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S02.E06: Zoey’s Extraordinary Reckoning

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Simon wrestles with his future at SPRQ Point after calling out racial bias at the company. Mo and Max pitch a new investor for their business venture

Airing Tuesday, February 8, 2021.

 

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Song preview: Simon Sings "Black Man in a White World" by Michael Kiwanuka:

And I know someone mentioned there should be new choreographers:

 

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Looks like the "reckoning" won't apply only to Zoey. If they handle this topic well it could set up the second half of the season. But if they make Zoey fire Simon as hinted in the next week preview, there are going to be a lot of unhappy Zoey fans.

I hope they have some real discussions on this, since I haven't seen a whiff of racism coming from rank and file SPRQ Pointers or at all from any of the characters. Zoey and SPRQ Point lawyers would and should talk DMD out of it since doing s would be awful PR for a company already struggling. The show hasn't handled business stuff very well, so I'm hoping they get this right.

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Who does Max want to take money from? He wouldn't take it from his father, he was reluctant to take it from DMD. He doesn't seem like he wants this project to happen.

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Interesting that a fired employee can just walk in and get the whole team to work on his project instead of doing, y'know, the things they are getting paid to do.

All I could see in Mo's outfit at the end was PJs and a bathrobe. (Or maybe I'm just tired and should go to bed instead of watching TV.)

 

 

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Simon and Tobin coming together to call out the company was excellent. And I think it’s important that Zoey’s blindspots were addressed, like her conversation with Simon when she said she just sees Simon and he had to point out that means she isn’t seeing him.

So Max and Mo got the money at last. $150,000 is probably pocket change to Danny anyway. 

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4 minutes ago, phalange said:

So Max and Mo got the money at last. $150,000 is probably pocket change to Danny anyway. 

He basically said as much, since he wasn’t even remotely pressed about losing it - he clearly thinks in millions, given that he thought they meant $150M (for a damn restaurant?!).

Zoey ran through every item on the well-meaning white woman checklist and I was glad she got called out. (I knew EXACTLY how that town hall would go.) Simon telling her about his experience mirrored my experience in white professional and educational spaces.

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1 hour ago, ams1001 said:

All I could see in Mo's outfit at the end was PJs and a bathrobe. (Or maybe I'm just tired and should go to bed instead of watching TV.)

 

 

I'm so glad someone else said it first.  I was even checking Mo's feet for slippers. 

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5 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I'm so glad someone else said it first.  I was even checking Mo's feet for slippers. 

Even the sneakers made me think of slippers. They were kind of puffy-looking, like big fluffy slippers without the fuzz. 

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This was a much better episode than last week both musically and storyline.  I enjoyed all of the musical numbers and dances.  I was glad they gave the family stuff an episode off.  I find those actors to be some of the weaker singers and dancers.

I am glad that Simon didn’t back down.  I am glad everyone called Zoey out on her crap. 

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I thought this was a really good episode. I think they did a good job with the material and I loved Mo calling Zoey out for making him  do her emotional heavy lifting all the time. Zoey had a  come to Jesus moment with the realization that even if she can read people's heart songs, she still has a long way to go. The big townhall being tone deaf white people was dead on.

I would have liked more with Tobin because I feel like we just scratched the surface with him. I also like the end of the episode they made it very clear that no, racism isn't now fixed. And I wonder if we'll ever see as many black people in another episode as we saw in the big performance at the end.

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Really good episode. I’m glad they had at least a couple of episodes leading up to it and they made it clear they haven’t solved racism, just won a battle. Hopefully we’ll see more movement in future episodes even if race isn't the main topic

And I agree, that town hall was a very bad idea. All the White people should have remained silent or not been there

I still think Mo and Max’s restaurant idea is still pretty unclear

Edited by DanaK
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I am really glad that we took a break from the family and just focused on Simon and this one big A plot, instead of getting a bunch of subplots, which I think has been a real issue this season, and this topic really deserved to be focused on. I thought they did a really good job with this episode, it was probably my favorite episode of the season. The music was great, they handled the topic in a complex and engaging way, and the actors all did great work. 

I am really glad the show called Zoey out on her "I don't see color" approach to racial issues and also had her learn what she was doing, acknowledge her own blind spots, and worked to support Simon and actually listening to him and to the other people in her life who are effected by these issues. I am also glad that Mo called Zoey out on her always asking Mo to do the heavy lifting with her various issues and that its exhausting and its not Mo's job to be on call 24/7 to deal with whatever is happening in Zoey's life. In general, this episode used the premise of the show, of a person who has trouble with people suddenly hearing their inner thoughts with allows her to empathize with them and try to help them, really well, in a way that the show has struggled with a bit this season. 

