Sunday, May 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Tuca & Bertie' - Bertie Asserts Herself at Work to Get the Promotion She Wants in 'The Promotion'

Netflix's Tuca & Bertie - Episode 1.02 "The Promotion"

Bertie wants to climb the ladder at Conde Nest but encounters sexual harassment. Enter Tuca with a plan to help her BFF get what she wants.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Tuca & Bertie.

"The Promotion" was written by Lisa Hanawalt and directed by Aaron Long

Bertie was given a job offer in the premiere to work for a pastry chef. She impressed him so much even though she didn't work in that profession. This episode shows what her actual job is like. She works at an office running analytic data. Tuca and Speckle don't really understand what she does there. And yet, they are incredibly supportive of her when she declares that she wants a promotion. She sees a job that has just opened up as being perfect for her. She is the most qualified candidate who deserves it. But it's also so powerful to watch the difference between the fantasy of asking for the promotion and the reality of it. She is empowered by the idea of putting on her best suit, nailing some small talk at the water cooler and impressing her boss in a meeting with big ideas. In reality though, she doesn't have that outfit that makes a bold statement. She doesn't have the convictions to ask assertively for respect around the office. She does a great job for the company. She's the employee who actually has ideas for how to better perform in the next quarter. She puts in all the work and doesn't get any of the credit. This entire episode focuses on how women are often treated in the workplace. It's a biting commentary on that social aspect long before Bertie experiences sexual harassment. She wants to be noticed. She would love it if her work spoke for itself. But she fears the unknown that comes from asking for what she deserves. She has been told by society at large that she needs to be tentative. She doesn't have the confidence of a mediocre man. Dirk steals her ideas and gets all of the credit. He is constantly interrupting her and even harasses her. It's not okay. She gets no support at the workplace either. She does the right thing in going to HR to file a complaint. She gets nothing but accusations that she misunderstood what happened and Dirk's intentions. The person in charge of this department doesn't want to actually do this job. That is such a telling moment. It shows how people can have no faith in the system to protect them when something like this happens. It takes Bertie actually speaking up for herself in order to change anything about the culture at this office. That only comes after Tuca inserts herself as a temp. She serves as Bertie's wing-woman to help her land this promotion. She believes in her friend and is very effective in getting things done quickly. Sure, she is inappropriate in the workplace as well. Even she is seen as a viable candidate for the job at one point. That proves the willingness of the world to reward mediocrity simply because of the confidence they exude. Meanwhile, Bertie would actually do the best job. She organizes a sexual harassment seminar just to ensure the office feels empowered to come forward with their stories about how Dirk has abused his power. The head of HR just sees him as being a constantly funny guy. That's not okay. These concerns need to be taken seriously. They ultimately are by the boss. He asks Dirk to leave. He is very accepting of Bertie getting this promotion as well. He was just waiting for her to ask for it. That's all that he wanted from her. It's a huge celebration. She gets her own office now. But the job also comes with new responsibilities. She may no longer have the same life that she did before. It will require new commitments to this business. The episode ends on a dour note of it actually being agonizing to have more power within a company because that means putting even more hours into the work. That may not be what Bertie wants either. So, she'll still struggle with feeling confident about what she actually needs and being able to go out and get it.