We all know that Owen is the manager of Central Park, but like any high-profile job, he had to work his way up to the position. Back when he was young, he even had his own crew of rising rangers that were close knit and so supportive. At the annual New York City Park Managers Conference, the gang get back together again.
“Golden Owen: Manager Damager” addresses the common occurrence of drifting apart from those closest to you. Especially as you get older and life gets in the way, it can be difficult to always stay in touch. However, in this case, there is tons of extra drama added in from the friends’ sour grapes to not receiving the Central Park position themselves, to Owen going on about his accolades in the group email. That doesn’t mention how Owen needs the others to sign off on his “I Heart the Parks” campaign.
What begins as a ploy to try to connect with his friends by snooping on the internet for their hobbies, turns into a genuine attempt to rekindle what was lost. Owen has to walk a fine line since in the end, he needs something from them, but you can sense his pleasure hanging out again. It can get a little too Hollywood-esque with their reconciliation, but it’s still a feel-good moment when both sides acknowledge their faults. Plus, Owen has to earn it too, kind of.
The Central Park musical numbers from the main storyline are fun and great. “Four Park Harmony,” written by Gabe Dixon, is Owen’s ode to his group of pals and it really captures how much they mean to him, while also filling in a little of his backstory. The play on words also adds some warm humor. “Working Song,” from Cory Chisel, brings the country flair, a genre usually not featured. It’s nice for the added variety and the line dancing is awkwardly entertaining.
The subplots aren’t as successful. Other than a billiards gag, Helen and Bitsy don’t contribute much. Elsewhere, Kristen Bell’s return to the show as Aunt Abby has been enjoyable. The new character adds a different dynamic to the family without messing with the chemistry too much since the actress is already familiar with most of the cast.
However, her narratives involve recycled and tired NYC clichés. They have already established she is a small town girl looking to be an actress in the big city, and that she has a very cramped living situation. In this episode of Central Park, she sets out to find your prototypical New York day job. It’s adorable that Cole and Molly are her hype men, and she does prove she isn’t that helpless, but I do wish her journey was more original. At least there’s some future potential considering who her employer is.
This week’s episode brings some pleasurable country flair with a relatable story of growing apart from your friends.
New episodes of Central Park drop Fridays on Apple TV+.
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