There's a spot unlike the rest
An actual oasis
Its like New York, but undressed
I'm talking 'bout a place where all the bustle seems to pass
Whats this place I speak of?
Why, I'm so glad you asked..."
Central Park is an American musical Animated Sitcom created by Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, and Josh Gad. The story revolves around the Tillerman family, who lives in the titular park of New York City, and they try to save the park from a business entrepreneur who wants to replace Central Park with a bunch of condos and retail space.
Originally created for Fox, the project was shelved, then bought by Apple TV+. The first season of the series made its debut on May 29, 2020. The second season will launch with the first three episodes available to stream on June 25, 2021. In addition a third season was announced, with timing to be announced at a later date.
Central Park provides examples of:
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator: Birdie. Although, it's implied that he is just crazy and has No Social Skills. Josh Gad even said in an interview that he's a bit more of an Unreliable Narrator than usual for this trope.
- The appearance of a second Narrator, Griffin, implies that there's some truth to Birdie's position as the narrator and there's some force assigning them the role.
- Art Shift: When the show switches to Molly's comic, it's in black and white and resembles her drawing.
- Additionally, certain Imagine Spots, like those seen in "Poops I'll Pick Up" and "Too Close", shift to a more simplified style.
- Cultural Translation:
- During Griffin's song "First Class Hands", he mentioned that he once met Fred Durst. In the Italian dub, they replaced Fred Durst with Michael Bublé, a Canadian singer who's an Italian descendent.
- In the Italian dub of "Live It Up Tonight", they used the Italian title version of the Home Alone franchise Mom, I Missed the Plane.
- In the Italian dub of "A Fish Called Snakehead", instead of the Tillermans wanting to eat spicy cheese bread, they changed it to wanting pecorino sandwich.
- In the European French dub of "Episode One", the hot lips turtlehead flowers is called gladiolus flowers instead, despite the fact Central Park doesn't have those flowers.
- Dark Reprise:
- In "Episode One":
- "Shampagne Was My Best Friend" is one for "Poops I'll Pick It Up", in which Cole mourns no longer being with Shampagne and is consoled by his father.
- "Central To My Plot" is Bitsy singing about their plot for Central Park, to the tune of "Central In My Heart".
- In "Dog Spray Afternoon", while "If There's A Will" already dealt with Helen's grievances and desire to kill Shampagne for the will, the reprise has Helen even angrier and more focused on killing Shampagne.
- In "Squirrel, Interrupted", Paige sings a reprise of "Can We Do Today Again?", after she felt horrible for allowing Molly to play against a chess master and losing to him. She thinks that Molly's loss will turn her off the game of chess for good.
- In "Episode One":
- Double Meaning: In "Hat Luncheon," when Helen meets a former maid named Lucy who inherited everything from her previous employer, Lucy gives Helen advice on waiting to inherit's Bitsy's fortune by telling her "Where there's a will, there's way", and then whispers to her to make sure she's in the will. The phrase means to have determination to overcome a difficult obstacle, which Helen is going to need if she continues to be Bitsy's assistant, and if Bitsy has a will then there's a way to inherit everything from her. The double meaning is used again in Helen's song "If There's a Will".
- Foreshadowing: Brendan says "Aunt Bitsy?" during the brawl in the "Hat Luncheon" episode, alluding to his relationship that's later revealed in "Hot Oven."
- "I Want" Song:
- In "Episode One", "Own It" has Owen singing about wanting the Turtleheads to be appreciated, Paige wanting to be an Intrepid Reporter, Molly singing about her crush, Cole & Bitsy about Shampagne, and Helen about inheriting the Brandenham Fortune.
- In "Skater's Circle", Molly, along with Cole, sings "Weirdos Make Great Superheroes", with Molly singing she wants to be a superhero while Cole sings about wanting to reunite with Shampagne.
- Intrepid Reporter: Paige wants to be this type of reporter instead of writing fluff piece for her newspaper.
- Is This Thing Still On?: In "Rival Busker", when Dmitry asks Bitsy if he could have his daughter's wedding at her hotel on the phone, Bitsy tells Helen to mute the call and then tells her she's going to pretend her hotel is fully booked so she can leverage with him, until Helen tells her she hasn't muted it yet. With the secret out, Bitsy tells Dmitry he could have his daughter's wedding in the secret ballroom in her hotel in exchange for talking business, until Helen reveals she muted the call, frustrating Bitsy.
- Mixed Ancestry: Both Molly and Cole are biracial children, since their father, Owen, is black and their mother, Paige, is white.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Owen has a system to help keep Central Park trash-free, Birdie describes Owen's system 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 Fourth Wall: For Birdie, the narrator, he is totally aware he is part of a show, and knows everything currently going, even events that haven't happened yet. He is even capable of knowing where the camera is focusing.
- Now Which One Was That Voice?: The credits lists the main cast first and then all the additional and guest voices without telling who voices who.
- Once per Episode: After "Episode One", every episode has three or four songs, some of them may be a reprise song, and at least one song is written by a guest songwriter.
