This review will cover the first 3 episodes of Netflix’s new comedy starring and Co-Written by Aziz Ansari, about a man navigating his life in New York City.
As of writing this post, I’ve watched just the first 3 episodes, Plan B, Parents and Hot Ticket, of the just been released comedy from Netflix, and I plan to watch more. At the end of the last episode I’ve now hit 2 of the 3 stages that you need to get to before you become a fan of a new comedy show. One is, Are you laughing a lot? Check. Two is, Was there a point in which I found myself emotionally attached to the characters? Check. I’m not quite in the, I need to watch the next episode right now stage, but I’m in a very sweet spot at the moment.
At the end of Hot Ticket we had Dev and Rachel bonding in a bar and not quite hooking up at the end, which for me, involved a perfectly judged montage followed by a melancholic and satisfying end, using music to fade out. Like a lot of shows that I fell in love with, it’s the moment in which music and drama come together to overtake the comedy for a second and leaves you with a bit of a punched gut. You realise that suddenly you’re not waiting for the next laugh anymore, but you’re suddenly under the influence of the drama.
Some shows have hooked me immediately, Orange is the New Black or Transparent, for example, but Master of None is following that excellent tradition of modern VOD shows, in that it’s confident and adept at being the show it wants to be and letting itself, speak for itself.
I can tell you that many people won’t like it, and probably won’t ever get it, in its first episode, it’s a bit indie, a bit hipster, a bit arty and a bit kooky, and whilst that combination may alienate viewers immediately, I saw enough that I liked to keep going. Now, after episode 3, I want to continue.
What ‘Master of None’ has going for it, isn’t it’s story or setting, New York and a struggling actor aren’t recipes for originality, but its view of life is totally modern, totally of this age. IPhones, Box sets and technology are subjects that are all presented as facets of life, not weird outside things to be ridiculed. In ‘Parks and Rec’ Aziz Ansari played Tom as the ultimate master of everything modern, up to date and social, this is presented here, but without being amplified to ridiculous portions.
In fact technology is presented as just a welcome part of life, and it’s refreshing, as part of this new age of technology, to see it being presented in a natural way. And the writers know this, the second episode ‘parents’ focuses on the stories of Dev and Brians immigrant parents, uncovering the stories of their journeys to America, and the sacrifices they made for their kids.
It’s a very adept piece of writing, coming from a place of honesty and truth (Aziz’s real life parents are also his fictional parents), and for a second episode to suddenly focus so much on one thing, in such a broad and delicate way, is a very brave move, and it’s hugely refreshing.
I chose to review all these episodes as a group, because I didn’t know what I was watching for a while. Each episode brings something new, and at 30 minutes, with every episode waiting on Netflix, reviewing each episode every time I watched it would be a bit of a chore.
So this is a part 1, 3 episodes of 10, and I’m curious to see what happens next. Aziz is great, and nothing like Tom Haverford, whilst the supporting cast are all great and funny, in particular Noël Wells as Rachel, who is a natural and engaging performer, coming from a background of SNL, she shines in the episodes she’s been in, and I look forward to the rest of her time on the show.
I just want to mention the cinematography as well, which has beautiful hued shots of New York or scenes in a bar, and it gives everything a warm nostalgic look, much like the show itself, it reflects a great trend of the modern era, in looking back, in order to look forward.
All in all, I like this show, it makes me laugh, it makes me care, and yeah, I want to watch more.