It’s all about the small moments in the ambitious and moving second season.
Charming. There are few shows airing today that, from top to bottom, are as charming as Master of None. The Netflix comedy returned for season 2 on Friday and continued to be one of the very best shows available anywhere. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang have the ability to deliver poignant moments and then in the very next instance, turn on the fun.
Season 2 picks up after the breakup between Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Rachel (Noël Wells). Dev, a struggling actor, has taken some time following the relationship and decided to pursue his dream of making pasta in Italy. The first episode is a straight-up homage to the 1948 Italian film, Bicycle Thieves. It works to establish Dev’s new lifestyle and some of the faces that will be significant throughout the season.
More noticeable though is that the entire first episode is black & white and features significant usage of subtitles as Dev has become accustomed to using the native language. The biggest strength Master of None has its flexibility. The flexibility to mold the narrative into whatever is needed for a particular sequence and do some creative ideas like the one above. A hit television show playing on network television would never get to premier with a black & white episode with significant Italian dialog, but Master of None can.
In an episode entitled New York, I Love You, Dev and his friends step aside to let other stories shine in the limelight. Not only is this a break from the overarching narrative that has been set up throughout the season, but it also reminds us that Dev is just one man with issues and people everywhere have problems of their own. There’s also an incredibly amusing story here that, you guessed it, a comedy would never be able to get away with on network television.
In fact, the show plays with the idea of exactly what an episode of television is. A typical show runs exactly within its allotted time frame. Master of None can breathe and give more time to episodes that might need a few extra minutes. There is even an episode that runs an hour long, but it certainly earns its length. Many of the episodes in the show play like mini-movies in a sense. There is certainly a few season long developments that run the length of the season. One of them includes a new love interest for Dev in the form of his friend Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi). The other is a new acting opportunity working the Chef Jeff (Bobby Cannavale). These two characters provide a lot of energy and conflict to the season, but there are also episodes that exist to tell one particular story. The aforementioned New York, I Love You is a magnificent example of that, and there are others that focus on series regulars, Eric Wareheim and Lena Waithe. Eric plays Dev’s best friend, Arnold, and he has his own episode in Italy that deals with a past love of his. Lena plays Denise, who gets to shine in a later episode entitled Thanksgiving, that takes place over the course of many years.
Silence has a lot of meaning in Master of None. Nowhere is that more apparent than episode 5, The Dinner Party. Dev continues his dating struggles, but this one feels different. There’s real genuine affection here, and Dev has let it slip out of his grasp. A lesser show would quickly cut away to the end credits, but Master of None takes it viewers on Dev’s sad journey home. In the back seat of that taxi cab, Dev begins to realize so much about himself and his feelings, without even saying a word. These silences tell you more about the characters than any quick asides could do.
Perhaps more than anything else, the show delves into the modern dating scene. With Rachel out of the picture in season 2, Dev has to get on his feet and start dating again. An entire episode is dedicated to the difficulties of dating nowadays and just the kind of expectations people have. It might be easier than ever to find someone to go out on a date with, but it is just as hard finding a connection with someone. Even when you do find that special someone, text messages will become vital resources. Let it be known that anything less than a kissy face is unacceptable.
It is extremely rewarding when characters are created with this much warmth. Master of None does a fantastic job of developing characters and making us care about them. Dev, Arnold, and Denise feel like they could be our best friends and that makes the show tick. Even with an entire season of new episodes, it wasn’t quite enough time to spend with Dev and company. Master of None continues to be one of the gem’s on Netflix, and hopefully, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won’t make us wait as long for another season.
Related Topics: Netflix