This is a smart show. And when I say that it’s a smart show I mean very, very smart. Aziz Ansari and co-creator/writer Alan Yang have brought to Netflix a work that is steeped in meaning and insight about what it is like to be in your late twenties/early thirties.
The main story arc of the show is about being at a time in your life when you need to start making big decisions that matter. Decisions about your career, your personal life and about the paths that you both are and aren’t on need to be made. The show is about the fear of not being on paths that you could be on, about fully committing to a relationship or a career, or not, about being at a point in your life where you know that you have to prevent the regrets that you may face later, about having kids and friends getting married and, above all, certainty. In tackling all of this Ansari and Yang have proven themselves very intelligent and capable writers.
The show also looks at other topics, like the amount and portrayal of minorities on television, appreciating your parents – especially if they are immigrants to North America—and grandparents, modern dating, and the different challenges that women and men face.
All of this isn’t to say that this isn’t a comedy; it’s just a deep one. As such the term ‘informed dramedy’ is probably more appropriate. Alan Yang and Ansari are both veterans of Parks and Rec and the same type of comedy, levity and endearing characters are assured.
I suspect that this series is so intelligent and grounded in reality because it seems like the fictionalization of Modern Romance, which Ansari wrote with sociologist Eric Klinenberg about modern dating practices, including how online dating apps like Tinder and OK Cupid have affected modern relationships. The book, which is well worth the read, is grounded in a good scientific methodology that is accompanied by Ansari’s humourous musings and questions. Ansari writes in the book that he was curious about such things and that his decision to investigate led to the book being written. As such, the questions and experiences in the book, and also in the show, are somewhat autobiographical. In the show this facilitates story lines and plot points that are informed by Ansari’s own life and are thus very relatable.
Master of None is a series that is funny, insightful and meaningful. You should absolutely go watch it. It is out on Netflix now.