Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TV Tuesday: Master of None

A year or two ago, I watched a couple of episodes of Master of None, a Netflix comedy, enjoyed it, and then got caught up in other shows and kind of forgot about it. I recently came back to it and ended up watching all of the first season episodes in quick succession and moving onto season two. It's a smart, funny comedy that is different from most.

Aziz Ansari, an actor and comedian who was on Parks & Recreation, plays a 30-year old Indian American actor (basically himself) living in New York. When he's not meeting with his agent, going on auditions, and taking bit parts in ads and movies, he hangs out with his friends: Arnold, a very tall guy played by Eric Wareheim; Brian, an Asian-American played by Kelvin Yu; and Denise, a black lesbian played by Lena Waithe. Think of of Master of None as a more diverse version of Seinfeld. Like that famed sitcom, there is plenty of amusing banter among friends and funny discussions about trivial things in their lives.

What really sets Master of None apart from other sitcoms, though, is its cleverness and how it delves into important issues in our world that are seldom talked about openly - all while making you laugh. In season one, episode four deals with the racism Dev encounters every day in his acting career, as someone like him of Indian descent (even though he is 100% American) is only offered parts as a convenience store owner, an IT guy, or "the Indian friend." He and his friends sit in a bar talking about how many black people are allowed on a show before it is considered "a black show." It's achingly honest but also hilarious. In episode seven, Dev and the other males have an eye-opening discussion with the women at their table about how they are treated in everyday life, and how their experiences are completely different than those of the males.

I love the honesty and wit of this wonderful show. After watching a few episodes, I was hooked and just wanted to watch all of them! I just finished watching the first episode of season 2 today, which is a unique show, filmed in black and white, chronicling Dev's adventures in Italy, with the feel of an old-time movie. Ansari is warm and endearing as Dev, and the supporting cast is all great, too. Aziz's real-life parents play his parents on the show! Although it is a comedy, it is also a moving drama, following Dev and his friends through relationship ups and downs, career mishaps, and family challenges, with plenty of laughs along the way.

Master of None is a Netflix original program, so it is available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available there. Season 1 is also available on DVD (and season 2 will follow). I hope there will be a season 3!

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