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Recap / Central Park S2E14 "The Ballad of Johnnie Lee"

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"Yeah, when your bottom falls out / You still show up for the play"
Original release date: March 25, 2022

Written by: Lindsey Stoddart
Directed by: Mario D'Anna

♫ When your bottom falls out
You pull up those pants
Won't help to sit home and pout
You show up and dance
You laugh it off and you shout
"We all have bottoms!"
And you keep on keeping
Even when the bottom falls out ♫
Owen & Paige, "When the Bottom Falls Out"

Cole wants to change his name and identity to Paige's grandfather, "Johnnie Lee", after his pants and underwear drops down in front of everyone at school and he accidentally moons them. To convince Cole that changing his name won't solve his problem, Owen, Molly, and Paige tell him each a story about if he did go through changing his name to help him cope with the embarrassment.

  • I Mooned the Whole School - Cole
    Lyrics by: Nora Smith
    Music by: Frank Ciampi
    Performed by: Tituss Burgess
  • The Name is Johnnie Lee - Owen
    Written by: Yola
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Ode to Johnnie Lee - Molly
    Written by: Brent Knopf
    Performed by: Emmy Raver-Lampman
  • When the Bottom Falls Out - Owen & Paige
    Written by: Kate Anderson & Elyssa Samsel
    Performed by: Leslie Odom Jr. & Kathryn Hahn


Tropes in General:

  • An Aesop: The point of the stories is to teach Cole that changing his name won’t solve his problems: he has to just move on with his life and not let the incident define him.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Owen and Molly's story features this to describe Cole as Johnnie Lee in their story.
    • "The Name is Johnnie Lee" is about Owen describing Cole as an outlaw with a heart of gold who robs the rich and uses the money to buy beans for the poor.
    • "Ode to Johnnie Lee" is about Molly describing Cole as an awesome stunt motorcyclist who can make big jumps with his dog sidekick, Soda Pop.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: As he chews out his father for making an insensitive remark about him at the dinner table, Cole actually refers to him as "Owen".
  • Embarrassment Plot: The plot revolves around Cole trying to deal with the embarrassment of accidentally mooning the whole school.
  • Literal Soapbox Speech: When proclaiming that he shall be a new person with the name Johnnie Lee Tillerman, Cole gets out of his chair to stand on the table to make his announcement.
    Molly: (as Cole gets up) Why are you rising dramatically?
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  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: During a break in the play preview, Enrique has to change and struggles to tie his shoes because of his big fake belly. Cole intervenes to help him out of it. However, this sets him up for his public humiliation as the curtains roll back again.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Cole highly fears that this will be the case with him and his unappealing incident onstage, just like other students at his school, whom all got an Embarrassing Nickname because of their incidents.
    Cole: The kids at school are gonna come up with a terrible nickname for me. And that's who I'll be forever!
    Owen: I mean, come on, forever?
    Cole: Yes! Exhibit A: Marty Sneeze Cheese, who sneezed Cheetos dust everywhere. Exhibit B: Tootie Judy. Do you think anyone cares Tootie Judy is a junior Olympian who medaled in curling? No! She tooted once in science class, and that's who Tootie Judy is now!
  • Open-Fly Gag: As Cole tries to enter school the next day, Molly points out that his fly is down, to which he awkwardly fixes it.
  • Pensieve Flashback: During "When the Bottom Falls Out", Owen, Cole, Molly and Paige are in the flashback to when Cole mooned the auditorium, which is in freeze-frame.
  • Rewatch Bonus: When rewatching the scene in which Cole accidentally moons himself to the audience, Molly can be seen briefly checking around her, presumably fearing that any of the students would connect the fact that she and Cole are brother and sister, which might make her share the embarrassment.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Cole is worried about getting a humiliating nickname because of his exposed rear, to which Paige tries to soothe him, asking how the students could make a nickname with the name "Cole". That's when Molly pipes up by immediately coming up with names off the top of her head.
  • Scenery Censor: During both "I Mooned the Whole School" and "When the Bottom Falls Out", Cole's bare butt is covered by present day Cole.
  • The Show Must Go On: Defied, at first. Cole is so convinced to stray away from his identity as "the boy who mooned the school" that he is resisting this trope (even referring to it by name) so he does not have to go back on stage. However, with deep thinking throughout the night, Cole decides to move past this moment of his life and continue his role in the play.
  • That Man Is Dead: Cole acts this way when he is determined to become "Johnnie Lee", even when his family is addressing by his real name, stating that "Cole" is gone now.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Cole has a loose buckle belt on his costume, and when he is trying to fix Enrique's costume just as the curtains roll away for the next act, his pants fall down. And it was laundry day, so the only pair of underwear that Cole had on contained a loose waistband, those fell off as well. This leaves his buttocks to be shown facing directly at the stupefied audience.