Also glad that we got Tobin's perspective, I am glad that he got more to do in this episode than he has this season so far. A bit more of a serious episode, but I did get some laughs, like Tobin getting a few women sliding into his DM's due to his stand against racism, and the board members all apparently arriving on private yachts. 

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After a bunch of weaker episodes this season for me, this episode really knocked it out of the park. It was such a strong episode, filled with a lot of important discussions and brilliant musical numbers. Characters who have been, quite frankly, sidelined this season have gotten to prove themselves by getting some really strong material. Simon has legit been sidelined so I was so happy to see him take the forefront.

It was also good to see people like Mo and Simon call out Zoey for her approach to racial issues. I was glad to see her get shut down at every attempt because, as well meaning as she was, she was handling it very poorly.

Tobin has been treated poorly as a character all season, with his regression into an immature, sometimes misogynistic frat boy. So I was happy that they brought back that more serious side to him as he shared his experiences. And he helped to make change in the company, so that worked.

Having Zoey's family not even show up was a smart choice. The focus was on one topic, with one smaller subplot, and I hope the show has recognized what works and what doesn't. I hope this is a turning point, because this season hasn't worked for me until this episode.

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See, this is the type of plot I've wanted for Zoey this whole season -- not necessarily something as heavy as racism, but Zoey dealing with a problem at work and a B-plot that's connected. There are four regulars that are Sprq Point employees, more stuff should be happening there.

Yes, this was a strong episode (especially compared to the previous one) greatly helped by the fact that there wasn't 3 or 4 separate plots going on. I thought they did a good job of showing different experiences and perspectives, and calling out missteps with Zoey's and the company in general's behavior. Although this counts as a "very special episode", I thought they handled it really well, and there was even quite a few moments of levity, which I appreciated.

I don't know why it took this long, but I'm glad that let Tobin have layers again. I hope it's for more than one episode. Also, where are they getting those hoodies for him?? Do they literally google "funky sweatshirts"? (Not a complaint!) Now if we could get some storylines for Leif who has also been sidelined....

Enjoyed the musical numbers; "Tightrope" and the choreography was great! They need to find ways of getting Simon and Mo singing together more often.

I know racism/bias/etc. was the topic today, but it irks me that Zoey this season has caught what I call "Disney Princess Syndrome": she's the female lead, but she's surrounded by dudes. I think Zoey also needs a woman friend.

Edited by Trini · Reason: oy, grammar
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5 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

After a bunch of weaker episodes this season for me, this episode really knocked it out of the park. It was such a strong episode, filled with a lot of important discussions and brilliant musical numbers. Characters who have been, quite frankly, sidelined this season have gotten to prove themselves by getting some really strong material. Simon has legit been sidelined so I was so happy to see him take the forefront…

3 hours ago, Trini said:

this is the type of plot I've wanted for Zoey this whole season -- not necessarily something as heavy as racism, but Zoey dealing with a problem at work and a B-plot that's connected. There's four regulars that are Sprq Point employees, more stuff should be happening there.

Yes, this was a strong episode (especially compared to the previous one) greatly helped by the fact that there wasn't 3 or 4 separate plots going on.…

This episode demonstrates which combination of the bloated cast works —and it’s no longer Zoey’s family. 
 

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11 hours ago, Autumn said:

I am glad everyone called Zoey out on her crap.

I think they could have gone a little harder on her. They didn't have to read her the riot act, but everyone was way too solicitous of her ignorance, I thought.

11 hours ago, TiffanyNichelle said:

I loved Mo calling Zoey out for making him  do her emotional heavy lifting all the time.

Same. I don't think this was a racial issue, though (not saying you're saying that). Zoey has a tendency to do this with just about everyone in her life. She dumps all of this stuff on them and wants them to make it better for her. It's really something she needs to work on.

Overall I thought the show had a strong whiff of "very special episode," but that's probably inevitable. I hope the issues it raised aren't limited to this episode. I'd like to see Zoey start reprimanding people for calling Tobin "Slumdog," for instance. Let's see that she's learned a little bit.

Agree with everyone who said concentrating on fewer plots makes the show much stronger.

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14 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

I'd like to see Zoey start reprimanding people for calling Tobin "Slumdog," for instance.

You know, I never really caught that before, maybe because I'm usually not fully paying attention to most shows because I'm usually on my iPad at the same time or I just don't catch some dialog. It's also possible with the fratboy atmosphere I just thought it was a fratboy term of endearment without realizing the bigger meaning

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21 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

Zoey has a tendency to do this with just about everyone in her life. She dumps all of this stuff on them and wants them to make it better for her. It's really something she needs to work on.

