One of the newest Netflix original shows is Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None”. After debuting last year the show got largely positive reviews. I watched it for the reviews, for “Parks and Recreation” and of course for the Indian connection. The Indian Ansari is playing an Indian guy Dev. Purely for Indian connection I had started on Mindy Kalinga’s “The Mindy Project” but I had to stop immediately because the show is nothing special but a glorified romcom. However I kept going on “Master of None” because it is special. I am not young any more to waste time on non-special shows.
Master of None is obviously part of the old saying “Jack of all trades and master of none”. I don’t know why to use the expression for the character Dev who is definitely not Jack of all trades in the show. I strongly feel as if the word “none” is a nod to the “show about nothing”.
Like “Seinfeld” here too a group of friends, connected through a single character, lead a leisurely life and talk about different stuffs. In 90’s there was nothing extraordinary about this concept but at this age it is rarer than rare to see a group of people having real conversation while eyeballing each other. The reality of today’s life is bunch of people sitting together while being engrossed in individual phones. Even if one tries to start a conversation the others vaguely nod without really listening. So let’s just assume this group is special they live in a less surreal version of Murakami’s world where people really talk.
There many other similarities with “Seinfeld”. There’s continuity in the plotline with subtle progress in Dev’s life. There’s no display of strong emotions. Everyone is cool about everything. Dev and his girl friend had more of a cool buddy kind of relationship. Dev is in show business and trying to make it big as actor. Overall the show captures few tiny building blocks of existential crisis of its contemporary time.
However there are lots of huggings and learnings. Dev’s group is not all white either.
Dev’s group is as diverse as they come, for starter Dev is brown. Sometimes it feels as if American shows have become like Indian government jobs. There are quotas for ethnic minorities, sexual minorities and all other kinds of minorities. Sometimes it feels natural and some other times it is imposed upon. Thankfully in this case it feels natural.
This diverse group doesn’t talk about “who is spongeworthy” or “what is coma etiquette”. They talk about real stuffs, the issues of today’s world. Each episode picks up one issue and then it is dissected from different perspectives and different scenarios. This is really an interesting way of raising awareness and starting a dialogue. I mean we women all know it is a big deal for us to do certain mundane little things alone while the men in our lives take doing those things alone for granted; yet how often we talk about it to them? We muster courage for days before deciding to watch a movie alone while how many minutes men would think about it (that is if they don’t feel personally awkward about it).
The writing is natural, not overboard and intelligent. It will invite you into the conversations. So far as humour goes the writing is not madly hilarious. It may grow on you but mostly it will make you think.
Aziz Ansari’s real parents are playing his parents in the show. They are adorable and not bad in acting. So far as acting goes, Aziz Ansari is playing himself literally. I won’t say there is anything extraordinary in it, normal talking with few wide eyes thrown in between. The other actors are fine at best. Maybe that is because they all are playing regular people and nothing exceptional is expected of them.
The season has ten episodes. Netflix has announced there will be a next season in 2017. This season has a kind of closure. The next season may start with opening the closure. One thing can be said with certainty there is very little chance the characters of the show will end up in prison. Each character in the show is super nice. After “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” this is another new comedy show with extreme nicety.
However my favourite current comedy show is still Silicon Valley. The season two finale broke all boundaries of brilliance for me. How well the writers incorporated the concept of Schrödinger’s cat in the whole events of the episode! The court sentence was a Bazinga moment which the market leader “The Big Bang Theory” can never have.
Anyway coming back to “Master of None” it is a must watch if not for anything then for the foods for thought.