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Central Park 1.5
Photo: Apple TV+

Television

‘Central Park’ musical report card: Episode 5

Though good, the musical numbers are not as strong as previous episodes.

After her plan to trash Central Park failed, Bitsy hires a graffiti artist to tag up the titular location and uses her contacts at the newspaper to publicize it. Owen and Molly then go undercover to catch the culprit. At the same time, Paige’s investigation gets her closer to finding Bitsy’s involvement in sabotaging the park.

Despite famed composer, Alan Menken, contributing a song this episode, overall, the musical numbers are probably the weakest of the season to date. Though good, there’s no real hit in the bunch and they don’t rise up to the quality of last week. Then again, Cyndi Lauper is a tough act to follow.

“Dog Spray Afternoon”

“Spoiler Alert” music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater – B-

The beloved busker, Birdie, is the narrator for the show and regularly breaks the fourth wall to interact with viewers and bring them up to speed on events and let them know what things to keep an eye out for. In this cute little song, he relays his one rule he can’t break: spoiling the plot to the other characters. There isn’t much lyrically here but it plays up the laughs by having Birdie bleep himself so he doesn’t reveal anything. However, by the end of the episode we see what the consequences are for not following the one rule.  

“If There’s a Will” written by Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel – B+

For this number, Helen expresses her frustrations with all the BS she puts up with as Bitsy’s assistant. The staccato piano along with the violins build the drama of the piece and it shifts back and forth with a hip hop slant. There’s an entertaining montage of all the bitchwork she has to do from picking up dog poo to ironing to filing Bitsy’s calluses.

Also, there are classic rap video tropes embedded throughout such as angled shots of Helen posturing and pointing at the camera with bright lights and a huge dollar sign in the background or slow-motion scenes of Cole and Shampagne playing in a fountain all wet. Finally, it ends with a nice choreographed piece with multiple Helens in v-formation shaking their monkey (piggy) banks wanting to get that money. “If There’s a Will” is the strongest musical segment of the episode.

“Method to This Madness” written by Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel – B

The instrumental creates a pensive mood as Molly, Owen, and his workers try to figure out the tagger’s pattern and where he’ll “Shart” next. With the close ups on the map and the different camera angles (especially the ones looking up at the group) make it feel like a collaborative effort and that the viewer is involved. When Molly has her eureka moment, the shot from over her shoulder while she deciphers the pattern builds the suspense up until the big reveal: a giant “Shart”.

“If There’s a Will Reprise” written by Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel – B-

The animosity Helen has towards Shampagne increases and you can feel the tension because they are actually together. She redirects her Bitsy frustrations towards the adorable dog and comes with the plan to kill the pet. Her evil scheme is cemented with a maniacal laugh on beat. Visually, the reprise isn’t as enjoyable as the original because the rap tropes are lacking.

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