Master of None: General Discussion
November 23, 2015 9:11 AM - All Seasons - Subscribe

So I don't know if I have much to say about each episode but I'd love to talk about this show as a whole.
posted by latkes (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only 4 episodes in (but not worried about spoilers). The first few episodes were like, I'm enjoying this, but I'm not actually laughing. About episode 3 I really started laughing out loud. Episode 4 I suddenly felt like I was witnessing something really sharp and interesting and different. Weirdly, although I'm white and probably 10 years older than the characters on this show and on the West coast etc, this is a rare show that I actually relate to. These people seem like my people - an ethnically diverse group of people doing interesting stuff with their lives (instead of just, I don't know, living at a coffee shop or whatever I imaged people on Friends and Seinfeld or Sex in the City were doing with their days). The conversations Dev and his friends have seem like cleverer versions of what my friends would talk about.

One peeve: underemployed actor affords this immaculate Ikea ad of an apartment how?

I'm really enjoying how kids these days are able to understand irony and still embrace sincerity and like, niceness. The show has a really sweet, low-drama feel that I hope reflects something positive in the culture these days.
posted by latkes at 9:17 AM on November 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

I watched (most of) the first episode. It wasn't bad, but it has kind of a formulaic, sitcommy feel that leaves me a bit lukewarm. Not sure how to explain it better than that.

I'm similarly lukewarm on Ansari himself—I enjoyed his character in Parks and Recreation, but I wasn't impressed with his standup.

Cool to see a little more representation of South-Asian-Americans on TV, though.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:22 AM on November 23, 2015

Yeah, it's funny because I did not laugh out loud once in the first couple episodes. But it has really been growing on me. And I rarely like a TV show.
posted by latkes at 9:26 AM on November 23, 2015

I enjoyed what I saw of this, but didn't feel compelled to keep watching. It's sort of "Louie with a much chiller dude", which didn't make for a better show for me.
posted by selfnoise at 10:11 AM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I actually got my mom into watching this show somewhat over the weekend, which was really surprising. I didn't show her the first episode or the third or fifth, but she seemed to like the deeper episodes like "Parents" and "Old People."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:45 AM on November 23, 2015

Every Rachel and Dev scene was basically amazing but especially their Nashville trip. I really wanted him to be on a plane to Tokyo at the end but I'm happy he wasn't.
posted by bgal81 at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

I liked the show's POV and general feel -- definitely feels a few cuts above your standard sitcom -- but does anyone else think Aziz is just a really bad actor? There's also a slight air of self-satisfaction I find a little off-putting, like "no one on television has ever addressed the relationship between second-generation immigrants and their parents! Look how groundbreaking we are!" Maybe that's true but it feels a little overt. Or maybe I'm just grumpy. As a whole I really enjoyed it.
posted by Clustercuss at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2015

Hmm, I mean, actor? He's not exactly acting in this. It's like, his alter ego. I don't really know how to define what comedians are doing in these shows. But I don't know, I guess I read him as having "healthy self esteem". In a way, he seems more honest about, like, lots of actors must think they are the shit, but that's not part of their performative persona?
posted by latkes at 12:50 PM on November 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

One peeve: underemployed actor affords this immaculate Ikea ad of an apartment how?

The show did suffer from Friends-syndrome (ie, young people in New York in unrealistically expensive apartments) to some extent, but not that badly. I don't think Dev was really underemployed - he had a steady stream of work acting in commercials. It wasn't glamorous or the work that he wanted to do, but I got the impression he worked regularly and made a pretty good living. How realistic that is, I'm not sure, but while the show's main characters - Dev included - were all vaguely arty, I never got the sense that they were supposed to be underemployed and/or struggling bohemians.

I really, really, liked the show, but I think the ending betrayed its generally low-key tone. I mean both Dev and Rachael jet off to foreign countries with the vaguest of plans? Dev couldn't just sign up for a pasta-making class in New York or something?
posted by breakin' the law at 12:51 PM on November 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought it was nice that Aziz put his real parents in the series. Their bad cardboard acting bugged me at first, but after a while became endearing, more funny, and also apropos as a representation of how middle-aged people perceive a general ineptness of their aging or out-of-touch parents.

The show seems to have smaller goals in terms of pushing comedy boundaries than a lot of his peers', but at the same time this is covering plenty of new ground in terms of character demographics, cultural identity, etc. which I think is good for the show and great for the industry.
posted by p3t3 at 12:49 AM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's also a slight air of self-satisfaction I find a little off-putting, like "no one on television has ever addressed the relationship between second-generation immigrants and their parents! Look how groundbreaking we are!"

I think that stuff comes straight from his stand-up act. I could have sworn he went into it in his Madison Square Garden special.

