DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Central Park episode “A Decent Proposal” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, parkgoers! Central Park knocks it out of the park (pun intended) this week with “A Decent Proposal.” While last week’s episode, “The Shadow,” was laser-focused on Bitsy and Birdie, this outing brought back the Tillermans. “A Decent Proposal” is the pinnacle of sweetness, from Molly and Brendan’s burgeoning romance to Paige’s proposal to Owen.
The songs are immensely catchy, and everyone’s voices seamlessly melt together like butter on toast. It also manages to move the narrative forward with Molly and Bitsy’s encounter.
Ready to delve into “A Decent Proposal”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) shrugging on his narrator coat to give us the scoop. Molly has been invited by her kinda-boyfriend Brendan to attend Bitsy Brandenham’s lavish birthday shindig.
Inside the Tillerman residence, we see Molly (voiced by Emmy Raver-Lampman) is in a pickle. She doesn’t know what to wear to a party that’ll be flooded with the one percent. She launches into a brief tune about just that. Raver-Lampman’s voice is so ethereal. I’m glad she took over the role of Molly.
Later, Brendan (voiced by Eugene Cordero) arrives to pick her up. Molly’s family isn’t particularly stoked about her mingling with Bitsy, the woman who’s attempting to buy Central Park, but they’ll allow it for the sake of her date. After the lovebirds depart, Owen (voiced by Leslie Odom Jr.) finds an empty wine bottle with a note nestled inside. Paige (voiced by Kathryn Hahn) and Cole (voiced by Tituss Burgess) help him procure it.
Unfortunately, Owen just ruined a sweet marriage proposal. The said note is written for Laura, and she’s really into Cast Away like her proposer/potential fiancé.
Meanwhile, Molly and Brendan are at Bitsy’s birthday gathering. Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) is miserable. Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) is perpetually miserable. Bitsy bursts into song about how her opulent friends don’t really care for her.
There’s a fun bit here wherein Bitsy and Helen pull a Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King. Namely, the moment in “Hakuna Matata” when the BFFs sing about Pumbaa’s flatulence issues. This feels like an homage to that song. I like to think of Bitsy and Helen as more akin to partners in crime than enemies.
Then, Helen takes Shampagne for a walk. Back at the park, Owen, Paige and Cole attempt to track down the proposer. Cole spots Shampagne with Helen and runs off to play with his favorite pup. Owen and Paige head to the Central Park Precinct to report the wine bottle. They find a man named Taylor, who spent quite some time swimming in the water because he thought the bottle sank. Owen vows to help Taylor remedy the botched proposal.
Next, Molly is feeling like a fish out of water at Bitsy’s shindig. Everyone is lamenting about out-of-touch problems and extolling the virtues of buying expensive pants in Paris. She can’t relate to them. So, Molly extricates herself from the group with her pen and paper in hand. She starts drawing. That’s when she runs into Bitsy.
Meanwhile, Cole notices that Shampagne is lusting after a regal-looking Great Dane. He tries to start a conversation with the said Great Dane’s owner. However, the owner wouldn’t deign to allow his sophisticated dog to mingle with a tiny pooch like Shampagne. What a pup snob!
Then, we see Owen and Paige helping Taylor come up with a game plan for the perfect Central Park proposal. He wants to hear about Owen’s own proposal to Paige. Our Tillerman pair regales him with the tale via song, and it’s so sweet that I’m vomiting in my mouth just thinking about it. Hahn and Odom Jr. sound incredible together.
Later, Molly and Bitsy are actually bonding. Bitsy peers at Molly’s sketches of the rich folks at the party. They’re caricatures. Bitsy believes that Molly has real talent. She asks the young girl to draw her enemies. Exaggerate the hell out of them.
Next, Cole tries to persuade Helen to let Shampagne play with his Great Dane soulmate. Helen acquiesces in her usual curmudgeonly way. The two pups run off into the sunset together, utterly content and smitten. Owen and Paige lead Taylor to the optimal place for park proposals. Owen enlists a flock of doves for that lovey-dovey effect. He stages a proposal so perfect that it overwhelms the already nervous Taylor.
Now, Paige suspects that Owen is trying to make up for his own forked-up proposal to her way back when. She urges him to stand down. Let Taylor do things his way. The proposer gets a volleyball and paints it like Wilson. Then, when Laura arrives, he gets down on one knee and the rest is history.
Success! All while Owen and Paige bear witness to the happy occasion in a tree like the cute creeps they are. Paige realizes that Owen longed for their proposal to go right for himself, not so much for her.
Meanwhile, Bitsy forces Molly to hand over a drawing the latter created of her. It depicts Bitsy as a witch, riding a broomstick and cackling. She’s declaring, “I’ll get you and your little park too!” She fears that it’ll anger Bitsy. Quite the contrary — Bitsy’s impressed. Molly sketches another doodle of Bitsy brandishing an olive and standing atop a pile of her enemies. Naturally, Bitsy prefers this one.
Then, Helen breaks up the dog party. She doesn’t want Shampagne to know happiness too well. Despite knowing who Molly is, Bitsy thinks she’s a cool cat … who she may or may not sue for defamation. The jury’s still out on that.
Later, at the Tillerman house, Molly and Cole lure Owen out of the bathroom. Owen finds a massive heart made of rose petals on the floor. Candles everywhere. Paige constructs him a ring made of grass. She gets down on her knee and proposes to him. Owen is tickled. He finally got the marriage proposal of his dreams. The duo sings again and smooches it out. I’m not crying, you are.
“A Decent Proposal” is Central Park at its best: sweet, funny and full of heart. I’m hoping that Bitsy and Molly’s hangout session will facilitate the main plot of the show. I want Bitsy to revive her objective to take over Central Park. While this season is definitely stronger than its predecessor, I feel it’s lost the thread a bit in terms of plot.
But there have been standout moments aplenty in Season Two, notably the Tillerman proposal in this episode and Birdie’s vignette from last week. It looks like next week’s installment may be the season finale, so we’ll see what happens.
New episodes of Central Park are available to stream Fridays on Apple TV Plus.