Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the second season of Zoey’s extraordinary playlist premiere on Tuesday, don’t proceed
That was the big question Zoey (Jane Levy) and her family faced when Zoey’s extraordinary playlist launched its second season on Tuesday, six weeks after her father’s devastating death, Zoey was still struggling to get on with her new life without adjusting Mitch (Peter Gallagher) as she and the Clarkes each went through the grieving process differently.It wasn’t until they came across three video messages from Mitch addressed to Zoey, her brother David, and her mother Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) that they gently gave them permission to go on
When it was time for Zoey to return to work at SPRQ Point, a lot had changed at the once-fledgling tech company Max (Skylar Astin) wasn’t just, we’ll reach him later, he was no longer an employee, there were some unexpected cast changes and an adorkable new face (hi George!) After Joan (Lauren Graham) moved to Singapore (!) for a new role, Zoey was promoted to fourth floor head while exciting news for Zoey having her promotion Joan’s surprise departure also marked a farewell to Graham, whose early departure was caused by the pandemic delay for Disney’s The Mighty Ducks
Speaking of Max, he decided to partner with Mo (Alex Newell) on a promising new app project that allowed users to order in different restaurants in one place (Seriously, why doesn’t it already exist ?!) And in order to fuel the debate between Team Max and Team Simon among Zoey’s playlist fans, Zoey (for the time being) made the decision to explore something romantic with Max and plant a kiss in the final seconds of the premiere What Now?
After the season opener, ET spoke to inventor Austin Winsberg about why he decided to end the love triangle for the time being, Graham’s “unfortunate” departure and much more
ET: Mitch leaves the family video messages and gives everyone the OK to close this chapter in their life and move on, is this just a preview of how you’re going to be keeping Peter Gallagher in the fabric of the show this season even though Mitch is no longer alive?
Austin Winsberg: Yes, there are definitely a few more times where we’ll explore Mitch in different ways over the course of the season. I made a conscious decision that Zoey shouldn’t be in fantasy sequences a la Dexter, Six Feet Under, talking to her dad just because we already have a magical element on the show So I thought we could just keep that one magical element up; I didn’t think we could stand another.It was just about being creative about how you bring Mitch back.But I also want him to continue to be present because this idea that people still live after death and about you waking or chasing you or still being a part of your life I wanted this to be felt I think it’s very easy to sit in your grief in grief
I stopped going to work three weeks after my father died, and I don’t know if my father would have been happy with the weight of the debt I took on.From the news point of view, I just felt my father could have said to me, “I don’t want you to go on like this,” and to my mother and sister, “I don’t want you”staying depressed I don’t want you to live in anger I don’t want you to be upset about everything that happened It’s important to you and I want you to try to keep going” I think this is an important one Message, and I think that with all the devastation we’ve felt from the pandemic, the way people have lost loved ones It’s good news – this idea that life goes on and that it is important Being strong under losses and finding a way to move forward and find meaning in death, I thought this was a lovely thing Mitch was able to pass on to her
It’s hard to beat the seven-minute finale in Season 1, but the family cover of “Carry On” in the premiere was pretty apt. How did that particular number come together?
I don’t know if we’ll top “American Pie” “[choreographer] Mandy Moore and I, the bar for us is really high. We always try to be inventive and creative in how we make musical numbers work we have Counted a few days ago – we are currently shooting episode 7 – we are almost up to 100 different music numbers already on the show Every music number has its own imagination and its own idea There is never just someone who sings Behind the song, behind the movement, There is always an idea behind the dance The challenge we face is always trying to be creative, empowering ourselves and looking forward to the next musical number, especially with this number, it was important to show the family that Everyone Get Together “Carry On” is in some ways a good thematic idea for the entire season. It was important for all of them to take the news they had received from Mitch and hopefully use it as the start of a white If we broke that number, it definitely took a lot of conversations between Mandy and me.We tried a couple of versions that didn’t work and then we got the idea that people are getting frozen and they are almost handing over the baton – they would take turns taking over the song while they set the dining table. We liked the metaphor that they are frozen in time because that’s how you feel after death. You’re just shocked. They’re all a little frozen in their lives and at that moment Have to Carry On When we got this symbolic idea of freezing, but also the idea of letting go of the freezing and moving on and putting the table together as a family act, the family set the dining table the way they would always do with Mitch there, [but this time ] without Mitch there, locked up for us
At the end of the premiere, Zoey seems to be making a decision with her love life and decides to move forward romantically with Max.Why, after a season where you’ve built a love triangle between Zoey, Max, and Simon, made up your mind, Zoey – at least for the moment – to have the water tested with Max?
I got some concerns about love triangles being a bit repetitive, and that we’re also not in high school.We are dealing with a character turning 30 on the show this year and adult men I started to feel that the more flip-floppy the Zoey became, the more that this could turn off not only the guys but the audience as well.At some point, it goes against the credibility of having mature relationships between adults I had that, too Feeling that it was a bigger and bolder swing to make a choice and then see the effects of the choice I just thought it was much more interesting to go creatively on a path rather than that will – they won’t – they oath with both guys and continue that endless flip-flop the rest of this season And then see what happens to it I found the more interesting storytelling or what turned out to be true for me r felt The whole message of the first episode is about moving on and making decisions. Making the right choice was important to Zoey
The romantic storylines I wanted to do, there is no clean ending here.These are ongoing relationships with both men that keep evolving and becoming more complex
What does the ring that Max Zoey gives you mean to you? Will it be an important marker for you this season?
Yes we sometimes talk about Zoey being their own version of a superhero and that in some ways this is a version of a superhero show.As with any superhero, giving them their superhero costume or uniform was important to the idea, Zoey Giving a shield suited me How would that look in our universe? This idea of giving her some form of protection to keep her safe from the world felt like a nice metaphor to I don’t think we’re getting too into it this season, it’s another element of her superhero costume
Mo and Max decide to develop a new restaurant app together. What can we expect from this new partnership?
