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Earlier this month, Netflix premiered yet another of its seemingly-endless original series. Unlike all Netflix’s other original series, though, this one focuses on two anthropomorphic birds.
Actually, even that short description sells the series short. Tuca & Bertie uses its two central characters, after whom the animated show is named, to comment on all sorts of poignant and relevant social and personal matters. The voice actors, creators, and producers behind the show make its surreal, bird-heavy universe all the more fascinating. Here are just four of the many reasons why Tuca & Bertie is the best new show around.
Does that animation style look familiar?
Tuca & Bertie is the first series that Lisa Hanawalt has created, but it’s far from her first work on a TV show. After watching just the first few seconds of the show’s official trailer, many people who knew nothing at all about the show realized that its animation style is exactly the same as that on Bojack Horseman. The latter show, which may well be Netflix’s flagship original series, has featured Hanawalt’s animation since Day One. Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg also serves as one of Tuca & Bertie’s executive producers.
The show looks surreal and colorful
Hanawalt and Bob-Waskberg’s involvement is all but certain to corner Tuca & Bertie into Bojack Horseman comparisons. Visually, despite sharing an animator, the two shows take a fairly different approach to humor and setting.
Whereas Bojack Horseman is lauded for its endless visual gags, its settings nevertheless feel of this world. Tuca & Bertie’s setting is instead so full of color, anthropomorphic beings, buildings with boobs on them, and turtle-boats that the show feels nothing short of surreal. Animated words often roll out of the characters’ mouths as they speak, adding more over-the-top surreality to the whole spectacle. Other characters often knock these words out of the frame, whether intentionally or not, further showering the show in dramatic flair.
The voice cast is incredible
Seriously — the voices behind Tuca & Bertie are remarkable. Tiffany Haddish voices Tuca, Ali Wong voices Bertie, and Steven Yeun voices Bertie’s boyfriend, Speckle. Although none of these names may be as recognizable as, say, Will Arnett as the voice of Bojack Horseman, they’re perfect for their roles — and anyone with a working knowledge of comedy will be familiar with them. Nicole Byer also guests in all sorts of supporting roles, as do Jane Lynch, John Early, Laverne Cox, Tig Notaro, Reggie Watts, and even Richard E. Grant.
It takes on relevant topics deftly and hilariously
Sexual assault. The ways in which a person’s 30s can alter their friendships. Newfound sobriety and its impact on a person’s social life. These are just a few of the many bold topics that Tuca & Bertie handles with grace and laugh-out-loud jokes.
Sometimes, Hanawalt and her writing team address serious topics in surreal and hilarious ways, such as Bertie’s left boob gaining its own consciousness and temporarily leaving her following a sexual assault. Other times, they tackle these topics more sternly and poignantly, such as when Tuca’s newly sober lifestyle puts her out of her comfort zone on first dates and in clubs. Or sometimes, they handle fairly light topics with the appropriate amount of aplomb, such as when Tuca contracts the “sex bugs” — which then become human-sized, irrepressibly promiscuous and destructive beings. Tuca & Bertie consistently wrings surreal humor and silver linings from all kinds of situations, meaning anyone can enjoy it, previous Hanawalt fan or not.
Tuca & Bertie is streaming now on Netflix.