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Tuca & Bertie is an American adult animated sitcom created by cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt that premiered on May 3, 2019 on Netflix.[1] It stars Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, with a supporting cast including Steven Yeun, John Early, Richard E. Grant, and Reggie Watts.[2] The show received critical acclaim,[3][4] being referred to as one of the best new shows of 2019.[5][6]

Tuca & Bertie
Tuca & Bertie Title Card.jpg
Genre
Created byLisa Hanawalt
Based onTuca the Toucan
by Lisa Hanawalt
Voices of
Theme music composerJesse Novak
Composer(s)Jesse Novak
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Running time25–26 mintues
Production company(s)
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
External links
Official website

Contents

PremiseEdit

Tuca & Bertie follows "the friendship between two 30-year-old bird-women who live in the same apartment building, Tuca, a cocky, care-free toucan, and Bertie, an anxious, daydreaming songbird."[7]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Tiffany Haddish as Tuca, a toucan, Bertie's impulsive and newly sober best friend, who works odd jobs, and frequently relies on her rich Aunt Tallulah for financial support.
  • Ali Wong as Roberta "Bertie" Songthrush, a songbird, Tuca's career-minded best friend, a senior operations analyst (previously a data processor) at Conde Nest, and aspiring baker.
  • Steven Yeun as Speckle, a robin, Bertie's strait-laced architect boyfriend.

RecurringEdit

  • Nicole Byer as various voices including Speckle’s grandmother Gamby the ghost cake; Bertie's file cabinet; lady in the bathroom at Bertie's office.
  • Richard E. Grant as Holland, Bertie's well-meaning but oblivious blue jay boss at Conde Nest.
  • John Early as Dirk, Bertie's misogynistic rooster co-worker at Conde Nest.
  • Reggie Watts as Pastry Pete, an accomplished penguin pastry chef that takes Bertie as an apprentice.
  • Shamir Bailey as "Draca", a house plant neighbor.
  • Jenifer Lewis as Aunt Tallulah, Tuca's rich aunt who has been supporting her financially.
  • Kate Berlant as the "Women Taking Up Space" Lady, a lizard.

Guest starsEdit

  • Awkwafina as Bertie's breast.
  • Tig Notaro as Yeast Week MC and Dr. Sherman, a flamingo physician.
  • Michelle Dockery as Lady Netherfield, the star of Bertie's favorite tv show "The Nests of Netherfield"
  • Adam Conover as Big_Hairy_Stallion69 (Aka Joel), a horse whom Tuca meets online in a virtual sex chat.
  • SungWon "ProZD" Cho as Ultra-Sam S380, a hospital machine.
  • Amber Ruffin as Dakota with a Y, a naive, young canary who comes to work for Pastry Pete
  • Laverne Cox as Ebony Black, a raven agent who works for the Center for Sex Bug Control.
  • Tessa Thompson as Sophie Black, Ebony's adult daughter who has come to work for her after dropping out of business school.
  • Jane Lynch as Meredith Maple, Bertie's former swim coach, a red-crested turaco
  • Isabella Rossellini as Pat, Meredith's wife, an owl
  • Taraji P. Henson as Terry, Tuca's sister

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Tuca originated in Lisa Hanawalt's webcomic Tuca the Toucan which ran from 2013-2014.[8][9] On February 20, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order to consist of a first season of ten episodes. The series was created by Lisa Hanawalt who is set to executive produce alongside Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen, and Tiffany Haddish. Production companies involved in the series include The Tornante Company and ShadowMachine.[7][10][11] On March 14, 2019, Netflix announced that the series would premiere on May 3, and a first look featurette trailer was released.[12]

CastingEdit

Alongside the initial series announcement, it was reported that Tiffany Haddish would voice the lead character of Tuca.[7] On May 7, 2018, it was announced that Ali Wong had been cast as the voice of Bertie.[13] In March 2019, it was announced Steven Yeun had been cast as a series regular, with Nicole Byer, Richard E. Grant, John Early, Reggie Watts, Tig Notaro, Amber Ruffin, Jermaine Fowler and Tessa Thompson appearing in guest capacity.[14]

