More than a decade years after David Fincher brought Mark Zuckerberg’s journey from hot or not websites to dismantling democracies around the world to the silver screen, Showtime is bringing their own disruptive CEO to the small screen. Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who spent his tenure pretending that the people driving his fleet weren’t people in need of money, healthcare, and security for their services and allegedly ignoring reports of sexual harassment at his company. But more importantly, it stars Uma Thurman as Arianna Huffington, and, boy howdy, her approximation of Huffington’s Greek accent sure is something.
The trailer for the series is what most expect. Guys in suits going from mom’s basement to the executive suite while complaining about funding and shrugging off threats from regulators, watchdogs, and investors. These aren’t your daddy’s venture capitalists. These guys wear t-shirts sometimes.
JGL drops the nice guy act that left him wallowing in Apple TV+’s Mr. Corman and goes full tilt, screaming like The Jetsons’ Mr. Spacely while relying on those boyish charms to fake his way to the top. Honestly, it’s nice to see Gordon-Levitt stretch out a little in that way.
But the real money is Uma, whose Arianna Huffington only gets six words, but every one of them teases the wonderfully over-the-top performance that we crave. It’s been nearly seven years since her turn as Simone Forth in Burnt, and there is a lot of crossover here, as she’s playing another steely investor relying on an ambitious and abusive guy to make her richer.
In an age when Succession and Righteous Gemstones are documenting the lives of the fictitious über wealthy, Super Pumped looks primed to ground that interest in reality. Or maybe Showtime just wants another Billions.
Super Pumped is the first installment in an anthology series “in which each season will explore a story that rocked the business world to its core and changed culture.” We look forward to finding out what bloodsucking CEO they pick next!