jane.”
Plus, “I always take it as like a notch in my cap when Zoey has some of her firsts with Max,” Astin adds. “I think that gives Max the edge in her life and in the story… And now this is the first time she’s joining in [during a heart song], and what does that transfer mean? How much is she letting him into not only her heart but her power? On top of just being a cool moment, it’s also fairly emotional.”
While Max certainly, ahem, scored more than one first with Zoey in the aforementioned scene, the conversation that preceded their sweet duet also exposed his (worrisome?) concerns about her powers and the insight they give her into her boyfriend’s thoughts. “What does that do to the relationship? And does it feel unfair?” Astin posits. “I know that there are certain hypocrisies some people could find in relationships, but this one, like straight up, it’s an imbalance.”
Zoey’s Playlist fans, what did you think of Max and Zoey’s musical sexy times? Hit the comments with your thoughts!