Following the death of Zoey (Jane Levy) and David (Andrew Leeds)’s father Mitch (Peter Gallagher) in the Season 1 finale of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Season 2 of the series began on a somber note as it continued to explore the feelings of its characters that are buried inside through the use of “heart songs” that only Zoey can hear.
David is especially struggling with his father’s death, realizing that he won’t be around to see his grandson grow up. But it’s more than that, David is also dissatisfied with his job, and his wife Emily (Alice Lee) agrees to let him quit and stay home and parent their infant. After all, they’re a modern couple.
But that isn’t enough. Staying home isn’t all that David thought it would be and then the couple’s issues are compounded when Emily develops postpartum depression.
Monsters & Critics got the opportunity to speak with Leeds and Lee in a Zoom junket for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and get their take on whether the couple will survive their trials and tribulations.
Monsters & Critics: Zoey is such a joyful show. What is it like putting something like this out in the universe?
Alice Lee: I feel that it gives people a chance to live vicariously, too. Our show doesn’t address the pandemic, so it’s nice for people to forget for a moment and be like, “Oh, there’s this world where it doesn’t exist, and people can be with each other.”
Andrew Leeds: It is fun to be able to do this. Today, we have a dance rehearsal for three hours and there’s just not anywhere else you can do something like this, especially on TV, but right now not anywhere. I hope that the joy that we feel translates to the audience, because even the most jaded of people that are here have a good time doing it. They can pretend they’re not, but I can see it. When someone was like, “I don’t know if I want to sing anymore,” and then I watched him do it, I went up to him afterwards and said, “You were loving it.” He was, “Yeah.” It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do and to see how genuinely happy the audience is watching it.
M&C: What did you initially think of the premise of the show? Did you think it was going to work as well as it does?
Andrew Leeds: I definitely love musicals, so I was excited by it to begin with, and [creator] Austin’s [Winsberg] a friend and he sent me the script. I don’t remember if I read it right before it got picked up or right when it got picked up, but I saw when I read it that it worked. It was such a good, smart organic way to do a musical, and so, for me, I didn’t have any doubt it would work. I don’t think I realized the emotional impact that it would have, mostly because the dad storyline last year was such a beautiful, well-told story, and also personal to Austin. I did not know exactly how that would unfold, but yeah, I thought it would work. You could see from the pilot that this was special.
Alice Lee: I thought it was so cool, especially because a lot of the musical shows that we’ve seen like Glee, are shows about singing, but with our show, it’s about people’s inner thoughts that you don’t know. They sing it, and I thought that was really cool because everyone’s going through something.
M&C: David was so overwhelmed by his father’s death, the birth of his baby, and he hated his job so he quit to be a full-time parent. What’s going on with David and Emily now that she is supporting the family?
Andrew Leeds: It’s working out well for me. I don’t want to put David down or anything, but it seems like, he’s never really satisfied. So, he quit his job to stay home with his baby. He does love his baby, but now he’s feeling a little dissatisfied by just being at home, and so, we’re going to see that he wants to join a band. So, while she’s out working hard, I’ll join a garage band.
Alice Lee: And I stay with him!
Andrew Leeds: She likes it once I get in the band, and, I think, we’re doing well, but in upcoming episodes, some things unfold where she has some stuff that she goes through that is hard, I wouldn’t say for our relationship, but is hard to some degree. So, it’s always a little bit of a bumpy ride, but I think that they’re really supportive of each other and they’re always trying to make it work.
Alice Lee: I feel no matter what the circumstances, with David and Emily, they always try to talk it out. They want to work things out rather than being, “What the eff are you doing?” That is really beautiful to see a couple actually supporting each other.
M&C: Are you able to tease anything about the rough time that is coming up?
Alice Lee: Emily, basically, is going to go through postpartum, which a lot of mothers go through. We explore that because she just had her baby, she’s going back to work, her father-in-law passed away, her husband is grieving. We see how that affects her and their relationship, and how they move through that as well.
M&C: After doing some of the more wild and outlandish musical numbers, like Freddie Mercury in a courtroom and Poison about Emily’s sister, have you developed any tricks about not reacting or interacting while you’re doing these heart songs?
Andrew Leeds: You always are tempted to look and watch, but I will say one of the harder ones was not watching Alice do Poison, especially because we’re standing there looking in her direction and she was so good. She was really going for it, doing her snake, so every time I could feel the camera go off of me, I’d be like watching her do her thing because it was so good. No, you just have to stop yourself.
Alice Lee: That’s the hardest part when people are performing, you’re not supposed to look, but it’s so tempting.
Andrew Leeds: It’s such a waste. You have this amazing performer doing a number just, like, for me basically and I can’t even watch.
Alice Lee: You have to watch it on TV.
Andrew Leeds: It’s definitely harder when they’re in your eye line, like she did last year when she did “Buttons.” I wasn’t even facing her so I couldn’t even look.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on NBC.