When she told Simon to tell her what to do, I wanted to shake her. She also started her talk with Simon re: having to issue a retraction with "It's tough to be the boss." It's not about YOU, Zoey. She can think "wow, that was tough" all she wants, but she cannot say that to Simon, or to any of the rest of her team when she's delivering bad news. (I had a boss - a seasoned VP, not a new manager like Zoey - say how hard it was FOR HIM as he was laying off our team, including one woman who was in the meeting via phone because she was on maternity leave. Bruh, it is not that hard for you - you still have a job.)

26 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

I'd like to see Zoey start reprimanding people for calling Tobin "Slumdog," for instance.

That is for SURE something that she (and Leif, and Joan before Zoey) should have been nipping in the bud on sight, and if there's anyone senior to her in HR, they should be reprimanding her for not doing so.

I honestly didn't notice that Zoey's family wasn't in this episode until someone here pointed it out.

The end scene with all the Black people dancing and singing and having fun made me miss parties.

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32 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

I'd like to see Zoey start reprimanding people for calling Tobin "Slumdog," for instance. Let's see that she's learned a little bit.

This. She's the boss and she was right there. She could have said something.

Zoey was acting like she had no power in this situation when she in fact, did. She could have pushed back with Danny before even going to Simon. She could say something about casual microaggressions in the moment. She is the boss of the 4th floor (however little sense that makes) and she should be using her power to protect the BIPOC that work for her.

 

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"Sweet, sweet second-hand privilege." lol Mo. And the very specific 11:12-11:17 five minute meeting set time with Danny Michael Davis was funny, too.

Most of the stuff they're tasking Zoey with is actually the responsibility of Human Resources. 

Edited by funnygirl
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45 minutes ago, Empress1 said:

The end scene with all the Black people dancing and singing and having fun made me miss parties.

What are "parties"?

38 minutes ago, funnygirl said:

Most of the stuff they're tasking Zoey with is actually the responsibility of Human Resources. 

HR might set the procedures, but Zoey has to implement them. That said, it was weird there was no mention of HR at all.

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7 hours ago, shapeshifter said:

This episode demonstrates which combination of the bloated cast works —and it’s no longer Zoey’s family. 
 

I still think her family should be in the show, just not in plots that don't involve Zoey. Maybe her Asian-American sister-in-law could have been in this one, for instance. (It would give her something else to play besides "babies are hard".)

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First off, let me agree with others who rate this episode as much stronger than earlier ones. And that the focus on the A-plot without the mundane family stories definitely helped the focus. For a change, SPRQ Point plot lines made some sense, although the entire structure is still a mystery to me. It's a multinational corporation but somehow Zoey can walk right into the CEO's office and he gets hundreds of emails and calls an hour but there's not an assistant in sight!

But I DISAGREE with any posters who find fault with Zoey's stance with Simon either as a co-worker, "supervisor" or friend. The fact that she only sees Simon as himself, and not her blind spot to his race, but simply an honest admission that it doesn't matter to her. I believe her and there's nothing wrong with being race-blind to people and accept them as their are. Tobin and Leaf have had a similar relationship for a long time and it's a sign of maturity, not indifference.

Further, Simon's reaction to Tobin reaching out to support Simon's stance is met with much more dismissal than he asserts Zoey has shown to him. Zoey was supportive, even when she had to relay DMD's message for Simon to retract. And she was just DMD's messenger in that regard. Simon knew it was coming but blamed the messenger anyway. But I don't hold that against Simon given his state of mind.

Zoey is a good person. Perhaps she shouldn't have gone to Mo for advice on communicating with Simon, but she had good intentions for wanting to help him in ways that would be effective both as his boss and friend. The same is true to the town hall and other affirmative steps she took through the episode.

Zoey's need not apologize to him or anyone for anything she did here, nor would anyone who acted the same in real life. Who could expect her to understand the depth of her friends' life experience as African Americans without outreach efforts. Did they expect her to raise the issue much sooner in their relationship? Did they bring it up themselves? I don't think so.

What Zoey DOES owe Simon an apology for is using her power to get closer with him when she had romantic feelings, and then not telling him about it. Then again, he's friends with the two (living) people (Max & Mo) who know about and believe in Zoey's gift that is central to her life experience now, and neither of them have told Simon. What if Zoey's first heart song from Simon had been the one he sang at the town hall?

I think the series is back on track with the 6-week production hiatus ahead. We'll see where they take the story arc beyond Maximo's opening and maybe we will start to see improved SPRQ Point plot lines and Zoey will use this experience with Simon to explore her try to understand her gift and what she's supposed to do with it. It was her encouragement of Tobin that produced the breakthrough, although I expect other SPRQ Point emps would have posted based solely on what Simon had put out there publicly.

