Sunday, November 8, 2015

Master of None

Master of None
5/5 Stars

Master of None is Aziz Ansari's new Netflix show and it is fantastic.  It is funny, smart, and really relatable to people in their late 20s and 30s.  Ansari plays Dev, a late 20s something actor.  The show features loosely connected stories that Dev and his friends who include: sensible Denise (Lena Waithe), quirky Arnold (Eric Wareheim), Brian (Kelvin Yu), fellow actor, Ravi (Ravi Patel), and Rachel (Noel Wells).  Master of None reminds me a lot of Louie in terms of storytelling style, though in terms of tone, it is far more optimistic and vivacious, as would be expected from Ansari.  The show is also a really fun and easy watch- I found myself watching seven episodes in one fell swoop and the episodes feel short in a very good way.  I can't wait to watch the next season or see Ansari's next project.

One of my favorites parts of the show is how conscious it is about race and gender and also what it means to be an advocate.  One of the stand-outs is the second episode in which Dev and Brian who are first-generation Americans decide to learn more about their parents, who are immigrants.

Growing up, when my mom watched movies and TV shows with me, she was always excited whenever she saw someone who looked Asian in a show and for the longest time I never quite understood her excitement until recently.  As a first-generation Asian American who watches a lot of American entertainment, I haven't really seen too many shows or movies that talk about the Asian-American experience.  I did not realize how great it is to see some semblance of your story or experience told until watching the episode.  For example, Brian's dad, Peter, texts very formally and communicates with Brian by sending him Economist articles.

One key difference between Master of None and something like Fresh Off the Boat is that Master of None is willing to go there.  While it's fantastic to see an Asian family on TV, I was disappointed that for the most part, Fresh Off the Boat felt very sanitized.  There's another fantastic Master of None episode, "Indians on TV," in which Dev and Ravi are both being considered for a role in a sitcom and only one of them can be cast because including more than one "Asian" character on the show would automatically make the show just for Asians.

Master of None also deals with gender issues and advocacy.  There is an episode later in the season, Ladies and Gentleman, that honestly deals with how men and women experience the world differently.

Master of None features a slew of really interesting minor characters as well.  One of my favorites is Colin Salmon, playing a very dramatic, Shakespearean actor version of himself.

Rating: 5/5

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