This show is not must-watch TV for me, but whenever I do catch up I really enjoy seeing what an interesting and self-possessed child Zoey has become. She’s so bright and funny and maybe a little bratty but not bad. It’s almost sad to see her and Will together just because she outshines him in every way, at least in my observation. He’s extremely immature and impulsive, and his obsession with food is not cute. He tries to emulate Zoey’s sass and just comes across as unpleasant.
If this show were just Zoey, Bill, and some occasional extended family, I’d be fine. Jen isn’t a bad person or anything but I don’t enjoy her activities or find her interviews interesting. She reminds me of other high achievers I’ve known who weren’t necessarily gifted, but smarter than average, very driven, and intensely (almost aggressively) normal. She seems to want to do everything that a classic American family does, by the numbers, right down to the ghost stories around the campfire with flashlight under the chin as we saw in the previews. Nothing wrong with that but sometimes it seems a little forced. I think she might feel a little insecure about her lack of creativity, despite being successful in other ways.
She used to do a lot of things to make Zoey her little twin, like the tea parties and the obsession with the beach, but as Zoey has come into her own personality so strongly, Jen seems to have accepted this is a lost cause. Zoey is going to be a handful as a teenager, and I could see her bopping off to NYU or Berkeley and majoring in something very different from her parents’ sensible business and medicine pursuits. She’s going to be taking South Asian folklore, studying abroad, dating whoever she finds interesting, getting into activism, driving unglamorous cars, all kinds of stuff that Jen would never consider and Bill would never get around to. To their credit I don’t believe they’d discourage her (they don’t even discourage their kids from actual bad behavior, TBH); they’d just be bemused and try to keep up with her stories.
As someone mentioned earlier, that dance recital was a pretty typical mess, to the point where I really couldn’t tell who was doing it right and who was off. Zoey seemed so self-assured and had such descriptive movements that I tend to think she was the only one doing the routine, but I’m obviously biased. One of the girls in the back was just kind of flailing around sluggishly with a derpy look on her face, so I think we can rule her out as the prima ballerina. Oops, sorry Zoey — Bollywood means dance that’s NOT ballet! 😅
I think Zoey’s exceptional self-awareness is the reason she’s hyperfocused on her Indian identity. She doesn’t have the life experience to contextualize ethnicity vs. nationality, but she likes to have a definition and a name for things, so that’s how she’s approaching being Indian. From what I’ve seen, she doesn’t randomly ask all brown people if they’re Indian. She asks people at Indian stores and Indian dance studios and Indian festivals if they were *born* in India, and that is a different question. She knows she’s different from her family and friends, and I don’t think she’s a sociopath with an attachment disorder, just a highly independent child who wants to understand how she fits in to her family and community.