There was something remarkable about Netflix’s initial announcement of Tuca & Bertie. It wasn’t simply that it was releasing a surrealist cartoon upon on the world. It was that they were releasing an animated series made both for and by adult women. This is something you don’t get in this world of Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. Even though women appreciate animation just as much as men, they don’t get cartoons made for them. At best they get shows directed toward a younger crowd that might have themes that speak to them — like Stephen Universe or She-Ra.
The news of the show’s cancelation hit fans hard. How could it not? By my count — and please forgive me if I’m missing out on other shows given my narrow personal paradigm — this means that 100% of the adult animated shows aimed at women (late 20’s, early-to-mid 30’s women at that) were canceled. And the seeming failure of a show like this unfortunately sends networks the message that women don’t actually watch cartoons, women don’t need cartoons, and women shouldn’t be making cartoons. (Also that black and Asian women shouldn’t be put in lead roles…) Never mind the critical acclaim and appreciate by people who actually watched the show. This is a major blow.
At the same time, it’s not like the show is vanishing. Now that fans are being more vocal about it in its afterlife, it’s possible to get new fans. An increased interest can lead to its being picked up at a later point. Of course, there’s a part of me that wants the team to come back but not necessarily to tell more stories about the title characters. The way their story ended was nearly perfect. More story could detract from the point at which they ended. But that world is so beautiful, so inviting, that I want more of it. Any animal can be a person. Any plant can be a person. Any thing can show personality, walk, talk, and exist in the world. Every aspect of the world is alive. Who doesn’t want that? Hopefully, there will be more of that.
So watch the show. Tell your friends. Tell strangers. We need more shows like this. Both because we need more fun shows with meaning but also because we need a more diverse selection of animated series from which to choose.