Tuca & Bertie Season 3 Review: A Playful But Anxious Season

Tuca & Bertie has returned to Adult Swim for its third season, and it's clear that the series is really finding its footing with its new life on Adult Swim. Originally developed as an animated series with Netflix before being unceremoniously cancelled, Tuca & Bertie was soon saved by Adult Swim for a second season. This second season introduced many new layers to the titular duo that helped to expand on the foundation built in the original series, and was soon confirmed to return for a third. Now that the third season has finally premiered, it's safe to confirm that it continues build on everything that came in the first two seasons. 

Tuca & Bertie Season 3 continues to dig into the layers of its central duo that began to further reveal themselves in the second season. Underneath its wacky presentation, bright colors, and quick comedic stylings is a heart and mind that continues to challenge itself with doubt, stress, and unease. The titular duo faced some real emotional highs and lows over the course of the second season, and now the third season is looking into whether or not those scars have truly healed while trying to make some new ones. 

The third season sees its titular duo at different stages of their lives. Tuca has found some stability for the first real time since breaking up with Kara. She has since not only has developed romantic feelings for a new partner, but has also found steady work that values her effort. All of this stability stirs up Tuca in ways that she struggles to understand (making it harder to maintain that scary stability), and thus begins to learn about herself and emotional limits in new ways. It's kind of the opposite situation for Bertie this season, however, as her anxiety eventually forces her down a path of stability. 

The end of the second season saw Bertie deciding to forge her own path by pursuing her own business, but the third season immediately challenges this by making her come up against some hurdles that get even tougher to overcome thanks to her high level of anxiety. She's essentially going on both a parallel yet opposite journey as Tuca is this season, and that's why their central dynamic is now more strong than ever. For example, the end of the third episode sees them connecting in a much fuller way than seen in the series before because of how well they understand one another's emotions. 

It's like the two of them have reached a new understanding that they themselves are not even aware of yet. That's also a reflection of the two of them entering their mid to late thirties. It's dropped here and there through the third season's first few episodes that Tuca and Bertie's relative challenges will be evolving to further reflect how complicated their lives are at this age, and it's already begun. That's truest for Speckle too. He's continuing to struggle in silence following the literal destruction of his dreams back in the second season, so it's another character dealing with their anxieties in a unique way from the other two. 

Even with all of these heavier emotions and themes that expand upon the threads dropped in the first and second seasons, Tuca & Bertie is still as full of life as it ever has been. It maintains a welcome sense of episodic storytelling from week to week, but also continues threads from previous episodes. It's got a good grasp on its central trio despite all of the wacky shenanigans from the rest of the world around them, and thus we as viewers are able to follow each of these threads at the heart of the more "animated" elements. It's a compelling balancing act that makes each new episode all that much fuller of an experience to tune into. 

For example, Bertie gets eaten by a snake in one episode and it becomes such a natural and accepted part of her life that it's treated as a relatable small work annoyance that further builds on those anxieties mentioned earlier. Tuca & Bertie finds the humor and inherent cartoonish nature of these real world problems while presenting it in such a colorful and eye opening package. By the the end of each episode came around, I instantly found myself wanting to start the next. Not only has Tuca & Bertie found its footing with Season 3, it's off and running towards an exciting future. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuca & Bertie Season 3 is now airing Sunday evenings on Adult Swim, and streams new episodes on HBO Max the next day.