Master of None: Buona Notte
May 21, 2017 10:36 PM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Just as Dev's personal life reaches a tipping point, disturbing revelations throw his professional life into turmoil, too.
posted by The Gooch (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What angered me in this episode was Arnold's advice. Earlier in the season he was all about Dev pursuing Francesca but now he gives reasonable advice on why a relationship with her would be a bad idea. Where was that advice earlier? Why didn't any of his friends say hey, this is probably a bad idea.
posted by pseudodionysus at 6:01 AM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think this did betray the character of Dev a little. Both characters have a plethora of dating options so obsessing over this one imaginary relationship seems very silly for the finale. I wanted to see more of his other friends (including Jon Benjamin's weird character) and their reactions to Dev's poor choices, and more on the Chef Jeff story.

The ending - ugh. I hope that the next season has a bit of a reboot and doesn't focus nearly as much on this particular relationship, and goes back to the silliness of Dev's career or maybe has him going into making pasta again.
posted by obtuser at 8:07 AM on May 22, 2017

My complaints about the previous episode are pretty much echoed in this one as well. This is a show that has made a name for itself for having a fresh and unique perspective, for being different than most anything else that has been on TV before. Yet we get to the tail end of the season and get a tired "Will they or won't they" plot.

I get that love and romance are a big part of Ansari's act, so it is inevitable that a lot of this show will be about that subject. I don't mind that - something like "First Date" from earlier in the season was a great look at the way we live now in the era of ubiquitous dating apps. The Francesca and Dev romance, though, just felt like the worst of TV tropes, where as a viewer I am supposed to root for this couple to get together not because they have showed any chemistry on-screen, but only because the show is practically begging me to.
posted by The Gooch at 9:37 AM on May 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

I really liked this. Kind of a clichè plot but I liked Aziz's face acting. I could feel what he was feeling.
posted by bleep at 2:20 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the first eight episodes of the season were great, but these last two didn't hold me as well. Yes I love a gooshy romance or even a will-they-or-won't-they, but this one felt drawn out and I had trouble feeling great about anybody in this situation.

I don't know if I'm happy or not that they pointed with only the lightest touch to the similarities between Chef Jeff and Dev—that is, both are pursuing unavailable women inappropriately, and perhaps telling themselves it's okay because "she wants it."
posted by Zephyrial at 6:39 PM on May 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love Aziz Ansari as a romantic protagonist. I like Dev as a character and I enjoy watching him. But I do think Master of None is so much stronger when he's not the focus.

I just think about Parents and New York, I Love You and Thanksgiving -- episodes where this show is telling bigger stories. And I find those to be more interesting than one 30-something dude's love trials. I'm happy to take that if it means I get the former -- and I think that's sort of the point. Ultimately, Dev's story is his story but there are a lot of other stories happening. I guess I like that Master of None makes Dev's story seem small overall.

I hope if he does a season 3, it's less about him and more about ... other things. I kind of feel like Ansari wants it to be. I like that the show shows Dev's perspective is limited and there are all these other things happening around him. I just want Ansari to run more with that.
posted by darksong at 7:13 PM on May 22, 2017 [11 favorites]

Agreed, so many wonderful things about this season but all in spite of this strange relationship angle.

Is there an Aziz/Bourdain beef I don't know about???
posted by armacy at 7:52 PM on May 22, 2017

Theres definitely some kind of beef but probably not the kind you are referring to - they went to Joe Beef together in Montreal for an episode of Mind of a Chef. Seems vanishingly unlikely that AB treated some of the crew poorly/creepily and became the basis for Chef Jeff (a character that made me cringe but kind of in a good way).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:07 AM on May 23, 2017

except that was david chang and im an idiot with a shoddy memory (and over active imagination)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:08 AM on May 23, 2017

Bourdain is one of the producers on the show though (Mind of the Chef) and the two tweeted each other about food in 2012.
posted by drezdn at 9:33 AM on May 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

I saw an interview where Yang said any perceived similarities between Chef Jeff and Bourdain are not intentional. I didn't really get that vibe other than the fact that Bourdain is one of the few TV chefs I know anything about, and is a New Yorker, so seems like an obvious comparison.

That last scene kind of reminded me of the ending of The Graduate. I think they left open the possibility of this not being a happily-ever-after kind of thing, should a 3rd season come along. I don't agree that they lacked chemistry, although Pino was sort of cartoonishly boring so it's not as if Dev really had much competition. I agree that the non-Dev-centric episodes were all very good (especially Thanksgiving and New York, I Love You).

What will Dev do if things don't work out with Francesca? Returning to Italy for more pasta making would be a little awkward. Maybe Japan to learn sushi? Or France to learn, I don't know, cheese making?
posted by axiom at 9:07 PM on May 23, 2017

I guess it would have been aping Loue too much, but I wish Dev was a stand up / sketch comic like Aziz. At least give him some discernible skills. Constantly failing upwards in celebrity and having all the women fall for him makes the show feel too much like Hipster Entourage.

