Sunday, May 5, 2019

REVIEW: 'Tuca & Bertie' - Tuca Feels Insecure While Out on a Date With Her Latest Crush in 'The Deli Guy'

Netflix's Tuca & Bertie - Episode 1.03 "The Deli Guy"

While Tuca's out on a hot date with her crush, Bertie tries to spice things up at home - with a little bird porn.

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 Deli Guy" was written by Lee Sung Jin and directed by Mollie Helms

It's startling to see Tuca nervous and unsure of herself. She has long exuded confidence in every aspect of her life. Sure, that deeply masks some profound insecurities about her life and her potential future. But she goes out into the world ready to make things better and more exciting. That's the energy she has long brought to the show and to her friendship with Bertie. Here though, she is scared and nervous. She has a crush on the local deli guy. He presents as a normal guy who has the same interests as she does. He too thinks it would be a great idea to store meats and cheeses in the drawer of a desk. They don't care about how frequently the person would have to change out the ice packs to keep the food cool and edible. The show just wants to point out that there is a spark of connection here. It's worth exploring why Tuca isn't acting like herself. On one level, it's commentary on how women believe they have to change their entire personalities and physical appearances in order to accommodate men and their interests. When Tuca's running late for the date, she has to apologize. When the Deli Guy was also late, he just takes it as a matter of fact and no big deal whatsoever. Those are the positions that society has long put the genders into. Tuca doesn't want to apologize for anything. And yet, she needs Bertie for guidance on how to do this. Bertie sees her best friend as incredible on dates. When the montage rolls about her past crushes, it's a startling image of Tuca breaking through whatever necessary in order to kiss someone. Now, that behavior too could be seen as wildly inappropriate. In fact, the show eventually explains that that was behavior Tuca partook in when she was drunk. She is actually sober now. That too is a key fact that should inform so many of her decisions. She is nervous because she doesn't know how people act on normal dates. She understands the impulse and chemistry of kissing in this moment. But she ultimately pushes the Deli Guy away or flashes him repeatedly. He interprets it as her constantly sending mixed signals with what she wants. It's confusing for him and he can't take it for too long. Of course, he does stay for a long time in the hopes something about this would work. Tuca stays as well because she has the impulse to figure out how to do this. Instead, she is lamenting her behavior on the fire escape with her best friend. It's only then that Bertie realizes just how drastic Tuca's life has changed and how she may not know how to cope with it all. It was healthy for her to become sober. It hasn't fundamentally changed her all that much. But it means she is still tentative about how to act in certain situations. Meanwhile, Bertie doesn't want to relax into a routine with Speckle. She doesn't want their intimacy to run according to a tight schedule. She doesn't want to predict how after two minutes of kissing he'll touch her left breast. She wants to be surprised with romance. But it's fundamentally a story about communication and being able to tell one's partner what one needs. Speckle's porn choice is exactly the same as what they already have. Bertie's isn't really porn at all. But it still creates a fantasy for her to be swept off her feet in a way that's rewarding. That's exciting and passionate too.