The musical animated comedy Central Park returned last week for its third season. It provided plenty of catchy songs and heartfelt family moments while introducing new characters into the fold. In “A Triptych Down Memory Lane,” the Tillerman family risk losing all their most treasured memories.
That’s because the fate of the family portable hard drive that contains all their photographs and important documents is in the hands of Elwood, which isn’t very reassuring. Somehow the park ranger managed to password protect the storage device but forgot his secret code. Now he only has a limited number of tries to successfully enter the correct password or else the entire memory will be wiped.
Cole and Molly devise a way to help jog Elwood’s memory: retell beloved films in the past but with a Central Park spin. The series doesn’t necessarily explain the logic behind their plan, but it’s fun so you run with it. The youngest Tillerman parodies The Incredible Journey, or if you’re my generation, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. It’s a very fitting tale for the innocent young boy and it’s so adorable that he plays a bulldog. The song in the segment is uplifting traveling music that has good harmonies between Titus Burgess, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Rory O’Malley.
In a stark contrast, Molly draws inspiration from Black Swan. It’s meant to be a scary story, and although they add plenty of levity, it still seems a little too dark for the show. Maybe it’s because I found the source material from the previous part more endearing, it is difficult to get into Molly’s section as much as Cole’s especially since the rock opera song isn’t as catchy. Although I do like how it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“A Triptych Down Memory Lane” also feels a little disjointed because I’ve grown accustomed to three installments in the typical animated anthology episode a la Treehouse of Horror or sometimes in Family Guy. It highlights the competitiveness between Cole and Molly but it still feels a little weird. It could have also been to leave adequate time to resolve the portable hard drive storyline.
The final musical number is visually interesting. Playing with the themes of lost memories and computers, it combines both with a digital collage of images from the family’s past and older episodes of Central Park. The use of desktop files in the intro and making Owen seem like he’s walking and singing through a virtual world are a nice touch.
The episode is hit or miss with its retellings of popular films, but the musical numbers remain a highpoint.
New episodes of Central Park drop Fridays on Apple TV+.
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