Title: Tuca & Bertie
Release Dates: 2019
Number of Episodes: 10
This new animated comedy from Netflix has a lot in common with one of my favorite shows, BoJack Horseman. For one thing, Tuca & Bertie‘s creator, Lisa Hanawalt, served as production designer and producer for BoJack Horseman. For another, Tuca & Bertie are anthropomorphized birds living in a city of anthropomorphized animals and even anthropomorphized plants (they’re so cool!).
Nevertheless, Tuca & Bertie isn’t a spinoff of Bojack, nor is it even the same universe. Tuca & Bertie has a brighter color pallette and, for lack of a better word, a “bouncier” animation style that frequently veers into surreality. That is an even more surreal than a world with talking bird people. Also, BoJack is a show that keeps returning to the inevability of misery and that other people will disappoint you. Tuca & Bertie is more positive and shares its belief that one can count on the people you love to get you through troubled times.
Despite it’s wacky humor, Tuca & Bertie reveals more serious undertones over the course of the season. Tuca is an outgoing toucan and free spirit who has no filter between her brain and mouth. It’s established early in the season that she’s alcoholic and six months into living sober, and confronting supressed anxieties for the first time. Bertie is a songbird with more open anxiety issues and people pleaser. She struggles at work with men speaking over her and sexual harrassment. Yet we see her assert herself to get a new position as senior operations analyst at her publishing firm and explore a second career as a baker. The two characters are rightly depicted as a yin-yang late in the season because they complement each other so well.
This is a bright and heartwarming show, and just delightfully weird. I especially like the music – both the electronic dance background music and the fact that characters narrate their life in song. If you decide to watch it and it doesn’t work for you at first, give it a few episodes to sink in.