Comic-Con@Home: What We Learned from Apple TV+’s “Central Park” Panel with Josh Gad and Loren Bouchard

Comic-Con@Home 2021 continued this afternoon with a virtual panel discussion of the Apple TV+ animated series Central Park, created by the Disney-owned 20th Television Animation. Joining in on the presentation were co-creator and executive producer Loren Bouchard, co-creator and star Josh Gad, producers Kelvin Yu and Steven Davis, and voice cast members Leslie Odom Jr. and Titus Burgess.

In the bullet-point list below, I’ve enumerated the most interesting tidbits and factoids mentioned during the Central Park park as part of Comic-Con@Home 2021.

Watch Central Park | Comic-Con@Home 2021:

  • The panel begins with a clip from the show of Josh Gad’s character singing about the titular Central Park, followed by a montage of scenes and jokes, and more songs from the show.
  • Loren Bouchard says it’s painful not to be at Comic-Con in person because he misses standing in front of all the fans. “In animation, you don’t get out much. Doing this virtually is pretty painful.”
  • At this point season 2 has already premiered on Apple TV+. Bouchard gave a brief synopsis of the show so far.
  • Bouchard and Josh Gad talked about Gad’s character Birdie, who is basically the narrator of the show. “We thought there would be something really fun about a narrator who’s not quite great at his job.”
  • Leslie Odom Jr. talked about his character, who is a father like he is in real life. “I want to be as patient and as accepting as Owen is with the kids he’s raising.”
  • Titus Burgess talked about growing up an only child and how he’s very much in touch with his younger self.
  • Writer Steven Davis discussed how he relates to having working parents, while Kelvin Yu talked about how he also came from a family with a working mom. This helped them both approach the family on the series.
  • Bouchard played a clip from season 2 that he described as “an important coming-of-age moment for Molly.”
  • Guest songwriters in season 2 including Regina Spektor, Rufus Wainwright, They Might Be Giants, Don’t Stop or We’ll Die, Michael Buble, Danny Elfman, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez bring in “musical diversity.”
  • Bouchard says he loved musicals growing up and Gad talked about being so much of a musical theater geek that he wanted to celebrate that love in TV.
  • Odom and Burgess talked about the differences between working in animation and live-action as actors. “You’re by yourself a lot.”
  • Davis and Yu talked about the process of directing actors remotely during the pandemic.
  • Bouchard played another clip of Stanley Tucci and Daveed Diggs’ characters.
  • Gad says he grew up with Mr. Burns on The Simpsons, so the idea of a villain on animated sitcoms was familiar to him. The character of Bitsy was inspired by Leona Helmsley. “The villain never think they’re the villain.”
  • Guest stars on season 2 include Thomas Lennon, Ed Asner, Patty Lupone, Dan Stevens, and Ellie Kemper.
  • At this point the panel brought fans into the stream to ask questions. Gad talked about how much of his performance is scripted and how much is improvisation.
  • Burgess’ favorite song to perform was “Weirdos Make Great Superheroes.”
  • A song written by Loren Bouchard was cut from the show, along with another song that became part of the end credits.
  • Odom loved whenever characters sang on television shows while he was growing up, including The Cosby Show and A Different World. He also talked about a very specific episode of Family Guy that stuck with him.
  • Gad calls the real Central Park “the Great Equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest person or the poorest person in New York, you get to share it.”
  • The characters were custom created for the actors they wanted to play the parts. “You kind of mush everyone’s family into one family.”
  • The script and the songs are generally written around the same time. Gad really wants the writers to incorporate a K-pop song into the show.

New episodes of Central Park are currently being released weekly on Apple TV+.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.