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5 minutes ago, D Angel said:

The fact that she only sees Simon as himself, and not her blind spot to his race, but simply an honest admission that it doesn't matter to her.

It should matter to her, though. Simon was right when he said Zoey isn't seeing all of him if she doesn't see his race. He IS a Black man. She doesn't have to acknowledge it every single time they interact, but she hasn't really acknowledged it at all. His experience is different from hers, no matter how much she wants to think it isn't. That they both have dead fathers doesn't mean she knows him.

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1 hour ago, D Angel said:

But I DISAGREE with any posters who find fault with Zoey's stance with Simon either as a co-worker, "supervisor" or friend. The fact that she only sees Simon as himself, and not her blind spot to his race, but simply an honest admission that it doesn't matter to her. I believe her and there's nothing wrong with being race-blind to people and accept them as their are. Tobin and Leaf have had a similar relationship for a long time and it's a sign of maturity, not indifference.

Color blindness is nice in theory but in realty it perpetuates racism by turning a blind eye to systemic and ingrained racism. It’s an outdated ideal based on the idea of assimilation. If Zoey doesn’t see Simon as a black man she doesn’t really see him because being a black man is an integral part of who he is. 

Edited by Dani
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17 hours ago, ams1001 said:

All I could see in Mo's outfit at the end was PJs and a bathrobe. 

 

16 hours ago, ams1001 said:

Even the sneakers made me think of slippers. They were kind of puffy-looking, like big fluffy slippers without the fuzz. 

Nice to know other people saw what I thought I saw as well. Maybe it's something trendy? I have no idea what is currently happening in fashion. 

4 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

I don't think this was a racial issue, though (not saying you're saying that). Zoey has a tendency to do this with just about everyone in her life. She dumps all of this stuff on them and wants them to make it better for her. It's really something she needs to work on.

I agree. Race was an issue, but the larger issue is that Zoey does not have great people/relationship skills and does not have a great deal of emotional intelligence. It's a bad situation for someone in management to start with, and adding a racial issue on top of that makes a bad and difficult situation so much worse. 

Does anyone understand the organizational structure of SPRQ Point? I have no idea why Simon directly reports to Zoey. 

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10 minutes ago, Sarah 103 said:

I have no idea why Simon directly reports to Zoey. 

Because they're both on the fourth floor and she's the boss of the fourth floor. It makes no sense it all, but that's what we were told.

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The way I tell myself the company works is that each "floor" is analogous to a department. And that the floors/departments are each big enough to require their own HR, PR, and coding teams, plus the "Dept Manager" (Zoey). Each floor works on a different project, and handles all its marketing as well.

I'm not saying it's realistic. But that's how I've decided to view it.

I think the only reason Zoey got a personal meeting with him is that he thinks they're friends now.

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I thought this episode was well done, but I wish they had taken out a couple lines--Zoey's about being a woman in tech and Simon's about getting on an elevator and what people see. The show hasn't really dealt with the issues of women in tech, other than the bro-grammer stuff that was largely glossed over; and Zoey quite possibly could've had her own bad elevator experiences. I'm not saying that this episode should've been about women's issues, and it shouldn't have been about comparing the racism that Simon feels vs. sexism that Zoey has dealt with. I just wish it hd been more of, "That's valid, but we're not having that discussion right now." He was more dismissive, I guess, than I would've liked.

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41 minutes ago, springbarb said:

He was more dismissive, I guess, than I would've liked.

I'm glad he was dismissive, because a lot of white people try to compare what they've been through to racism, and it simply isn't the same thing. I know it's trying to show empathy and support, but it has the effect of trivializing someone else's experiences. It's not about you. It's about the other person. 

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2 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

Simon was right when he said Zoey isn't seeing all of him if she doesn't see his race. He IS a Black man. She doesn't have to acknowledge it every single time they interact, but she hasn't really acknowledged it at all. His experience is different from hers, no matter how much she wants to think it isn't.

While we are talking about a FICTIONAL character here, standing in for a generic open-minded and post-racial white person, nobody is asserting that a) Zoey doesn't realize that he's African American and b) that African American men in the US experience racism. That does NOT constitute a "blind spot" for Zoey or anyone. Are you saying Zoey or anyone in the real world should be treating the people they know personally differently because of their race? How is that not racism? And why should Zoey, as a white person, carry the requirement of extra sensitivity to someone's race so much as to become more important than their personal relationship with that person.

In order to have a racial "blind spot", there has to be an element of good ol' fashioned prejudice based on someone's race, or religion (if you can tell) or national origin or whatever. Can you point to any example of Zoey exhibiting prejudice toward anyone on the show? Anyone else on the show?

