Ten minutes into “Central Park” comes the type of true-blue Broadway group quantity that brings each character and chord crashing collectively in a burst of overt ambitions and needs. There’s Owen (Leslie Odom Jr), the quietly competent supervisor of New York Metropolis’s Central Park, decided to make individuals care concerning the land’s pure quirks as a lot as he does. There’s his plucky reporter spouse Paige (Kathryn Hahn), decided to chase down a more durable information story than her bored editor often assigns. There’s their daydreaming daughter Molly (Kristen Bell) and son Cole (Tituss Burgess), decided to like and be liked. There’s Bitsy (Stanley Tucci), a malevolent heiress decided to destroy the park, and her long-suffering maid Helen (Daveed Diggs), decided to stay it out till Bitsy lastly croaks and leaves her a fortune.
The ensuing music interweaves all their storylines and inside monologues with the keen gusto of a child hopscotching down the sidewalk: typically touchdown exterior the traces, however extra usually simply having (and being!) an excessive amount of enjoyable to care. In the event you’re in any respect inclined in the direction of musicals, there’s simply no resisting that type of unbridled enthusiasm, regardless of how clichéd or saccharine. In relation to musicals, bare sincerity is often half the purpose — a incontrovertible fact that “Central Park” leans on, exhausting.
From creators Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith, and Josh Gad, “Central Park” takes the heartwarming pulse of “Bob’s Burgers” and cranks it as much as eleven. The musical interludes are frequent and wildly catchy, often catered to their singers’ strengths. Odom Jr., for instance, will get hovering choruses and talky verses that recall his run as Aaron Burr within the unique “Hamilton” forged, whereas Cole’s preteen melodrama lets Burgess belt along with his signature aptitude. On the opposite finish of the spectrum is Hahn’s splendidly screwball strategy to Paige and Tucci’s Bitsy, a wonderfully maniacal adversary who doesn’t precisely get to sing a lot as smirk by scheming songs whereas always twirling her (metaphorical) mustache.
The one complicated piece of casting, sadly, is Bell’s Molly. Bell’s greater than able to voicing a clumsy teenager, however Molly’s a biracial teen who spends most of her time drawing herself right into a superhero comedian during which her afro puffs have powers. Listening to Bell’s voice come out of that character is genuinely jarring, and disappointing, in addition to. Bell is sweet, however there are many fantastic black actresses who can sing; why deprive them of the prospect to play this character from a extra grounded place?
That exception is very irritating as a result of, usually talking, Molly and her household make for a number of the present’s greatest moments, even because the collection volleys between the park and the highly effective wealthy individuals attempting to destroy it for their very own pursuits. Even because the present continues to be honing its specific model of New York Metropolis 4 episodes in, its characters are usually sharp and humorous sufficient to maintain it zipping alongside within the meantime. If it might probably get a greater grip on its setting and provides the household comedy at its coronary heart extra room amongst all the pieces else, “Central Park” may bloom into one thing particular.
“Central Park” premieres Friday, Might 29 on Apple TV Plus.