‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’: Alice Lee on Emily’s Postpartum Depression & Relationship With David
Emily (Alice Lee) has been reaching out to Zoey (Jane Levy) on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist — that “Anyone” song was heartbreaking in the April 11 episode — and in the next episode, her sister-in-law tries to help her.
Emily, who is suffering from postpartum depression, is not ready to speak with her husband, David (Andrew Leeds). Fortunately, her sister-in-law Zoey is just the right person to turn to for her, and not just because she hears people’s inner feelings through heart songs.
“David’s too close,” Lee tells TV Insider. “I feel like Emily’s not ready at this point to really go to her husband yet. Zoey feels like a safe space for her.”
Heading into this week’s episode, does Emily know she’s suffering from postpartum depression? How is she feeling?
Alice Lee: We know something’s wrong and Emily is also trying to figure out what she’s feeling. Right now she might be pushing it down. Obviously, no one in the family has noticed yet, so I’d say she has been going through it, it’s just a matter of her realizing and acknowledging it. That’s something we’re going to see in the next episode.
Why is Zoey the one she’s been reaching out to?
Well, Zoey’s the main character of our show. [Laughs] But also we did see Emily’s sister come in, but I feel like their relationship is a bit strained, maybe not as close where she feels like she can say those things, especially as a sister who’s always had everything together. Emily probably thinks having postpartum is a weakness and doesn’t feel like she can share it with her family. Zoey might feel like a safe space because Zoey’s almost removed. It’s not that her mother-in-law or her husband. I’m not sure.
How does Emily and David’s relationship at this point, especially since they’re new parents, inform the fact she’s not ready to talk to him yet?
Throughout the season and even last season, we’ve seen Emily and David’s relationship develop. And a lot of what we’ve seen is they always get through everything together, no matter what. He wants to quit his job, it’s OK. We’re going to get through it together. You want to join a band? Sure. Let’s go through it together. I feel like their relationship is very strong, so it is interesting that Emily wouldn’t feel like she could go to David right away. You’ll see in the next episode, a lot of the reason for that is Emily also doesn’t want to put that on David. David’s also been through so much. A lot of Emily’s thinking is, “I don’t want to burden him with more. He’s already going through so much, I don’t want to add to that.” It’s really out of love that she’s trying not to stress him out, which is so sad and heartbreaking.
Will their relationship remain strong going forward?
I think so. David’s going to be there for her. They are couple goals. I think it’s really awesome and refreshing to see a relationship where the partners really try and make it work. They’re really there for each other.
How does Zoey try to help Emily, and how does Emily respond to that in this week’s episode?
Zoey tries to help Emily by hanging out. She reaches out because so far Emily’s been reaching out to Zoey and Zoey didn’t notice. But now that Zoey knows that something’s wrong, Zoey just keeps trying to figure it out: “I need to help her so that Emily’s not singing these heart songs anymore.” Zoey keeps trying to have a heart to heart, but Emily is totally either avoiding the situation or just denying her depression. She just keeps blowing over it: “No, no, no. I’m good.” Emily’s constantly trying to reassure people and herself that she’s OK, but Zoey knows that she’s not. For someone like Emily, who isn’t going to reach out for help, you do need someone like Zoey, who’s going to [tell her], “It doesn’t make you weaker. You have to ask for help.” Sometimes it takes other people to tell you [for you] to realize that.
They go out dancing. Is that just a distraction or is that also something that Emily needs right now?
I think Emily does need it. Zoey wanted a night in, but Emily is dealing with her depression in different ways. Part of going out is her trying to remember what it’s like to not be a mom, not be a wife, not be going through these emotions. It’s escapism for Emily: “Let’s just go out and get lit. Let me forget about everything.” We can’t run away from our problems.
You had quite the emotional song at the end of last week’s episode, and in this week’s, you have another one. What can you preview about this week’s song and what it says about where Emily’s head is at?
Yeah, it’s another emotional one. It’s different in its vibe. It’s a lot more raw. It’s really cool because I just feel like see another side of Emily that you haven’t seen and it’s a type of song that I haven’t sung yet. Dancing in the location was very fun.
Bernadette Peters is back and dancing on the Clarkes’ dinner table. What can you tease about what brings her back and her song?
Love Bernadette Peters! She’s so sweet. I’m so excited to have her back. She’s back to hang out with Maggie. She comes in while our family’s having dinner and sings a heart song and just makes such an entrance. She’s just such a great addition to the show. She’s so funny and talented.
What else is coming up for Emily this season?
There are some group [songs] later that she’s a part of. There is going to be a flashback episode, which is going to be super cute because you see where everyone was seven years ago and you see a part of David and Emily’s backstory, which I think is adorable.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Sundays, 9/8c, NBC