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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

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COLUMN: NBC makes biggest mistake of the year by cancelling “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”


After two emotionally turbulent seasons and a cliffhanger that left us begging for a third, NBC decided to cancel the best show they’ve had in years.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” was a breath of fresh air amidst the network’s usual police-infested lineup. The show embodies everything I aspire to be as a person— empathetic, patient, giving and as loving as humanly possible.

Though it hasn’t been on nearly as long as “Law and Order”, “The Blacklist”, “Chicago P.D.”, or any of NBC’s other cult-followed crime dramas, “Zoey’s” gained a massive and dedicated following in its short run with approximately 3 million viewers tuning in to the season two premiere.

But what makes it worth the watch if there is no blood, violence or guns? Other than the unbeatable soundtrack, there are many elements of this show that struck the very core of my humanity. The show captured minuscule aspects of what it means to be a human living today like no other show I’ve seen.

For instance, in dealing with the impending death of her husband (Peter Gallagher), Zoey’s mother Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) confides in an acquaintance named Deb, who is portrayed by none other than the queen herself, Bernadette Peters. Deb empathizes with Maggie’s grief and in the most succinct way, captures the feelings of losing someone close to you.

At a time when the world was plagued with so much solitude, grief and destruction, this show felt like listening to records on the couch with my grandma. Every episode took me on an emotional journey that left me feeling renewed. The musical aspect is what gives this show its magic.

Music possesses the unique ability to touch us incredibly deeply, often in ways we cannot understand.. While language is a beautiful thing, we as humans often fail to find the right words to say exactly how we feel. In order to transcend that barrier, we started dancing.

With the help of Mandy Moore—no, not that Mandy Moore, but the legendary choreographer, even actors who have no background in dancing are able to share a story through their bodies. When you combine that with the magic of camerawork and masterful writing, you get the masterpiece that is “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”.

John Clarence Stewart, who plays the role of Simon, felt extremely connected to his character the moment he read the script. In a press interview, he shared what being a part of the show meant to him.

“We get to explore our bodies, we get to explore the way that we communicate story and emotion with our bodies, every single time we get into the studio, the recording room, or when we’re on set shooting,” Stewart said.

“People of every nationality, every culture no matter where you are, have a heart song. Music and lyrics in the show are a conduit for change, a conduit for connection,” Stewart said. “They’re the bridge between people. Music is the thing that communicates their truth, and so I think that music and lyrics are the truth of the show.”

Skylar Astin, who plays the role of Max, shared a similar sentiment surrounding what drives the plot of the show. While yes, Zoey (Jane Levy) seems like your average white cis-gendered millennial, everyone around her is not. With the power to literally hear what other people are feeling, she adamantly helps every person based on what they need and learns about the problem directly from the source, rather than making assumptions.

“It’s reminding us all to keep our eyes open and our hearts open,” Astin said.

But all hope is not lost, the show’s creator Austin Winsberg, along with the entirety of the cast, is determined to keep “Zoey’s” alive. He even took to Twitter with the #saveZoeysplaylist campaign, which has thousands of tweets already.

If NBC can’t handle the responsibility of such an impactful show, maybe another network can.

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