This is a huge story thread that will run throughout the season, I liked the idea of bringing Max and Mo together as this weird couple, and to see what it would be like to do business together as one of them is very right-brained, the other is very left-brained, one is very creative and artistic, the other is much more technical, computer savvy and more logical I like to see these two personalities conflict or complement each other.We were also very excited about the concept That they developed together, I’ve spent so much time exploring the specifics of this restaurant idea that I wish we could have opened a popup version of it if we hadn’t been in a pandemic once you saw the finished depth of it all , I’m really, really proud of it. I think hundreds of hours have gone into how it looks and works nd quite ready to open the restaurant tomorrow
Joan is speaking from SPRQ Point and moving to Singapore which means Lauren Graham is leaving the show. Was that always the plan to leave or be less present in Season 2?
The play by Lauren Graham was an unfortunate by-product of planning she signed up to do the Mighty Ducks show for Disney and they should start filming in March, and they should be ready in time for Lauren to have one this season Then the pandemic hit and they stopped production and went back into production at exactly the same time that we started filming, the planning completely overlapped and there was no way for them to do both shows at the same time I’ve had Lauren on multiple episodes this season and sadly we all had to change our plans because of the planning I love Lauren and I think she was a great presence on the show we always wanted to make Zoey the fourth floor leader, but we had a lot more to do with Joan when we took on the role of Danny Michael Davis and in her new role still as boss / mentor for Zoey fu A lot of it just had to be changed in the drop-off because of Lauren’s schedule. That was a real bummer. We loved her presence on the show. She loves doing the show and we just couldn’t get it to work.
How is Zoey, who will essentially become the new Joan, shifting focus to SPRQ Point? There’s also a new member of the Bullpen, George, played by Harvey Guillen
We just wanted to give Zoey more responsibility and we wanted to give her more opportunities to interact with other departments outside of the programmer. We had talked about bringing in another boss from the fourth floor and creating a new dynamic that way. Then we were excited about the idea of giving her more responsibility, more people to get in touch with, because the more challenges and more things we throw at Zoey – the more obstacles that go beyond her musical powers – the more opportunities there are for the story and conflict Not only does she have to deal with the programmers now, but she also has to deal with some real-life tasks as boss. SPRQ Point is in free fall in the first half of the season after Danny Michael Davis is under house arrest, so Zoey has to deal with many episodes of SPRQ Point outdoors Dealing Case There are some key work stories in which she is as Chefi n the fourth floor, which she would not have if she were still in the bullpen
We also liked the idea of giving Leif what he wanted, which was to be the programmer’s manager, only to realize that it’s not as easy as he’d imagined it was, and it was good messy complications then The idea that she is now Simon’s boss caused some interesting complications because he works on the fourth floor. Then when George got Zoey out of the bullpen and Max was no longer in the bullpen, it was all about refining that room and another comic – Creating Presence in the Bullpen There’s a big story between George and Zoey that really plays out in Episode 4 We liked this idea of this eager pooch, lovable character who adores Zoey and what that means to her as boss
We’re all so separated now. Sometimes you just want to hug people, and Zoey certainly keeps a lot of it in bottles this episode, a lot of her own emotional stuff, so that she could take that hug and really take it in, it was important to me to see someone she really helped and then to feel that, to feel that in an episode where she felt so alone or freaked out or not ready to go back to this world
One of my favorite numbers was Max and Simon’s duet to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” which was fun and awkward but in a fun way. Are there numbers down the line that people are looking forward to this season?
Like I said, Mandy and I are always trying to improve, change the game, or do something different. Hopefully we have at least one number on every episode that was, “Wow, didn’t see this coming” or “Wow, that was creative” “Episode 2, there is a chair number with wheelchairs in the bullpen that I really love. The entire fifth act of Episode 2 consists entirely of Max and Zoey, and we rehearsed it like a one-act act for two weeks , and there are multiple musical numbers in that act, I just liked the idea of doing a whole act of two people in one room together – that was really exciting for me, treating it like a Neil Simon play in episode 3, we’re doing one completely different visual and creative idea where Zoey is allowed to sing three numbers Episode 5, we have a really fun number on the street with a lot of people. Episode 6 is a deep look into systemic racism in the work area We’re getting late he talked more about it, but we brought in a guest choreographer for this episode and really tried to look at the numbers differently.Every number in this episode is sung by a colored person on the show, but also written and performed by colored people around the world, that really rely on this story and the ideas behind it.We have a ton of things in every single episode that we’re trying to make the game better and change the game last season we did a glitch episode where Zoey got all the songs We’ve got another glitch this season, but it’s a completely different type of glitch that affects their powers in a different way, which is surprising.We have great fun and inventive music
What do you want people to know about this new season? How do you want people to feel when they watch the season go by?
After season 1, I received a lot of really amazing messages and tweets about how people felt on the show.Although the father had progressive supranuclear palsy which is a very rare brain disease, many people found the universality in and the idea of losing a parent I feel that in some way this show can bring people joy, help people healing, connect with this idea of empathy and human connection, as well as the importance of human connection and realize that under Of the surface things are going on all of us and to get in touch with other people in our lives to make sure we are fine Maybe these are high ambitions but I feel like the show has the emotional component and the kind and way is how people feelI hope we continue to have a nice escape for that in Season 2 Are people, but hopefully also make sure that people feel comfortable and that they want to connect with others, especially during the time when we feel so disconnected
Zoey’s extraordinary playlist airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET / PT on NBC For more information on the series, see the video below
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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
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