By Liam Katz
“Master of None” is a drama/ comedy TV show written by famous stand-up comedian and “Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari and former “South Park” Alan Yang. Season 1 was released in full on Netflix in early November. The show depicts the life of a man named Dev (Ansari), an aspiring actor in New York City. The show follows Dev through failed and successful job opportunities, hanging out with his friends, relationships and the depressing feeling of starting to settle down. Dev, a rather childish 32 year old, does not want to embark on this boring middle-aged life that is always haunting him. In only 10 episodes Ansari packs a ridiculous amount of emotion, character development and comedy.
“Master of None” is technically classified as a comedy, but it contains dramatic and emotional elements. Throughout the season, there are funny characters, situations and scenes, but the shows underlying themes and messages are quite serious, especially once Dev enters committed relationships, and begins to question his life choices. The show does a great job of depicting real life this way. This sort of genre is odd for someone like Aziz Ansari to act and write. He is most notably a standup comedian and the outgoing personality of Tom Haverford in “Parks and Recreation.”
The first episode starts off the season by introducing many of the major themes in the show. It depicts Dev’s dating life, and establishes his fear of having children and settling down. It also almost unnoticeably foreshadows the finale of the season. A beautiful part of “Master of None” is that it very subtly keeps some of Dev’s deepest thoughts in the back of the audience’s mind throughout the entire show. Dev is a very unique character, but, in many ways we can all find a part of ourselves in him. He is a judgmental, insecure, sarcastic, confused, manic, but, all in all, a lovable character. Dev is a very specific character, but in a way he could be anybody.
“Master of None” offers a great diverse cast of realistic characters. Dev’s best friend Arnold is a hilarious, gentle giant whose dull-minded personality makes him extremely loveable. Alongside Arnold is Dev’s lesbian friend Denise, who delivers a very deadpan sense of humor. Dev’s family is well cast; Dev’s parents are played by Ansari’s actual parents, showing a unique chemistry between the actors. The show’s fantastic writing and acting brings these characters to life and develops their personalities perfectly as the show moves along.
The amount of thought that went into the making of this show is extraordinary. The foreshadowing of subtle clues dropped throughout the season really makes it worth re-watching. The soundtrack is also very notable. Ansari picked a great variety of music and artists for show. Ranging from Aphex Twin and Brian Eno to Toto and Johnny Cash, the songs are interesting for every scene. One episode even features a brief concert from indie folk star Father John Misty.
Overall, “Master of None” is a fantastic success for Aziz Ansari. It has recieved extreme critical acclaim, with a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 91 percent on Metacritic. The New York Times’ raving review called it, “the year’s best comedy straight out of the gate.” Time Magazine stated that “‘Master of None’, one of the most assured shows in recent memory, knows exactly what it’s doing.” Throughout all 10 episodes Ansari strongly depicts issues such as racism, technology, friendship, mistakes and love. Its addicting combination of comedy and drama mixed with relatable characters makes it very unique, and a show worth watching.