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‘Tuca & Bertie’ got canceled again. But its creator has a ‘beautiful’ sendoff in mind

Lisa Hanawalt's animated series "Tuca & Bertie" has ended its run on Adult Swim.
Lisa Hanawalt’s animated series “Tuca & Bertie” has ended its run on Adult Swim.
(Adult Swim)
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Adult Swim is no longer the home of “Tuca & Bertie.” On Wednesday, Lisa Hanawalt, the creator of the irreverent animated series, announced that her show has met its end. Yes, again.

“Tuca & Bertie has sadly been cancelled,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter. “To all our fans - we love you and can’t thank you enough for your support over the years.”

The series, which starred Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish and Steven Yeun, premiered on Netflix in May 2019. At the center of “Tuca & Bertie” were a pair of anthropomorphic 30-something bird friends, voiced by Haddish and Wong. Despite the series’ critical acclaim, Netflix canceled “Tuca & Bertie” less than three months after its release.

Hanawalt told The Times in 2021 that she “felt blindsided” by the cancellation given the positive reception.

“Everyone who worked on the show, both on the show itself and at Netflix, was really delighted with it as far as I could tell,” she said back then. “So yeah, it was a surprise.”

In 2020, Adult Swim swooped in to pick up “Tuca & Bertie” for its second season. At the time, Hanawalt said she was excited to “be a new voice for a fresh decade of absurd, irreverent, yet heartwarming adult animation,” Deadline reported. “Tuca & Bertie” was renewed for its third and final season on Adult Swim in August 2021.

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The series’ short life on the streamer sparked an outcry from fans. Behind the scenes, creator Lisa Hanawalt had outlets competing for her favor.

May 27, 2021

In her Wednesday statement, Hanawalt remembered her time with Adult Swim as “creatively fulfilling” and praised “smart and thoughtful” Warner Media executives.

She also voiced support for her collaborators and gave a shout-out to the Animation Guild and Writers Guild of America — urging fellow showrunners and creators keep up the fight to unionize their teams.

“Tuca & Bertie” might not have a home now, but the “Bojack Horseman” alumna said she isn’t finished with the show just yet.

A few episodes into Lisa Hanawalt’s new, terrifically funny animated series “Tuca & Bertie,” there’s a moment when a puffin in a pink suit calls a crowded auditorium to attention.

May 3, 2019

“I still have a beautiful and weird ending to T&B in mind, hopefully someday we’ll get the chance to finish this story,” she said. “I’m not done creating. I’ve witnessed so many people connecting with this show on a profound level and I intend to keep telling stories like this, no matter what.”

In another bittersweet tweet, Hanawalt found a silver lining in the show’s complicated journey.

“In my head, I keep eulogizing T&B as ‘the show so nice, I sold it twice,’” she wrote.

Lisa Hanawalt — illustrator, TV producer, soup dumpling devotee — has dedicated much of her work to the subject of food and the working lives of chefs.

May 6, 2019

In 2019, Hanawalt spoke to The Times about hatching a series of her own while working on Netflix’s “Bojack Horseman.”

“It felt fun to me to have an opportunity to break the rules a bit and create a different universe where things are a little more loosey-goosey and surreal,” she said. “And closer to my personal work, where plants can walk around and wear clothing, and there are boobs on buildings. That really is more like my comics and my own little world.”

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