Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Birds of a Feather

 No, this is not about that British sitcom from the 90s.

At first glance, Netflix's latest animated comedy 'Tuca & Bertie' looks and feels like its from the same world as 'Bojack Horseman', but as creator and animator Lisa Hanawalt has said that the shows are not in the same universe, we might have to imagine these characters are from two different worlds (although, I like to think they are linked).

As well as sharing the same animation and anthropomorphic animals, the world also includes anthropomorphic plants, less humans, gigantic snake and snail underground trains and more pets. Added into the sureeal mix are added animated quirks, such as including animator's human hands invading the frame, similiar to Monty Python's animated segments. There are more visual jokes and a different flow altogether throughout the show. But just like Bojack's hard hitting realism and Hollywood satire, Tuca & Bertie also goes into serious territory and not everything is resolved or happy at the end of each episode. But that's why we love the immensely flawed Bojack right? The comedy is so dark you need a torch to find your way out the other side. But we love Tuca & Bertie because there's something else about the show and its the friendship. Shows about friendship will always feel sunnier and in some ways more relatable.

The beating heart of the show is Tuca and Bertie's long lasting friendship. We meet them at the start of a new-ish era for both of them. Bertie is moving in with her boyfriend, Speckle and wants to be promoted at work. Tuca, we learn has been sober for 6 months and although she's still the carefree crazy antics prone bird woman, she is slowly learning how to survive on her own. Exploring subjects including mental health, sexual harassment, office politics and sexual abuse, you would think the show would tilt towards a more serious angle BUT with episodes including giant sex bugs, cults, Yeast Week, a love of architecture and comparing porn prefrences, the show gets the balance just right. Watching Tuca and Bertie feels like any other friendship, which sometimes is needed in a comedy and sadly isn't seen enough in my opinion. It took two bird women to remind me what's missing.

The show has two amazing and perfectly cast leads in Tiffany Haddish as Tuca and Ali Wong as Bertie and these are two secret weapons to the show's success. I say success as its brilliantly scripted and amazingly animated, the show has got it all. Now it just needs a second season. So, if you're not watching 'Tuca & Bertie' get on Netflix and get absorbed into Bird Town.