I’ve been a big fan of Aziz Ansari ever since I first got into Parks and Recreation, around 2013. One of the first clips I remember seeing was when I stumbled across the now infamous ‘Treat Yo’self’ scene on YouTube. I loved it – and the quote became somewhat of a catchphrase in my friendship group (‘One more glass of wine? Treat yo’self!’). After seeing the YouTube clip, I commenced season one of Parks and Rec, and within a few episodes, I knew I was in it for the long haul. I now wholeheartedly adore Parks and Recreation – Leslie Knope is somewhat of a hero of mine, and the entire cast in general is one of the best ensembles that has ever existed on television (shout outs to Ron Swanson, my personal God).
So, when I became aware of Master of None on Netflix last year, I was overjoyed. After binge watching season one in about two days, I was hooked, and definitely not disappointed. Aziz delivers a visually stunning tv series that is incredibly relatable, hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, and also touches on issues such as sexism and race.
In series one I was obsessed with ‘Ladies and Gentleman’, an episode that depicts the every day struggles of being a woman. Still managing to add hilarious moments to what could be considered as bleak (although fairly realistic) subject material, I felt like I had a male ally in Aziz. It was refreshing to see women’s issues portrayed on screen in a show created by two men. My favourite moment in the episode is where Aziz’s character Dev along with his friend Denise (played incredibly by Lena Waithe) embark on a ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ when they catch a man on the subway masturbating; it’s gross, it happens in real life, and the result is pretty funny and also feels kind of triumphant to watch.
Season two of Master of None became available on Netflix earlier this month, and I wasn’t feeling great when I started watching it. Nothing in particular had happened in my life — and maybe that was what was getting me down. I was still feeling kind of stagnant and stuck in a rut, but a show like Master of None felt like a warm embrace into a more colourful world (even though the opening episode is shot entirely in black and white).
The dialogue feels incredibly real – I feel like I am involved in conversations with my closest friends. The exchanges feel offbeat; unrehearsed and endearing. The episode where Arnold visits Dev in Italy is visually spectacular — all the colours in the episode are stunning, and the whole episode is shot beautifully. Episodes one and two created an irrevocable yearning in me to visit Italy again. They also made me really hungry. Master of None seems to do that to me. Dev’s obsession with food mirrors my own — perhaps another reason why I love to watch the show — it’s like an escape from real life where instead of being stuck in my current existence I am actually in Italy eating pasta with Aziz Ansari talking about relationships and other food that we like to consume.
I love television shows. I adore and admire any well written series and Master of None is a truly wonderful creation. Of course, Aziz isn’t alone in the making of it — Alan Yang is co-creator, and Lena Waithe who plays Denise co-wrote the Thanksgiving episode that made me feel super emotional whilst watching on a hungover Sunday morning. The whole thing feels so authentic, and for me is a show that I can watch and feel like I am with good company in a visually dazzling environment. Thank you Master of None and thank you to the people behind it who have produced an intimate and vibrant virtual embrace for me when I’m feeling alone and not my best self.