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Recap / Central Park S1E4 "Garbage Ballet"

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Original release date: June 12, 2020

Written by: Monica Padrick
Directed by: Gavin Dell

♫ There is a place
Where the garbage goes when the world forsakes it
Out on a barge
Headed anywhere
Someone will take it ♫
Elwood, "Garbage Ballet"

Thanks to Bitsy's influences, Central Park has a garbage crisis that Owen needs to fix. Paige gets sick and thinks rats are inside her home and Cole tries to stop her from killing them. Molly is dealing with the aftermath of her disastrous first kiss with Brendan. Bitsy has to convince her hotel staff to clean the seventh floor when they think it's haunted.



  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Due to the fact that she is a teenager and she just had a disastrous kiss with her crush that invoked his allergies, Molly goes delusional over this, and imagines in her fantasies as some sort of monster who is cursed and rots mouths.
  • Backing Away Slowly: Owen tries to comfort Molly after her disastrous first kiss with Brendan, but Molly is too frustrated with what happened. Owen backs away from Molly, but he assures it's not her, it's him.
  • Bedhead-itis: Paige's hair isn't messy as a result of the illness itself, but because of the delusions it causes her.
  • BSoD Song: "I'm the Worst", where Molly draws Fista-Puffs saying how she's horrible for ruining Kite Boys' face.
  • Chickification: In-Universe. When Molly's friend Hazel reads her comic, she realizes that Molly's self-insert, Fista-Puffs, used to be a badass that was saving the city, but ever since Kite Boy showed up, the comic derailed into nothing but her swooning over Kite Boy.
  • Confirm Before Reveal: With the garbage trucks for the park being rerouted to a further location and Owen and his park staff can't keep up with the all trash and dumpsters quickly filling up, people are starting to take pictures of the trash littered all over the park.
    Park Worker: (on the radio) Owen. Is it bad if a busload of tourists just pulled up and start taking pictures of the trash?
    Owen: Yes.
    Park Worker: So it's worse if three busloads just pulled up.
    Owen: Gah!
  • Counterpoint Duet: "Rats" has Paige singing how she hates rats and wants to kill them, while Cole sings how rats don't deserve to be killed and they're good.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: With the garbage trucks being delayed due to traffic, Owen comes up with a crazy idea to turn all the dumpsters in Central Park into a Trash Train (or Dumpster Caravan or Garbage Worm), by tying all the dumpsters with wheels together and drive them all the way to the sanitation transfer station. They lose a lot of garbage on the way and caused traffic, but they were able to make it there.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When Birdie tries praising the pottery on Esposito's desk:
    Birdie: Sir, not only are you a gentleman, you are an exceptional potter.
    Esposito: Oh, I didn't make that. I made this.
    (Esposito takes out a less-impressive pot)
    Birdie: Well, you are a gentleman.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Paige hates rats and the garbage crisis at the park increased her fear due to the attracted rats in the park. Paige spends her sick time setting traps if any rats enter her home while Cole stays home to stop her.
  • Face Your Fears: The housekeeping staff at Bitsy's hotel are too afraid to clean on the seventh floor because they think it's haunted, specifically Room 723, so Bitsy forces her staff to face their fears by trapping them on the seventh floor until they clean all the rooms. The staff is able to clean every room but refuses to clean Room 723 unless Bitsy sleeps in the room for one night to prove it's not haunted, which she agrees to do.
  • Facial Horror: In Molly's comic, after Fista-Puffs' kiss damages Kite Boy's face, he reveals that the skin around his mouth has been melted off revealing his teeth and bone.
  • Flashback Cut: Because of the extra garbage at the park, Paige believes that the increased trash means more rats in the park. Owen tries to reassure her there aren't more rats in the park than usual, until a quick flashback shows Owen staring in horror at the sight of rats all over the trash.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: After Molly and Hazel discovers Brendan's phone in her room and Hazel plugs the phone in a charger, the phone is turned on and Molly's unread text messages pop up and they get cringey and desperate as more of her texts appears.
  • From Bad to Worse: Because Central Park's trash has been rerouted to a location that's further out, Owen and his staff can't keep up with the trash and all the dumpsters are quickly filling up. It gets worse when lunch time arrives and people are leaving more trash, and gets even worse when tourists come by to take pictures of the trash, which hurts the park's reputation.
  • Gossip Evolution: After Molly's kiss with Brendan goes poorly, a rumor starts going around her school about a girl who killed a boy from a different school with her peanut butter kiss. But lucky for her, they don't know it was her.
  • Hot Drink Cure: Owen makes tea for a sick Paige.
  • Hypocrite: Cole spends the entire day trying to stop Paige from killing any rats in her home and tells them they don't deserve to die. But when Paige and Cole see a swarm of rats in their basement and they run out in terror, Cole doesn't care about the rats anymore and wants them all dead.
