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Recap / Central Park S2E04 "Of Course You Realize This Means Ward"

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cp_s2e4_of_course_you_realize_this_means_ward1.png
Original release date: July 2, 2021

Written by: Jeff Drake
Directed by: Matt Garafolo

♫ We need to pollinate, not contaminate
Let me set it straight and illustrate
That we could all suffocate
I hate to pontificate or castigate
But the fate of our state isn't great if we wait
And the weight'll be great if we all hesitate ♫
Owen, "Why Bother"
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Owen tries to get his idol, Dr. Ward Wittlinger, to speak at the park for kids on their field trip. Molly and Cole try to help Brendan with his indoor kite competition but go overboard. Bitsy and her brother, Ambrose, try to quickly write their memoir before the other one publish it first.

    Songs 
  • "The Answer is Ward" - Owen, Ward, Paige, Molly, & Cole
    Written by: Patrick Dacey, Tim Dacey, & Jeff Drake
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr., Keith David, Kathryn Hahn, Emmy Raver-Lampman, & Tituss Burgess
  • "Kite String" - Cole & Molly
    Written by: Rufus Wainwright
    Performed by: Tituss Burgess & Emmy Raver-Lampman
  • "Why Bother" - Owen, Ward, Birdie, Elwood, Bitsy, & Helen
    Written by: Patrick Dacey, Tim Dacey, & Jeff Drake
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr., Keith David, Josh Gad, Rory O'Malley, Stanley Tucci, & Daveed Diggs
    Additional Vocals: Brooke Dillman, Emily Goldstein, Angelica Cox, & Eugene Cordero

