Master of None is a Home Run
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“Man, it smells really nice in here. You got to hit me with the deets on that candle,” Dev Shah says after his friend explains why he is getting a divorce. It’s this moment that shows the layers of Netflix’s new series, Master of None. One minute there’s a serious discussion about life being had and the next something absurd is said, not only balancing everything out but also making everything that much more realistic.
Created by comedian and actor Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (a writer and producer for Parks & Recreation, on which Ansari played the hilarious Tom Haverford), Master of None stars Ansari as Dev, a commercial actor trying making his way in New York City while simultaneously navigating his life and personal relationships.
Each of the ten episodes (which are all ready to stream) deals with a specific theme, ranging from relationships to social prejudices. These premises and those of other episodes are not new subject matter–plenty of television shows have covered them before. But Master of None’s smart and witty handling of these topics breathes new in life into them.
The second episode of the series deals with the relationship between millennials and their parents. Dev and his friend Brian reject opportunities to help their parents, instead opting to get to the movies early so they can answer pre-show trivia questions and watch the previews.
Things take a turn from standard episode premise to a more complex one when it is revealed that the two friends are first-generation Americans. Their parents might have emigrated from different countries, but both couples endured challenges and worked hard to give their children better lives.
This episode is equal parts comical and poignant. I can’t ever remember seeing a comedy that discussed and examined the complex relationship between immigrant parents and their kids. The immigrant stories, although personal, are relatable to anyone who has migrated to the U.S. from another country.
The unique perspective of an Indian lead character is further expanded upon in the episode, “Indians on TV.” The episode opens with a cringe worthy montage of Indian stereotypes from both film and television.
Dev’s frustration with these stereotypes is seen when he auditions for the role of an unnamed cab driver. After reading through the part, he is asked by the casting director to read again, this time using an Indian accent. He refuses and is told point blank that he will not get the callback.
Racism and discrimination have been tackled countless times in television. It is the racism and discrimination found in Hollywood, specifically towards Indians, that is hardly ever talked about on TV.
Ansari and Yang’s commentary on this aspect of the entertainment business is not only brutally honest but still humorous. When Dev’s friend, Anush, discovers that a beloved Indian character was portrayed by a white actor in brown face makeup, he asks, “Is Mindy Kaling real?”
Thanks to its authenticity and hilarity, Master of None is the perfect show to binge watch. Ansari and Yang have carefully crafted a multilayer comedy that will not only keep you laughing but also thinking.