What’s The Significance Of The ‘Center Of The Universe’ Landmark On ‘Tulsa King’?

Tulsa King brings Sylvester Stallone to the small screen as a gangster who’s relegated to Oklahoma, where he’ll have the run of the state’s second-biggest city. In the process, he busts up a dispensary and starts to carve out some mafia-like extortion income and discovers the Internet and takes a tour of a honky tonk bar. It’s an amusing show, and Sly is clearly having a blast, but there’s also some emotional layers for his character, Dwight “The General” Manfredi, to sort through as he returns to civilization after 25 years in prison.

We received a hint of this deeper stuff at the end of Episode 2 (actually titled as “Center of the Universe”), which followed Dwight hearing about a real-life Tulsa landmark, known as the Center of the Universe. It’s a weird little anomaly located downtown atop a pedestrian bridge. There, the sound bounces off the surrounding buildings and concrete barriers in a way that echoes can be heard by the person speaking within the circle.

What’s more important and relevant to this episode: no one who is outside the circle can hear what that person is saying (no matter how loud they speak) while standing within it. Here’s a short video from local NBC affiliate KJRH, which demonstrates this phenomenon in action.

Dwight visits this landmark as a place to shout his anguish over being estranged from his daughter, but obviously, no one else would be able to hear him. It’s a pointed choice to have him do so atop this bridge, and the moment says a lot about how he’s suffering inside but would never dare to show it to the world. We don’t yet know what significance the white horse (seen near the bridge in an earlier moment) will hold, if any, but this is a nice nod to the Tulsa as a character of this show, since the Center of the Universe tends to attract tourists and locals who take to Instagram with the results.

In 2016, a pair of local artists replaced some of the bridge’s bricks with a lighted display, and it appears as though the series paid tribute on that note (blinking bricks are seen from above as Sly departs the structure), although the landmark itself is currently in disrepair with the City of Tulsa soliciting suggestions on how to overhaul and improve the area. Perhaps Tulsa King will give the area enough of a boost to get it going.

So, the show has conquered one landmark, and hopefully, we’ll see Sylvester Stallone threaten the Golden Driller at some point in the future. Hey, a girl can hope.

Paramount+’s Tulsa King streams on Sunday evenings.