After a horrendous earnings report for Netflix, the company announce that it is not renewing feminist comedy Tuca and Bertie. The cancelation was met with all kinds of anguish, enough to trend on social media, signifying that Tuca and Bertie may have been a cult comedy as well.
I have only seen the show’s trailer and it oozes feminism, which was a strong indicator that it is neither funny nor honest. It also comes off as a poor man’s version of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman in the exact same way that the Australian Pacific Heat was a cheap version of FX’s Archer and Netflix’s Arrested Development was to the original series. BoJack Horseman was renewed for a sixth season prior to the announcement that the episode 5.4 “Free Churro” received a well-deserved Emmy nomination.
Growth over time?
For comparison, Netflix is seeking to distribute Eddie Murphy’s stand-up comeback to the tune of $70 million. So one of the most iconic voice actors of my childhood needs $70 million to return to stand-up, yet Tuca and Bertie cannot receive a second season that may have saved the show. On a platform reliant on original content throwing crap at the wall and seeing what immediately sticks has been a blatant business model. But consider the fact that bingewatching TV shows is how most people seem to consume content these days.
Bingewatching Breaking Bad on Netflix turned Breaking Bad into the widely recognized piece of art prior to the release of its fourth season on AMC. Rating spiked four seasons in, making Breaking Bad the one of the first shows to increase the size of its audience substantially season after season. In no way do I think Tuca and Bertie is in the same ballpark or league as Breaking Bad. But it doesn’t need to be in order to be successful. I can’t speak for most people but, for me, it’s hard to start a Netflix show with less than ten hours of content. I’ll consume it so quickly that it’s almost beneath me. The show could have had better ratings after the release and promotion of a new season.
Netflix may throw money at just about any idea, but they thoroughly measure the results of their investment. They are experts in monitoring people’s consumption habits. And they also removed reviews because the negative reviews negatively impacted people watching their original content.
If the creator’s comments encouraging men to “hate-watch” her show are any indication, it’s marketed in the same way the Ghostbusters remake was. Again, I am not saying that the show was bad as I know it’s too feminist for me to enjoy. Amy Schumer has fans and, as a staunch capitalist, that’s a market that should be exploited. The reviews from people who watched the show were really good, for how bad I’m inclined to think the show is. But I am less interested in the quality of the show itself, I am more interested from the business side of things. The Hollywood Reporter notes the 80% renewal rate.
The cancellations arrive as Netflix continues to weigh whether its financial resources are best spent on new seasons of returning series or totally new originals. The streamer recently canceled She’s Gotta Have It (after two seasons) and Chambers (after one).
Tuca and Bertie marks another increasingly common one-and-done for Netflix, which currently has an 80 percent renewal rate for freshman series. The streamer typically weighs viewing vs. costs: If a series reaches a small audience but does not cost a lot to produce, it typically can return. The animated comedy cancellation is surprising given that Netflix launched an animation studio as it continues to invest in the space. (The series itself was produced by Tornante.)
Animation isn’t cheap, but Netflix is investing a ton of money into it. Tuca and Bertie didn’t make the cut which indicates just how bad the ratings were. The niche nature of the feminist comedy may have created an even narrower audience. Netflix has a history of baiting people into a show before undermining it with Social Justice propaganda. Frontier is a good example of this. Yet from the trailer, Tuca and Bertie wasn’t concealing the fact that the show designed to send a feminist message.
Since Netflix a believer in social justice and has (borrowed) money to throw at any idea, just how bad were the rating for Tuca and Bertie to get canceled?
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