I really enjoyed this show - the characters felt very lived in, maybe because they were essentially alter egos of the performers. There was just enough of Dev's "work life" to make things a bit zany, but they kept the excesses in check so as to keep the entire show grounded.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2015

Master of None was kind of amazing for me -- it doesn't help that I'm a non-white man ("ethnic", for those who saw the last episode) in his late 20s-early 30s, living in NYC, who happens to often date white women.

My jaw kind of dropped in 'Mornings' when Dev brought up the fact that he hadn't told his parents about Rachel, because I've had that exact conversation before with previous partners -- and I've never seen it depicted in mainstream media culture. Ever.

And not only did I recognize half of the places he was in, the Sylvia Plath quote and Arthur Russell song have both been milestones of songs that I've lived my life by.

I love this series and am deeply grateful for it, in the way that I was grateful for Harold and Kumar when it came out; non-white people being depicted on screen as independent, emotional, thoughtful, flawed humans, not as ambassadors or representatives of a culture.
posted by suedehead at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2015 [8 favorites]

I really enjoyed this series. Low stakes drama, some levity, strong commentary without being too heavy-handed and the occasional silly sitcom moment. I don't know that I loved the ending - everything from the "percentage" conversation onward felt a little too contrived for this show. Episode nine's exploration of their relationship seemed real or convincing but the finale felt like a big step down from that.

But overall I love the tone and the characters and the widescreen and the music choices and the kind of New York it depicts. Here's to a second season!
posted by crossoverman at 11:18 PM on December 4, 2015

My husband is 1st generation American, and he looked at me during ep 2 and said, "That's that immigrant-parent guilt (showing the flashbacks of Dev and Brian's respective dads in their native countries), and you know what? IT WORKS." So, yeah. We've been enjoying the series so far, but we're not fully caught up yet. I don't care about spoilers, though.

Now, about Dev's commercial residual income: My ex-BF/best friend from high school (he died earlier this year, so I can't reconfirm the exact amount with him) was cast in a nationally syndicated spot for Jumpin' Jack Cheese Doritos - the one with Jay Leno, I think? - and I believe he got paid $12k or $15k up front, and then small royalty checks dribbled in now and then. That was back in 1990.

So, it's believable to me now that one guy could do 2-3 nationally syndicated commercials in a year or so and afford an apartment in NYC; if his doctor dad paid for the furnishings, especially. Could he stay there for several years? Well, only if he's got a rent-controlled unit and financially generous parents...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:15 PM on December 7, 2015

Yeah, I guess I have to imagine if this was real that dad would be paying the bills, what with the ticket to Italy, has a housekeeper, big TV budget. It would be awesome if they explored that in Season 2, but most likely like every TV show we're just supposed to pretend that wealth is normal - even as most Americans are getting poorer every year. It bums me out that this show has this problem that most shows have (although I did notice they put him in the same clothes more than once, which is nice). It's also a bummer that they had those couple fat-phobic jokes (punch up, Aziz, please!). But overall, I'm pretty impressed with their low-key but on-point activism.
posted by latkes at 5:29 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really wanted to like this, as I've always wanted to like Aziz's comedy, but I just can't get past his delivery in standup or acting. He seems incredibly creative and capable but his deliveries just sound so derivative and oddly frat-boyish to me in a way that just ruins the joke. I was disappointed in the writing as well.

I like Aziz best when he's being interviewed in a serious way. He seems to be a thoughtful guy with a creative spark that makes him occasionally funny, rather than an outlandishly hilarious guy who can make anything work.

I think overall this highlights how capable Louis CK is in writing, directing and starring in his own show, as that's clearly the vibe Aziz is going for. It's not easy to do well.
posted by glaucon at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aziz Ansari was nominated for Best Actor, Comedy for the Golden Globes. (The Bustle is thrilled; note that potentially NSFW links exist below the story.)

It's a little baffling to me, even though I liked Master of None a fair bit; I wouldn't have described it as a show with a really great lead performance above all. Perhaps because it feels sort of auteur-y, dealing so much with Ansari's standup and viewpoint, they're giving him an Acting nod rather than just nominating it as Best Comedy? (In the same way you might nominate Louis CK, who isn't a great actor so much as a guy who makes a great show and does a lot of acting in it.) Like, if I had to rave about one thing, it would be the show's willingness to break with form, and to present ideas. If I had to pick a performance, it's obviously Noël Wells.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:52 PM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think the show used his smirkiness to best advantage - there were so many times when Dev ends up being the thing he hates in the world.
posted by bq at 10:35 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I literally had a nightmare last night about Arthur and Dev telling a stream of hipster jokes that I couldn't understand.
posted by bq at 8:01 PM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

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