Zoey can claim she's choosing happiness all she wants, but it's evident someone forgot the first syllable of happiness isn't silent based on the introduction of hot neighbor Aidan at the end of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Episode 4.
It's infuriating that someone believes our love of the show will wane if Zoey's not enthralled with some hot guy, but there isn't another clear explanation for creating the character of Aidan.
Introducing some random guy we've never heard of won't jack up the relationship drama, which has been running on empty since the end of the dreaded love triangle.
Resolving the Zoey-Max-Simon love triangle so early in the season was a smart move, but with the introduction of Aidan, one has to wonder if this was done to insert another peg into Zoey's already messy love life without overloading us.
Zoey: Wow, I haven’t seen you… what, how are you?
Max: Well, this is my office now, so you tell me.
Zoey: You know you could always work at my place if you wanted. Wouldn’t be weird, or if it was weird, we could handle it because we’re not weird people. And we’re definitely not going to be weird moving forward, right?
Max: I mean, you’re being weird right now.
Zoey: Yes, which is why I’m going to... bye-bye.
Two guys vying for Zoey's affection is one thing, but three is one too many.
By removing Simon from the equation, the show can set up another pointless love triangle we care about even less than its previous iteration.
And while I had issues about the speed at which the show coupled and then swiftly uncoupled Zoey and Max, I nevertheless understood the decision and begrudgingly accepted it.
This, though, there's no way to wrap my head around it.
If Zoey wasn't ready to be in a relationship with her best friend so soon after her father died, then why would she think she was even remotely ready to start something with a childhood neighbor she hasn't seen in years, even if he has an Australian accent?
It's just incomprehensible why she's going down this path, especially when there's been a greater push for this season to feel more like an ensemble show.
This was the first episode that smoothly integrated more than one of the season-long subplots without being overwhelming.
And part of that success is from good time management, which the series has become better accustomed to since it cut out the needless "person of the week in crisis" bit.
Zoey: I don’t get how you’re so upbeat. I mean your drinks were just universally maligned, and you’re already coming up with new ones.
Mo: Unlike some people, I don’t want to wallow. I did enough of that with Eddie, and now that the boy is gone, I’m trying to get some positive vibes up in here.
Zoey: Can you explain to me how. Is it just saying it out loud?
Mo: Yes. I wake up each morning choosing to be happy.
Zoey: I wish it was that easy.
Mo: It is. You just have to consciously allow happiness in.
Zoey: You’re right. It is a choice. Nothing’s stopping me from making it. OK, from this point on, I am going to choose to be happy.
However, by undoubtedly devoting more screen time to Zoey's romantic entanglements, to which nary a person cares about, the show is bound to flounder, just as it found its stride.
For besides the scene or two, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist delivered a strong episode that expertly incorporated several story arcs without detracting from Zoey, who found herself in the position of having to fire several of her coworkers due to budgetary constraints.
This, unfortunately, meant loveable George received the boot, not once but twice.
While the firing did give Harvey Guillén a chance to showcase his incredible range as an actor and performer, it's still sad to see him go, especially as some other less likable characters -- *cough* Jenna *cough* -- will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
There was such an underrated sweetness and innocent nature to George, and he deserved better than being fired twice in the span of two days.
Yes, managerial problems were expected upon Zoey's sudden promotion; still, there's a difference between struggling to keep your subordinates on task and drunkenly rehiring a coworker only to fire him again the next day.
The former is expected, whereas the latter is highly unprofessional and grounds for suspension or firing in the real world.
And while there is some suspension of disbelief on television, to let Zoey's behavior go unpunished is frustrating.
While supposedly humorous on paper, her actions didn't translater into comedy on screen, as it was heartwrenching to watch George go through the pain of being let go twice.
Zoey: I’m very sorry about last night, but I think that some things were misconstrued in our conversation.
George: Are you firing me again?
Zoey: No, I am freeing you.
George: From what?
Zoey: From a job that is confining you. You said it yourself: You’re not a natural coder. You deserve to work somewhere where you thrive, where they see your value, and you feel valued.
The themes of being valued and appreciated and happy where you work are all important messages to get across, but there was a better way to impart those words of wisdom without subjecting poor George to needless torture.
In turn, the series did just that is exploring David's decision to quit his job and become a stay-at-home father.
Frequent readers will know I prefer David and Emily in small doses, and this plotline was a great example of how to incorporate the marrieds.
In a simple three-act play of sorts, we saw problem, conflict, and resolution.
This structure was also carried over into Maggie and Jenna's landscaping project and Max and Mo's new business venture and worked equally well in both instances.
This simplistic and formulaic approach may be the reprieve we've been unknowingly waiting for, as it allows the show to focus on these secondary characters is not only tolerable but meaningful ways.
Like they say, sometimes less is more.
Some stray thoughts:
Zoey and Simon's friendship continues to be a constant bright spot. Who would have thought? In a way, Simon has replaced Max as Zoey's best friend, and their heart-to-hearts are beautiful to watch.
In these more organic and natural settings, the chemistry between the two characters becomes more evident, and it's easier to understand why some people may have 'shipped Zoey and Simon. If this had been the initial approach, there might have been a different census.
Wingwoman Jenna works much better than "front and center, in your face" Jenna. Though the character comes on strong, I loved that she was completely supportive of Maggie's feelings.
Maggie needed someone to tell her that it was OK for her to feel wanted again, and the Clarke matriarch needed to hear it from someone outside the family, so to speak. If it had come from Zoey or David or even Emily, Maggie might not have believed what they were saying, so coming from Jenna was the right move.
Max and Mo's restaurant business is the storyline we didn't know we needed. Their friendship has been such an unexpected treat, and the two characters compliment each other nicely.
It's also nice that Max has someone to talk to about his non-breakup with Zoey, as it's got to be hard to lose something you've wanted for so long just as soon as you get it. So a million thanks for Mo!
Please don't let Tatiana be another stereotypical female reporter. Television and movies have this habit of turning to the lazy trope of the unethical female journalist, who have sexual relationships with their bosses, their sources, or both, and use those relationships to get exclusives.
As a woman in journalism, it's highly insulting, so let's hope Tatiana, who will be sticking around for a while, is different.
So what did you think, TV Fanatics?
Who thought introducing another possible love interest was a good idea?
How unprofessional were Zoey's actions?
Does the three-act structure for subplots work?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you missed the latest episode, remember you can watch Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.