EpisodesEdit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Sugar Bowl"Amy WinfreyStory by : Lisa Hanawalt
Teleplay by : Lisa Hanawalt and Raphael Bob-Waksberg
May 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Best friends Tuca and Bertie are former roommates now that Bertie has invited her boyfriend Speckle to live with her. Bertie, anxious about taking their relationship to the next level, fears that any future disagreements between her and Speckle may mean the end of their relationship. Disguising her sadness at living apart from Bertie, Tuca moves to the apartment above Bertie and asks to borrow some sugar. Bertie gives away Speckle's sugar bowl, not realizing it houses his grandmother's ashes. Tuca, having since lost the bowl, helps her locate it. Along the way, the two confront each other about their anxieties. They eventually track the bowl to the bakery of Pastry Pete, an idol to Bertie, who is herself an amateur baker. Tuca pushes Bertie to challenge Pastry Pete to a baking competition in exchange for the bowl. Bertie agrees, but finds herself attracted to Pastry Pete. Upon trying her croissants, Pastry Pete offers Bertie an open invitation to be his apprentice. They recover the bowl, but not before the ashes are accidentally baked into a cake. Bertie apologizes to Speckle, who assures her of his desire to live together. Bertie in turn assures Tuca that she's always welcome to drop in.
2"The Promotion"Aaron LongLisa HanawaltMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Bertie is focused on obtaining a promotion at work, but her attempts to establish rapport with her boss and display her ideas at the company meeting are blocked by her chauvinistic coworker Dirk. Later, Dirk sexually harasses Bertie, who is unable to get any support after reporting the incident to Human Resources. Tuca, meanwhile, engages in a series of small jobs to make money, to disastrous results. Upon learning that Bertie was sexually harassed and her chances of securing the promotion stymied, Tuca takes a temp job at the company and helps Bertie showcase her skills. Bertie is discouraged when her boss takes a liking to Tuca's energy and offers her the promotion position instead. Tuca assures her she doesn't want it and helps Bertie call a sexual harassment meeting. Other women in the office corroborate Bertie's experiences with Dirk with their own and Dirk is dismissed. Bertie requests and receives the job promotion, but learns that it means more overtime.
3"The Deli Guy"Mollie HelmsLee Sung JinMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
The normally confident Tuca has a crush on a deli worker, who she calls Deli Guy. After some pushing from Bertie, she asks him out on a date, but her nervousness causes her to act irrationally, alienating her date. She later reveals to Bertie that this was her first date since going sober, and she doesn't know how to react while flirting anymore. Bertie apologizes for pushing her into it. Meanwhile, Bertie has grown bored with her routine sex life with Speckle and attempts to spice things up with pornography. When that doesn't work, they try spanking and role playing, but Bertie has a surprisingly negative reaction to being called a "bad, dirty birdy." The two then watch her favorite British historical romance drama The Nests of Netherfield, and Bertie explains to Speckle that she really just wants to be surprised. Speckle manages to surprise her before work by setting up their apartment like the set of The Nests of Netherfield and romancing her.
4"The Sex Bugs"James BowmanRachelle WilliamsMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Tuca has contracted parasites called Sex Bugs, hard-partying, sex-obsessed insects that live in her pubic hair. She convinces Bertie to go out with her to buy some lotion to get rid of them, though Bertie is apprehensive, having called in sick to work to avoid giving a big presentation. Tuca promises it will be a quick trip. Along the way, they encounter a women's empowerment seminar and Bertie takes a flyer. At the store, Tuca disregards the warning labels and mixes the parasite lotions together, causing the Sex Bugs to grow to human size and run amok. Ebony Black, an investigator for the Center for Sex Bug Control, arrives to exterminate them. Tuca objects, stating that the Sex Bugs just want to party and have fun and demands a trial, with Bertie as her counsel. Bertie, whose anxiety has skyrocketed from the trip, initially refuses until Ebony Black's partner Sophie insults Tuca. Bertie capably wins the trial, determining that Tuca contracted them from a bush in a protected historical landmark, which prohibits the killing of the protected Sex Bugs. Realizing she can handle more than she thought, Bertie takes up Pasty Pete's baking apprenticeship and gives her presentation at work.
5"Plumage"Amy WinfreyNick AdamsMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Tuca goes to visit her wealthy Aunt Tallulah for her birthday, and Speckle, an architect, asks to come along so he can see Tallulah's architecturally significant home in person. Tuca reveals that she grew up poor with her siblings and her single mother, who loved them, but passed away early in life. Tuca was taken in by her aunt, who continues to write her checks. She, Tuca, and Speckle celebrate by binge drinking, though Speckle notices that Tallulah's comments are highly critical of Tuca. While exploring the house, Tuca reveals to Speckle that she has yet to tell her aunt about her sobriety for fear of bringing down Tallulah's birthday mood. Speckle encourages Tuca to stand up to Tallulah as her comments begin crossing the line. When Tallulah insults Tuca's mother and mocks Tuca's half year of sobriety, Tuca tears up the check Tallulah wrote for her and leaves. Tallulah yells after her that everyone will leave her, just like they did her. On the drive home, Tuca fears her aunt is right: with no job and no family, she will end up alone. Speckle reassures her that she is never alone because he and Bertie are her family. Meanwhile, Bertie takes the women's empowerment seminar after encountering a creepy plumber in the apartment building and comes up with a mantra demanding a right to her personal space. While at the bakery, Pastry Pete forcefully presses against Bertie to show her a roux cooking technique. The close contact causes her to excuse herself to the restroom, where she feverishly masturbates.
