Images Courtesy of Peacock TV
The lives of celebrities often feel comparable to a show. Maybe it’s not a good show, but it’s one of those shows people can’t seem to look away from, like seeing a train set ablaze, steaming down the tracks with an incapacitated conductor, heading right towards a nursery, a disaster in the making. The masses seem to love this, the ingesting of drama within famous lives. There’s twists and turns, setbacks, more setbacks, poor decisions that ultimately shape how the entire internet perceives them. Surely a multitude of celebrities come to the front of your mind. It’s normal to garner some sort of wildly idealized interest in their lives. But at what point do we depart from a common interest and board the boat of obsession, or even mockery?
Whatever, you may say. They’re celebrities, they can take it.
Sure, that’s true. They have more money and access to things than the rest of us simple folk, but they’re human too, with human problems, some more serious than others. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this sort of thing and so contrary to writing anything that may be of use, I watched Bupkis.
You don’t have Peacock? I don’t blame you. There’s way too many streaming services and Peacock seems to be one of those that many opt to borrow a password to, as I did, all to watch Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical show.
If you’re anyone who’s around the internet surely you’ve heard of Pete Davidson. He’s at first a comedian and second someone the media loves to turn their sights on. He’s a man who has had some wild antics, some relationships with A-list celebrities that give hope to the common man, a perpetuated martyr of making questionable decisions. Davidson has been open and honest about his struggles with mental health and drug abuse, stemming from his past, the loss of his father, fame, the constant interest many have in his life. It’s odd, but I get why people gravitate towards him. They want to see somebody spiral down in flames. They want a beautiful and outrageous show to consume and do not care where that leaves Davidson at in his personal life when everything is said and done.
Bupkis is an incredibly creative outlet for Davidson. It’s not perfect, but it seems to be his way of venting and maybe even coping with a stage of his life that he has matured from. With an incredible cast of support, Bupkis turns the perspective of Pete Davidson’s life away from the one that’s been framed by paparazzi and media outlets, internet trolls and rumors. It’s himself exorcizing his demons, his past, what everyone’s opinion on him seems to be. More or less, it’s the truth, in a twisted way conjured up by his mind.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the show. From a creative standpoint, I found some of the editing to be a bit confusing, although the stylistic choices made in several episodes, especially the season finale, were surprising and dutiful to what was on screen.
I definitely knew it would be a departure from the semi-autobiographical work Davidson has done before with The King of Staten Island, something curtailed more directly to his life versus a character without the fame. Yet, I didn’t expect a level of honesty about Davidson’s past that the show reaches.
The entire first season takes the audience along for the roller coaster ride that Davidson’s life has often been seen as. It’s less anthology and more composite, departing from an undetermined point in his own life and speeding down the highway of the lessons he has learned and then fallen back on. I enjoy that Bupkis leans into the ridiculous. Often with shows utilizing this style of storytelling, the kind that doesn’t follow an exact narrative, instead the person or character finding the various narratives embedded within the show, the ridiculous is necessary. There’s of course some episodes that work and are surprisingly fun, and then there are some that seem to be too nuanced against one specific concept which struggle to find their own footing.
I enjoyed the smaller narratives throughout the first season of Bupkis. The ones surrounding his relationships, the internal battle Davidson fights with sobriety, his fixation on self-sabotaging. Edie Falco as his mother and Joe Pesci as his grandfather are exceptional as the pillars in his life, offering guidance, annoyance, helping him realize the little he has done for other people other than himself.
In a way, with Bupkis, Davidson leans further into the mockery and ridicule he’s received over the years. He turns the mirror on himself and revitalizes events from his personal life that have shaped him, whether that be in a positive or negative way.
The overly publicized life of Pete Davidson is viewed by many as someone with a traumatic past lashing out and refusing to deal with their own problems, or, seeing these problems and continuing to enable them, regardless of what relationships he tarnishes on the path he has chosen. Bupkis isn’t very much different, but this time it’s with Davidson’s open honesty about those struggles, his setbacks. Bupkis is creative catharsis.
I guess I will now patiently await the show’s second season. I’ve made a promise to myself to ignore whatever media publication about Davidson’s life that I see. Sure, these random monthly updates, a sort of What In The World Is Pete Davidson Up To? Newsletter might be missed just because of their consistency for the past four years, but I see Bupkis’s message.
We do like watching this life, but seeing things through the perspective of the man living this life is necessary to a heightened comprehension of how we perceive a celebrity’s personal life. My only hope is that what comes next for Bupkis leans further into the emotional depths that were glanced over, by way of course, with the ridiculous life that Pete Davidson has.
It’s nothing. It’s Bupkis.
Find someone with a Peacock account and take advantage of them.