‘Tuca and Bertie’ balances humor and seriousness, and ultimately stands out

Tuca and Bertie is wacky, insane drug-trip of a cartoon. The show thrives on relatable situations, in a world that thrives on cartoon logic and physics. Whereas Bojack Horseman is grounded in (a) reality where humans and animals exist; Tuca and Bertie uses its wacky setting to its fullest and most extreme potential.

Tuca and Bertie are both birds; Tuca is a toucan and Bertie is a song thrush.

Everything in the show is alive or has the potential to be: in one episode one of Bertie’s breasts gains sentience and leaves her chest after she is groped by a male co-worker… Yeah, that’s the kind of show this is. Other characters in the world include a very tall living marijuana plant, a pervy Australian human girl… But at least in the current setting, they’re mostly birds.

From left: Tuca, Bertie and Speckles

It’s very contemporary and attempts to tackle a lot of the issue millennial women face in their lives, though mostly sexual assault and agency. Which is where my feelings get mixed. I think the show handles the subject matter pretty well, better than BoJack Horseman did in its many attempts and it shows how sexual trauma can shape a person. But, I guess… I feel conflicted on the topic being tackled at all.

It’s not that the topic shouldn’t be discussed nor that (as I said) it isn’t well-handled. But, I guess I’m not a fan of how inevitable the show makes male-on-female sexual assault and harassment to be. Like it’s going to happen to everyone eventually, without mentioning that it can happen the other way around or between people of the same sex, without it being a joke. But still, it does add to the narrative and provides some insight into Bertie’s characters.


And I love how the show presents Bertie’s character; she’s presented as this extroverted party girl who you would assume is sleeping with lots of guys and drinks, but it shows her as awkward with men she likes, and she’s in AA, which adds a lot more to her character.

The main plot points of the first season come from Speckles, Bertie’s boyfriend, moving in with her; Bertie dealing with her work and trying to follow her passion as a baker, and Tuca trying to figure out living without Bertie for the first time in years. And that causes a lot of tension between the two.



The show balances the seriousness of many of its themes with its humor and ridiculousness of its setting pretty well.

And like most shows of its ilk, it’s starts out pretty silly (Tuca and Bertie have to go out hunting for a sugar bowl that contains the ashes of Speckles’ grandmother) and gets pretty serious (Bertie is forced to confront memories of childhood sexual trauma) but even the darker episodes manage to have some kind of humor in them.

It’s very well done.

At first, I was nervous, that because of the art style and the show’s creatoronnection to BoJack Horseman that the show would be a spin-off or struggle to find its own identity. But the show really stands on its own and it’s definitely one of the best adult shows of this decade.

It’s definitely not the show for everyone but if it sounds appealing for you, definitely try it out.

And that’s the scoop!


Score: 8/10


Year of release: 2019

Length: 10 episodes, 25-26 minutes

Creator: Lisa Hanawalt

Executive Producers: Lisa Hanawalt, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong

Producers: Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, Richard Choi, Mike Hollingsworth

Directors: Amy Winfrey, Aaron Long, Mollie Helms, James Bowman, Mollie Helms, Adam Parton

Writers: Lee Sung Jin, Rachelle Williams, Nick Adams, Karen Graci, Gonzalo Cordova, Shauna McGarry

Voice Actors: Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun

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