I just devoured all ten episodes of Aziz Ansari’s fervently honest and funny Netflix series, Master of None. You should go watch it. It’ll take five hours. Go on, I know you’re not doing anything. Here’s a brief review to convince you to go watch it.
Ansari stars as Dev, a commercial actor trying to land a role on something more substantial He has a group of diverse friends: white, bearded hipster Arnold (Eric Wareheim), black, lesbian (Lena Waithe), and the Taiwanese best friend Brian (Kelvin Yu). Noël Wells rounds out the cast as Rachel, his romantic interest.
What I liked:
It’s the type of show that doesn’t rely on typical comedy tropes. It’s similar to the new wave comedies that aren’t really comedies. Instead, it’s a raw insight into the millennial dating scene that offers humorous takes, but doesn’t really on it.
Ansari is terrific and his chemistry with all of the other actors is really on point. Especially his romantic interest Noël Wells. Unsurprisingly, she’s my favorite part of the show. Even his parents (who are played by his parents) are so perfect in this ensemble.
It’s not afraid to highlight the cringe worthiness of this stage in our life. Not only is a series about finding yourself and finding love, but it also explores themes like racism and sexism in a way that most “cultural” shows don’t seem to do.
What I didn’t like:
Because of that lack of reliance on typical comedy stereotypes, that means we don’t have episodes focusing on a tight knit group of friends. Brian disappears for a few episodes without explanation. His relationships with minor characters are developed off screen.
There’s also intriguing time jumps in some episodes that explain why so much has developed in between episodes. That’s actually fine. A lot of shows do this now. I guess it’s really just me holding onto old sitcom formats.
A lot of the jokes/themes have been hit on a lot by Ansari in his standup, and if you’re familiar with his jokes, you’ll see a lot of what’s coming next pretty clearly.
“Old People” explores our relationships with our grandparents. Without ruining too much, Dev gets to hang out with some pretty cool grandparents and learn a lot about what it means to grow up and move on. Similarly, “Parents” explores his and Brian’s immigrant parents’ backgrounds.
On a romance level, “Nashville” and “Mornings” really hit home for what it means to be a single guy living in this era. They were cute and honest about what it’s like to meet someone and decide to be with them.
Least favorite episode:
I didn’t dislike any episode, but there is one that stands out as out of place. “The Other Guy” guest stars Clare Danes as a married woman. You can put the rest of the plot together.