Aziz Ansari, over the past decade has become a household name, for his stand up comedy, or his roles in features such as Get Him to the Greek and Funny People: both Judd Apatow works. His role within Parks and Recreation also leant to his fame. Now however, he has decided to take a direction which highlights all aspects of his talents. He is the producer, writer and lead role in the Netflix Original Series ‘Master of None’.
The show depicts Aziz as Dev, the 30 year old aspiring actor as he clambers his way through adult life in New York City. The show has one liners, as well as unfolding story jokes, both familiar within Ansari’s stand up. The title of the show is alluding to the saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. The show also features Dev’s friendship group consisting of: Denise, Lena Waithe who depicts an African-American lesbian which is representative of Lena’s personality; Brian, Kelvin Yu who is of Taiwanese descent who Ansari wanted to perform as the hot best friend; Arnold, Eric Wareheim who is the ‘token white guy’. As well as Dev’s friendship group, he also has his love interest, Rachel, Noël Wells.
Ansari has taken his public position and humour to highlight the daily struggles ethnics in New York City, and transfer-ably in most places, still face. The subtly is much appreciated, which is performed in a way that says you’ve got my order wrong, but I’m willing to let it go if you correct it.
The show itself is incredibly ethnically diverse, possibly the most on circulating television currently. Without allowing the individual races of the characters to define their personality, audience are following a trail to see the past the colour. Ansari does however in parts, show the struggles for ethnic minorities who are racially profiled. For many, this is a sobering, thought provoking moment which questions most of the ethnic roles used in television. In culturally forward shows, such as The Big Bang Theory, which brings a positive spin on asexuality, the ethnic minories: Raj the Indian with the thick accent as well as Howard, the Jewish man living with his mother conforms to these fortresses of racial stereotypes.
As well as chipping down the icy walls of issues with race, Aziz toys with the idea of milestones past a certain age. Particularly of relationship milestones and the significance and negatives of living with a spouse. In the final episode of the series, he draws strong parallels with 500 Days of Summer, as dainty Rachel and he reconstruct the entire movie in one episode.
With a thought provoking storyline throughout, combined with memorable jokes and scenarios which are often very relatable it’s no wonder the show has received very high ratings. It holds a 100% approval, with an overall of 8.9/10 on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic summing it up nicely: “Exceptionally executed with charm, humor, and heart, Master of None is a refreshingly offbeat take on a familiar premise.” Metacritic has rating it as 91/100, based on 31 reviews. Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson writes “The new Netflix comedy bats about lightly, but smartly, with some deep topics.”
Well worth watching the 10 episodes in the series, all available on Netflix.