Tuca and Bertie Is a Must

We all know about the Bechdel test. It asks if any type of produced media has at least two named women who talk about something other than a man. The majority of the time, films and TV shows fail the Bechdel test. 

One TV show that doesn’t fail is Tuca and Bertie, a Netflix original adult cartoon. It’s produced by women, voiced by women, and most importantly, created for women. It premiered on Netflix in May 2019.

The idea for Tuca and Bertie originated from Lisa Hanawalt, the cartoonist and executive producer of the show. She is also a designer and producer for another popular adult cartoon Netflix original, Bojack Horseman (another one of my favorite shows).

Tuca and Bertie revolves around two birds who are best friends. Tuca is a loud and confident toucan, voiced by Tiffany Haddish. Proud of her body and her sobriety, Tuca is constantly performing odd jobs for money. Bertie is an anxious and timid songbird, voiced by Ali Wong. She works at a finance company crunching numbers, but her true passion is working in a bakery. 

Its first season is 10 episodes, each roughly 30 minutes long. Each episode navigates different experiences both Tuca and Bertie face and a lot of women have experienced or will in the future.

The first episode starts off with Tuca moving out of the shared apartment, and Bertie’s boyfriend Speckle (voiced by Steven Yeun) moving in. Bertie, feeling guilty for Tuca moving out, lends Tuca sugar that belongs to Speckle. We find out that the sugar is actually Speckle’s grandmother’s ashes, which turns into a kooky chase around the city to try and get it back. This episode also starts the season-long struggle of how the two friends navigate their friendship while they both are going down vastly different paths in life. 

This complex issue is only the first of many. The next episode talks about the struggle Bertie has in her workplace, whether it's asking for a promotion or facing sexual harassment. From there, it only gets better. We see Tuca and Bertie navigate difficult family interactions, relationship problems, and most importantly, how to keep up a friendship.

It’s not only personal connections that this show discusses. It’s full of sex positivity and traversing physical and mental health issues. In the ninth episode of the season, we see Bertie grapple with a heavier topic: sexual assault. The episode is intentional with what occurs in it—so much so that Hanawalt purposefully wrote only female characters in the episode. 

These topics represent women. These are things we struggle with: asking for what we deserve, saying no, and navigating through the aftermath of all sorts of problems. It shows women’s bodies and the “not normal” things these bodies do. 

Tuca and Bertie is a show that deserves a second (and third and fourth) season, but, unfortunately, the show got canceled in July of 2019, only three months after airing. 

Don’t let this stop you from watching it. I know everyone loves a show they can keep watching with new content, but Tuca and Bertie deserves all the love you can give. It’s relatable, funny, and most importantly, real.