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  • Affectionate Nickname: After Owen is able to make the field trip a success:
    Paige: And the Nobel Prize for "Best Field Trip" goes to Owen "Sweet Cheeks" Tillerman.
    Owen: I mean, it's an honor just to be nominated. Not sure where the "Sweet Cheeks" nickname came from.
    Paige: I'm a reporter, Owen. I report the facts.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Bitsy buzzes Helen for her service, Helen asks if she buzzed and Bitsy tells her "not yet, but I'm getting there".
  • Broken Pedestal: Downplayed. Owen becomes saddened when he sees that Dr. Ward Wittlinger, the man who inspired him to care about nature and become a park manager, stopped caring about nature and became a jaded doomsday prepper who tells others to prepare themselves for when the world ends. Once Owen's able to re-inspire Ward again, however, the pedestal's rebuilt somewhat, as Ward tells him he wants to walk around the park before he leaves.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Ambrose returns after his single appearance in "Squirrel, Interrupted".
  • Costume-Test Montage: During "Kite String", Molly and Cole takes Brendan to a costume shop where they have him try on different costumes for his indoor kite competition.
  • Earth Song: "Why Bother" starts off with the jaded Ward telling the kids that they shouldn't bother caring about the environment because it's screwed no matter what they do, so they should just give up hope and focus on surviving the inevitable apocalypse instead. Owen (with Elwood and Birdie backing him up) counters this cynicism by explaining why they should bother trying to preserve all the great things about nature, and wins the kids over to his point of view.
  • Epic Fail: The last presenter that Owen brought to talk on stage for the kids spent the entire time trying to get his turtle to come out its shell and realizing he's been talking to the wrong side of the turtle.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: When Bitsy can't remember the names of a trio of dogs her family used to own when she was a kid, she only knows the names were based around a group of three things. Helen tries guessing three of the Marx Brothers (Harpo, Chico, & Groucho), three types of cheese (cheddar, swiss, & gouda), and the band Earth, Wind & Fire; Bitsy thinks those names are stupid and asks Helen if she made those up.
  • Musical Exposition: Owen sings "The Answer is Ward" to explain who Dr. Ward Wittlinger to his kids and how it was him who inspired him to care about nature and becoming a park manager.
  • Oh, Crap!: Owen and Paige have this reaction when they realize Ward's become a jaded doomsday prepper… just as he gets on stage and starts to give a cynical speech to assembled kids, telling them not to bother trying to protect the environment because it’s a waste of time that they don't have, and instead focus on surviving the inevitable apocalypse.
  • Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title: The title is a play on an old Groucho Marx quote, but probably more famously associated with Bugs Bunny, "Of course, you know, This Means War!".
  • Shout-Out:
    • When a younger Owen is drawing his idol Ward, he drew him like Luke Skywalker doing the same pose in the original A New Hope movie poster but replaces his lightsaber with a tree brench.
    • Molly, Cole, and Brendan are in a costume store called "Costume the Bell Tolls". While inside, during a Costume-Test Montage, there are two pink rabbit ear hats that resemble Louise Belcher's hat from Bob's Burgers, another show created by Loren Bouchard.
    • When Helen tries thinking of names based around a group of three things, she thinks of Marx Brothers (Harpo, Chico, & Groucho) and the band Earth, Wind & Fire.
  • Special Guest: Dr. Ward Wittlinger is voiced by Keith David.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: When Owen first met Ward as a kid, he was optimistic, telling him that they need to care about nature and the Earth. But after the nature center Ward worked at was converted to a VR arcade after it lost its funding, Ward lost hope for the world and became a hermit who lives off the grid, believing the world's already lost. After Owen's song, Ward's still jaded about the world, but grateful that Owen was able to inspire the children to care about the planet, and inspired Ward enough to take a stroll in Central Park before he leaves.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Brendan just wanted Molly and Cole's feedback on his kite performance, but they both instead changed his choreography and made him wear a costume for the competition in an effort to be supportive to him. This results in Brendan not wanting to compete because Cole added too much to his choreography and can't remember it all and he doesn't understand the costume he's wearing (plus he's the only competitor wearing a costume). Molly realized they went too far being supportive and apologizes to him and convinces him to compete regardless of what happens.
  • Vaudeville Hook: Invoked. When Ward starts telling the kids that conserving the environment's a waste of time, Paige asks Owen if he has one of those big hooks to hook him off the stage, he thinks about it and then realizes he doesn't have one.
  • We Win, Because You Didn't: When Bitsy and Ambrose try to get their respective memoir published before the other, the publisher, Victoria, won't do it because Bitsy's memoir is still incomplete while Ambrose just started his memoir two days ago (one page has the word "mango" written repeatedly and another page has an exhausted list of all the pants he owns). When Bitsy asks Victoria if her memoir is better than her brother's, she points out since hers has a higher percentage of actual coherent sentences, it's "good enough", and Bitsy brags her win to Ambrose.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Cole hears about Brendan's indoor kite competition, he thinks it's going to be like ribbon dancing. Molly and Cole decide to help Brendan with Cole making him perform his choreography and Molly making a costume for him. On the day of the competition, Brendan doesn't want to compete due to Cole's complex choreography and the fact he's the only competitor wearing a costume. After hearing Brendan won't compete, Cole thinks this is one of those moments where he has to be the one to compete, but Molly shoots that idea down by asking him if he suddenly develop the ability to fly a kite indoors (or at all) and he responds no.

Owen: ♫ So if you're on my side just say "Yeah! ♫"
Schoolchildren: ♫ Yeah! ♫
Owen: ♫ I can't believe you just said "Yeah", say "Yeah" again! ♫
Schoolchildren: Yeah!
Owen: ♫ Because the grass feels great on your toes ♫
Schoolchildren: Yeah!
Birdie: ♫ And you can use the leaves if you forget your clothes ♫
(Beat)
Schoolchildren: Yeah!
Owen & Birdie:
♫ The Earth may go on no matter what we do
But we don't wanna leave it all covered in goo ♫
"Why Bother (End Credits)"
 
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Why Bother

It starts off with the jaded Ward telling the kids that they shouldn't bother caring about the environment because it's screwed no matter what they do, so they should just give up hope and focus on surviving the inevitable apocalypse instead. Owen counters this cynicism by explaining why they should bother trying to preserve all the great things about nature, and wins the kids over to his point of view.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

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Main / EarthSong

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