Dev Shah (Aziz Ansari), a struggling actor, meets Rachel (Noël Wells) and their first sexual encounter doesn’t go very well. As the two cross paths over the course of the first season, Dev starts to think about his life, his choices and his future. Aided by his close group of friends Arnold (Eric Wareheim), Brian (Kelvin Yu) and Denise (Lena Waithe), Dev tries to navigate all of the hurdles that come his way in both his professional and romantic lives.
Master of None was created by Ansari (Parks and Recreation) and Alan Yang. It debuted on Netflix in 2015 and the 10-episode first season proved to be a hit with viewers and critics. Part autobiographical and part-inspired by Ansari’s book on dating, Modern Romance, Master of None is a heartfelt, affecting and warmly romantic comedy that’s quite unlike anything else you’ve seen.
I know a lot of people who have given up on Master of None after just one episode. That would be a huge mistake. It’s fair to say the show is very different and if you’re expecting a Parks and Recreation style comedy, then you’re going to be disappointed. Master of None packs in clever and intelligent humour, as it depicts a genuinely relatable picture of a 30-something trying to get by in life.
Each episode of the season focuses on different issues and it’s social conscious tackling subjects ranging from male privilege, adultery and ethnic stereotyping. There’s a nice little touch to the show in that Ansari’s real-life parents play his parents in the show. While clearly neither are actors, they both add to the show, Ansari’s dad in particular proving to be frequently hilarious.
What I loved so much about Master of None Season 1 is the way it made me feel. Unlike most TV shows, it didn’t just wash off me once the credits rolled. Instead I found myself talking about it for hours with family and friends. The strong theme of family and heritage that runs through the series really makes you think about your own life. I was desperately bereft by the time I finished the season, wanting to spend more time with Dev and the various characters in his life.
One of the highlights of the season is episode 4, Indians on TV, where Dev experiences both stereotyping and racism because of his Indian heritage. He auditions for a role on a show and afterwards accidentally discovers that he may not get it because he’s not the only Indian auditioning and the studio only wants one Indian character. It’s both hilarious and horrifying, and it gives an insight into the discrimination that a person like Dev goes through in life.
Master of None Season 1 is nothing short of excellent TV. It’s funny, it’s moving and it may even make you shed a tear. Ansari gives a fearless performance as he puts his life out there for you to dissect and enjoy. He’s very different here than he was in Parks and Recreation, and his humour really shines through. Few TV series are made with such genuine heart and that’s what makes this one so special.
Cast: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu, Lena Waithe Certificate: 15 Duration: 287 mins Released by: Network Distributing Release date: 29th April 2019 Buy Master of None Season 1