Don’t worry, NO SPOILERS
I find it incredibly ironic that it took an absurd animated series about 2 anthropomorphic birds to finally get me to binge watch status. Last month, Tuca & Bertie premiered on Netflix, and it is everything I needed. The show centers two friends, Tuca (played by Tiffany Haddish) and Bertie (played by Ali Wong) as they navigate through womanhood. With the help of Tuca, Bertie finds a way to make it through hardships and the hierarchy of men. The two besties fight sexism through the power of friendship, and that admittedly sappy sentiment is what makes the show so moving.
In the world of adult cartoons, we often have shows about the adventures of middle aged dudes, but Tuca & Bertie is the perfect show for any nerdy girl who wants her cartoons to include sex jokes and profanity. One thing that is clear from the first episode is that the creator Lisa Hanawalt understands what it means to be a woman in this chauvinist world. The refreshing and kooky animation is a great backdrop to a comically psychological analysis of the mind of two women.
Tuca is a former alcoholic who “brings a lot of zest to her environment.” She is larger than life and moves through the world with no fucks given. She’s a liberated women complete with the tightest booty shorts. She doesn’t take a lot of shit and can twerk with the best of them. Awful men are no match for Tuca’s “FUCK OFF” attitude. She may have the free 21st century woman thing down, but Tuca isn’t free from her own issues and insecurities. Despite her colorful personality, Tuca ironically struggles to find her stride. Even though she’s the fluorescent light in Bertie’s world, Tuca isn't free from her own grief. Her journey to healing is something that this writer is anticipating.
In contrast, Bertie is a warm and sensitive daydreamer trying to find her voice. Her zest for life isn’t always well matched with her severe anxiety. Her mental health struggle is literally illustrated right in front of us, and it's super rad. It’s both her struggle with anguish and sexism that makes for an honest and heartfelt depiction of an anxious mind. Bertie’s ability to make a heavenly croissant helps boost her confidence, and seeing her path to liberation is both heartwarming and inspiring.
In episode two, we see Bertie’s struggle with sexual harassment at her job. The scenario feels familiar, with the exception of a dislocated drunken breast voiced by comedian Awkwafina . This sounds hilarious (and it is) but the catharsis that this cameo delivers is too good for this writer to spoil. The comical and unapologetic take down of chauvinist ideology is a treat for the ladies. This includes a club called “Woman Taking up Space” (or W.T.U.S) led by a outspoken lady lizard. In short, the patriarchy is no match for these animated creatures.
Like any good R - rated animation, the show is not afraid of sex. However, our peak into bird sex isn’t just on the surface. Bertie’s pursuit to sexual assertion with her loving (and at times, clueless) boyfriend, Speckle is portrayed by physical manifestations in Bertie’s head that is both authentic and hysterical. Meanwhile, Tuca explores the world of sex work with a VR sex video game that fits perfectly into the obscure and audacious spirit of the show. Then, there is the appearance of the sex bugs, which this writer will let you witness on your own.
Without going into spoilers, Tuca & Bertie has moments that will make you shed a tear and call a friend. Surprisingly, we get to see our characters go through very tough experiences that affect many women. The show doesn't pull any punches and goes to some dark places, that our characters overcome together. Amongst the Giant Jaguar, odd pastries and a weed smoking plant (which is amazing) is a mirror for women who have experienced agony (get ready for the tears friends.)
Overall, Tuca & Bertie is a fun, fiery, feminist staple. The show reminds us that things like buttery croissants, a good twerk and your bestie can help you fight sexism and ultimately spread your wings into the sunset.
LUNA is a writer, illustrator, and quintessential Sagittarius, who is a proud member of the queer black feminist nerd party.