Tuca & Bertie has the kooky tenderness of fellow best friend comedy Broad City, but with fewer laughs, unfortunately. What it lacks in guffaw-inspiring jokes, however, it makes up for in visual appeal. Like BoJack, Tuca & Bertie includes masterful sight gags (even just watching how Tuca's head moves is a joy), and, moreso than its predecessor, leans into animation experiments and cartoon conventions that make its diegesis even more surreal. Think ample classic sound effects, like the sound of a tea kettle whistling as Bertie gets angry in a meeting, and scenes where the animation style turns into video game graphics or an Ikea diagram or cuts to just a split second of a straight-up realistically detailed photograph, a la Spongebob Squarepants, with which Tuca & Bertie shares a similar zany, chaotic pacing and tone. At first, I thought it could almost pass for a kids' show if not for all the swears and boobs. Its this visual richness that makes some of the show's more absurdist subplots -- like when one of Bertie's breasts, tired of sexual harassment in the workplace, hops off her chest in protest -- feel like precious time taken away from character development.
The show's darkest moments that give intimate dimension to Tuca and Bertie's relationship are approached briefly and at arm's length. In one episode, Bertie remembers how scared she was in a past instance when Tuca almost died from alcohol poisoning. In another scene, Bertie discloses to Tuca that a lifeguard sexually assaulted her one summer at a lake, leading her to give up on her goal to swim all the way to an island in the middle of the ocean. Both make it clear that Bertie and Tuca's comedic, magical world still has a touch of brutal emotional realism, but not enough to pull the show far enough into the world of drama that would make their decisions or storylines feel more weighty or consequential.