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Recap / Central Park S3E08 "Lunar Palaver"

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cp_s3e08_lunar_palaver.png
"I keep replaying it again and again"
Original Release Date: October 14, 2022

Written by: Nick Adams
Directed by: Mario D'Anna

♫ It's a toy sword
Hold it if you want to
Not gonna poison the well
'Cause I don't want to
I'm not going to
I shouldn't have to
Take a little Black boy's joy
I'm replaying it again and again
Dang
It keeps happening again and again
Dang
How could this happen to him?
I keep replaying it again and again ♫
Owen, "Black Boy Joy"
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On the day of a big Squirrel Quarrels event called the "Lunar Palaver", Cole has a run-in with a racist lady in the park, and Owen wants to have a serious talk with Cole about that moment. Meanwhile, Bitsy discovers that Helen has a lover named Spencer who wants Helen to leave her and be with him.

    Songs 

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  • An Aesop: It’s important to talk about racism with your children, especially if they are going to be directly affected by it.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Owen ends up telling Cole a story where Paige’s mom innocently said something racist to him and felt so bad about it she spent the next two years apologizing to him whenever they met.
  • Big Sister Instinct: When Molly learns from her parents that a lady was being racist towards Cole, she asks Owen if she could borrow the golf cart and something she can use for either slapping or poking. Owen appreciates Molly's concern, but he'll handle it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While Owen is able to talk about racism with Cole, who understands the problem, and Cole still gets to attend the Lunar Palaver with his fellow fans, the racist lady never faced any consequences for her actions and it doesn't change the fact that Cole is forced to change from his original costume to something less intimidating all because his family, himself included, doesn't want people to perceive him as a threat just because of his skin color.
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  • Children Are Innocent: After Cole's encounter with the racist lady, he had no idea she was being racist towards him and didn't understand why the lady would be freaked out by him. And when Cole plans to wear a costume that looks threatening and comes with two fake, realistic swords and he's going to be LARPing at night, his family are concerned he doesn't see how his costume could cause a problem due to his skin color. It's later downplayed when Cole reveals he is aware of racism and a few civil right leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and once Owen gives him the talk, he completely understands the situation and agrees to change his costume to something less intimidating.
    Paige: [After Owen tells her what happened] How did he handle it? Was he freaked out?
    Owen: Honestly, I don’t think he had any idea that woman was being racist.
  • Date Peepers: When Bitsy is curious on what Helen's plans are, she decides to follow her. Bitsy follows Helen into a restaurant and discovers that she has a boyfriend named Spencer and overhears that he wants Helen to quit her job and be with him.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: While Bitsy is watching Helen's date with Spencer in the restaurant from a distance, she hears Spencer asking Helen to leave Bitsy and be with him. Not wanting to hear the rest, the leaves the restaurant before Helen could give her answer. After Spencer leaves the restaurant, Bitsy offers to bribe Spencer to let Helen go; when Spencer says that won't be a problem and is about to explain why, Bitsy is about to take back her offer, forcing Spencer to quickly accept it. When Helen meets with Bitsy again and tells her she and Spencer broke up, she reveals she broke up with him after Bitsy left the restaurant, making Bitsy bribe meaningless.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The episode makes it clear that there's still racism out there and it's unavoidable for some people. Owen even tells Cole that while he hopes it doesn't happen again, moments like that will definitely happen again and it's best to be prepared for it.
  • Karma Houdini: The lady who was racist to Cole faces no consequences and leaves without even feeling sorry for what she did.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Not wanting to lose Helen as her assistant, Bitsy tries to interfere in Helen's personal life by bribing Spencer into making him leave Helen forever when he asked Helen to stay with him. After Bitsy and Helen returned back to the hotel, Helen tells Bitsy she and Spencer broke up, but she was the one who broke up with him and it happened before Bitsy bribed him, making Bitsy realize she bribed Spencer for nothing.
  • Obnoxious Entitled Housewife: The lady Cole ran into acted very defensively towards him, seeing him as a threat even after he apologized, and even after Owen pointed out that he was just a kid with an obvious toy sword. She clearly doesn't feel any remorse and acts as if she was in the right all along.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • After Owen witnessed a racist lady feeling threaten by Cole, Birdie explains he would normally jump in and explain the situation, but considering how serious the subject matter is and because he’s a white person, he decides to remain quiet and let Owen explain through song.
    • While Owen normally keeps a level-head and tries to handle things civilly, and he would normally get mad if his park gets ruined or disrespected, witnessing Cole being treated like a criminal by a racist lady really pushed his anger above his previous moments when he was mad. Things might have escalated had it not been for Terry to have the lady leave before Owen's temper makes it worse.
  • Scary Black Man: Owen mentions that there were moments where some people saw him as this (which is definitely not true), and it's the reason why he had to stop buying hedge clippers in-person.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Spencer sings to Helen how much he loves her and wants her to leave Bitsy and live with him, but Helen just wants to eat her dessert. During the song, Helen tells him she's only staying with Bitsy to inherit her fortune and can't give up on it now.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The racist lady only showed up for a couple of minutes at the beginning of the episode, but Cole’s encounter with her drives the plot.
  • Special Guest: "Black Boy Joy" is written by Open Mike Eagle.
  • Spit Take: After bribing Spencer to never see Helen again, Bitsy listens to Helen talk about her day. She then spits out her creme de mente after Helen says that she broke up with Spencer before Bitsy bribed him.
  • The Talk: In this case, it's not the sex talk but the racism talk. Although Owen does suggest that he can somehow work the "birds and the bees" into it, but Paige tells him not to overreach.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Owen is livid that Cole had to experience racism from that lady, but when he sings "Black Joy Boy", he manages to keep his anger down.
    • Terry, who happened to be with Cole and Owen during the incident, displays this, too. While upset with what was happening, he successfully deescalates the situation and convinces the racist lady to continue on her way while remaining calm.
  • The Unreveal: Owen reveals to Cole when he first met Paige's parents, Paige's mother innocently said something racist to him, but the audience doesn't get a chance to hear it as it cuts to Cole's reaction to it. Whatever Paige's mother said, she spent the next two year apologizing to Owen for saying it whenever they meet.
  • Very Special Episode: Aside from the side plot with Bitsy following Helen, this episode deals with the subject of racism, and it is treated as appropriately serious by everyone involved, to the point that even Birdie tones down his usual narrator antics. And when Owen is discussing racism with Cole, there's absolutely no music playing in the background, emphasizing how serious the discussion is.
  • White Man's Burden: Averted with Birdie and Paige. While both of them are upset about the racism Cole experienced from that lady, they both understand that as white people, they should take a backseat to Owen when it comes to explaining and dealing with the situation.
    Birdie: [To the audience] Usually, I would jump in here to explain what just happened and maybe give some context, but this time, I think I’m gonna let Owen handle it.

♫ ("Saturday Means Adventure" Instrumental) ♫
"Saturday Means Adventure (End Credits)"

 
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Black Boy Joy

Owen is livid that Cole had to experience racism from a lady who saw him as a threat, but when he sings "Black Joy Boy", he manages to keep his anger down for the entire song.

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