Just so you know, I'm ethnically closest to Max, who is far more of a minority potentially subject to prejudice than Simon. It may not be based on the color of his skin, which is very obvious, but the historical prejudice has been just as awful as Simon's.

Simon had a legit problem with the SPRQ Point board and senior management. Zoey and others there agreed and worked to help him achieve social justice. There are no bad guys, kind of a pattern and realistic portrayal typical of the show.

Tagging others as somehow insensitive because you assign them a "blind spot" when they are not prejudiced is counterproductive and just builds ill-will. I know I won't get any likes, but if you really want to advance social justice, you can't reduce the goodwill of innocent people simply because they aren't as attuned to your personal experience as you think they should.

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I was disappointed that Zoey never said that she would quit if Simon was fired. She basically said "I will support you all the way out the door and I will miss you when you are gone".

Honestly quitting would probably be the best career move at that point. If SPRQ Point fired Simon after he made that announcement, the press would crucify them.

DMD should be aware of this. They should have publicly made Simon the leader of a program to eradicate racism in SPRQ Point , and then quietly fired him in a couple of years because he didn't succeed. (I'm wearing my Machiavellian managerial hat on this one. This is why I will never be a manager.)

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5 hours ago, springbarb said:

I thought this episode was well done, but I wish they had taken out a couple lines--Zoey's about being a woman in tech and Simon's about getting on an elevator and what people see. The show hasn't really dealt with the issues of women in tech, other than the bro-grammer stuff that was largely glossed over; and Zoey quite possibly could've had her own bad elevator experiences. I'm not saying that this episode should've been about women's issues, and it shouldn't have been about comparing the racism that Simon feels vs. sexism that Zoey has dealt with. I just wish it hd been more of, "That's valid, but we're not having that discussion right now." He was more dismissive, I guess, than I would've liked.

I think that was the only part of the episode that bothered me. Like, I understand where they were going with it, that Zoey doesn't know exactly what Simon's experience is like. But, just as she doesn't know what it's like to be in the office at night and be accused by the security guard of trespassing, he doesn't know what it's like to worry that security guard is going to sexually assault you. And yes, Zoey had Joan, but it's not like she had a string of mentors up until that point. She was still the only woman as a coder and I'm sure the only or one of few in her classes in college. I don't think using racism to dismiss sexism was the best move in this episode. 

I did think using Tobin was a good move. First, I like seeing more depth from him. But, in the tech world, as an Indian man he'd often be seen as "the model minority". So, it was good to see the discussion of how there is still racism involved in that, with people expecting him to have an accent or still being the butt of jokes even if people don't recognize the problem, like the Slumdog nickname. 

This episode had the potential to veer into Very Special Episode territory, and I suppose technically it did. But, I think it did a good job of going into the issue in a powerful way and appreciated them making it clear at the end that this doesn't mean racism is over, change is just getting started. 

 

And Max.... Just take the damn money! When someone is casually offering you a few million for your business, don't say $150,000. Get that extra money! That gives you more time to get established, make adjustments as needed, and increase the chance you'll succeed. As DMD pointed out, most restaurants fail anyway, why start out on a ridiculously narrow margin when you could have had a comfortable safety net?

Edited by HappyBerry
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Pretending that being Black is not important for Zoey to notice is like her telling Simon that she doesn't care what his experience is as a Black man. That's why colorblindness is not helpful. Different people have different experiences, and if you want to be a friend or ally or just an aware person, acknowledging that is necessary. That's why Simon was annoyed. Oblivion is not support.

Also, as a rule of thumb, when a friend tells you that something about how you're treating them upsets them, discounting it and telling them they're wrong is not a way to show your caring or respect for them or that you value the relationship. So when Simon says it's important for him that Zoey understand his experience as a Black man, and what that means to him, and that failing to do that means she's not really knowing him fully, any response other than: "I'm sorry-- I do want to know the whole you, and I will do better at it" would be an admission that she doesn't give a damn. 

Bringing up your own struggles makes it look like you are comparing rather than listening. So, I get that women have struggles (I'm female), but mentioning it at that moment didn't help her show she understood what Simon was going through. Friends can commiserate with each other about whatever they are going through, but Simon needed her support because in that moment he was in a crisis and her bringing up that she's also had struggles minimized that, and made him feel like she was trying to deflect and re-center the conversation on herself, and make it seem like she thought just because she had dealt with sexism that she understood racism-- when the two things are not the same. If I come to you and say: "I had a terrible experience and I need your support and what you did so far is not helping" and you say "I've also had terrible experiences so I get it" you just sound like an ass.

