Bupkis Season 1 Review – Pete Davidson’s intimate get-to-know-him is dark, heartfelt, and wickedly funny

Season 1

Episode Guide

Magic Moment -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Do as I Say, Not as I Do -| Review Score – 4/5
Picture -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Crispytown -| Review Score – 4/5
For Your Amusement -| Review Score – 3.5/5
ISO -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Borgnine -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Show Me The Way -| Review Score – 4/5


Pete Davidson is one of the most divisive public figures in popular culture. There are no two ways about it, he has most people hanging on the picket fence when it comes to making up their minds about him. His edgy and boundary-pushing comedy, which revolves around sensitive topics such as mental health, addiction, and personal tragedies, can be both bold and insensitive. He might not be the voice of the generation but he certainly is an important one.

Davidson has cultivated a public image of being unfiltered, irreverent, and self-deprecating. He has been open about his struggles with mental health and substance abuse, something he channels in dramatic fashion through Peacock’s Bupkis. It is a bold, purposeful, and therapeutic creative experiment that might pave way for similar projects to take shape.

Bupkis features Davidson playing himself. The Pete whom we see on the screen is a mix of fiction and personal. It is a delightfully twisted and ambiguous way to mock his critics for the opinion they hold of him, and also give a platform to explore his life regrets and existentialism without running the risk of judgment. If you do not know something isn’t necessarily true, you can’t weigh it against your moral compass. Isn’t that genius? It is like Curb Your Enthusiasm, which both is and isn’t based on Larry David’s life.

Bupkis, like Davidson’s stage work, challenges societal norms and pushes boundaries. This reflects a broader trend in popular culture, where younger generations are more willing to question and challenge established ideas and conventions. Living your life like you have a target on your back is the worst of nightmares that turn into hellish realities for people like Pete. You don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity to feel that way.

The show is produced in a unique style that resembles a documentary-like format. The tinge of drama comes in the form of Pete exploring his relationship dynamics with family members, most prominently his mother, Amy, played by Edie Falco. The eight-part series does not go overboard with absurdity as was initially expected, except for “Crispytown” (which is, without a doubt, the most fun episode in the series), the makers keep things grounded. Joe Pesci makes an impactful appearance as Pete’s no-nonsense and traditional, masculine grandpa Joe.

Chase Sui Wonders is the other star attraction, although her screen time is also somewhat truncated.  In an endearing way, Pete finds support in this supporting cast of characters including Amy, Joe, Casey (his sister), and Nikki. For all the chaos that threatens to derail his life, this ecosystem of emotional solidity keeps him on track and going forward.

Bupkis does not have a continuing storyline and each episode has its rough sketch of a plot. Pete’s personal anxieties about his drug abuse problem, perception in the media, and identity crisis vis-a-vis his family are at the centre of the storylines. It follows Pete navigating various social situations, often finding himself in awkward or uncomfortable scenarios.

The humour arises from the unique perspective, blunt humour, and unfiltered reactions to these situations. When one dives into the minute of details, Bupkis draws direct inspiration from Davidson’s own life, incorporating elements of his stand-up routines, personal experiences, and high-profile relationships.

This blend of reality and fiction provides a mix of relatable and exaggerated scenarios but is mostly grounded in the former vein. Many actors and comedians appear in guest roles throughout the show, owing to Davidson’s connections in the entertainment industry. John Mulaney, Simon Rex, Charlie Day, Ray Romano, and Machine Gun Kelly are a part of the long list of names.

Bupkis does not have a very demanding offer of a behind-the-scenes look relating to Pete’s professional life. He gets quite intense in projecting insecurities and misgivings of fame through moments like the Papp car chase in “Crispytown”, and his strong abolitionist commentary on the isolationist celebrity culture in episode 6.

When Pete says he will “fly his friends out” to Canada and they are still unwilling, smoking his marijuana in his own basement, there is an epiphany in the viewers which is still muted in Pete. This once again underlines the self-deprecating style of comedy that pokes fun at himself, his public image, and the challenges he faces, using it as a coping mechanism and as a way to connect with the audience.

Davidson’s openness about his struggles with mental health and substance abuse reflects a growing trend of younger generations being more open and accepting vulnerability. This is in contrast to previous generations that may have been more guarded or stigmatized in such discussions.

The biggest takeaway is the representation of Pete’s struggles with mental health and substance abuse in a comedic yet empathetic manner. It provides a platform to address these topics in a lighthearted tone, while still highlighting the importance of understanding and support. To finish off, Pete’s message from Bupkis to you is something that Uncle Tommy said to him: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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