Overview (Spoilers Below):
Molly and Brendan have the perfect 8th grade relationship. They text emojis to each other all day but never talk in person. So Molly is understandably freaked out when her parents encourage her to invite her new friend over for dinner. It’s pizza night, and Owen’s pizza is not exactly guest friendly. But with the help of Birdie, Jimmy’s forge, and a rousing musical number, the night is saved.
Meanwhile, Helen is trying to figure out the best way to get rid of Shampagne. The doggie therapist is coming over to deal with his bed puddles, but he won’t recommend they get rid of the mutt unless he bites someone. Helen tries to frame the pooch, but it doesn’t go as well as she’d hoped, and Bitsy and Shampagne have a bark-through.
Molly and Brendan’s relationship takes centerstage in Hot Oven. It’s a rousing episode filled with great jokes and top-of-the-line musical numbers. Rather than splitting the family up into separate storylines, the show keeps everyone together, and this results in some wonderful comedy between the members of the Tillerman castle clan and Brendan. By the end of the episode, everyone has learned that love isn’t easy and it’s never perfect.
The last time we really got into the romantic arc between Brendan and Molly was when he wasn’t texting her back due to losing his phone. It was fine, but Hot Oven feels like a much tighter episode, with everything working together very nicely to come to a conclusion that puts a nice bow on the themes of the events in an entertainingly musical way. I think I’ve come to the realization that Owen and Molly are my two favorite characters when it comes to their singing, and both of them get to shine this week. Molly and Brendan’s opening duet is lovely to hear, and also to behold thanks to the dramatic lighting.
Their relationship is put to the test by the pizza night dinner. Molly might be weird, but it’s one thing to form a relationship with a single weirdo, and quite another to get dragged to dinner with a whole family of them. Everything from Cole’s constant questioning to Owen and Paige spying on them through the window is charmingly offbeat, and to his credit, Brendan doesn’t seem to be that scared off by it all. It helps that Owen’s pizza turned out amazing (in the taste department, at least).
Over in the ritzier part of town, the episode isn’t quite as novel. We’ve seen Helen try to take out Shampagne before. The introduction of the doggie therapist’s visit and Helen’s mission to get the dog to bite Bitsy might be a bit of a rehash, but at least it’s executed in pretty hilarious ways. The lengths Helen goes to in order to frame the dog are great, and the dog therapist is just crazy enough to play along. Bitsy eventually having to kick them both out so she can waggle her tongue at Shampagne was golden.
Central Park was firing on all cylinders with Hot Oven. Brendan’s visit to the Tillerman castle provided plenty of humorous hijinks with a good dose of heartwarming as well. Helen and Bitsy’s continuing escapades with Shampagne and his doggie therapist were fun. And we even got some forward progress on the plot with Paige discovering that Bitsy is trying to buy the park. Now if only she can get him to agree on wearing that wire…