Monday, December 6, 2021

Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas

Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas has all the trappings and trimmings and tropes of a good, cheesy Hallmark Christmas special: There's frantic holiday baking! Everybody home for the holidays! A loved one has passed and now the holidays will never be the same!

It's that last one that really forms the heart of ZEC. Zoey wants desperately to relive her childhood memories of Christmas, mostly as a natural and deep-seated psychological response to her father's death. Her childhood memories are symbolized by a snow globe, an interesting choice for her memories. Snow globes are always changing. They get shaken up and never look exactly the same twice. They are fragile, made of glass, easily broken. And how interesting that that's exactly what happens in Zoey's life – when the snow globe is broken, so are her hopes for recreating the Christmas memories of her father. And that's the way it should be: we can honor the past and carry on traditions, but trying to recreate the past is an exercise in futility. Instead, Zoey learns (in a dream where the entire room turns into a snow globe!) that she can – and should – create new memories, building on the traditions her father helped create. 

This was so poignant to me. I'm recently divorced and navigating the world of being a single father to four children. I've learned the hard way that I can't carry on all the traditions that we had when I was married. Loss stings. But like a controlled forest fire, loss sometimes can make way for new life. I decided that I was going to start some new Christmas traditions in the wake of my divorce. Our family looks different, so our family traditions should too!

Zoey and Max also go through some great relationship building stuff, built on the backbone of Max gaining Zoey's power to read minds through Broadway-quality song and dance routines. They decide that the universe has granted Max this power, as a way to help him feel empathy for Zoey's heavy burden, and not as a way to save the show and boost ratings. This type of healthy relationship building compassion is much needed. Max and Zoey even joke about having to communicate like regular adults, but not before performing some really clever numbers together with both their powers on display. Like a Broadway diva and divo battling it out for the title of Best Duo – but instead of crowing a single victor, everybody wins. Including the audience.

Enjoy this Christmas special (released on the Roku Channel, and vying for the regular show to be picked back up!) It's got all the fluff and tinsel and cheese of any holiday special you've seen before. But like Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist itself, it has a bit more substance and depth than your average show. 

Just bring tissues for when Peter Gallagher shows up. 

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