DISCLAIMER: This Central Park recap of “Hat Luncheon” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution. 

Welcome back, park residents! Central Park streamed its third installment on Apple TV+ today. “Hat Luncheon” featured a fun, whimsical number sung by Kathryn HahnStanley Tucci proffered plenty of witty quips with his trademark tongue-in-cheek sass. Josh Gad shone as our contemporary troubadour and narrator Birdie, who could most certainly charm his way out of a paper bag. Overall, Central Park is like cotton candy. Sweet, lighthearted, and just plain fun. 

Alright, ready to delve into “Hat Luncheon?” Let’s get to it. 

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Now, we open with Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) catching us up to speed regard the park’s shenanigans. Owen (voiced by Leslie Odom, Jr.) must give a speech at the annual Hat Luncheon for a groundskeeper retiring after 47 years on the job. Paige (voiced by Kathryn Hahn) is hellbent on tracking down the man who voted against renewing the City Council’s contract with Central Park. She’s utilizing social media and decides to enlist her children Molly (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Cole (voiced by Tituss Burgess). Paige discovers that this man frequents a local spa in the city proper. Thus, armed with a notepad and a pair of teenagers, she embarks on a journey to get the scoop. 

Meanwhile, Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) will also be in attendance at Central Park’s Hat Luncheon. Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) assists her in trying on the most lavish and ridiculous of fancy hats. One has a replica of Mount Rushmore nestled in its wide brim. Well, when you’re rich, donning fancy hats is par for the course. It’s required! Of course, we know she’s still scheming to sell the park to the highest bidder. The luncheon will boast mostly Manhattan’s elite and city bureaucrats, including the mayor himself. 

Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) and Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) in Central Park.

Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) and Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) in “Central Park,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Next, Paige and her kids wind up at the aforementioned spa that Leo Shallenhammer (voiced by Fred Stoller) frequents. She puts on her eager journalist pants and grills him regarding his “no” vote regarding Central Park’s contract. He claims that Mayor Whitney Whitebottom coerced him into doing so. Plot twist!

Then, we see Molly and Cole hanging out in the park on the day of the luncheon. She’s feverishly sketching away in her giant sketchpad, drawing her superhero adventures with her sidekick Brendan. Cole decides to help his sister score a date with Brendan. After ushering him into their circle, the pair propose Brendan (voiced by Eugene Cordero) join them at the Hat Luncheon. There’s fancy ice cream! Brendan agrees to go, but on one condition: Molly must show him what she’s incessantly drawing in her sketchpad. Molly reluctantly agrees. Score! 

Later, the luncheon is about to commence. Owen starts off by giving a short welcome speech, but speeches aren’t his forte. He nervously glosses over notes that Birdie helped him write. However, he’s clearly too paralyzed by fear to continue. Bitsy arrives in all her fashionable glory. She decided on a hat with a storm could hovering above the brim. It even produces rain! Helen spots a former maid friend who just inherited her boss’s massive fortune. Our world-weary assistant pines for the day when she too can lounge in the lap of luxury. But first – get that pesky dog Shampagne out of the way. 

Next, we see Molly, Cole, and Brendan sneak into the luncheon to swipe some free fancy ice cream. In case you can’t tell, the word of the day is “fancy.” Meanwhile, Owen is offering up some kind words for the retired groundskeeper. Suddenly, the wealthy donors and the city bureaucrats begin bickering over the status of Central Park’s in limbo contract. A rap battle of sorts ensues and it’s glorious. Food flies, hats are thrown, and general chaos takes over the event. We see Mayor Whitney Whitebottom (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) ducking under a row of tables to escape the carnage. However, Paige catches him prior to said escape. 

Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) in Central Park.

Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) in “Central Park,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Then, post-luncheon battle, Owen delivers the best speech of his life. He tells Paige that it’s because everyone was so exhausted from duking it out. Paige was able to get a quote for her article from Whitebottom before he fled the scene in a boat shaped like a swan. Meanwhile, Molly timidly shows Brendan her sketchpad. A deal’s a deal, you know. She goes in for a quick smooch, which both parties seem to enjoy. That is, until Brendan’s face begins to swell up. Molly consumed peanut butter ice cream prior to the kiss and, as it turns out, Brendan is allergic to peanut butter. He flees in an understandably agitated (and swollen) state. At least their first outing was…memorable? 

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Now, my only real gripe is the under utilization of Daveed Diggs’ vocal talents. We only really got to hear him rap and/or sing in small doses in the first two episodes. My hope is he gets a real “eleven o’clock” number in the near future. Helen finally cracking and expressing her frustration with being at Bitsy’s never-ending beck and call. However, I’m still digging the show for its easy humor and lighthearted whimsy. 

Do you think Bitsy will make a significant move in the next episode toward real estate domination? Will Paige score that big, juicy story that’ll propel her to journalism stardom? Will Brendan ever forgive Molly for gifting him with a severe allergic reaction? Join me next time as I recap Central Park, here on Geek Girl Authority. 

Central Park streams Fridays on Apple TV+.



Melody McCune
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