I thought this episode did a great job of showing that when you care about each other, you keep working til you get it right, and that made it a very optimistic treatment of the subject matter. In my experience, very often people check out and retreat to defensiveness and denial rather than persisting in the face of their discomfort. And thus ends many a relationship. It wasn't just Zoey and Simon and Mo. It was also Tobin and Leif. The friendship doesn't survive if you sweep things under the rug or decide it's not worth going through the discomfort of facing painful moments.

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I found Tobin's performance of "Tears Of A Clown" really moving. I'm glad to see that they're giving the character some depth.

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This episode was good - it's elevated the weaker episodes of this season now. When Zoey called Tobin into her office, I thought she was going to mention the "Slumdog" comment because holy CRAP that was racist

 

Also, judging by the elevator keypad that Simon was pressing (I think it was Simon) - SPRQPoint has at least 16 floors.

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On 2/9/2021 at 9:17 PM, Lady Calypso said:

 

Tobin has been treated poorly as a character all season, with his regression into an immature, sometimes misogynistic frat boy. So I was happy that they brought back that more serious side to him as he shared his experiences. And he helped to make change in the company, so that worked.

I also felt like it retroactively gave Tobin’s behavior more depth and changed they way I view those earlier scenes. That moment where he decided to get real with Zoey was more meaningful because it was such a contrast to his usual frat boy behavior. 

On 2/10/2021 at 2:52 AM, shapeshifter said:

This episode demonstrates which combination of the bloated cast works —and it’s no longer Zoey’s family. 
 

I think it also demonstrates that the show’s vocal heavy hitters are in her work and friend groups. Peter Gallagher’s musical numbers really elevated that side of the story and without him or Howie it’s falling flat. 

On 2/10/2021 at 8:13 AM, dubbel zout said:

 I'd like to see Zoey start reprimanding people for calling Tobin "Slumdog," for instance. Let's see that she's learned a little bit.

Yes! I also didn’t like that Zoey’s solution once Tobin opened up was to try and push him into coming forward. When your employee tells you he’s experiencing racism at work putting the onus on him to stop it is shockingly bad management. 

Edited by Dani
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Yikes, I get that Zoey thought that having an open dialogue would be helpful, but even I know that town hall meeting was going to be about as cringeworthy as it ended up being. What made it worse is that Simon specifically told her that it wasn't the best approach and she decided to do it anyway.

I really felt for Simon. He took a huge risk by speaking out and then at the town hall meeting, he was asked to speak again (mostly to counteract the stupid shit everyone else was saying). And then Tobin privately thanked him for speaking up even though he said nothing of the sort at the town hall meeting (I had that happen to me once in a work situation where I said something at a meeting, one person insisted on arguing with me, no one else said a word, and then afterword, several people approached me individually to say that they agreed with me and couldn't believe the person who was arguing with me - I was like that's great but WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING DURING THE MEETING?).

I was glad that both Simon and Mo called Zoey on some of her shit. I think that Zoey can sometimes be immature and self-centered which in turn can make her oblivious to what she is doing (or not doing). She has become really dependent upon Mo to help her fix things and it's a one way street. It's fine to turn to your friends when you need emotional support or someone to listen, but a lot of Zoey and Mo's friendship is Zoey freaking out and then asking Mo what to do. Mo, on the other hand, tends to bounce ideas off Zoey but clearly doesn't expect Zoey to solve all her problems.

As for Simon, she did seem sincerely regretful that she hadn't realized the problem he called her about was more than just a software issue, which was a good step forward but then of course she stumbled in her efforts to make things better. Knowing that she grew up in Marin makes me assume that she doesn't have a lot of non-white friends (if any). I'm not saying that to excuse her behavior though. It's more of an explanation as to why she was so gobsmacked by everything in this episode. If she'd had friends who were POC, she wouldn't have been so surprised to hear things like what Tobin told her or that Simon being a Black man means he has different experiences than she does as a white woman. Growing up in a rich white upper class suburban area really put some blinders on her. You'd think that her hippie parents (including Maggie who got arrested for protesting naked in the 60s) would have educated her about the bare minimum of racism.

I appreciate that they are slowly moving Danny from weird caricature into faintly human. He clearly sees Zoey as more than just an employee now. I don't think many people would have gotten away with marching into his office and then telling him to close his phone, tablet, and laptop. He didn't even protest. He just did it, which is progress considering how he treated everyone in S1.

But of course, he's still Danny so he started protesting that he didn't invent racism or insider trading. Oh, Danny, just because you weren't the first one to do it doesn't mean that you aren't still guilty of perpetuating it. And just because you have a foundation aka a tax write off doesn't mean that you are a nice person.

