DISCLAIMER: This recap of Central Park episode “Dog Spray Afternoon” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, park lovers! Central Park continuously delivers equal parts heart and humor, and “Dog Spray Afternoon” was no exception. We were finally blessed with a full Helen song (and a reprise)! I’ve been waiting with baited breath for more Daveed Diggs vocals and I was not disappointed. As always, Stanley Tucci‘s deliciously tongue-in-cheek take on Bitsy stole the show. The fact that both Diggs and Tucci are voicing older white women in Central Park still boggles my mind.
Alright, ready to delve into “Dog Spray Afternoon?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) informing Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) of her new ace in the Central Park hole: an elusive graffiti artist who, under her orders, will be vandalizing the park. Let’s see Owen attempt to clean up this mess!
Meanwhile, Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) is taking a page from Dr. River Song’s book and reminding the audience that he’s under a strict spoiler embargo. He knows precisely how this story unfolds but, you know…spoilers. He proceeds to sing a whimsical tune about it. Gad is perfectly suited for the narrator troubadour role.
Next, we see Birdie spying on the Tillerman family at the breakfast table. Paige (voiced by Kathryn Hahn) is delving into who’s paying off the mayor and in turn preventing Central Park’s contract renewal. We know it’s Bitsy but, you know…spoilers. Owen (voiced by Leslie Odom, Jr.) learns that the fountain was tagged the previous night. Molly (voiced by Kristen Bell) decides to join her father in unmasking the fiendish rapscallion who believes vandalizing public property is kosher. Meanwhile, Cole (voiced by Tituss Burgess) wanders off somewhere. Presumably to spy on Shampagne from afar.
Later, Bitsy brings in a lawyer to hammer out the details in her will. Helen, who’s still hellbent on being the sole heir to Bitsy’s fortune, attempts to insert herself into the discussion. Instead, Bitsy saddles her with the task of taking Shampagne out for a walk. Meanwhile, Owen and Molly are at the scene of the graffiti-ed crime. The word “shart” is spray painted across the fountain. Owen decides to check in with the park’s resident graffiti artist to get the scoop on the new tagger in town.
Next, Cole spots Helen and Shampagne in the park. He beseeches Helen to allow him to walk Shampagne for a while. Helen acquiesces because she couldn’t care less for the dog. Then, she bursts into song about achieving her goal of living that rich life. This is the number I’ve been waiting for. The juxtaposition of watching an animated middle-aged white woman rapping with Daveed Diggs’ voice is not lost on me.
Now, Owen is meeting with the aforementioned park graffiti artist. He’s a young kid who claims ignorance by way of the elusive new tagger. Suddenly, everything has “shart” scrawled on it. That’s not a good thing. Owen and Molly embark on a journey to get stakeout supplies. Time to catch the felon in action! Meanwhile, Helen is taken aback to find Shampagne signing documents. Well, “pawing” them, that is.
Then, we see Owen, Molly, and the other park employees studying a map of Central Park. They mark the areas wherein the tagger’s vandal artwork can be found. Owen tries to pinpoint a pattern to the paint attacks. However, Molly discovers that if you connect them, the word “shart” is spelled out. Always with that word. A song erupts while the group is mid-investigation. I never thought I’d hear a bevy of heavenly voices harmonizing “shart” on an animated series. But, here we are.
Meanwhile, Paige is hard at work in her office. She attempted to track down who was paying off Mayor Whitebottom but instead came across a Panamanian Shell Corporation. Paige noticed that Whitebottom had been selling off his real estate properties at exorbitant prices, which led Paige down this road. Again, Bitsy but, you know…spoilers. Whitebottom received money from Bitsy in the first place.
Later, Helen meets with Cole in the park so the latter can walk Shampagne. Helen notices that Cole and Shampagne have formed quite the bond. Owen and Molly are donning their stakeout clothes when they inadvertently meet the actual tagger. Well, unbeknownst to them. Said tagger feigns ignorance and even chides whoever is responsible for vandalizing the park.
Next, Birdie catches up with Paige while she’s knee-deep in notes. He futilely attempts to keep his yap shut regarding Bitsy’s involvement in the whole thing. However, he lets slip the “B” word. Of course, Paige is bewildered as to what an hotel heiress has in common with the mayor of NYC, but she’ll figure it out soon enough.
Then, Cole reunites with Helen outside the park. Helen internally plots Shampagne’s demise via oncoming car. However, Shampagne accidentally rips his leash and barges into congested traffic of his own accord. Cole leaps after him. Helen swoops in and saves both of them from death by vehicle. Aw, she does care. In her own way.
Later, night descends across the park. Owen and Molly are steadfastly waiting for the enigmatic tagger to rear his or her head. Paige and Cole encounter the pair giggling in the dark, which will definitely keep the tagger at bay. And deathly frightened of talking bushes. Molly is struck with an idea and she leads her family away from their hiding spot. Suddenly, after hanging back out of sight, the Tillerman family catches the tagger. He runs away, but not before Molly snaps a photo of him with her phone. Success!
Next, we hear Bitsy screaming in anger. Foiled again by the blasted Tillermans! Birdie pops in again and reveals that earlier Bitsy was actually ensuring her place in Shampagne’s will. She’s pining for Shampagne’s sweaters, since they’re apparently the same size. Makes sense. I share clothing with my dog too.
Now that the “shart” tagger has been caught, what else will Bitsy set into motion? What more could an elderly, frail hotel heiress have up her satin robe sleeve? The highlight of “Dog Spray Afternoon” was, undoubtedly, Helen’s big number. Paige’s revelation regarding Bitsy is a game-changer. This discovery will certainly bring the main characters’ stories together. Once Owen learns that Bitsy is the one trying to sell Central Park, he’ll know just where to direct his fury.
Do you think Paige will tell Owen what she learned about Bitsy? Will Helen finally get rid of the pooch that stands to gain a fortune after her boss passes away? Will Birdie keep his job as a narrating troubadour since he has no other discernible workforce skills? Join me next week as I recap Central Park, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Central Park streams Fridays on Apple TV+.