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What Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Taught Jane Levy About Grief

What Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Taught Jane Levy About Grief

Jane Levy

The actress discusses the NBC show's relevance in a pandemic -- as well as polyamory.

On the first season of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Zoey (Jane Levy) gains the supernatural power to hear the "heart songs" of others, an ability that helps her help others overcome pain and struggle.

In the second season, however, it is Zoey who must cope with grief -- from the death of her father, who passed after battling a neurological disease. It's a feeling that Levy has grappled with and thought about often as she has worked these past few months to give life to the characters.

"These days, I spend [more] hours of my life being Zoey than being Jane," Levy told The Advocate. "And so much of Zoey's experience is grief. And in season 2, we explore how she is running from her grief, how she's trying to find cures for her grief, how she's trying to process this gigantic loss."

Above: Jane Levy talks season 2 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

The experience has been a sad but enlightening experience for Levy, who realized that grief is "so vastly different for everybody."

"It's such a personal process. At the same time, it's personal, it's very universal, but people's expressions of grief can be so different and that we're sort of exploring all the different expressions in this one person."

Grief may be personal. But an experience that causes grief, like a pandemic, can be universal. And Levy has seen how a show like Zoey, which began airing in 2020, can offer an access point for viewers who are processing their own fears and losses.

"I personally feel really lucky that nobody that's really close to me right now is sick," Levy said. "But I am so incredibly humbled that Zoey on this show could offer some sort of solace or comfort during this time. And it is really wild that we didn't know when we were making it that we were all collectively going to go into this long process of grief."

Levy also recognized the importance of seeing the character of Zoey, who is straight, be such close friends with a gender-fluid character like Mo, played by Alex Newell. Levy said she is in awe of her talented costar. "I don't believe in God ... but like when he expresses, I'm like, oh, you're touched, like, that's what it's like to be like blessed."

And Zoey herself is in the midst of a nontraditional relationship. The end of the first season saw her express feelings for two men in her life, who also happen to be coworkers: Max (Skylar Astin) and Simon (John Clarence Stewart). However, despite Zoey's attraction to each one, Levy shot down the prospect of polyamory with a laugh.

"I don't know if NBC is ready for that" said Levy, adding, "I think that it's really more like what we've seen before, which is ping-pong and watching this young woman really try to figure out which one she truly wants to be with."

Season 2 of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Watch the trailer below.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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