“Master Of None” Is The Perfect Show For A Generation That Can’t Make Up Its Mind
There’s a scene in the finale of Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series “Master Of None” that anyone who has attended a wedding will be familiar with. Dev (Ansari) and his girlfriend Rachel (Noel Wells), two years into their relationship, are at a wedding, watching a couple that seems deeply, passionately, crazily in love recite their vows on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, the Manhattan skyline in the background. “You’re like a prism that takes in light and turns it into all these beautiful colors,” the bride says, gazing rapturously into the face of her groom. Quick cuts to each couple in the audience — including Dev and Rachel — shows uncertainty, resignation, distress flickering across their faces, unanswered questions racing through their minds. How do you know if this person sitting next to you is the right one? When do you stop your ceaseless hunt for the perfect thing and just settle for what seems right? Since the universe has provided you with so many options, are you doomed to search for what “works” forever?
You think about these questions if you’re an adult alive right now, flitting from job to bar to home to Tinder. You think about these questions if you’re in a relationship, staring in confusion at the person you’ve been sleeping with for a year, squinting your eyes and trying to picture your kids. These questions are really unanswerable — they’re new problems, brought on by the surfeit of choice. “Master of None” is a clever, engaging show, each episode like a therapy session brought to life, packaged as a romantic comedy, painting a realistic and accurate portrayal of the social mores of modern life.
Aside from the vagaries of love and romantic entanglements, this show hits the mark when handling racism and the immigrant experience. The fact that the second episode of this show dissects the guilt the children of immigrants feel when their parents remind them of the sacrifices they made was enough to make me a fan. But the deft and surefooted handling of these issues is a revelation. When Dev sits on the couch whining about how he can’t see the X-men movie, his father thinks back to his life in India and all the work he had to do to make it so that his child could exist. If anything, this serves as a reminder to call your parents more, they’d sure like it.
You can watch the show in one gulp or pick at it like you would a crudité platter at a cocktail party. In a move that feels calculated and immediately correct, they’ve done away with the “Previously on…” montage. Each episode stands on its own, watchable without any larger context required. The love story of Dev and Rachel is the narrative thread that runs throughout for those who like to binge-watch, but I recommend taking your time with it. It’s a short 10 episodes, so the urge to blow through the entire thing in one go is understandable, but each episode deserves your undivided attention.
When you have everything you could possibly ever want at your fingertips, making a decision about anything, from the tacos you’re going to eat to the person you might choose to spend your life with, can feel impossible. The fact is, we’re all indecisive because that’s how the culture has evolved. That feeling of sitting on your couch, scrolling through the categories of what to watch next, but never actually picking something applies to more than just television. Life now is a never-ending series of options whirling around your head, making it impossible to pick just one. The show doesn’t end how you might expect, by the way — the ending is happy but untraditional — but it concludes in a way that feels right. We all have to grow up one day and do the work of finding what we want and hoping for the best. Use “Master Of None” as a guidebook.