Tuca & Bertie: The Sugar Bowl
May 21, 2019 8:29 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

It’s the end of an era as Bertie's boyfriend Speckle moves in and her best friend Tuca moves out —into the apartment right above her.

Things that happened:
  • That sweet intro music!
  • Tuca, wearer of short-shorts, mobile notary (after Jessamyn)
  • “Nothing belongs to anyone!”
  • Bertie, fussbudget
  • The thrills of twentysomething apartment sharing, briefly remembered to more good jams. (Spiders! That snake! A flood?)
  • Speckle, wearer of sensible pants (Get ‘em up now! Walkin’ around with his butt out), owner a picture of his face that makes him happy.
  • Movin’-in-with-the-boyfriend jitters
  • The dog upstairs.
  • Moving between floors like a video game
  • Eatin’ a stack of muffins.
  • Bertie’s fancy sugar
  • “My aunt was mixed with paprika, if you know what I mean…”
  • Speckle’s not one to pass up a good freeze
  • The plant lady who lives in 5B
  • All those turts!
  • Bruce, the turkey vulture
  • Bye, Sandy Q. Piper!
  • A turtle, carrying a bird.
  • Hi, Pastry Pete, who won a Tasty Num-Num award for combining the cruller and the bunt to create the crunt!
  • “So&hellip this [move] is really permanent? Now you’re settling down with this normie life bullshit?”
  • The chef’s code says that any liquid can be sold in a bowl as soup.
  • Croissant baking challenge jams, and Tuca doing a little croissant dance.
  • Tuca tying up the bully and putting a bowl on his head
  • “Dare I say… croissantiest?”
  • “Make sure not to eat that card.”
  • “Be a good boy and eat your gamby!”
posted by Going To Maine (27 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The first episode is good, but the first season as a whole is much better. I'd like to think that it exists in the same universe as Bojack Horseman. (Lisa Hanawalt, the creator and producer of B&T was the production designer for BH). Tuca & Birdie probably spent weekends watching reruns of Horsin' Around.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 9:17 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Guys, this show is extremely good, and everyone should watch it

I really love the visual style it establishes for itself immediately, which I have described to friends as "a webcomic brought to life"
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:44 PM on May 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I never watched Bojack Horseman so I wonder how many references will go over my head. I've only watched the first episode of this and it was so good that I decided it deserved my actual attention and I'll be watching it one at a time when I can find the focus. I think my favorite part was the turtles, inexplicably.
posted by Mizu at 3:41 AM on May 22, 2019

There are basically zero Bojack references in the first seven episodes, at least, so you’re safe in that front. It’s not really a spinoff or anything so much as just a show led by the woman who did the character designs for another show.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:33 AM on May 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

I think I read that they are explicitly not in the same universe, and they are tonally very different, so you won't be missing anything Mizu. The only thing you should know is that both shows feature a lot of background sight gags to look out for.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:51 AM on May 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you're doing an animated cartoon, IMHO, you're wasting the medium if you don't go completely koo-koo bananas. When your first shot is a building with bouncing boobs you're on the right track.

I love Hanawalt's Bojack style, but animationwise it's The Simpsons to T&B's Ren and Stimpy. It's so gleeful the way she's cut loose here.
posted by whuppy at 6:20 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

I love this show's lack of internal logic. Animals are people, but plants are also people, animals are also animals, and sometimes public transportation? I would also like to declare my love for Speckle and Steven Yeun's voice acting.

Pastry Pete's Croissant-o-meter: Gas station > Motel breakfast > So-so > Competent > Heaven > French
posted by Rora at 6:22 AM on May 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

It reminds me in pacing of Big Mouth where there is often so much packed in to 30 seconds of action that I don’t have time to absorb and laugh. I love the animation style extremely! Something about their walking in intro with the huge, goofy steps really lights me up. I’m almost through the series and I never skip the intro.
posted by amanda at 6:38 AM on May 22, 2019

Yay! I just watched the first episode last night, and it was delightful! I've never even tried Bojack Horseman because it sounds so man painy and not my thing, so I was reluctant to start this, but it was great. I don't know if I want to watch the next episode tonight or rewatch this one right away - so fun and packed with stuff I'm sure I missed some of.

I really liked the way they handled Bertie and Tuca's friendship in this episode, as well as Bertie's anxiety about Speckle moving in.

