Take a Trip Out of Your Bedroom with Aziz Ansari’s Master of None

We are mostly all locked in. Some are starting to get restless. Some like me are still enjoying the God given break and maybe hoping for an extended one under the guise of “let the curve flatten”. While, some are starting to lose their imaginations of what life used to be like. All it takes is the right music, book, movie or TV show to restore our fantasies and keep our minds alive during this challenging period. 

Master of None, co-created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, depicts an adult man’s quest for connection and love in New York City. Alongside finding love, he’s also trying to stabilise his acting career which could be hard to do because of the expectations of his Indian parents. It stars Aziz Ansari in the leading role, with Lena Waithe and Eric Wareheim taking supporting roles. It is a comedy romance that boasts memorable performances and well written screenplay that serves the characters adequately. It does not rely on the complex fabrication of jokes or orchestration of intellectual punchlines, it is just naturally funny as hell, especially when the characters just do humans stuffs, which is funnier cos it is like seeing our awkward selves in a mirror. This Netflix series is the perfect show for times like this when we have to stay home, practicing social distancing and isolation of all forms in order to, you know, #FlattenTheCurve.

As it is spring time, a couple of us had plans to visit new places and make trips to old places to experience the culture, lifestyle and food in this region, or maybe for just plain gratification. Unfortunately, due to health situation around the world, we all had to cancel or shelve plans in order to help ourselves and hopefully we have our neighbours as well in mind. Unable to travel or even make unnecessary outdoor runs, there should be that go-to movie to keep our imaginations glowing and sparking, containing images of places we hoped to visit, or places we’re still hoping to visit once all of this is over. However, it might not feature the exact places we hoped to visit, but Master of None does just right with its ingredients of colourful and unusual glitters that we do not see on screen everyday. My thesis goes thus: Master of None is the perfect TV show for times like this when we find ourselves indoor.

Firstly, the series is rich AF in good food. Co-creator and star Aziz Ansari is an outspoken food enthusiast who does not shy away from cooking and trying out new restaurants in real life. As the series is a bit biographical, drawing stories from the comedian’s life, it truthfully depicts his love for the kitchen life on the small screen. Moreover, being a second generation American with Indian roots in the USA, we get to see an array of Indian cuisines, African American meals (on a particular Thanksgiving episode) which pays homage to Denise (played by Lena Waithe), his close friend who is African American. Numerous jokes are pointed at the restaurant scene, like the act of making bookings, waiting for tables due to lack of a reservation, idea of restaurant rating on Yelp!, reading reviews to make your choice and so on. Finally, the main character’s trip to Italy in the second season doubles down on the pattern of food being an important aspect of this show. It showcases Italian local kitchen as much as it could, with pasta often made from the scratch and enjoyed with awesome wine. Season 2 is basically a montage of food porn moments that leaves you hungry when your heart is not getting crushed by the underlying storyline.

Secondly, as mentioned above, the second season takes place primarily in a small but pretty Italian town. During this season which is a favourite of mine, we enjoy outstanding cinematography, most especially that of the Italian scenery. Coming along with this series in this small Italian town, with the Italian language also fully embraced, it feels like you are in an Italian city centre, lost and in love. Just with the power of your imaginations and you might find yourself there in a blink of an eye. In case Italy is not your thing, the level of cinematography and lighting does not drop even when scenes are shot in New York City, where it is multicultural.

Lastly, as it features multiple characters of ethnic minorities, it displays a wide range of culture compared to a normal TV show. We are all familiar and keen on western cultures which we should have gotten enough of already through other means. Good trips are always to the less popular places where their cultures are hardly ever shown in books and movies. But with this series, we get to enjoy the Indian culture of a Muslim man in America, not leaving out that of African Americans, an African immigrant, working class, and once again the Italian experience that I have been prioritising. Keep an eye out for season 2 episode 6. It does wonderfully well in showing the cultural dynamism of New York City in a way that has never been seen before. Elements of culture which includes daily lifestyle, music, language and mannerisms are often highlighted. Biggest from these being the music which takes a prominent spot in the 20 episodes.

Master of None is a modern adventurous series which leaves no man behind as it places the lives of minorities on the small screen. This might make you hella hungry, but we are trying to keep our minds and imaginations healthy here, aren’t we? Despite not being able to be physically present at the places shown due to travel restrictions, we might just have the best chance of having a taste of Italy thanks to a television show. Amongst all elements of splendor (on a cheap scale) that the series promotes, it places love of ourselves and one another at the forefront, which is what I would like to admonish us all to practice as we practice social distancing. Let’s think about others and not ourselves. Then, our safety is assured. You are not risking your life, you are risking the lives of others. Stay at home and enjoy the gem that is Master of None and you will find yourself in places you never imagined during this period.

Master of None is available to stream on Netflix.

Seen master of none? What do you like and not like about it? Are you still hoping strongly for a third season like me? Let’s chat in the comments section below.

P.S: I am just a young boy trying to get my brain back in shape for 5-paragraph essays as my new semester starts today. An introduction with a thesis, three part body structure and a conclusion, all check. I think I am ready.

Bis Bald!

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