[email protected]: What We Learned from Apple TV+’s “Central Park” Panel with Josh Gad and Loren Bouchard

[email protected] 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 [email protected] 2021.

Watch Central Park | [email protected] 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+.