WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas”
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” has come down the chimney over on The Roku Channel, putting a bow on a cut-short run of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” — and Max Richman’s time with Zoey’s powers. But Skylar Astin, who played Max for the series’ run, isn’t upset at all that he had such a short run of hearing people’s heart songs.
A quick recap: Max got Zoey’s (Jane Levy) ability to hear people’s innermost thoughts and feelings in song form at the end of season 2. We weren’t told how or why, and apparently, Zoey and Max don’t really know either — at least at first. In the end, Max loses his power in a beautiful duet of “Time After Time” with Zoey, and they determine that the universe only gave him the gift temporarily so he could truly understand what she goes through.
“I think that that was a really smart decision,” Astin told TheWrap. “I think that this is Zoey’s story, and that Max is her support system. And I’m really glad that we were able to solidify that at the end of the film.”
To be clear though, Astin really was stoked to get the powers at all. Specifically, he notes he felt “victorious, happy, balanced, and excited.” But, even though the show’s creator Austin Winsberg told TheWrap previously that he always wanted to give Max the powers, Astin was hesitant to really let himself enjoy it at first.
“I almost didn’t believe it myself until, not only I saw the script, but until we filmed it, and even in a way until it was released,” Astin admitted. “Because I knew it was such a big swing that God forbid if anyone at the studio or network or you know, producers had second thoughts, they would kind of change their mind.”
Of course, Max didn’t really excel with the powers right away. Where Zoey struggled for two seasons trying to figure out what people were really saying with their songs, Max took most of them literally, and cruised through helping people — until the entire Clarke family sang Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” to him, about their dearly departed patriarch.
“My chest was rumbling every time they did it,” Astin recalled. “It was so powerful to be so close to that. And Andrew, Alice, Jane and Mary were so connected to each other, to Mitch [Peter Gallagher], to the song. It was such a moving day on set. And when Mary picks up her head from the head of the table, there was this, like, really matriarchal feeling to it. I don’t know, they did the work for me as far as what it took for me to kind of watch along.”
It was that number that really got through to Max, and finally allowed him to see how hard he had been on Zoey throughout the series. And with that realization, the powers slipped away.
“I think it was the right call,” Astin reiterated. “I totally agree with it and think it was really best, I think it really brought them together. And talk about leveling the playing field. I think Max always the playing field leveled meaning both of them without the power, but I think it’s actually — to truly level the playing field, it’s for him to truly understand the power. And that’s what that’s what this movie accomplishes.”
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas” is now streaming on The Roku Channel.