Jack of all trades, master of none, or so the saying goes. And in the new aptly named Netflix series Master of None, created by comedian and actor Aziz Ansari and comedy writer and editor Alan Yang, protagonist Dev embodies the old saying completely. Grappling with good old-fashioned “millennial” issues, Dev and his friends explore dating, sex, careers, The Future, and tacos in the first season of the 10-episode show. Here’s what makes it so special.
1. It’s delightfully feminist
Aziz Ansari has long been vocal about his feminist beliefs, and credits his girlfriend for opening his eyes to gender inequities and social issues. His Netflix special, Live at Madison Square Garden, was a hilarious yet humble exploration of being a first generation American, dating in the era of technology, and empathizing with a woman’s experience in a world of male privilege.
Master of None explores this even more throughout the series, but one notable episode is devoted to it entirely. In Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Guy’s Night Out versus Girl’s Night Out, and glaring instances of male privilege are portrayed in a realistic way: Dev and his friend experience minor inconveniences while a woman’s night goes so south that she ends up having to call the cops.
2. It’s really, really accurate
Hook-ups are awkward. Relationships take work. Marriage is hard. Having children is exhausting.
Master of None explores all of these truths in so many familiar situations. The opening scene for the whole series sets this tone from the get-go: mid-fuck, Dev realizes that his condom has broken. Together, Dev and Rachel – who later in the season becomes his girlfriend – Google search the likelihood of pre-come making a woman pregnant. They then decide to take an UberX to the pharmacy, where Dev generously pays for PlanB – and two Martinelli apple juices.
All of the things that look so glamorous – hot hook-ups, beautiful weddings, brunch in general, cohabitating, cool careers, wealthy married couples with fancy apartments – are never what they seem. And in our filtered culture where everything is documented, where everyone just wants to show their best selves and their best lives, Master of None gives us a beautiful reminder that shit is real.
3. It’s diverse
Hollywood, take note: the most entertaining shows are the ones that portray the widest array of human experiences. Dev is a first generation Indian American who dates his white girlfriend – and even moves in with her – for a year before he tells his traditional Indian parents that she exists. One of his best friends, Denise (played by Lena Waithe) is a black lesbian who gives him some of his most prized dating and sex advice, and whose deadpan humor is easily one of the highlights of the show (see: “Sarah Jessica Parker is bae.”).
The show was created entirely by Ansari and Yang – neither of whom is white. Throughout the series, Dev’s experience as a person of color and as a first-generation American inspire many a narrative, including details of his family life, romantic relationships, and friendships. Ethnic diversity is handled with humor, and honesty, and poise in a way that we don’t get to see represented very often. The cast, their issues, and day-to-day tribulations are all inspired by different views and experiences, and it’s why the show is so relatable.
4. It’s really freaking gorgeous
Aside from its brilliant writing and perfect cast, it’s really, really pretty. Most of the prettiest scenes occur when Dev and Rachel share the screen. On a whirlwind date where he takes her to Nashville for the weekend, they kiss on the balcony overlooking the city skyline. They attend a beautiful wedding that overlooks New York City. One night, they lie in bed, in the dark, telling fairy tales about Princess Rachel and her Little Boo. Their love story is as sweet as it is genuine – fraught with the same issues that plague all relationships – and watching them fall in and then sort of out of love is a wonderfully beautiful cinematic feast.
Photos via YouTube
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