A Recap on How Zoey's Dad Passes Away in 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Jan. 5 2021, Published 9:20 p.m. ET

what happened to the dad on zoeys extraordinary playlist
Source: NBC

Our lives are getting a little brighter as of tonight, because Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is back for Season 2! The Season 1 finale aired back in May, so let's catch you up really quick: Zoey finds out Max was fired, but later learns he gets his job back. After telling him, Max reveals he doesn't actually want it. She ends up kissing him, which makes things with Simon really awkward. Back home, Zoey's dad's condition has worsened, and it's time to say goodbye.

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"Death is hideous and ugly and grotesque and wildly, wildly unfair. Or maybe death is beautiful and spiritual and transcendent and sometimes a very necessary and very freeing escape from our physical bodies when they are no longer habitable," Mitch, Zoey's dad tells her. "What do I do when I can't hear you sing anymore?" Zoey asks him, as they dance one final time. "You're always going to hear me, whether it's a song or not. All you have to do is listen," Mitch says. No, you're crying all over again.

zoey and dad dancing
Source: NBC
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What happened to Zoey's dad on 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'?

Zoey's dad, Mitch, suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy, a brain disorder that makes it progressively more difficult for people who have it with everyday motions. Eventually, people who suffer from progressive supranuclear palsy generally die from complications, like pneumonia and being unable to swallow. Mitch's death was written as a way to honor show creator Austin Winsberg's father, who also died from the disorder.

“That last year of my dad’s life was such a charged, difficult time in our family — watching this man go from being incredibly vibrant, dynamic, and outgoing, to basically being how he is on the show, almost catatonic.  I wanted to do something about that. I was also becoming a dad for the first time while losing my dad,” Austin told the New York Post. In fact, being unable to communicate with his father is how he came up with the idea for Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.

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zoey and dad
Source: NBC

"His last six months alive, we didn’t know what was going on in [my father’s] head and how much or what he was processing. What if we could actually see and experience it? Maybe he saw the world during that time as big musical numbers? I started building on that, like if the main character could have insight into the way people were feeling and what was going on in their heads. Suddenly, it felt bigger than just being about my father," he said.

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A lot of Season 2 will focus on Zoey mourning the death of Mitch and healing (she takes six weeks off work). “The entire emotional arc for Zoey over the season is all about her stages of grief and all about the ways in which Zoey attempts to recover from this massive loss in her life. When I was mapping out the season, a lot of it had to do with her own recovery and the phases of recovery, and the possibility of relapse and regression and rebellion and rebirth and redemption," Austin told Entertainment Tonight.

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 premieres tonight on NBC at 8 p.m. EST.

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