I was frankly surprised that he listened to Simon and that he took the time to go through all the comments that came about after Tobin's post. I was afraid that the board was going to fire him after he told them that the company needed to make changes. I guess we'll see if they follow through on all the promised changes.

I liked that Zoey used her powers to try to help someone this week. Even though she ended up trying to convince Tobin to speak up so that Simon wasn't the only one, she saw the look on Tobin's face even before he started singing. Zoey tends to be a kind person when she knows someone is hurting so when she initially called Tobin into her office, I think she truly just wanted to give him the opportunity to open up.

In shallow news, I laughed at this week's string cheese bar.

On 2/9/2021 at 8:36 PM, TiffanyNichelle said:

I wonder if we'll ever see as many black people in another episode as we saw in the big performance at the end.

Mo said that their restaurant will have a diverse staff so hopefully we'll continue to see a decent amount of diversity (at least in the restaurant scenes).

 

12 hours ago, possibilities said:

Bringing up your own struggles makes it look like you are comparing rather than listening. So, I get that women have struggles (I'm female), but mentioning it at that moment didn't help her show she understood what Simon was going through. Friends can commiserate with each other about whatever they are going through, but Simon needed her support because in that moment he was in a crisis and her bringing up that she's also had struggles minimized that, and made him feel like she was trying to deflect and re-center the conversation on herself, and make it seem like she thought just because she had dealt with sexism that she understood racism-- when the two things are not the same. If I come to you and say: "I had a terrible experience and I need your support and what you did so far is not helping" and you say "I've also had terrible experiences so I get it" you just sound like an ass.

Exactly. Even though the intent is "I get what you're going through," that's not what someone needs to hear in that moment. When someone is telling what their experience is, your job is to listen.

What you said reminded me of when my friend's dad got cancer. She said every time someone found out, the immediate response was, "Oh, my friend/relative had XYZ cancer," and then they would start talking about their experience with it. My friend said she knew that they were trying to bond with her about it but internally she was screaming, "I DON'T CARE WHO YOU KNOW WHO HAD CANCER! THIS IS MY DAD AND I JUST WANT TO HAVE TIME TO FREAK OUT ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE MIGHT DIE!" When people are upset, they don't need to hear your experience. They just want you to listen. And sure enough, when my dad got cancer, the exact same thing happened to me.

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24 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Growing up in a rich white upper class suburban area really put some blinders on her. You'd think that her hippie parents (including Maggie who got arrested for protesting naked in the 60s) would have educated her about the bare minimum of racism.

Living in SF should have opened her eyes somewhat, given how progressive it is. And did she not know of ANY of the BLM protests? I know the show can't (and shouldn't) cover everything, but no mention of anything like that was glaring to me. 

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30 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

In shallow news, I laughed at this week's string cheese bar.

Yeah, this was one of the bits of humor I liked! I guess it's going to be this season's running joke; can't wait to see what else they stock the bar with.

On a completely different note; I really liked this episode as a Zoey/Simon fan, even if there wasn't anything romantic going on, because I like them as individuals too. But I still think it's weird they haven't revisited Zoey/Max. Maybe when the restaurant is up and running?

-----

BTW, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Kapil Talwalkar and writer Zora Bikangaga discuss the episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm-8Wt8DrCk

 

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31 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

Living in SF should have opened her eyes somewhat, given how progressive it is. And did she not know of ANY of the BLM protests? I know the show can't (and shouldn't) cover everything, but no mention of anything like that was glaring to me. 

I think the lack of direct acknowledgment of the BLM protests is like the show's decision to live in a non-covid world.  Directly acknowledging real life events in a fantasy world brings issues with writing, continuity, it can date a show for syndication purposes, etc. 

I see Zoey as someone who has been taught that being "colorblind" is the proper way to go about life.  But now realizes that a) there's really no such thing as being truly colorblind and b) being colorblind (as much as you can be) can bring about blindness to other issues.  I think that's an important message. 

I was really hoping Zoey's chat with Simon would have included a "This is BS, we know it, Danny knows it.  I'm willing to get fired or quit over this, but if you have another way of approaching this, let's talk about it."  I was disappointed that Zoey was so tow the corporate line about telling Simon to retract his statement. 

As far as Mo is concerned, to be fair, Zoey didn't go to him about Simon because Mo and Simon are both black.  Zoey goes to Mo about everyone!  Mo dumps a lot on Zoey, too.  They both need to learn how to deal with their own stuff better.

If I knew how to do it, I'd imbed a clip from Avenue Q, "Everyone's a little bit racist".  But I'll leave y'all to just google it. 

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10 hours ago, Dani said:

I also felt like it retroactively gave Tobin’s behavior more depth and changed they way I view those earlier scenes. That moment where he decided to get real with Zoey was more meaningful because it was such a contrast to his usual frat boy behavior. 

