Yes I watched every single episode of Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s new show, Master of None, in one weekend. (I will write a post about “How to Watch TV All the Time While Still Being a Fairly Functional Adult” some other time … ) When this show popped up on Netflix on Friday, I went from being like, “What is this? Aziz still talking about modern romance and making lolz about ladies who don’t text him back?” to “Oh wait, it’s the best show ever!”
I’m only being slightly hyperbolic. Master of None is like if someone crammed the classic-ness Seinfeld and the millennialness of Girls together, removed the overbearing whiteness of this idea, and injected it with enlightened dialogues about racism and sexism. Created by Aziz and Alan Yang (his buddy from Parks and Recreation and a former writer on South Park), this show did not ugly duckling into a swan after a rocky pilot. Instead, it glided effortlessly onto Netflix with the polish and genius of something made by masters. Of Tv. Ok I’m sorry about that headline.
Here are a few reasons why Masters of None is worth binge-watching right now.
1. It’s Incredibly Well Directed
I’m not an expert on talking cinematography (as most bloggers are, I presume), but Masters of None feels different from other shows. The best comparison I can make is that it feels like those episodes of Girls where somebody goes off on a little side-adventure. Except in this show, it’s not a total tangent to the season’s story arc, but instead focuses on one topic, like parents, old people or the sexism a lady faces on a night out in New York City.
2. The Show Tackles Topics Most Other Shows are Afraid Of
On Fresh Air, Aziz and Alan talk about how they set out to create a dialog about race as an alternative to the knee-jerk accusations of racism that shut down any chance at deeper discussion. This show is helmed by three characters who are already underrepresented on T.V., especially in protagonist roles. Aziz and Alan (Dev and Brian on the show) both play first gen children of immigrants who face discrimination and are interested in learning more about their parents’ struggles. Then there’s Denise, a black lesbian played by Lena Waithe, who could have a role beyond talking about cunnilingus a lot, but hey, at least those lines are funny.
Racism: Pointed Out!
Episode 4, “Indians on T.V.” talks about how hard it is to find a role as an Indian actor that doesn’t force you to play some type of stereotype or another. It has to be really hard to bring something like that up when you work in show biz, but Aziz is powerful as hell and isn’t afraid to call a racist convenience store clerk role a racist convenience store clerk role. (Even The Simpsons is guilty of this, as the montage of Indian roles in Hollywood showed.)
Episode 7, “Ladies and Gentlemen” shows the guys struggling to understand how much sexism women face on a daily basis. When Denise and Rachel (Noel Wells) point out that a director shakes all the men’s hands at the bar but ignores them, the male characters mock them for interpreting this as sexism. Even at the end of the show, it’s still an open question as to whether or not the ladies are being irrational about this, which every lady watching will be waggling her finger at. But at least they talked about this and acknowledged it’s something that happens!
3. Eric Wareheim Can Be a Regular Guy Too
In case all of this wasn’t enough for you, Eric Wareheim is in almost every episode of this show, and he even directs a couple episodes (you’ll probably be able to guess which as you watch). It’s really fun to see Eric playing a straighter character, even though he brings a lot of his Tim and Eric-y goofiness to the role. He makes with a lot of prolonged hugs, nods his head repeatedly at things while zoning out and at one point becomes attached to a robotic seal named Paro who he treats like a pet. Great job.
4. Harris Whittels Had a Hand in Things
Episode 3, “Hot Ticket,” is written by Harris Wittels, Aziz’s Parks and Rec pal who recently passed away way too young from a heroin overdose. If you don’t know about him, go Google stalk him for a week and you’ll laugh, cry and laugh some more. There are a lot of jokes throughout the show that seem Harris-y, including a joke about a lizard named Lucien in the pilot. We miss you Harris.
5. Aziz’s Parents Play Themselves
They’re incredibly charming, and sometimes even steal the show. Watching his dad leave a scene because a patient at the hospital got a cucumber stuck in his butt is one laugh you can look forward to.
6. Taystee from Orange is the New Black Is on the Show Too
Danielle Brooks (Taystee) plays Aziz’ agent, who is always trying to get him “David Schwimmer” money. Reading the credits of each episode is worth it, because you never know who will show up! I won’t give any more spoilers.
Everyone should watch Master of None. It’s probably my favorite show to come out this year. (Although it’s been a good year. Who knows?) Netflix continues to kill it with original content. I give this show 10 ghost babies named Justin out of 10.