- Pep-Talk Song:
- In "Hat Luncheon", after Paige tells Owen to not think about the failure and only think about the future, he sings "Don't Think About the Failure" to himself to focus on giving a good speech during the Hat Luncheon.
- In "Rival Busker", "Show Up" has Paige and Molly singing to Anya, who would later join in, to pep her up when she gets cold feet for her wedding, telling her she needs to trust her gut and take a chance.
- Prehensile Hair: Molly envisions her superhero persona, Fista-Puffs, with this power with her puffy pigtails acting like arms.
- Quarreling Song:
- In "Hat Luncheon", "The Park is Mine" has Bitsy instigate an argument between the politicians and socialites at the Hat Luncheon over the park's funds being frozen.
- In "Rival Busker", Griffin and Birdie debate what is to be too close to someone physically or emotionally through a song called "Too Close".
- Saving the Orphanage: Bitsy, an extremely wealthy woman, decides that she's going to buy Central Park. She plans to replace the trees and gardens with condominiums.
- Shout-Out: In "Squirrel, Interruped", Cole's favorite book series, The Squirrel Quarrels, is clearly based on Redwall.
- Molly's Fista-Puffs character has her pigtails turning into muscular arms for smashing and grabbing, looking and acting very similar to Cerebella's hat-based Living Weapon.
- "I'm The Worst" is one comic-book/science-fiction reference after another, including Molly name-dropping Spider-Man, Batman and Thor directly, corresponding with Fista-Puffs recreating the famous comic cover where Peter Parker throws his suit away, Commissioner Gordon smashing the Batsignal at the end of The Dark Knight and the image from The Unworthy Thor of Thor on the Moon. There's also a parody of Lois Lane holding Superman, Sarah Connor's nuclear vision, Thanos' infamous "snap" and Doctor Manhattan on Mars.
- Special Guest: While Kate Anderson, Elyssa Samsel, and Brent Knopf write most of the songs, other known songwriters has written at least one song for each episodes:
- In "Skater's Circle", "Weirdos Make Great Superheroes" is written by Sara Bareilles.
- In "Hat Luncheon", "The Park is Mine" is written by Utkarsh Ambudkar and Rafael Casal.
- In "Garbage Ballet", Cyndi Lauper co-wrote "Garbage Ballet" with William Wittman and co-wrote "Rats" with Natalia Kills.
- In "Dog Spray Afternoon", "Spoiler Alert" is written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
- In "Rival Busker", "First Class Hands" is written by Darren Criss.
- In "Squirrels, Interrupted", "Big Deal" is written by Aimee Mann.
- In "Hot Oven", "I'm in a Perfect Relationship" is written by Meghan Trainor.
- In "Live It Up Tonight", the titular song title is written by Anthony Hamilton and Charles Holloman Jr.
- In "A Fish Called Snakehead", "New York Doesn't Like Your Face" is written by Fiona Apple and David Lucky, and is sung by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In this case, quite literally. Bitsy's dog is named "Shampagne", but is pronounced like the drink of the same name.
- Stalker with a Crush: Molly has a huge crush on Brendan, a boy who flies a kite in the park. However, before the series starts, she hasn't even talked to him but has done a huge amount of research so she could watch him again.
- Same can be said for Cole's interesting relationship with Shampagne.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "Garbage Ballet", 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 take any precautionary steps to keep himself healthy.
- Title-Only Opening: The series has a title card that says "Central Park" for a few seconds, with a leitmotif taken from the song "Central in My Heart" from the first episode. In episode 7, it's used after a Cold Open.
- Triumphant Reprise:
- In "Skater's Circle", Molly and Cole sings a reprise of "Weirdos Make Great Superheroes" after they discover that Shampagne still remembers Cole.
- In "Hat Luncheon", after Paige gets her quote and found her next clue, she triumphantly sings the reprise of "Momma's Got This".
- Villain Song:
- In "Skater's Circle", Bitsy sings "Make 'em Pay", where she sings about how she'll make everyone pay for treating her badly and ignoring her.
- In "Dog Spray Afternoon", Helen sings "If There's a Will", a song about the struggles of being Bitsy's assistant and about playing the Long Game in order to gain Bitsy's fortune.
- In "Squirrel, Interrupted", Bitsy sings "Big Deal", where she sings about how she despises her brother and his extended family.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song:
- In "Episode One", Birdie sings "Heiress to a Fortune", explaining who Bitsy is and that she's the villain of the show before we even meet her.
- In "Garbage Ballet", "Rats" has Paige singing how awful rats are and wants them dead if they're in her home. Partially subverted in that Cole, on the other hand, tries to stop her from killing any rats and sings how they're not bad.
- In "A Fish Called Snakehead", likability coach Ashley gives one to Bitsy in "New York Doesn't Like Your Face", highlighting all the reasons New Yorkers think Bitsy is awful.
- Wealthy Philanthropist: Birdie explains the Park League are a group of nice rich people who formed the league in The '70s and they provide 90% of the Central Park money to improve the park.
- "Here at the midpoint
A park that's so central
The names not that clever
But screw it, whatever
It's central in my heart"