Comedian Aziz Ansari, most commonly known for his role in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” debuted his Netflix-exclusive sitcom “Master of None” this month. While a comedy taking place in New York City may seem overdone with examples including “Girls,” “How I Met your Mother” and “Broad City,” this is one of the most refreshing shows I’ve seen all year. While there is an underlying plot, each episode is more of a short film, with title sequences and all, rather than a traditional episode.
Each episode is centered around a certain plot, such as “kids,” “parents” or “old people.” The show seems to be semi-autobiographical, considering the actors that are playing his parents are indeed his actual parents. In the short time since it’s been released, there have already been numerous comparisons to comedian Louie CK’s show “Louie,” which is definitely valid. However, where they differ is from the outlook on life each comedian has. “Louie” is a show for cynics while “Master of None” is a show for the funny yet vulnerable millennial looking for a purpose.
Aziz’s character Dev is the guy who can’t look away from his phone for more than five minutes, but also the guy that babysits his friends’ kids, takes your grandma to dinner and helps his father set up his iPad. While it covers topics that seem vapid and ordinary, it seems more authentic and true to life than other gimmicky shows centered around millennials.
Not only is Ansari extremely refreshing as the leading man, other supporting cast members are as well. My personal favorites are Dev’s good friend Denise played by Lena Waithe, and Dev’s on-again, off-again romance Rachel, played by Noel Wells. Calling any of the actors “supporting” is almost insulting because each character is just as well developed and important to the plot as Ansari’s.
Since the show is written by a millennial for millennials, it’s not surprising that “Master of None” brings up social issues. Some are more personal to Ansari himself, such as “Indians on TV.” However, there are some that are much more broad, such as “Ladies and Gentlemen,” which explores the harassment women face on a daily basis. While the show brings up these important issues, it isn’t attempting to be the end-all-be-all voice for them. Instead, Ansari is presenting these topics, navigating an episode and leaving the viewers to think for themselves. Is it okay that most actors portraying Indian characters aren’t Indian themselves? Is infidelity okay in a loveless marriage?
Overall, the show is absolutely refreshing in the lineup of New York City sitcoms we see today. Ansari created a strikingly witty, topical show that places millennials in some kind of looking glass in order to examine what it means to be in your 20s and 30s in 2015.