It also explains Tobin's frat behavior. He learned to make people laugh with him before they could laugh at him. It was easier to appear to be in on the joke instead of fighting the joke. It's a "laugh and the world laughs with you" mentality. Being one of the guys as much as possible and being the class clown was his way of fitting in and finding acceptance. 

1 hour ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I liked that Zoey used her powers to try to help someone this week. Even though she ended up trying to convince Tobin to speak up so that Simon wasn't the only one, she saw the look on Tobin's face even before he started singing. Zoey tends to be a kind person when she knows someone is hurting so when she initially called Tobin into her office, I think she truly just wanted to give him the opportunity to open up.

I think this gets to the core of the show. Zoey's people skills need a little bit of work and is not great at the emotional side of relationships or people's feelings. Without her powers, she would not know that something is wrong with someone. With her powers, she at least knows that something is wrong, but she still often struggles and has no idea how to fix it. 

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39 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I think the lack of direct acknowledgment of the BLM protests is like the show's decision to live in a non-covid world. 

You're probably right. It just seems weird in an episode about racism not to at least have a glancing reference to the general movement. Protests against racism aren't exactly new.

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I agree that this was a dramatically strong episode, so much better than the dreck we've been getting for plots.  I disagree that the music was good though.  I haven't liked any of the music after the Hello Dolly number in episode one.  Someone upthread said that Mo and Simon weren't strong enough in their condemnation of Zoey, and I disagree.  She was so hurt by their comments - and her revelation that they were correct - there were tears in her eyes.  If they had been any more intense in speaking to her it could have backfired.  Who wants to be harshly criticized, and who should be, if saying it "mildly" is doing the trick?

In other news, can we get Howie and his daughter back?

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16 hours ago, possibilities said:

Pretending that being Black is not important for Zoey to notice is like her telling Simon that she doesn't care what his experience is as a Black man. That's why colorblindness is not helpful. Different people have different experiences, and if you want to be a friend or ally or just an aware person, acknowledging that is necessary. That's why Simon was annoyed. Oblivion is not support.

Also, as a rule of thumb, when a friend tells you that something about how you're treating them upsets them, discounting it and telling them they're wrong is not a way to show your caring or respect for them or that you value the relationship. So when Simon says it's important for him that Zoey understand his experience as a Black man, and what that means to him, and that failing to do that means she's not really knowing him fully, any response other than: "I'm sorry-- I do want to know the whole you, and I will do better at it" would be an admission that she doesn't give a damn. 

Now you've twisted yourself into knots with highly judgmental assertions of how people have to think about each other as individuals you already know on a much deeper level than the color of their skin. To prove it, you can't answer this hypothetical: Suppose Zoey was blind. She has all of the interactions she's had with Simon (including hearing his heart songs) but had zero idea that he was African American until he made it clear at the press conference. Is she insensative to Simon's race?

They were already friends, confidants, nearly lovers, coworkers and provided multiple occasions of emotional support. They've known each other for about a year on this show's timetable. This is the FIRST TIME Simon is pointing out his racial experience to Zoey and she's at fault for being "race blind"?

If any of you are looking for a moral to this episode, note the end-of-episode interaction between long-time friends Tobin & Leif. Tobin wants him to tone down his attempts to prove to Tobin he's an openminded person. They are past that. And you don't advance your cause by judging or embarassing your friends and allies how are fundamentally good people.

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8 hours ago, D Angel said:

To prove it, you can't answer this hypothetical: Suppose Zoey was blind. She has all of the interactions she's had with Simon (including hearing his heart songs) but had zero idea that he was African American until he made it clear at the press conference. Is she insensative to Simon's race?

Simon’s problem with Zoey came after the press conference. After he made it clear there was a problem. So, yes, if blind Zoey reacted in the exact way she would be insensitive to his race because she was insensitive to his feelings. Because Simon’s race is something that informs every interaction that he has which is something that a friend should know and understand. Her friend exposed something deeply troubling and she never sat with him trying to understand. She jumped in and tried to fix it. Just like she did when he told her about the problem with the face recognition software. 

8 hours ago, D Angel said:

They were already friends, confidants, nearly lovers, coworkers and provided multiple occasions of emotional support. They've known each other for about a year on this show's timetable. This is the FIRST TIME Simon is pointing out his racial experience to Zoey and she's at fault for being "race blind"?

A black man living in America shouldn’t have to point out his racial experience for Zoey to be aware of it. Just like Zoey shouldn’t have to point out she is treated differently as a woman working in a male dominated industry. Friends, confidants and almost lovers should know those things about each other.
 

Edited by Dani
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