Netflix continues to impress with the consistent quality of its original output. Between shows such as Bojack Horseman, House of Cards, Arrested Development, and W/ Bob & David; Netflix has taken a dramatic leap in controlling just how entertainment can be perceived, but that’s also due to the high quality of that entertainment. Netflix has yet another feather to add to its cap with the release of Master of None. Created by Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang, it also stars Aziz as Dev. More or less a filter for Aziz himself, Dev is a working actor in New York City and the series opens up with a failed attempt at a hookup with Rachel (Noel Wells) which sets the tone for the episode as well as the show itself.
While it’s easy at first blush to make a connection to Aziz’s previous role as Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation, Dev is a very different man from the get-go. The first episode explores his flirtation with baby fever while babysitting his friend Amanda’s (Maria Dizzia) two children. While the show does follow a somewhat easy route in having the first episode be Dev’s attempt to corral two wild children, the episode’s wraparound theme of exploring the unexpected reality of being a parent versus the idealized version of it that Dev attaches himself to early on. That distance between reality and fantasy, while ever-so-slightly Tom Haverford-ish also ends up making him a touch more sympathetic in the early going. That being said, this is still a character played by Aziz Ansari, so there’s a bit of sly comedy going on.
While the regular supporting cast besides Arnold (Eric Wareheim) don’t play a major role: they acquit themselves well in the brief time we’re given for introductions. The children express themselves as rambunctious children are wont to do, and the best part of the episode is to watch as Dev’s excitement at getting to be the cool uncle is reduced to the role of tired victim. That being said, it all serves a purpose of defining just what the show is. While it is a comedy, it’s also an exploration of fairly personal themes. At first blush Dev is a single guy who wants easy routes through life, but like anyone else he’s feeling the weight of the future and wonders what could happen if he had a legacy. And as the end of the episode demonstrates, he’s not quite at the point of his life where he’s sure he can handle that sort of thing, which is aptly demonstrates towards the end. While it’s hard not to feel bad, that “I got to be honest, that looks pretty disgusting.” ending quote was a perfect place for Dev to show where he is.
In terms of whether the show is worth watching, that’s an easy answer. Several actually: Yes, absolutely, why aren’t you on Netflix now? Aziz Ansari is getting a well-deserved spotlight in pop culture at the moment, and part of that is the type of sympathy he’s capable of engendering with the questions his work asks, as well as the type of characters he can embody.While the first episode isn’t necessarily new, the execution comes from an interesting space, especially since the exploration of a character like Dev, one who basically is a filter for Aziz isn’t one Hollywood or most television has proven interested in. Being on the ground floor on a unique fount of humor such as this is one well-worth your time.
5 out of 5 Martinelli’s
- The smaller bits of humor are always a treat on shows like this. The sliding door on the taxi in particular is a great gag, and Master of None to my unending joy is as concerned with the minor inconveniences of daily life as I am.
- How do you all feel about the opening credits? I personally like that auteur-esque touch on the show.
- While some people are gonna rail on Dev for deciding to just reject that sandwich, Dev isn’t obligated. And it may well have been a better overall decision, and it’s funny. Though he could have just chosen to eat both one would suppose.
- I hope to have these reviews on a weekly basis. But I’ll likely have the second episode and third episode up next week. Then one on a regular basis.