BUPKIS: SEASON ONE
Starring: Pete Davidson, Edie Falco, and Joe Pesci
Creators: Pete Davidson, Judah Miller, and Dave Sirus
If you don’t like Pete Davidson, you probably won’t like Bupkis since he’s literally playing himself…again (he has previously played virtual versions of himself at least twice before). For me, a person who likes-but-doesn’t-love Pete, this show is great. Admittedly, he’s helped quite a bit by the terrific supporting cast and cavalcade of celebrity cameos, but the Louie meets Atlanta approach - which is to say a vibe of introspective surrealism - is one that had me laughing out loud through moments of legitimate depth and empathy. Honestly, I only came for Joe Pesci, but ended up getting one of the year’s best new series.
Bupkis is a tight-knit eight-episode series lathered with witty writing. It resembles Entourage with a hint of Atlanta, which many will enjoy, but this heightened version of Pete Davidson’s life isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. In fact, it plays very similar to Davidson’s film The King of Staten Island. And while there are a lot of fun cameos and an exceptional supporting cast (including the great Joe Pesci, who came out of flippin’ retirement for this series), it struggles to piece together a consistent tone.
While it might have been improved by being set at a weekly pace as opposed to a binge, there’s little on television right now like Pete Davidson’s semi-irreverent Bupkis. As much about Davidson’s elusively hard-to-pin-down persona as it is a fun hang-out show, the series’ writing demonstrates both his innate comic ability and his skill at navigating subtly dark subject matter. All the supporting players bring their A-game too, but even as Joe Pesci and Bobby Cannavale turn in some of their best character work in a good while, neither bests Edie Falco as Pete Davidson’s mother.