September 22


‘ Tuca& Bertie’ sets a fresh spin on the friendship sitcom


Cat Behavior

Tuca& Bertie , the debut show from BoJack Horseman production designer Lisa Hanawalt, starts with a moment of transition: Two best friends, Tuca( Tiffany Haddish) and Bertie( Ali Wong ), who are residents of Bird Town, are no longer cohabitating. Bertie’s boyfriend Speckle( voiced by Steven Yeun) has moved in. There’s an uncertainty there, but the throb colorings and hybrid characters of the demonstrate lift you up.

Tuca& Bertie

RELEASE DATE: 5/ 3/2019
CREATOR: Lisa Hanawalt
An adult animation series for anxious women.

This 10 -episode series shares an animation aesthetic with BoJack , but that’s about it. There aren’t any crossover characters or storylines, and Tuca& Bertie is more focused on the lives of women in their 30 s than one horse-man’s depressive spiral. It’s also a more unusual world: Girls have plants for heads and houses have boobs. In one scene, Tuca and Bertie drive through mountains that is really curled-up cats. And it’s meticulously detailed, from the framed posters on the wall to building Judge Judy into a sassy sparrow.


The Broad City dynamic is clear: Tuca is horny and impulsive but loves her best friend; Bertie is more anxious and unsure, and often emotionally labors over Tuca. Sometimes that labor is shifted to her good-natured boyfriend. Bertie has a passion for baking and a task as a data processor at Conde Nest; Tuca is a recovering alcoholic without steady employment. The series separates itself from Broad City by making it about that confusing time in adulthood when you’re trying to square long-term friendships with more domestic and professional exhorts.

The fact that Tuca and Bertie are animated birds doesn’t take away from their distinctly human problems: , mental health, workplace harassment, confidence, addiction, family. Bertie struggles to assert herself at work. After she gets an STD, Tuca is brought to trial and her” sex bugs” are given their own storyline, but it subtly underscores the disgrace females are made to feel for being sex. The character of Tuca was around long before the series, but you can see the vibe even in earlier sketches.


Before BoJack Horseman season 2 came out, Hanawalt the Daily Dot she actively pushed to create more female characters in the prove, when the” default” setting was often to just construct side characters male. Tuca& Bertie isn’t an overtly feminine show, but you can definitely find the curves and instincts of it. In Bird Town, women still have to worry about violence and harassment, but there isn’t a sense of menace or dread. Here, boobs depict they’re done being gazed at by jumping off chests. Often, the wonders of this world are more engaging than the dialogue.

It’s a ripe time for shows led by women or about women’s relationships: Pen1 5 , Shrill , Fleabag , Russian Doll , Killing Eve . Tuca& Bertie is a welcome addition, one that takes a couple episodes to find its momentum and tell the tales it thinks are important. Once it does, it presents its promise.

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