The Apple TV+ animated series Central Park returns for the first half of its second season this week, continuing the adventures of park caretaker Owen (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and his good-hearted family, including wife Paige (Kathryn Hahn), son Cole (Tituss Burgess), and daughter Molly as they brush up against the capitalist machinations of mean olf rich lady Bitsey Brandenham (Stanley Tucci) and her designs to pave over the park with condos.
In season one Molly was voiced by Kristen Bell, but after a bout of controversy over having a white actress provide the voice for a biracial character — especially one who writing an autobiographical superhero comic about a girl who fights villains with the power of her afro puffs — Bell was replaced between seasons with The Umbrella Academy's Emmy Raver-Lampman.
Eight new episodes mean eight new opportunities for the show to expand its fantastic roster of guest voices, and Season 2 doesn't disappoint. If you're tearing your hair out trying to pinpoint just whose voice you're hearing, you've come to the right place. Here's our guide to who's who among the new guest voices this season on Central Park, and where you may know them from:
Broadway legend Patti LuPone seems to have been really enjoying TV roles lately. In the past five years alone, she's played a rabbi on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, two separate roles on Penny Dreadful, a Leona Helmsley avatar in Pose, a major movie studio head in Ryan Murphy's Hollywood, and a voice on shows like Steven Universe and BoJack Horseman. This season on Central Park, she plays Roberta McCullough, boss to Paige at her small New York newspaper and rival to Bitsey Brandenham.
A TV legend who came to national prominence for iconic portrayal of Fonzie on Happy Days for ten years beginning in 1974, Henry Winkler has worked steadily since then, most recently playing small-time acting coach Gene Cousinea on HBO's Barry, for which he won an Emmy. He plays Hank this season on Central Park, a disheveled investigator for an insurance company who's following up on a theft at the Brandenham Hotel.
Ward Whittlinger is Owen's professional idol, an icon in the world of park design and someone to whom Owen as always looked up. He's a bit of a recluse now, but Paige tries to track him down to be a special guest for a park event. He's voiced by the great character actor Keith David, who's known for his roles in the 1982 horror classic The Thing, Oliver Stone's Vietnam War epic Platoon, and for playing Cameron Diaz's stepfather in There's Something About Mary.
Comedian, writer, and actress Amber Ruffin is killing it these days with her show on Peacock delivering some of the sharpest political and social comedy around. This season on Central Park she plays Shauna, a classmate of Molly's who might be a friend or might be a foe. Molly tries to work out her feelings about that in her comic book, drawing Shauna as superhero (supervillain?) Sha-Boom.
Yvette Nicole Brown is almost certainly best known for role as the indefatigably cheery Shirley on the NBC sitcom Community, but she's long been a character actress in both live-action roles and in the realm of animation. Most recently she had a recurring role on CBS's Mom and a regular role on the Disney+ series Big Shot, opposite John Stamos. On Central Park this season, she voices Gina Tracker, FBI, the main character on a TV show of the same name that Owen, Paige, and the kids are obsessed with.
Lionel is a longtime bartender at the Brandenham Hotel who runs afoul of Bitsey at the wrong time. Voicing him is stage and screen veteran Norm Lewis, recently seen playing Eddie in the Spike Lee movie Da 5 Bloods. He is a Tony Award nominee for his role in Porgy and Bess opposite Audra McDonald, and also appeared for a time on the ABC drama Scandal, playing a momentary love interest for Olivia Pope.
Thomas Lennon first broke into televised comedy on the MTV sketch comedy series The State, where he performed opposite the likes of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and Ken Marino, but his best known role is probably short-shorts wearing cop Jim Dangle on Reno 911!. He plays the role of Leslie Portergrave this season on Central Park, a hotel owner and rival to Bitsey.
Comedy star Paul F. Tompkins's voice will likely be very familiar to BoJack Horseman fans since he voiced the role of Mr. Peanutbutter on that show. He's appeared in films like There Will Be Blood and The Informant!, though he's far more prolific in comedies and on podcasts, such as his frequently recurring appearances on Comedy Bang Bang. On Central Park this season, he voices the role of Molly's hyper-critical art teacher.
Central Park's second season premieres on Apple TV+ June 25, with new epsiodes dropping weekly through late July.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.
TOPICS: Central Park, Apple TV+, Amber Ruffin, Henry Winkler, Keith David, Norm Lewis, Patti LuPone, Paul F. Tompkins, Thomas Lennon, Yvette Nicole Brown