  • Illness Blanket: After getting sick, Paige lies on the sofa under a blanket. She later wraps Cole in a blanket when he gets sick.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Paige may have took too much cough syrup as she starts imagining Cole's sock as a rat.
  • It Was with You All Along: Molly has been texting Brendan apologizing for her kiss and seeing if he's okay, but she assumes he's not responding back because he's ignoring her and he doesn't forgive her. Then Molly and Hazel discovers Molly had Brendan's phone this whole time under her laundry and the phone battery died. Brendan gave Molly his phone so she could put her number in it, but he had to leave because of his peanut allergy and he forgot to take it back.
  • Loophole Abuse: "Manager to Manager" has both Owen and Esposito look through rules & regulations to explicitly find a loophole that allows the garbage sanitation company to collect the park's trash against the Mayor's orders. They both even refer to a loophole as "the best kind of hole".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Owen has a system to help keep Central Park trash-free, which Birdie describes as a "Garbage Ballet", which leads to the titular song where the park workers and garbagemen do ballet dancing while transporting the garbage.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Molly's song, "I'm the Worst", is interrupted by Hazel when she gets fed up with Molly not contributing to their science project.
  • No, You: When one of the groundskeepers tells Owen the dumpsters at the Bandshell are full and people are closing it the "Bandsmell", Owen snaps at him and say he's a "Bandsmell" and then apologizes.
  • Not So Above It All: Bitsy spends the entire episode trying to convince the cleaning staff that the seventh floor is not haunted. She agrees to spend the night on said floor in order to convince them. While she openly mocks them for thinking the floor was haunted, as soon as Bitsy is alone she openly expresses that she can feel (and smell) her Father haunting the floor.
  • Playing Sick: When a sick Paige plans on killing any rats that might be inside their home, Cole pretends to be sick so he can stop her from killing any. He eventually catches his mom's cold and is sick for real.
  • Plot Allergy: Continued from the last episode, Molly worries that her "peanut butter kiss" killed peanut-allergic Brendan, deformed him, or simply caused him to hate her, since she hasn't heard from him since she triggered his allergy. It turns out to be a false alarm, since Molly had forgotten to give Brendan his phone back.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Esposito, the garbage sanitation manager, is not too fond of the attitude the Mayor has about the entire thing and helps Owen in finding a loophole, allowing them to collect the trash from Central Park.
  • Shout-Out: "I'm the Worst" features explicit references to Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, Thor, Avengers: Infinity War, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Watchmen.
    • Paige quotes from Rambo twice. Cole is unfamiliar with the film.
  • Sick Episode: Paige is sick and thinks there are rats inside their home and tries to kill any while Cole tries to stop her. While trying to stop his mom, Cole eventually catches her illness. When Paige and Cole are in the basement, they hallucinate seeing a swarm of rats eating their food and they run back upstairs. It's proven they imagined it when Owen reveals that he and the exterminator never found any rats down there.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Used in "Manager to Manger". It also inverts the usual gag with this trope as the failed rhyme was even more profane than the expected rhyme.
    Esposito: Look I'd really like to help you
    But this isn't gonna work
    My orders they come straight from the mayor
    And he's being such a... penis-face.
    Birdie: Why didn't you just say jerk? It would've rhymed.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Cole pretends to be sick so he can stay home and stop his mom from killing any rats. But because Paige is actually sick, his exposure around her causes him to catch her cold and get sick for real since he didn't taking any precautionary steps to keep himself healthy.
  • Swarm of Rats: When Cole tries to stop Paige from killing the rat in the basement, Paige drops her flashlight and the light reveals a swarm of rats eating their food, causing Paige and Cole to run out of the basement in terror. But it turns out that they both hallucinated the rats as Owen tells them he and the exterminator didn't find anything in the basement.
  • Two Words: I Can't Count: Birdie thinks that "My best friend" is one word, and "Bitsy" is two words.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Because of her disastrous kiss with Brendan, Molly drew twice in her comic Fista-Puffs kissing Kite Boy and his face melting, she rewind time again to blow him a kiss, only for his head to explode as she screams in terror.

♫ Rats
They're everywhere, but you just can't see
They're smart and bold just like you and me
Rats ♫
Paige & Cole, "Rats (End Credits)"


A Busload of Tourists

Owen gets a call from his workers asking if it's bad if a busload of tourists comes by to take pictures of the trash. After Owen confirms it's bad, he reveals there's actually three busloads of tourists.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConfirmBeforeReveal

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