6"The Open House"Aaron LongKaren GraciMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Speckle, Bertie, and Tuca spend the day touring open houses to luxuriate in the fantasy of home ownership. However, when Speckle and Bertie encounter a home they actually are interested in, they decide to put in an offer. This alarms Tuca, who is worried she will be left behind while they move ahead in their adulthood. She adopts a pet to help her form more commitments and adopts a wild jaguar. Meanwhile, Bertie and Speckle apply for a 30 year mortgage for the house. The 30 year commitment alarms Bertie, who begins worrying about a mundane future with Speckle. At the bakery, Bertie's attraction to Pastry Pete only grows, causing her to ignore Speckle's texts about a real time-sensitive possibility for them to get the house appearing. Bertie puts off his texts until he tells her they missed the opportunity and lost the house. Sensing some concerns, he asks her to call him to talk, but Bertie avoids him and visits Tuca instead. She finds the jaguar attacking Tuca, but Speckle arrives and manages to tame it and find it a home. Bertie apologize to him and reveals her anxieties about commitment and uncertainty for the future, but Speckle tells her he wants to be with her now and that's all that matters to him.
7"Yeast Week"Mollie HelmsGonzalo CordovaMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
While playing a video game, Tuca suddenly experiences a sharp pain in her side. She refuses to see a doctor, preferring to use dubious homeopathic remedies instead. Bertie is busy preparing for Yeast Week, an elite baking event where she and Pastry Pete will debut a new confection, the crünt. Tuca repeatedly interrupts her with her remedies. Her constant interruptions cause Bertie to privately complain to Speckle that Tuca is too needy. Now in immense pain, but ashamed after overhearing her, Tuca claims she is alright, but collapses in her room. Bertie arrives at Yeast Week and debuts the crünt to great admiration. Tuca wakes up in the hospital, learning that her video game partner heard her cry for help, located her, and drove her there. She learns she has an egg lodged in her fallopian tube and requires surgery. Tuca reveals that her fear of doctors stems from her childhood when her mother died during surgery following a car accident, but is forced to undergo the procedure. Pastry Pete invites Bertie to join him at the top bakers' table, but upon learning that Tuca is in the hospital, she turns down the opportunity. Bertie takes Tuca home, but expresses her resentment that Tuca is careless with herself, resulting in Bertie always needing to take care of her. Thinking they might be growing apart, they decide to take a break from their friendship.
8"The New Bird"Adam PartonLee Sung JinMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
A young, new bird, Dakota, arrives to the city and asks Pastry Pete for an apprenticeship, which he agrees to. Bertie is jealous of Dakota, but attempts to bond with her after Speckle suggests being a mentor to her. Bertie finds that she and Dakota get along great, even developing an immensely successful new pastry while Pastry Pete is away. Meanwhile, Tuca is followed around by a mockingly critical apparition of Bertie. Desperate to get away, she joins a spiritual retreat, but inadvertently turns it into a cult. As the cult falls into chaos, she flees into the woods and gives in to the apparition, which tells her she'll never amount to anything. Upon accepting the criticism, the apparition tells her that she's also good at many other things that Bertie is not, which is why they make a good team. At the bakery, Pastry Pete physically forces Dakota to observe the roux technique just like he did with Bertie. However, Dakota pushes him away, calling him a creep for touching her. After Bertie reveals he did the same thing to her, she asks Bertie why she didn't stop him or warn her and Bertie is unable to respond. Dakota runs away in tears. Bertie leaves the bakery and instead of returning home, begins driving. She encounters Tuca on the side of the road and the two drive off together.
9"The Jelly Lakes"Amy WinfreyShauna McGarryMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
After driving in silence all night, Tuca and Bertie tearfully make up with one another. They drive to Jelly Lakes, where Bertie's family owns a cabin. Bertie reveals what happened with Pastry Pete and wonders if he has sexually harassed other women. Speckle calls, concerned about Bertie disappearing, but she continually puts off his calls. They encounter Bertie's former summer camp swimming coach and cabin neighbor, Coach Maple, and opt to stay at Bertie's cabin for the night. They spend a day at the beach with Maple and her wife Pat. Maple reveals her confusion as to why Bertie suddenly lost interest in swimming, when she trained all summer to swim to Peanut Island in the middle of the lake. Bertie angrily states that she didn't lose interest and storms out. Tuca follows her and Bertie tearfully reveals that the morning she intended to make the swim to Peanut Island, a lifeguard sexually assaulted her before Coach Maple arrived, and that she's a coward for running away from all of her problems then and now. Tuca tells her she is brave and reassures her she is confronting her problems. The next morning, Bertie sets out to swim to Peanut Island, with Tuca, Maple, and Pat following her in a canoe for support. Exhausted, Bertie sinks halfway there, but reconciles with her trauma and emerges, making it to the island. They celebrate and Bertie tells Tuca she is ready to go home.
10"SweetBeak"Aaron LongLisa HanawaltMay 3, 2019 (2019-05-03)
Tuca and Bertie arrive in town for Molting Season, which Tuca hates because she dislikes the annual call with her siblings. When Bertie arrives home, Speckle explodes at her over her sudden disappearance, saying she shuts him out when she's having a problem, and that she needs to be honest and communicative with him and take his emotional needs into account. Speckle reveals he bought a teardown home to renovate and tells her he wants to be with her, but he won't chase after her anymore. He leaves to work on the house and says she can find him there. Bertie goes to the bakery and angrily tells Pastry Pete that she quits and that she'll open her own bakery. She creates a plan for a bakery called Sweet Beak, but finds supplies and space more difficult to secure than she thought. Tuca begins to get her life in order, but becomes concerned when her family doesn't call, worried that they don't want to hear from her. Bertie reconciles with Speckle, telling him that her trauma made trusting people hard, but she wants to be with him. Later, finding more and more obstacles to opening Sweet Beak, Tuca and Bertie realize that Pastry Pete has blacklisted them. They confront him, and Pastry Pete physically threatens Bertie, but Tuca records it and posts it online. Women begin boycotting Pastry Pete and orders flood into Sweet Beak. Enlisting their friends, Bertie and Tuca fill the orders and distribute them to the public. Tuca, having called her sister and told her she loves her, decides she wants to live with her aunt and siblings and fix things between them.

ReceptionEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 100% based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 8.22/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Tuca & Bertie skips right past BoJack Horseman's shadow with its chipper sensibility and madcap sight gags, bringing plenty of laughs as it addresses adulting anxiety and exalts the joys of friendship."[3] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Upon release, the AV Club thought that the show was one best new shows of 2019,[5] with Vox naming Tuca and Bertie one of the "5 best TV Shows of May 2019".[15] In June 2019, Indiewire named Tuca and Bertie the 3rd best show of 2019 so far and the AV Club put the show on its list of the "The best TV of 2019 so far".[6][16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Schwartz, Dana (March 14, 2019). "Watch a first look at Netflix's new animated series starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong". Entertainment Weekly.
  2. ^ Miller, Liz Shannon. "'Tuca and Bertie' Voice Cast Guide: From Tiffany Haddish to Richard E. Grant". IndieWire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Tuca & Bertie: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Tuca & Bertie". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Chavez, Danette. "The vibrant, surreal Tuca & Bertie is one of the best new shows of the year". TV Club. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  6. ^ a b Obenson, Ben Travers,Hanh Nguyen,Steve Greene,Libby Hill,Tambay; Travers, Ben; Nguyen, Hanh; Greene, Steve; Hill, Libby; Obenson, Tambay (2019-06-05). "The Best TV Shows of 2019, So Far". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  7. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (February 20, 2018). "Netflix Picks Up Supernatural Teen Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  8. ^ https://hazlitt.net/comics/tuca-toucan-tuca-will-eat-your-eggs
  9. ^ https://hazlitt.net/authors/lisa-hanawalt
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 20, 2018). "Tiffany Haddish to Voice Lead Character in Netflix Straight-to-Series Animated Comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Ottersen, Joe (February 20, 2018). "Tiffany Haddish to Star in Netflix Animated Series 'Tuca and Bertie' From 'BoJack Horseman' Team". Variety. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Schwartz, Dana (March 14, 2019). "Watch a first look at Netflix's new animated series starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong". Entertainment Weekly.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 7, 2018). "'Tuca & Bertie': Ali Wong To Voice Co-Lead Opposite Tiffany Haddish In Netflix Animated Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Dana (March 14, 2019). "Watch a first look at Netflix's new animated series Tuca & Bertie starring Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  15. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily Todd (2019-05-31). "The 5 best TV shows of May 2019". Vox. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  16. ^ "The best TV of 2019 so far". The AV Club. Retrieved 2019-06-22.

External linksEdit