While the title of Peacock’s Bupkis suggests the show is about nothing at all, it is, in fact, about one thing in particular: Pete Davidson.
The comedian and former
Your mileage on Bupkis will vary depending on your enjoyment of Davidson’s comedic sensibilities — a blend of cynical self-deprecation and stoner comedy. However, despite the fact that audiences are incredibly familiar with Davidson as a celebrity, Bupkis may surprise you yet. In between its mostly effective bouts of hilarity, the show takes time to deliver some welcome — and much-needed — introspection.
Bupkis presents Pete Davidson, by Pete Davidson.
Credit: Heidi Gutman / Peacock
We’ve already seen a heavily fictionalized version of Davidson’s life in 2020’s
Throughout Bupkis, we also get a closer look at Pete’s connection to his family members, especially Amy and his grandfather (Joe Pesci), aka Poppy. Recurring characters include his grandfather’s friend Roy (Brad Garrett), his uncle Tommy (Bobby Cannavale), his sister Casey (Oona Roche), and his ex-girlfriend-turned-friend Nikki (Chase Sui Wonders).
The most rewarding among these are definitely the first two, especially since Amy and Poppy witness most of Pete’s self-destructive tendencies and are often at a loss for how to help him. In terms of characterization, Casey suffers the most, as we don’t see much of her beyond her love — and sometimes resentment — of Pete. Amy and Poppy often get storylines exploring their lives without Pete, but Casey can unfortunately feel like an afterthought.
Bupkis is uneven, but enjoyable.
Credit: Heidi Gutman / Peacock
Bupkis‘s occasionally uneven approach to Pete’s relationships extends to its comedic choices. Some of the show’s wildest moments, including an awkward encounter with a sex worker or Amy walking in on Pete
To its credit, Bupkis isn’t all shock factor. The second episode explores Pete’s childhood and relationship to Uncle Tommy, giving us a glimpse into how Pete began using humor as a coping mechanism after his father’s death. Later installments take a look at his relationship to mortality and his attempts at getting sober. Despite the dark subject matter, these prove far more funny and effective than any wild sex romp.
The arcs of most Bupkis episodes also prove surprising in the best possible way. A derailed work trip ends in a high-speed car chase. A false report that Pete has died somehow winds up with him threatening someone with a
Bupkis doesn’t totally defy every expectation one might have going into a Pete Davidson–led series about Pete Davidson. Yes, we still hear a reference here and there to his past relationships, and there are many, many jokes for which Staten Island is the punchline. But overall, the show is a wild ride through a wild life, as well as a clever way to riff on your own notoriety. As John Mulaney (playing himself) puts it in a conversation he has with Pete: “Your life is fascinating. I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to live it, but goddamn do we have fun watching it.” For the most part, the same is true of Bupkis.