Tropes that applies to Owen's story:

  • Ambiguous Time Period: Owen depicts his story in the future but depicts it in a western setting, where they ride on horses and don't use modern technology, despite the fact they're in New York City. His family is confused with this setting, but Owen just wants them to roll with it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Despite the red flags that Schmitzy and Schmellen give off, like accidentally calling the poor gross and asking to hold the money during the robbery, Cole and his crew completely trust them to hold the money and they double-cross them when the job is done.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Johnnie Lee is an outlaw who robs the rich and uses the money to buy beans for the poor.
    Cole: What?
    Owen: Just go with it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Cole and his gang trust Schmitzy and Schmellen's word about the person they're robbing is an evil, greedy jerk, and after they betray them, the so called jerk is revealed to be Enrique and he reveals he was going to use his money to build a free bean restaurant for poor people. Cole realize he made a terrible mistake.

Tropes that applies to Molly's story:

  • Ass Pull: In-universe. When Cole is about to perform his stunt on his motorcycle, he discovers his sidecar is loosen. Molly reveals an escaped convict (portrayed by Bitsy) broke into his house and sabotaged it, despite the fact that this was never foreshadowed. Paige points this out, but Molly insist it totally makes sense.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The above also counts as this, since it serves to add drama and comes completely out of nowhere.
  • For the Evulz: Molly doesn't give a reason why an escaped troublemaker would break into Cole's house and sabotage his sidecar, besides to cause conflict in the story, but the troublemaker just did it because... she's a troublemaker.
  • Hurricane of Puns: "Ode to Johnny Lee" has a lot of butt-based puns. The chorus goes "he will never be embarrassed, bare-assed, bare-assed", which is highlighted by the on-screen text, and on the bridge Johnny Lee "goes over the vaasst crevaaasse".

Tropes that applies to Paige's story:

  • How Dad Met Mom: Paige's story is about how her grandfather met her grandmother.
  • The Klutz: During a football game, Paige's grandfather, Johnnie Lee, was the water boy for his football team and he ruined their chance to win the game when he accidentally knocked a water cooler on the player who was about to win the game and he slipped on the ground. At the next game, he ended up doing the same mistake again and caused his team to lose again by 40 points.
    Paige: He wasn't a great water boy, but he was a good man.
  • Pep-Talk Song: Paige and Owen sings "When the Bottom Falls Out" where Paige sings how her grandfather accidentally cost his football team to lose and despite his mistake he still has the courage to go to the next game where he would meet a cheerleader who admire his courage to return who's later revealed to be Paige's grandmother. Owen joins in to help encourage Cole to face his problem.

♫ Roaming the prairie
With Lucky and Side-Eye
And he can shoot, he can lasso
With a blindfold like a boss
'Cause the name is Johnnie Lee
Ain't nobody ever been so cool
He's so cool, so dang cool
Johnnie Lee's the coolest guy in the saloon
He's so cool, so dang cool
Y'all ♫
Owen, "The Name is Johnnie Lee (End Credits)"


Video Example(s):


The Name Is Johnnie Lee

Owen describes Cole as an outlaw with a heart of gold who robs the rich and uses the money to buy beans for the poor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BraggingThemeTune

Media sources: