by Clara Butler
In Aziz Ansari’s brilliant new comedy exclusively on Netflix, he navigates the modern world while throwing in important lessons like valuing your parents, calling out systems of discrimination like racism and sexism, and the importance of being decisive.
While this show is absolutely hilarious, I appreciate how much heart it has and that the storyline progresses at a pace where you don’t have to watch the series all at once (like a Shonda Rhimes show) but you keep coming back because you genuinely are interested in the characters and the decisions they make. Similar to Girls which is also set primarily in modern-day Brooklyn, Master of None deals with texting, online dating, and other issues based in reality but feels less like Lena Dunham’s odd relationship struggles than a show that actually knows what it means to date and be a 20-something today.
I can definitely say that I relate to Aziz’s character when he takes 45 minutes to make a decision on where to go to lunch and then gets there too late because he spent too much time on Yelp but I also relate to some of the deeper issues, like blowing off my parents to hang out with my friends and not really saying thank you enough for everything they’ve given me.
Aziz’s real life parents play his parents in the show and because they are Indian, the show deals with a lot of the struggles Aziz himself has dealt with. The episode about racism within the media, “Indians on TV”, that deals with how casually society accepts white actors who put on brown face to play Indians was especially poignant when seen in relation to Aziz’s character’s acting portfolio, which is primarily made of Indian stereotypes.
The diversity present within the show was also a refreshing surprise. Aside from Aziz and his parents who already represent more diversity than Girls ever has, Aziz’s best friends in the show are an Asian guy, a queer African American woman, and the “token white-guy” in Aziz’s words. But aside from just dealing with race, they have an entire episode on how micro-aggressions against women are real and how women have to deal with aspects of life that men don’t understand and how men oftentimes perpetuate the fear that women feel.
Noel Wells, Aziz’s love interest in the show, is also amazing in this role. She feeds off of Aziz’s energy and they make an amazing couple with real on-screen chemistry. As someone who used to watch her impression videos on YouTube, I’m glad she got to be a leading star for once, unlike her short-lived time on SNL where she was relegated to background parts and then got kicked off the show altogether. But Lorne Michaels will definitely be kicking himself after seeing Noel’s performance in this show.
So if you’re looking for a new show that actually deals with issues that young people living in New York face and you want to see Aziz being his hilarious self, then watch Master of None because you will not be disappointed but you might want to eat nothing but pasta and have a pet seal afterwards.
Photo Courtesy of HereandNow.com
Clara Butler is a senior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing Blog.