Using Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ability to make a likable ass****, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber will likely keep you holding onto your Showtime subscription for a bit longer.

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Using Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ability to make a likable ass****, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber will likely keep you holding onto your Showtime subscription for a bit longer.

Aired 2/27/2022
Network Showtime
Created or Developed By Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Directed By Allen Coulter
Written By Brian Koppelman, David Levien
Genre Comedy, Drama, Young Adult, Historical
Introduced This Episode
Travis Kalanick Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Bill Gurley Kyle Chandler
Austin Kerry Bishé
Randall Pearson Richard Schiff
Angie Annie Chang
Bonnie Elisabeth Shue
Emil Michael Babak Tafti

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Overview

After his last company is taken right from under him due to working with the wrong person, Travis is slightly hesitant to work with Bill Gurley. However, the last guy wasn’t invested. He just saw potential money. When it comes to Bill, he and Benchmark Capital seem all in, and for Travis, that’s the kind of partner he likes and needs. So with that influx of funds, Travis directs his recruiter Austin to poach drivers and expand the then UberCab’s network. That is until Randall Pearson, head of the San Fransisco Municipal Transportation Agency, representing the taxi and limo owners, thinks he can put a stop to him.

However, with money, audacity, and not being afraid to come off like an ass****, Travis and his team duck and dodge regulations, fines, and prep not only for war but domination.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Angie (Annie Chang) giving Travis advice
Angie (Annie Chang)

Power Is Fluid.
— Angie

What Could Happen Next

  1. Considering this story begins around 2011, we got at least 6 years to cover before Travis is booted from Uber to cover.



Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Travis Kalanick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sitting at his desk
Travis Kalanick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

If you want someone who can play a lovable villain or someone who has a certain level of ambiguity where you don’t know if you should be on their side? You get Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As shown in his role as Travis, easily, you can picture Travis being this over-the-top ass who represents what many hate about Big Tech companies. Be it the self-serving CEO whose desperation for success pushes them to exemplify the worst of America’s capitalist system or the idea that all they are doing is changing the world for the better. You know, by undoing or ignoring systems they think are outdated. All while having no real investment in the ramifications of what they are doing.

Gordon-Levitt is able to both be the CEO we’re sold by PR campaigns, in terms of one man trying to change an unfair system, while being the person whose comeuppance you wait patiently for. And damn, if Gordon-Levitt doesn’t hold onto you like he is given a Shakespearian speech and you are an English Lit major.

On The Fence

Supporting Actors Not Standing Out Much

I don’t know whether it is because this show is essentially about Travis Kalanick or not, but I must admit there isn’t much done to make sure Gordon-Levitt’s co-stars get their moment in the sun. Whether we’re talking about Travis’ girlfriend Angie or his mother Bonnie, maybe Austin as well, it feels like the women in his life are just there to act as support. Not necessarily have much of their own lives, but be there to help Travis reach his goals.

As for the men? Whether it is Uber co-founder Garret Camp, the aforementioned Bill Gurley, or the late edition to the episode Emil Michael, nothing about them is made for you to take note of. Yes, it is made clear Bill is the money guy, and Travis takes a lot of the public credit for what is presented as Garret’s idea. Also, Emil probably helped turn things around after Travis’ fight with Randall.

Yet, no matter their role, they feel like they are included because they are essential to telling this story. Not because the writers want to include them and show them as individuals with lives outside of Travis and Uber. Which isn’t to say I want to meet their family, friends, and know their resumes. Mainly what I’m asking for is to know what they brought to the table beyond serving their job title because, as of now, the show is so lopsided that they minas well blur out everyone’s face and have Gordon-Levitt narrate what everyone says. Since it seems they are only really invested in his role as Travis.

Initial Impression

There is no doubt that for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this is an excellent role that will really allow him to flex his acting muscle and put on a notable performance. However, while he is excellent, this show needs to beef up its supporting roles and allow all the actors to be more than different beams to support Travis Kalanick’s empire. For with meek personalities, often eclipsed by Gordon-Levitt’s Travis, it feels like there is a lack of investment that may not bode well for the show in the long term.

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Title Card - Super Pumped The Battle for Uber Season 1 Episode 1 Grow or Die (2)
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Grow or Die” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Those interested in the story of Uber's downfall, with likely a few embellishments for the sake of entertainment.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Supporting Actors Not Standing Out Much

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