DISCLAIMER: This recap of Central Park episode “Hot Oven” is rife with spoilers galore. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, park lovers! Central Park aired my favorite episode of the season thus far. “Hot Oven” was brutally funny with significant plot points that pushed the overarching story forward. Perhaps the reason for this episode’s success partially lies in the fact that the Tillerman family was together. To me, the core four are at their best when they’re congregating and partaking in shenanigans. Like a real family does. In addition, Bitsy and Helen’s scenes were fabulous, as per their usual. Bitsy had quite a few sardonic one-liners that had me in stitches. And now the Tillermans are aware that Brendan is related to Bitsy. Not only that, but Bitsy’s plan to buy out Central Park. Methinks a showdown between the Tillermans and Bitsy is looming in our future.
Ready to delve into “Hot Oven?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Molly (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Brendan (voiced by Eugene Cordero) texting away like teenagers are wont to do. Both burst into a song about how perfect their relationship is, even though Molly doesn’t know Brendan’s last name and vice versa. It’s a cute homage to the seriousness of teen relationships. You know, before the crushing weight of reality reminds you that idealism/romanticism is a fool’s game. Not to worry, kids. You’ll get over it soon enough.
Next, Owen (voiced by Leslie Odom Jr.) and Paige (voiced by Kathryn Hahn) are keen on inviting Brendan over for pizza night. Molly vehemently refuses to bring him over. Because parents are embarrassing and they’ll probably throw around old people catchphrases or something. Cole (voiced by Tituss Burgess) is definitely Team Invite Brendan. Birdie (voiced by Josh Gad) lurks outside and performs his narrating duties to the best of his ability. Molly reluctantly agrees to invite Brendan over for Owen’s subpar pizza.
Meanwhile, Bitsy (voiced by Stanley Tucci) is bewildered to find Shampagne freely peeing in her bed. She orders Helen (voiced by Daveed Diggs) to bring the pet therapist around. But after 3pm, because she’s not in the military. Later, we see Helen with the pet therapist. She asks him if a pet is ever beyond counseling. He reveals via song a method he uses called “TOSGANO.” “This one sucks, get a new one.” We see the wheels begin to turn in Helen’s mind as she plots her next move regarding Shampagne. Time to remove the dog from the will!
Then, we see that Bitsy put an ad in the paper badmouthing the state of Central Park. She proposes the city should clean it up. Owen and Paige read said ad and proceed to deface Bitsy’s picture on it. Take that! Owen’s park is anything but dirty. Next, Molly enlists Cole’s aid for the impending pizza night. If Owen and Paige start going the “embarrassing parents” route, Cole will help distract Brendan from the ensuing train wreck.
Later, the pet therapist tries to coax a “barkthrough” (Get it?) out of Bitsy and Shampagne. However, Shampagne won’t reveal through a series of tongue wags or barks why he deliberately peed in Bitsy’s bed. Helen does her damnedest to sabotage the pet therapy session so Bitsy will see that Shampagne is damaged goods. This one sucks, get a new one!
Next, it’s pizza night time! Molly learns that Brendan is a Brandenham, just like his great aunt Bitsy. Molly resolves to keep that little detail concealed from her parents. After a series of awkward introductions, the night commences. Paige also tasks Cole with the job of asking all the questions she’s forbidden from asking, as per Molly’s wishes. Cole is quite the mediator. While everyone else is off bonding or what have you, Owen decides to whip up his famous homemade pizza. He cranks the oven all the way up to 800 degrees, which is safe and not a fire hazard. Unfortunately, but also expected, the oven bursts into flames after Owen procures the pizza.
Meanwhile, Helen continues to sabotage the pet therapy session. Bitsy tries to connect with Shampagne, but to no avail. He just doesn’t like his owner.
Then, Birdie accompanies Owen and the under cooked pizza to a local swordsmith. After some persuading, Owen pops his pizza into a gigantic oven. A few minutes pass and boom! The pizza is hot and ready. Back at the Tillerman residence, Paige keeps mum and allows Cole to ask Brendan all the prying queries. Owen arrives with his prized pizza, but unfortunately drops it upon entry into the house. That sounds like something I would do. However, not all is lost. Everyone finds that the crumbled, utterly decimated pizza actually tastes great. It’s Owen’s best work yet.
Later, just as Brendan is about to leave, Paige bursts like a damn and asks the boy how old he is and his last name. That’s when Brendan reveals he’s a Brandenham. Then, he proceeds to inform the crew of Bitsy’s intent to buy Central Park. Boom! The plot is surging forward, folks. Next, everyone sings a lovely song together about how relationships are “perfectly imperfect.” Molly and Brendan try to kiss outside but are extremely bad at it.
Now, I can’t wait to see the next few episodes. I believe they’ll be critical, especially with both party lines so clearly drawn in the sand. To Owen, Bitsy is Public Enemy No. 1, and vice versa. I’m curious to see what preventative measures Owen will take to put the kibosh on Bitsy’s evil scheme. This episode encompassed the very best of Central Park — clever witticisms, a strong plotline, whimsical shenanigans, and beautiful singing.
Do you think Owen will make his move again Bitsy in the next episode? Will Paige try to go after Bitsy in the press? When will Shampagne stop peeing the bed? Join me next week as I recap Central Park, here on Geek Girl Authority.
Central Park streams Fridays on Apple TV+.
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