'Central Park' Episode 5: Birdie breaks a cardinal rule of narrators as Owen deals with rogue spray painter

Bitsy's plan this time around forces Birdie to break a rule but does that save the day?


                            'Central Park' Episode 5: Birdie breaks a cardinal rule of narrators as Owen deals with rogue spray painter
(Apple TV+)

Spoilers for ‘Central Park’ Episode 5 ‘Dog Spray Afternoon’

While the episode's title is a play on the name of Sidney Lumet’s 1975 neo-noir crime drama ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, the fifth ‘Central Park’ episode is as far away as possible from the dark Al Pacino film. But that doesn’t mean it lacks adversity. 

‘Central Park’, since episode 1, has been breaking the fourth wall with its narrator Birdie, voiced by the show’s co-creator Josh Gad. Birdie is a troubadour who likes to sing and keep the viewers up to date with what’s going on. This episode, however, saw something change in that regard. 

The writing being somewhat meta, Birdie acknowledges all that is prohibited as a narrator. He even sings a song to that effect. But ‘Dog Spray Afternoon’ saw him break a fundamental rule. Birdie, who possesses God-like knowledge of things that most characters in the show are unaware of, shares this knowledge with Paige Tillerman (Kathryn Hahn), in order to help her out. But we’ll get to that later.

The episode sees Bitsy Brandenham (Stanley Tucci), the pint-sized, evil, old hotel heiress, who wants to destroy the park and build condominiums there instead, come up with a new scheme. She hires a graffiti artist to deface the park in order to ruin its reputation further. The artist spray paints the word “Shart” (a portmanteau of s*** and fart) all across the park, leading to Owen (Leslie Odom Jr.), the park manager, getting anxious. 

But while Owen is busy getting to the bottom of all this, we see Bitsy’s maid Helen (Daveed Diggs) struggle with her own anxieties, especially with regards to the uncertainty of whether or not she'd make it to Bitsy’s will. In fact, what Helen is more worried about is the bulk of Bitsy’s wealth being left to Shampagne, Bitsy’s pet dog who she coddles and smothers to the point of torture.

Helen plots to get rid of the dog. But things change when Cole (Tituss Burgess), the youngest Tillerman, who loves Shampagne to bits, finds them in the park. Helen is happy to let the boy walk the dog. But when the time comes to put her plan into action, she’s reminded of how happy both Shampagne and Cole were with each other and changes her mind. Despite that, the dog gets into danger. Cole rushes to save him, and Helen, in turn, saves both of them from an oncoming bus.

Paige, meanwhile, finds a way to investigate further. She begins inspecting real estate projects in order to figure out why the Parks’ League member voted against park funding, and why the mayor gave her the mysterious answer. But she is still unable to connect all of this to Bitsy. Unable to bear with the drama any longer, this is where Birdie comes in with the information. He tells her to look at Bitsy.

At long last, when the spray painter is caught, things, for the time being, go back to normal. But one can be sure that Bitsy is not likely to give up any time soon. 

New episodes of ‘Central Park’ air every Friday on Apple TV+.

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