Tuca & Bertie took on *a ton* of incredible issues from sexual harassment to anxiety.
But one of the hardest for the show’s creator Lisa Hanawalt to tackle was actually Tuca’s sobriety in episode three.
Speaking with Vulture, Lisa said,
“A lot of times, [sobriety] is just a quiet decision. What’s difficult is the social aspect, the anxiety that comes with being in a situation where you’re used to being hammered, and now you’re not and you can’t even have one drink to help lubricate the situation.”
It’s in this state that Tuca goes on her very first sober date with the hot deli guy.
“When Tuca goes on a date in episode three, she’s suddenly like, I don’t really know how to do this. It’s like I’m brand-new at this. I think a lot of people go through that.”
Tuca’s story was actually inspired by many of Lisa’s friends, who decided to get sober in their early thirties. Speaking with TIME, she explained,
“I’ve had friends who have had those same struggles. To me, it just felt realistic, and it kind of helped ground and strengthen [Tuca’s] character.”
She added that she wanted Tuca’s story to be a lot more subtle than the typical story we see on television, which often show the characters hitting rock bottom, and hitting it hard (e.g. Shameless). And while that certainly is true for many struggling with alcohol addiction, that’s definitely not everyone’s story.
“I wanted to write a character where it’s not that dramatic. We don’t see her hit rock bottom. We don’t see her relapse. That’s not really the conflict there. It’s more just her adjusting to her life after making this change — it’s hard for her to go on dates, it’s hard for her to form intimacy with other people, except for Bertie.”
What we end up seeing on screen is a beautiful story about a girl just trying to find herself again as she discovers how to navigate the world sober.
Tuca & Bertie hasn’t officially been renewed for a second season but given the praise it’s already received, it’s clear that we’ll have many seasons to come.