Master of None: Both revolutionary and entertaining
In 2015 goddess and comedian extraordinaire Mindy Kaling published her book “Why Not Me?” In the book, she describes different television tropes. One of these is called “Neurotic Sensitive Guy is Also Super Unhappy.”
The genre is described as “a half-hour cable comedy show” with a “wealth NYC-based man, who makes his living doing something creative, and is miserable despite having suffered no traumas or having any immediate health problems.”
Around the same time Kaling’s book was published, Aziz Ansari of “Parks and Recreation” was finally having his chase at break-out fame with his Netflix show “Master of None.” Kaling’s essay practically predicted this show down to the fact that “the pilot will always involve a child’s birthday party with a bouncy house.” Her remarks are just the outline of a show that went on to soar past the limitations of its genre.
If a 5’6, high-voiced, first generation Indian man is not your idea of a leading man in television, you are stuck in the past. Slowly the world of television has moved on from the cookie cutter model of characters to produce diverse and refreshingly new programs. The people in this show are semi-based on Aziz Ansari and his real friends which makes it seem like you are watching a very personal documentary.
Each episode is only 28 minutes, but those minutes are filled with great dialogue and hilarious situations. The show is nostalgic of films from the 70’s and 80’s: the soundtrack is retro, the title card is bold, and each episode has a specific theme.
Aziz Ansari’s best decision in making this show was including his parents. He asked his real parents to be his parents in the show to add authenticity. His father is one of the funniest non-actors to bless the small screen. His parents first appear in an episode called “Parents” that explored the relationship, or lack thereof, between immigrants and their children.
While not all viewers can relate to this storyline, it is still presented in such a manner that it moves you. In fact, many of the main points of the overall plot of the show are not universal, but they are human.
The show is not the funniest show on television. “Master of None” is written to walk the line between comedy and truth. The show tackles racism, sexism, classism, and other issues that affect people, especially minorities, in today’s world. There are episodes to tackle all issues in society, and then some that just deal with dating, finding yourself and other common issues.
The creators of this show crafted it to have an effect on its viewers. It is not another half-hour, crude humor show. Each episode is special. They are not filling a time slot on television, they are making art. If you have not watched this masterpiece yet, I urge you to do so. Television can be revolutionary and entertaining at the same time.