TV review: Tuca & Bertie, Netflix
- Katherine McLaughlin
- 3 May 2019
New comedy from BoJack Horseman creators hits all the right notes
This vibrant spin-off series from the creators of BoJack Horseman about two bird-women navigating their thirties in all its confusing glory not only confronts the male predator as a ubiquitous presence ready to pounce and take up women's space for their own gain, but creates two refreshing characters who get up to all kinds of riotous mischief. The humour is as cutting on sexual harassment as that stand-out episode from season 2 of BoJack – 'Hank after Dark' – and the show features impressively surreal animation.
Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong star as the titular characters respectively, boasting an energetic dynamic that is akin to Abbi and Ilana from Broad City. Tuca is something of a wildcard, leading Bertie astray from her relationship with live-in boyfriend Speckle (Steven Yeun) but lifting her up when it comes to her career as a data processor at Conde Nest. These bird-women are beautifully written by creator Lisa Hanawalt and her team, with each character relaying their own emotional baggage via swift adventures through office politics, STDs, sexual fantasies, dating woes, career choices and trauma. With the fictional world of Bird Town, the animators have crafted a cornucopia of visual delights with some of its inhabitants perhaps inspired by the gorgeous drawings of Phoebe Gloeckner and the art work from the Twisted Sisters comics from the 1970s.
Tuca & Bertie's sharp wit is attuned to everyday sexism as it hilariously satirises everything from bad romantic comedies to porn preferences. It holds its nerve when it comes to darker themes and takes marvellous flight with bizarre boob jokes that place women in charge of the humour. It may take aim at toxic male behaviour but it doesn't forget to be generous with Yeun's character who is charmingly composed. Hanawalt has created a warming show that possesses all the essential elements of a joyful female camaraderie comedy, exploring insecurity and existential angst with an absurd sense of humour while also succeeding in sensitive and poignant delivery.
Out now on Netflix