Netflix has closed the animated series "Tuka and Bertie" - said its producer and screenwriter Lisa Hanawalt. The show follows the lives of two anthropomorphic bird friends: the toucan Tuki and the songbird Bertie. The cartoon is not afraid of complex topics (alcohol addiction, violence, fear of intimacy), but talks about them, keeping hope and optimism. The series was released in May and lasted only one season, but we, like many viewers and critics, managed to sincerely love it. We decided to recall nine noteworthy reasons to renew Tuku & Bertie. If you haven't watched it yet, be careful - the text contains spoilers.
There is a feminine look here
Tookie and Bertie creator Lisa Hanawalt is also working on BoJack Horse, and parallels can be drawn between the shows. The general style is visible to the naked eye, but there is also a serious difference: in the center of "Tookie and Bertie" - a woman's gaze and women's stories. The series deals with, for example, impostor syndrome, identity, harassment, and a host of other issues that women regularly face.
Another bonus is the variety of the cast. The main characters are voiced by African-American Tiffany Haddish (Tuka) and Sino-Vietnamese American Ali Wong (Bertie). Among the cast, voicing minor characters, everything is also excellent - for example, the Korean-American actor Steven Yun as Speckle, partner Bertie, Shamir Bailey as the flower woman, and comedian Nicole Bayer, who appears in several episodes and in different guises.
Friendship is as important as love
It is a rare case when in a conversation about relationships they mean not only romantic ones. Of course, there is also love, sex and partnerships in the series - but it's not only (and not so much) about that. The focus is primarily on friendship and how relationships transform as the heroines mature and change.
In the history of Tookie and Bertie, many will surely recognize their own. Friendship that lasts for years cannot continue by inertia - sooner or later you will have to take a closer look at what connects you, how you influence each other and why you are still together. Exactly this happens with serial birds - both at some stage begin to be annoyed by what they are not alike in, but later it is in the differences that they see a new foundation of friendship: one will always help the other to cope.
Anxiety is shown honestly and without derision
One of the main characteristics of Bertie is anxiety: she literally worries about everything. She is afraid to move in with Speckle and the fact that long monogamous relationships bring with them: routine, monotony and the need to admit that the partner is not an imaginary ideal from a romance novel, but the same person, with his own desires, needs and fears. Bertie achieves success in her career, but she is also afraid of him, faced with the impostor syndrome - for example, lying that she got sick so as not to give a presentation in the office. The culmination is a song with the self-explanatory title “I’m losing my shit”, when Bertie is faced with a panic attack in a supermarket and does not know how to cope with the surging state.
Anxiety disorders are the most common group of mental disorders in the world, so it's no surprise that many recognize themselves in Bertie. Remarkably, anxiety is only part of Bertie's personality, albeit significant. This is important: dealing with any condition is much easier if you remember that it does not completely define you.
A new look at the relationship with alcohol
An important part of Tuki's biography and the plot as a whole is that she quit drinking and is now learning to live in a new way. At the same time, Tuki's difficulties are connected not with the fact that, in fact, abstain from alcohol, but in order to understand who she is without him.In addition, those around her often perceive her sobriety as a deviation from the norm. For example, she is forced to hide that she does not drink from her own aunt - the closest family member to her.
The question of how life changes with the rejection of alcohol, today is taking up more and more people - many want to more consciously approach how, what and in what conditions they drink. Tuki's story is another reason to think about how deeply rooted in our culture the habit of drinking a glass or two "for company" - and that refusing this we do not become fundamentally different people.
The show is not shy about talking about sexuality
The creator of Tookie and Bertie approaches the topic of sex calmly and unabashedly, as it should be. The heroines have different relationships with sexuality - and both at a certain stage begin to ask questions. Bertie is in a long monogamous relationship, where sex becomes predictable - so she and Speckle will have to explore their own desires and think about how to diversify the routine. For Tuki, the opposite is true - sex with different partners (no slut-shaming - this is her free and conscious choice), which, however, leads to infection (in the cartoon she is shown literally in the form of bugs that love music and parties). The main advantage of "Tookie and Bertie" here is that sex is shown not as a reason for embarrassment, but as an important, but common part of life - regardless of the preferences of a particular heroine.
Career and success are more complex than they seem - especially for women
Tuka and Bertie are thirty-year-old anthropomorphic birds who ask the same questions that worry thirty-year-olds. A huge share of the focus here is on career and achievement - and the fact that, alas, there is no clear linear path to success. Bertie, for example, is close to career success in the traditional sense, she does well at work. But everything is not so simple: she is afraid to ask for a well-deserved promotion, she is afraid of her own success, and it would also be interesting for her to do a completely different thing (to become a pastry chef) - but it is scary to change the usual way of things. Tuka, on the other hand, is afraid of obligations, goes with the flow, does not have a permanent job and takes money from his own aunt - although she could clearly have achieved more, especially since she does not take self-confidence.
The show emphasizes that it's normal to be afraid, confused, and not having the slightest idea who you see yourself as five years from now. The main thing is to look at yourself in time and think about what you really want.
A bold but delicate conversation about violence
It quickly becomes clear that one of the main themes of the series is violence. Like many women, heroines have faced him over the years and under various circumstances, from childhood episodes to harassment and abuse of power in the workplace. The main thing is that the creators of the series approach the issue very delicately: the traumatic experience significantly changes the heroine's life, but does not determine either her herself or how everything will turn out further.
The family here is not a perfect picture
Another of the global themes of Tookie and Bertie is intimacy and how complex it is. The heroines both strive for her and are afraid of her - regardless of whether we are talking about long-term partnerships or just starting to gradually let people into their lives. Family ties are not a monolithic structure, which supposedly must withstand any tests. On the contrary: any relationship requires deliberate effort - and you still have to open up to another and find yourself in a very vulnerable position. There is also a place in the show for talking about domestic violence - including the fact that it is not necessarily physical, but can disguise itself as nagging, remarks and mockery.
Flower woman and home jaguar
Another bonus of the series is attention to detail: every little thing can be filled with meaning. Metaphors are often used literally: for example, Bertie's colleague who harasses her is a rooster, that is, literally "cock."And also the minor characters deserve special attention, our beloved ones are the flower woman and the home jaguar. The first helps to rethink the stereotype about a woman who has nothing in her life but a collection of plants - here, on the contrary, everyone unconditionally admires her. The jaguar that Tuka turns on in a moment of despair and which eventually goes to the flower woman is a less complex hero. But he does a great job of discharging the atmosphere in tense moments for the heroes - especially when he resembles an ordinary cat.