Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist stages the perfect duet

ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST -- "Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction" Episode 202 -- Pictured:(l-r) Skylar Austin as Max, Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate)
ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST -- "Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction" Episode 202 -- Pictured:(l-r) Skylar Austin as Max, Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC/Lionsgate) /

Which duet on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has us totally in love

If there’s any quote from Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2, Episode 2 that seems fitting to sum up Clarkeman shippers’ reaction to what went down, it’s probably Zoey’s line from very early in the episode: “I…needed…this.” Because certainly, anyone who’s been waiting to see these two get together since Max’s “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” heart song—or even sooner—simply needed  “Zoey’s Extraordinary Distraction.”

Zoey and Max have been a sure thing for a while now. The signs were all there, from Max’s first heart song, to the long-lasting friendship, and even to Max being the only man in Zoey’s life who knew about her special powers.

That all left the question of when Clarkeman would happen. Because of Zoey’s gift, there was probably at least a little bit of a lingering question of how a relationship might work, too.

We finally have answers because Clarkeman has officially done the deed. And based on how casually Zoey and Max handled the obvious exposure of their relationship when they saw her entire family at breakfast the next morning, they seem pretty comfortable with their new status.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist gave us the sweetest shipper moment

What’s so striking about watching Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist make a clear choice with respect to the love triangle comes directly from everything that has made this series so special in the first place. Life kept getting in the way of Zoey and Max’s many attempts to just have a romantic night together (and, you know, also all of the sex).

But in spite of the many interruptions, even as they sometimes seemed desperate for all the wrong reasons, Clarkeman never gave up their optimism that they would do the deed. It’s that eternal light, even in the face of Mitch’s longterm illness and Zoey’s current state of mourning, that has always served Zoey’s Playlist well.

Whether it was Maggie’s inadvertent channeling of Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls when she walked in on Zoey and Max hooking up, or the difficulties Max was having with Mo in their new business partnership, Clarkeman never took it as some stupid “sign” from the universe that they didn’t belong together. Zoey and Max didn’t give up. They just kept the faith in their growing relationship and each other.

Beyond that, this is a musical dramedy, and Clarkeman’s big moment delivered there, too. It was funny, yet meaningful—again, in a way that is unique to this show.

Because Zoey can hear heart songs, her ability to have anything remotely resembling a normal sex life is off the table. But that’s ok! Because what that means is in order for anyone to have a relationship with her, they’ll have to not only accept her ability but also count it among the many things to love about her.

Guess what: Max is that guy. He knows her secret. He’s helped Zoey push through weirdness caused by her abilities, and he’s even heard her sing to him before.

Clarkeman have tried and failed to hook up before. This time, in order to avoid making the moment awkward, Max tried to focus on something generic. That backfired in the kind of hilarious way that only Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist can pull off: Max’s frantic switching back and forth between “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You.”

This is where everything about the Clarkeman relationship that has made it special had the chance to shine. Underneath all the humor was a real, meaningful bond between these two characters that never really had even a hint of being the “lesser” relationship in the series’s Team Max versus Team Simon rivalry. They’ve shared their feelings individually; but now, Zoey and Max are equal partners in this.

After spending much of Season 1 being terrified to open up to Max, even though—or maybe especially because—he was already her best friend, Zoey put aside her own fears and became truly vulnerable with him. The next time she started hearing a love song from her partner, she turned “A Moment Like This” into a duet.

Now, there was balance and harmony‚—in true duet style. Instead of Zoey hearing Max’s deepest feelings while he knew nothing about what she was thinking, they were able to share. That sort of give and take makes for quite the pairing.

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So, sure, we can be excited about Clarkeman doing some dirty dancing in bed all we want (and we do want). But that? Zoey and Max singing to each other? That’s the kind of partnership, in whatever more “normal” form it may take, other shows could really take a cue from.

What’s next for Clarkeman? Catch the next episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 8/7c on NBC to find out!