Comic-Con 2021: The Challenges Of Producing Tuca & Bertie During COVID-19
The show's creative process changed, and wound up creating something more approachable to new fans.
Spirits were high and downright slap-happy during Comic-Con@Home's Tuca & Bertie panel, which offered a few peeks behind the curtain on what it was like reviving the cult-hit animated series during a year full of COVID and wildfires. After being canceled in 2019 by Netflix after only one season, the show is now winding towards wrapping Season 2 on Adult Swim on August 1.
Creator and executive producer Lisa Hanawalt's comments mainly turned towards the unexpected opportunities that running an animated show over Zoom provided. "We had one day in person before the pandemic got so bad that we could not be in an office anymore," explained Hanawalt--so the staff had to get creative, which counterintuitively meant getting much more strict about the show's day-to-day. Whereas previously the show had a more organic process, Hanawalt explained that writers literally submitted "almost a syllabus [of their ideas and jokes]."
The remote dynamic also helped open the show up in a couple of ways. Both Hanawalt and executive producer Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman) enthused over how the staff was able to add writers who weren't based out of Los Angeles, and Waksberg observed that this added flexibility also created a new ambition: To have each episode of Season 2 function as "an entree into the series." Waksberg specifically highlighted Episode 4, "Nighttime Friend," as being particularly successful at this.
But mainly, the panel explored the drawbacks from having to work remotely. Joked Waksberg, "We didn't have to smell each other… but on the other hand, we didn't get to smell each other."