Lisa Hanawalt is the designer who for six years imagined the crazy and colorful world of anthropomorphic animals that was an essential component of Bojack Horseman. In 2019, Netflix produced a series entirely of her own, which she was the creator of and showrunner as well as draftsman: Tuca & Bertie, a buddy comedy with two female protagonists – actually a toucan and a sparrow – symbiotic friends, a complementary couple in which the explosive and apparently superficial Tuca opposes the anxious and reflective Bertie. It is a timeless comic device that has been the basis for Gianni and Pinotto as well as for Abbi and Ilana di Broad City, and it works fine here too.
Markedly feminine point of view
It is, if it were not clear, a very different series from Bojack, both because it adopts a markedly feminine point of view, and because here the inventiveness of Hanawalt’s design abandons all restraints: plant-creatures who all look down on with their imperturbable calm; a city made of snake trains and twisted streets superimposed on each other; mixed animation techniques that suddenly become photorealistic and so on inventing. The tone is, in general, much lighter and more light-hearted than the Bojack, however, the first season gradually deepened the characters, coming to touch on challenging topics such as sexual abuse at work and the persistence of trauma.
Despite a very positive critical reception and an Emmy, Netflix canceled the series just a few months after its debut, causing some mobilization on Twitter from the many disappointed fans. Fortunately, some time later the US channel Adult Swim took up the challenge and offered Hanawalt the realization of a second season which, judging by the first three episodes already released, picks up the threads of the discourse well and is preparing for new developments, with Bertie finally deciding to go to analysis and Tuca looking for a life partner. Unfortunately, we still don’t know if and when the new season will arrive in Italy: Netflix, in the meantime, still has the first one in its catalog, thus discouraging other possible interested parties.
Tuca & Bertie, di Lisa Hanawalt, Adult Swim (USA)