Zoey’s Extraordinary Hype Episode 1 ( a Review)

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There are very, very few network TV shows I get excited about. They all feel so behind the times. This one is as well. It is a musical comedy about a girl in California and has romance. It’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, one of the best TV shows.

The show sold me and kept me hyped because it’s more of a musical comedy show. It has a star from Crazy Ex- Girlfriend in Skylar Astin (he’s the worst part of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it’s not his fault). It also has one of my favorite actresses of all time: Jane Levy. She was in the sitcom no one watched called Suburgatory, and had a good role in season one of Castle Rock. Those pieces all get me exited to look at this series weekly.

This first episode is a pretty good start. It sets up a lot of plot. The show follows Zoey Clarke, a San Francisco programmer who bombs a promotion interview. When she begins to get migraines, and the fact her father has a brain disease, she decides to get a MRI. During the scan an earthquake hits and all the music is beamed into her brain. Now she hears the emotional songs inside of people.

It is a very dense first episode. It introduces the main conceit for the show, the side characters, her father’s plot line, an episode length problem about a bug in their app, multiple love interests and rivals all in 40 minutes of television. There are a lot of places to begin.

Character wise the supporting cast range from fairly interesting and easy to connect with, to elevated extra that more will be done with later. Two male coders, her brother, and neighbor all feel like they have places to go, but are just here so we know they exist. Her boss, played by the star of Gilmore Girls, is okay. She’s just stoic female boss. Her mom is heartfelt, along with her dad. The two love interests are interesting. One is a crush who is about to get married. The other is the best friend. Not new, but they all have good chemistry.

Zoey is by far the best character, and Jane Levy needs to be in more thing. Zoey gets to do all the thing. She is the straight-woman to the comedy, a snarky presence, a strong worker who I believe can totally code (I know nothing about it so it sounds enough to fool me), and gets to be totally heartfelt and sad. She does the range, is fantastic, and needs to be in all things.

Musically it is a Juke Box musical. If you don’t know, think Mulan Rouge or Mamma Mia. It uses already existing songs to get across the emotions. It works better than Mulan Rouge (I’ve never seen Mamma Mia) did. These are songs in people’s heads and hearts, and set in present day, so them singing John Lennon, or Mad World, or All I Do is Win. Not all of the voices are great, but I almost like it better. It’s like if actual people sang, not trained artists. That could grow old. We’ll see.

What won’t grow old is how beautiful the show is. The production values are spectacular. It feels like a big poppy musical with bright colors, fun architecture, and nice big spaces. It all looks great and feels like a fun world to live in.

The comedy is also good. It’s funny and witty. It is not laugh every minute funny like Brooklyn 99, or subtle jokes like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would do, but works for setting up the world.

With the show being so dense the pacing is uneven. It breezes by some scenes, and spends too long on others. It is not a strong three act flow, but instead multiple different flows for different plots. Some are a good three act: introduction, conflict, resolution plots; it also has others that just come in and then stop. The show might be trying to mix story musical structure and long form drama structure. I did not care because I’m feeling all of it, but it can definitely be an issue.

This could in no way meet my hype. But it got really close for a single episode. More of this will definitely come!

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