And, a bunch of fancy food is just toast, that's an excellent point.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:59 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I feel like the Vulture who Touca had a drunken fling with is like a walking Chekoves Sleezebag...
posted by Faintdreams at 7:14 AM on May 22, 2019

I ... don't get it.

It seems to me like a bog-standard sitcom that tries to distract you from the fact that it's a bog-standard sitcom by being a surrealist bog-standard sitcom.

My spouse loves it, though, so I will probably give it more chances.
posted by kyrademon at 8:28 AM on May 22, 2019

I think "surrealist, well-written sitcom" is a fair bucket for the show. Bird people are highly relatable, so I'm right there.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:48 AM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Like Bojack Horseman, the first episode or two are a little rough and then it starts to shine after that.
posted by JDHarper at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

So is Dr. Manhattan on the way or what?
posted by heatvision at 1:30 PM on May 22, 2019

Amanda, yeah, I super loved the fact that the intro seems to contain an homage to Truckin’ with the forced perspective and big goofy steps
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:06 PM on May 22, 2019

Ep. 2
posted by Going To Maine at 11:11 PM on May 22, 2019

The animation is so great, wow. Dynamic and colourful and there's always something interesting going on. Makes most other contemporary TV animation look really stiff.

It's giving me old-school Nickelodeon vibes - despite really different subject matter, it feels Rocko/Ren&Stimpy-esque.
posted by Gordafarin at 6:10 AM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


While I'm not a huge fan of misunderstanding capers, I do love how messy T&B are in their emotions and lives, from a female perspective which is a sadly still under represented.

And Speckle's "little piece of yellow speech" is pretty cute.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 9:51 AM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Does the music calm down ever? I couldn't get more than a few minutes into the episode because the music was overwhelming and I couldn't focus on what was happening.
posted by wellred at 10:00 AM on May 23, 2019

All the Bojack resemblences aside, this show really works if you think of it as a spiritual successor to Broad City. We need more shows about modern thirtysomething life, even if they are headlined by a toucan and whatever sort of bird Bertie is.
posted by blerghamot at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

whatever sort of bird Bertie is.

Song Thrush. (Link has some discussion of later episodes.)
posted by zamboni at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


It is absurd, yes, but we are all putting our metaphorical gamby's ashes into a significant other's metaphorical sugar cabinet.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:30 AM on May 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

While I'm not a huge fan of misunderstanding capers, I do love how messy T&B are in their emotions and lives, from a female perspective which is a sadly still under represented.

Exactly! I was a little leery of starting this, since I'm usually left pretty cold by 'messy emotional comedy about being a woman', but somehow...it works. They strike a balance of being imperfect, and gendered about it, but not over the top. I usually have zero time for the whole 'but how do I adult???' thing, but...I love Tuca? A lot? I really want to spend time meditating on why this works so well for me, when it really shouldn't; maybe there's enough underpinning warmth and love to make the rest of it funny rather than exasperating.

(Also I did not know I could so strongly relate to having a fursona until we were introduced to Draka the plant lady, and I truly saw my inner self onscreen. I even work for a company that is kind of turtle-themed!)
posted by kalimac at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2019

If you need more Tuca & Bertie-ness in your life, definitely pick up Hanawalt's Hot Dog Taste Test. Tuca and Bertie make appearances in the book, and it's pretty much a delightful Hanawalt brain-dump. There are also lots of birds with boobs and genitals.
posted by Rora at 6:06 PM on May 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

It took me a few episodes to realize it, but this show has a more or less entirely PoC main cast, which is… very cool and good?????
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:34 PM on May 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I walk around singing "dirty turty...dirty, dirty turty," now when I'm looking for something.
posted by emjaybee at 11:14 PM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I, in fact, have had experience of a significant other putting an object of great sentimental value but nothing that would distinguish it from an everyday thing that you use in with the other everyday things of use, and then get very upset when I used it and broke it, not because I abused it but because it was old and not meant to be used in an everyday fashion, and in my haste to apologize for destroying this irreplaceable childhood artifact, I never did determine why she thought that that was a good thing to do with it in the first place, or why she didn't at least tell me, "Hey, this in fact has great sentimental value to me, don't actually use it." So, I found that part 100% believable.

Also, I want a crunt.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:58 PM on May 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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