Pete Davidson’s Bupkis

Pete Davidson’s new series Bupkis is in the twilight zone between reality tv and fiction.  It’s a kind of fiction made from reality…? I’m not sure, perhaps I’m giving it too much credit. It feels original.

And so we watch Pete Davidson play a version of himself. Not only does he show us mail addressed to Pete Davidson but he’s living in his mom’s basement on Staten Island, just as we’ve heard on Saturday Night Live and in the media.  

In the first episode his mom (played by Edie Falco) comes downstairs just as he’s jerking off, getting sprayed. 

If that bothers you this show is not for you.  

So we watched the first episode, which ran 33 minutes.  It was intense, impressive writing and great performances. The dialogue flows as spontaneously as the various bodily fluids.

Their cup runneth over.

This version of Davidson shows the same vulnerability to what we saw in Davidson’s film debut, King of Staten Island, someone mocked for the life he’s leading. What’s different in this show is that even as he’s mocked and sad about his life, we’re often reminded of his celebrity.  He’s constantly asked to pose with fans for selfies and photos.

Is he complaining or boasting? I can’t tell. But the title (from the yiddish word for nothing) is apt for such a self-deprecatory performer.

We meet Davidson’s grandfather, played abrasively by Joe Pesci. He’s apparently dying although IMDB tells us he’s going to last at least eight episodes, perhaps a bit like Brian Cox, whose presence redeemed many episodes of Succession.  In this first episode Davidson has heard that his grandpa is sick, and so arranges to take him out for a night with a hooker, with Uncle Roy (played by basso profundo Brad Garrett) invited along.   

IMDB tells me that in the series we’ll get to see Al Gore, Steve Buscemi, Jane Curtin, Kenan Thompson, Jon Stewart, even Garrett’s bro from another show, Ray Romano.

There’s a lot going on in a very short time. Not only did we laugh but we’ll watch the next episode.

With the WGA strike dragging on, stopping programs such as Davidson’s alma mater Saturday Night Live, Bupkis’s timing couldn’t be more perfect.

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