There are certain shows that are so magical, so wonderful, so blissfully joyous, well-acted, and narratively smart, just about anyone will love them. Central Park on Apple TV+ is one of those shows, and now that Season 2 is back with three new episodes, it’s a great time to catch up on the Tillerman and Hunter family’s wholesome adventures.
The series follows Central Park manager Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.), his reporter wife Paige (Kathryn Hahn), and their two kids, the artistic Molly (previously voiced by Kristen Bell, now voiced by Emmy Raver-Lampman) and the charismatic (Tituss Burgess). Occasionally, Owen has to battle for the park against local rich woman Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci) and her sour-faced assistant, Helen (Daveed Diggs). But that only happens from time to time. Where Central Park excels is in its simple day-in-the-life misadventure, the admittedly dumb sagas that come to define every family’s life.
And because of the way streaming works, it’s impossible to know how many people are actually watching Central Park. It could be a couple thousand people; it could be a couple million. But based on how often it’s discussed on social media, not enough people are watching this show that’s as sweet and uplifting as Ted Lasso.
For example, whole episodes have been devoted to Molly getting enough courage to talk to her crush or Cole walking Bitsy’s dog. Under the direction of Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, and Josh Gad, those small moments always feel huge. It doesn’t take long before you’re fully invested in the drama surrounding Paige’s latest puff piece or Owen’s fear of public speaking. By always centering on the seemingly mundane, Central Park captures the tiny challenges and victories that make ordinary life exciting. It’s a show that will never make you feel bad about your boring life. On the contrary, it lifts up your boring reality and transforms it into a stunning song.
It should be no surprise that Central Park excels both musically and at making the mundane magical. The animated comedy comes from the team behind Bob’s Burgers, and in some ways, it feels like a natural progression from the Fox animated comedy. Bob’s Burgers has always loved its musical numbers, but Central Park positively lives for them. It’s not unusual for a plot about a wedding gone awry or being from Weehawken to launch into an absolute banger. And because Central Park‘s cast holds more Tony nominations than actual Broadway shows, most of its songs are as intricate and soulful as any musical. They’re just also a lot sillier. Where else can you find a feminist empowerment song about starting your period or a rap about smartwatches and smart shoes? Nowhere.
Look, life’s hard. You have to work all the time, and when you’re done with that, you’re still expected to do chores, cook, clean, and not yell at people who drive too slow. If you’re in need of an emotional sweatshirt that will hug you just for making through the day and keeping your sanity, Central Park is exactly that. Just remember to watch with your Spotify open so you don’t miss a single bop.
The first three episodes of the second half of Central Park Season 2 are available on Apple TV+ now. New episodes will premiere every Friday.