By Willa Moffatt,
Humorous and sweet, entertaining and emotional–comedian and actor Aziz Ansari manages to wrap a whole lot of the human experience into the first season of his original show, “Master of None,” which premiered Nov. 6 for Netflix subscribers.
“Master of None” centers on Dev (Ansari), a 30-year-old actor living in New York, who is transitioning into true adulthood and is not quite sure that he likes what growing up entails. Ansari uses the show to tackle several issues he has brought up in previous stand-up sets and in his new book “Modern Romance”–topics like parenting, relationships and feminism.
One can easily draw comparisons between “Master of None” and “Louie” (FX), comedian Louis C.K.’s original show–which also features the creator as the lead character–especially considering both shows utilize music and beautiful cinematography to further the storytelling and engage the viewer.
This is most noticeable in the beginning of each episode (when the music almost foreshadows the story to come) and in the episode “Mornings,” where Ansari experiments with an interesting presentation of passing time
“Louie” features clips of C.K.’s stand up routines interspersed within each episodes’ plot line. Despite also being experienced in stand-up, Ansari sticks strictly with the classic television show format, but “Master of None” does not suffer because of it.
The show finds its own identity through the characters, and demonstrates its uniqueness as Ansari’s honest voice shines through.
The establishing episodes lag a little as the actors find their characters, but as they quickly grow into their roles, “Master of None” becomes incredibly engaging. With all 10 episodes available to stream, it is easy to find oneself binge-watching them all.
Though Ansari takes a classic premise–young adults in the Big Apple finding themselves– his modern take turns it from tired trope to topical and relevant, with a diverse cast and relatable (though often comedically-exaggerated) events.
However, despite the overarching comedy, what makes “Master of None” a winner is its undertone of reality and its willingness to get serious and explore the depth of relationships and the work it takes to maintain them.
This is something Dev begins to realize about himself and Rachel (Noel Wells) in the final episodes, which feature a tantalizing twist ending that begs for a second season.