But that's only a problem with maybe 3 or 4 episodes this season. The high points on this show are still amazing.
posted by Gary at 1:41 PM on May 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Chef Jeff's speech patterns and voice are pretty much spot-on to Bourdain's, which is what cemented the comparison for me. Like, the two aren't super similar personality-wise, but every time Jeff opens his mouth my brain just immediately makes the Bourdain jump.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:31 PM on May 24, 2017

so I'm ambivalent but I think a little more positive on the romance that took over the last two episodes of this season, but for me the finale is mostly saved by the way it throws in that completely gut-wrenching Noel Wells cameo
posted by Kybard at 6:28 PM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I dunno, I liked it. Will they or won't they is one of the great themes of most people's lives. I think it did a good job of showing that whether they do or don't end up together isn't the point; it's that life is about arbitrarily picking one path or another and you never get to find out whether you made the right choice. That's emphasized by the video for their future selves ( maybe we're together maybe we aren't ). Also I like that Francesca is the one who makes the choice rather than him chasing her down.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:16 PM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

People in bad movies often carry the idiot ball with no good character justification. A recent example is Alien: Prometheus, which features a geologist whith lidar-mapping robots who manages to get lost, and a biologist who treats a newly discovered alien species as a cute pet. It's the same with most romantic comedies, which seem to be populated exclusively by the oblivious, the cartoonishly narcissistic and the foolish. It's not that romcom situations are unrealistic, but that the characters aren't written as human people with realistic psychology.

The relationship between Dev and Francesca is completely different from most romantic comedies. They are people with recognisable feelings, and their (non-)relationship is painfully realistic. When they are dumb, or foolish, or oblivious, they show human failings, they're wrong like people are wrong, not like idiot-ball robots are wrong.

Dev and Francesca are just two young people who are in painful denial as they discover their yearning to be with each other. There's an obstacle (the fiancé), but there is no big misunderstanding, no big fuck-up that needs to be fixed or forgiven of both, there's no grand gesture. And if there is a grand gesture, it's elided. We don't get to see Francesca changing her mind and leaving her boyfriend at the airport. All we see is that she ends up in Dev's bed.

Far from romantic comedy as escapism, I'd say it's neo-neo-realism, as if the whole series were filmed in black and white and acted in Italian.

These last two episodes are the first time that I've been watching a romantic comedy in the full cringe of recognition because, as a younger person, I've been exactly each one of these characters:
  • The hanging out with someone who is taken but has free time and we're only hanging out (what's wrong with that?). Don't tell me you have never done it, *and* that you've never had the talk with a friend who's done it.
  • The long Uber ride home? Yes, I've done that too, way before Uber existed. Public transport counts too, right?
  • The dancing/touching/kissing with a glass door in between. I haven't done that, but I've done equally corny things, or cornier. And man would I have done that if I had had a glass door, because that's the kind of silly romantic gesture that idiots like me actually do, unironically.
The big clue, however, is in the first two episodes:
  • Episode 1: Dev has a missed connection with a cute girl, and that's it. There's no following up in a cascade of serendipity. It just goes nowhere, like it so often does in real life.
  • Episode 2: Arnold shows up at his ex-girlfriend's wedding, and she marries her fiancé. That's the counter-expectation. That's Dev/Anil telling us "nope, romantic comedy-like grand gestures don't work, and this isn't going to either, because see? They are a disaster!".
Dev acting like and explicitly saying that romantic comedy tropes don't work is Anil telling us that this series isn't going to be a romantic comedy that abides by many of them. At the one-sentence plot description level, Master Of None may be a romantic comedy. But if it is it's a bittersweet one with lots of authorly side-quests, and not a conventional one. Season one ended with a breakup. Season two might just have ended with a new relationship. Sometimes, things just work out fine.

So yeah, Francesca is cast and written to be a little bit too pretty and naive, and we feel like telling her she has more than two choices. And Dev's character feels way too lucky in work and love, like maybe he shouldn't punch above his weight all the time. But for both of them, the exaggeration is 90% less than anything else done on movies and TV, even recent non-conventional shows, *coughcoughNetflix's Lovecough*.

Having said that, count me up as a fan of the experimental episodes. Thief, Thanksgiving and especially New York, I Love You are the reason I hope and wish and even expect Netflix to renew this series for another season..
posted by kandinski at 11:19 PM on June 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I feel like the primary strength of the show is how well it captures emotions that almost all of us have felt. I've never been a heterosexual Indian actor with a huge apartment in New York, but when I watch this show, it's like I am Dev. That's really rare even for high quality, well written shows. I can't remember ever feeling like this about a character.

Although - this storyline was pretty close to home. I recently developed feelings for someone after a few months of date-like encounters and intimate conversations. That cab ride earlier in the season was me every weekend. I finally got the nerve to confess my feelings, but he didn't return them (there was no fiance in this case).

I really hope there's a season three. I hope she stays in New York, but we already know it's not going to be happily forever after. No one wants to watch a drama without the drama.
posted by AFABulous at 7:32 PM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

One more thing, when Francesca ordered water at the bar and said she was tired, I was sure she was pregnant and that was going to be her reason for staying with Pino.
posted by AFABulous at 7:36 PM on June 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

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