Unless you’ve been living in a social media-free vortex for the past month, then you’ve probably heard the buzz surrounding Netflix’s new show, “Master of None.” The romantic comedy is led by Aziz Ansari, who is best known for playing Tom Haverford on “Parks and Rec.” Ansari brings aspects of Tom, along with leading man characteristics to create the character of Dev Shah: an actor whose biggest success is starring in a Go-Gurt commercial. Throughout the ten-episode series, the audience follows Dev as he tries to navigate the world of modern day relationships, romantic and otherwise.
“Master of None” is not another New York City-based sitcom with a group of impossibly good-looking, rich, white people living in amazing apartments. Okay, I take that back. The apartments are pretty nice, but it’s TV; we can’t expect the characters to live like cavemen, can we? Apartments aside, the show has one of the most diverse casts out there right now. Not only is this refreshing, but it is also important that non-white Americans have the opportunity to see their ethnicity portrayed on TV as characters that are not just there to be the token minorities.
Dev’s career gives the show a vantage point to criticize the racism in Hollywood. But his character, as the title implies, is average – a true everyman. This gives “Master of None” the opportunity to have the uncomfortable, but important conversations that affect everyone. These issues range from infidelity and the elderly to sexism and perverts on the subway.
As with most shows, the first episode stumbles around a little bit. The opening scene about a one night stand, and a trip to the pharmacy to buy apple juice and Plan B, is nothing less than uncomfortable for both the date and the audience.
By the second episode, “Master of None” finds its footing with one of the best episodes of the season. Entitled “Parents,” the episode deals with the differences between the lives of Dev and his parents, who are played by Ansari’s real-life parents, Shoukath and Fatima Ansari. The elder Mr. Ansari easily steals the show, whether he’s referring to calendar alerts as “ding-dings” or comparing his son to Iron Man.
This episode does a great job of juxtaposing Dev’s 21st century life with that of his immigrant parents. His dad played with an abacus for fun; Dev grew up on video games. His dad came to America to become a doctor; Dev became an actor after a stranger asked him to be the minority in a Fruit by the Foot commercial. His parents had an arranged marriage and Dev has Tinder.
“Master of None” takes a lot of risks, but luckily they seem to have paid off, as the show has already been picked up for a second season. This is no surprise considering the it’s as unique and clever as it is funny and sincere. With its latest creative venture, Netflix continues to cement its role not only as the best companion to waste a whole day with, but also as a creator of unique and binge-worthy entertainment.