In news that’s almost as unexpected as it is delightful, Tuca and Bertie will air a second season after all. Lisa Hanawalt’s outlandish comedy, about two urban-dwelling birds in their thirties played by Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish, will build its new nest at Adult Swim.
Adult Swim, the nighttime programming extension of Cartoon Network, announced the news Friday, and Hanawalt confirmed it.
“I’ve been a fan of Adult Swim shows since my teens, so I’m thrilled to bring my beloved fowl to the party and be a new voice for a fresh decade of absurd, irreverent, yet heartwarming adult animation,” Hanawalt, who previously served as producer and production designer for Netflix’s hit series BoJack Horseman, told Variety in a statement. The new season will debut in 2021.
Tuca & Bertie’s cancellation last year, alongside Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time, which ran for three seasons, spurred backlash against Netflix for failing to support shows that don’t necessarily cater to a white, male audience. One Day at a Time has landed at Pop TV, where it already debuted a fourth season, but Adult Swim’s acquisition of Tuca & Bertie feels particularly wise, given the late-night programmer’s struggles in the past with accusations of misogyny.
In 2016, Vulture comedy editor Megh Wright noted that Adult Swim’s upcoming programming line-up included 47 male “creators,” and not a single woman. Months later, a source told BuzzFeed that during a 2011 meeting, Adult Swim exec answered an employee’s question regarding whether any shows with female comedians might be in the works, he said, as BuzzFeed paraphrased, that “when you have women in the writers room, you don’t get comedy, you get conflict.” Lazzo responded to the allegation soon after on Reddit, where he wrote, “What I actually said was-women don't tend to like conflict, comedy often comes from conflict, so that's probably why we (or others) have so few female projects. Nonetheless this was a dumb answer to a good question as Lucille Ball and Gilda Rather to Amy Poelher and Amy Schumer prove my statement a load of generalized nonsense [sic].”
Lazzo retired from his Adult Swim post last December. In the years since the 2016 press coverage of its diversity issues, Adult Swim has made strides to improve its female representation in recent years—including with the Amy Poehler-produced Three Busy Debras, which debuted in March and has already received a second season order. Now, Tuca & Bertie’s second season could be another sign of its future. For most fans of the show, however, this is simply an excellent, if long overdue, surprise.