‘Tuca and Bertie’ Season 2 Review: Yes, It’s Back and Still Brilliant

Lisa Hanawalt continues her compassionate journey thru friendship in a 2d season that deepens its wealthy characters whilst pushing into new territory.


The second one episode of “Tuca and Bertie’s” 2d season begins with a easy promise. On their strategy to her would-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette occasion, Bertie (Ali Wong) tells Tuca (Tiffany Haddish) how nervous she is ready becoming in with such a lot of girls she doesn’t know. Tuca, all the time the lifetime of the occasion, isn’t nervous about that, however she is just a little involved that her sobriety can be a buzzkill. So the 2 very best bird-friends make an settlement: Bertie gained’t drink, in harmony with Tuca, and Tuca gained’t depart Bertie via herself, by myself with their judgmental party-goers.

To mention that promise will get examined isn’t a lot of a spoiler. In any case, “Tuca and Bertie” — Adult Swim’s animated comedy from writer Lisa Hanawalt — is a sitcom, and sitcoms are constructed on easy premises (or guarantees) that lead to excessive hijinks (and hilarity). What’s so spectacular in regards to the episode, and illustrative of what makes Hanawalt’s collection each distinctive and exemplary, is how a simple assurance between peers turns into a fancy exam of other people, social dynamics, and storytelling usually. If Season 1 proved hanging in the way it balanced outrageous humor with profound private truths, then Season 2 astounds in how deftly it blends and deepens each qualities, with out ever settling for simple solutions.

Coming into Season 2, “Tuca and Bertie” helps to keep issues moderately solid — particularly in comparison to the offscreen hoopla required in getting those new episodes made. After incomes rave opinions and awards reputation for its first 10 episodes, Netflix canceled “Tuca and Bertie” in July 2019, simply two months after its debut. Virtually a 12 months later, Grownup Swim stepped up and ordered a 2d season, with the whole inventive group nonetheless in position (together with Hanawalt, govt manufacturer Raphael Bob-Waksberg, and the sterling voice solid). Even though distribution offers will stay the collection off streaming for the close to long run (sooner or later, it’s going to hit HBO Max), the birds are again — this time, on precise tv.

A long way much less has modified within the tale itself. Bertie remains to be running her workplace activity, baking at the facet, with Speckle (Steven Yeun) via her facet. Her peak precedence is discovering a therapist who can lend a hand keep an eye on her nervousness assaults, regardless that Bertie quickly learns that the seek for lend a hand and the lend a hand itself would possibly take longer than she thinks. Equivalent long-term headaches stand up when Pastry Pete (Reggie Watts) returns to paintings, reputedly unaffected via Bertie’s sexual harassment accusations from final season, and a military of bros infect her thoughts with their poisonous masculinity.

Serving to Bertie thru all of it is Tuca, a faithful confidante who is also knowing she’s been hanging her pal’s wishes above her personal — regardless that perhaps no longer for lengthy. Within the first 4 episodes screened for critics, the affable toucan is given a handful of romantic pursuits, as she begins creating a concerted effort towards self-fulfillment. First, that suggests stacking a occasion bus filled with imaginable dates and hanging them thru a sequence of abnormal exams to weigh their compatibility. Then, her interior power shifts to the activity entrance, as Tuca tries her hand at crossing guard accountability, hoping to be as professionally fulfilled as her muffin-making very best pal.

The primary 3 episodes see a moderately even focal cut up between the 2 titular bird-leads. Bertie and Tuca both proportion the similar journey (and we enjoy it thru their distinctive person POVs) or their separate tales are given equivalent weight, till they sooner or later come in combination after all. (How Bertie’s bro-problem and Tuca’s visitors cop try-out attach is an inventively comfortable have compatibility.) Such devotion to the 2 stars permits for quite a few alternatives to complement their personalities with shifting revelations and sudden main points — none of which can be spoiled right here — but it surely’s the stability that sticks out.

No longer best does making use of two distinct views to every plot cause them to extra perceptive, however every episode’s storylines prioritize separate targets. When Tuca and Bertie take in the similar A-plot in Episode 2, Speckle steps in because the supporting megastar. Yeun’s cheerful bird-architect is all the time a welcome scene-stealer, and Hanawalt displays nice consciousness in the usage of him as overt, over-the-top comedian aid whilst her two leads maintain extra difficult eventualities. Those alternatives give the episode complimentary doses of natural, simply digested comedy and delicate, truthfully rewarding truth. Every persona is rounded out to fill more than one roles — dramatic lead, comedian lead, comedian aid, dramatic give a boost to, and so on. — and that prime degree of astute structuring applies throughout the second one season. Even the fourth episode, which supplies Tuca a richly deserved highlight, understands tips on how to use Tuca and Speckle as its precious punctuation marks.

Tuca and Bertie Season 2 adult swim

“Tuca and Bertie”

Courtesy of Grownup Swim

Like Hanawalt’s previous challenge, “BoJack Horseman,” her newest demanding situations audience to admire animation as a creative selection, no longer a style. Few live-action TV comedies put across related ranges of emotional intelligence and flat-out glee (the theme tune, even in its new, shortened shape, is an all-time banger), however “Tuca & Bertie” additionally isn’t seeking to imitate conventional sitcoms. Its animation, its taste, its visible creativity is an crucial a part of its storytelling, in some way that best makes you want extra displays may so constantly dazzle your eyes, tug to your heartstrings, and ship your thoughts reeling.

Episode four realizes a nocturnal adventure via portray every set in block, uniform colours and breaking apart the distance with intermittent pops of existence. Its monochromatic visualization captures the sleepy daze of Tuca’s midnight walkabouts, making a lush new environment via obscuring the various, many main points that assist in making daylight environments so pleasant — like in Episode 2, when the bachelorette occasion lands in Planteau, a town stuffed with plant other people, plant existence, and plant threats. Did I no longer point out that previous? Oh, I’m sorry — that’s an enormous a part of the episode! The easy promise shared via two very best fowl peers can have been sufficient to make the 30 minutes particular. However there’s additionally the entire crops, Speckle’s oversized supporting flip, and about 15 different beautiful touches that might all advantage their very own gushy appreciation piece.

For now, this should do. In a sequence already bursting with stunning sentiments, the lovely world-building immeasurably complements the enjoy, serving to to make “Tuca and Bertie” stand out within the animation realm, the TV global, and past. Welcome again, my fowl peers. No person may ever exchange you.

Grade: A

“Tuca and Bertie” Season 2 premieres Sunday, June 13 at 11:30 p.m. ET on Grownup Swim. Season 1 is streaming on Netflix, however Season 2 won’t ever be to be had there. Sooner or later, new episodes will circulation on HBO Max.

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