‘Bust Down’ review: Peacock’s casino team deals with raunchy humor on heavy topics

The new Peacock series “Bust Down” is set in the fictional Diamondback Casino in Gary, Indiana, and follows the basic setting of the traditional workplace sitcom a la “Cheers” and “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation and “Superstore” – but no one at the Cloud 9 hypermarket or Dunder-Mifflin would even think of peppering the air with the graphic scatological and sexual references, and certainly not the liberal use of the n-word that pervades every episode. of that wild, raunchy, cowardly, sometimes cringe-worthy but undeniably funny effort.

“Bust Down” is the kind of show that will have some viewers bailing on the first 10 minutes of the premiere episode, while others might be equally amazed and delighted by the brand of raw, stripped-back comedy. where virtually nothing is sacred. — no homelessness, no sexual harassment, no domestic violence. That’s not to say the show sheds light on these serious and deadly issues; only this humor is extracted from certain rather dark situations.

Created by and starring real-life pals Chris Redd, Langston Kerman, Sam Jay and Jak Knight, “Bust Down” doesn’t spend much time in the casino itself – although the glimpses we get of the Diamondback accurately reflect the kind of slightly depressing, claustrophobic, smoky gambling dens found all over America.

Most of the scenes take place either in the casino break room or out in the world, as we follow the comedic misadventures of Chris (“SNL” cast member Chris Redd), who always talks about a big game and clowns around to hide insecurities; Jak (Jak Knight), who has a sunny disposition even though he seems relatively ignorant of life and reluctant to grow up; Langston (Langston Kerman), who speaks in a more sophisticated tone than his friends and considers himself a kind of moral conscience for the group, and Sam (Sam Jay), who has a complicated relationship with his girlfriend and his “side piece”, » and seems to be the strongest and most ambitious of the quartet.

Sam (Sam Jay) seems to be the most grounded of the “Bust Down” team.

The absurd tone of the series is established from the start, when a number of male employees show up after being harassed and assaulted by their supervisor – and the company’s solution is to have all male employees escorted to to their car every night. In later episodes, Sam is on the wrong side of a brutal beating in a restaurant after trying to break up with his girlfriend. Chris begins dating homeless women; Langston collapses during a backyard barbecue when everyone keeps scolding him for being fair-skinned, and the group get high in the car before entering the church, where hijinks swarm. ensue and F-bombs fly and… we’ll leave it at that.

There’s plenty of pot smoke and plenty of humor aimed squarely at the crotch and the n-word casually thrown into nearly every conversation exchange – but there’s also biting social commentary, ridiculously effective over-the-top physical shtick and a steady stream of laugh-out-loud moments. And while these characters initially appear more like caricatures than fully formed sitcom humans, over time we start to see flashes of heart and warmth in the crazy free spirits that exist behind all the jokes.