The Pitch: After the success of the Judd Apatow-directed The King of Staten Island, Pete Davidson is once again dipping into the well of his own life for a new Peacock comedy series, Bupkis. Where The King of Staten Island found Davidson in a late adolescence transition point — and still processing the loss of his father — Bupkis shows Davidson as a slightly older, potentially wiser gentleman.
But wisdom doesn’t come easy to Pete Davidson. Bupkis assumedly takes place in present day following Davidson’s SNL stint and focuses on his family, career, and reputation: He dwells in the Staten Island basement of his mother, Amy (Edie Falco), surrounds himself with a posse of enabling friends, and frequently ends up in tabloids. When Pete’s grandfather Joe (Joe Pesci) divulges his cancer diagnosis, however, Davidson vows to spend more time with him, clean up his act, and focus his energy on his family: Amy, his sister Casey (Oona Roche), his uncle Tommy (Bobby Cannavale), and family friend Roy (Brad Garrett).
Pete’s family are a close-knit, caring bunch, and they spend a great deal of time worrying about his escapades — Amy specifically. Bupkis, then, follows Davidson in a variety of day-to-day circumstances that serve as larger themes in his life: his chaotic public image, his fractured relationships, and his inability to change. Throughout the show, Pete slowly finds an awareness of his own demons and habits, and almost confronts them. But alas, recovery is a long, grueling process.
A Star-Studded Life: While Bupkis tends to oscillate between comedy and drama, the highest points arrive with a slew of very funny, very famous guest stars. The fact that Pete Davidson has committed to styling this show after his own life means that he must include not just the world he comes from, but the world he currently finds himself in.
While many of these guest stars play themselves — John Mulaney, Ray Romano, Machine Gun Kelly, Sebastian Stan, J.J. Abrams, Al Gore, and John Stewart, to name a few — several guest stars make wild, character-driven appearances. Fellow SNL alum Keenan Thompson plays a wise-cracking referee (and barista?), The King of Staten Island‘s Steve Buscemi plays a priest in a flashback to Uncle Tommy’s wedding, and Charlie Day plays Davidson’s unorthodox therapist.
Each of Bupkis‘ eight episodes feature these stars in droves, and they help build out the tension between Davidson’s home life and the wild world of showbiz. Many serve as bizarre comedic foils to Davidson — Simon Rex plays an absolutely ridiculous Florida jeweler named Ice Pop, who describes literally everything as “crispy.” They can be earnest, too; Later on in the show, Pete meets with his close friend John Mulaney to discuss returning to rehab, and the two share a lighthearted moment of acknowledgment towards Mulaney’s very public rehab stint in 2021.