By: Alex Marcheschi
Last night I started the second season of Aziz Ansari’s hit Netflix show Master of None and I got hooked like a fat kid with a pack of watermelon Sour Patch Kids in his grubby paws. I couldn’t stop until I consumed every last morsel of the show. I watched the first two episodes before the Spurs-Warriors game, watched the third during halftime and then finished the entire 10 episode season after the game. I rarely get sucked into Netflix like this, not a huge binge watch guy, but Aziz left me begging for more after every episode. I actually tried to stop watching, but I couldn’t. My brain wouldn’t let me sleep until I knew how everything shook out.
For starters, I love the show’s name, the phrase “master of none” is basically a more critical way of saying “jack of all trades.” Instead of highlighting the fact that he’s OK at a lot of stuff, Aziz chooses to display how, although he knows how to do a bunch of things, he hasn’t mastered any of them. It’s a classic glass-half-full/glass-half-empty situation, and that’s why I love it, because more often than not we tend to look at the glass half empty.
Ansari has the millennial demographic pinned down. While network TV executives are scratching and clawing for some semblance of a millennial audience, Aziz has them eating brunch out of the palm of his hand. Why? Because he gets it.
Watching the second season reminded me of listening to Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album DAMN., because after finishing the season, you just inherently know that Aziz spent hours upon hours in meditation while he created this masterpiece. Somehow, someway, Aziz captured and displayed raw emotions that have been relinquished by the vapid, smartphone induced millennial malaise we live in. Master of None’s second season is a classic romance story, a hilarious tale of familial relationships and a gut wrenching, violent display of raw emotion all wrapped in one magnificent orb of entertainment.
As a 24-year-old male, I feel like I’ve grown up with Aziz. I’ve been there on his journey. I remember crying laughing at his stand up routine as RAAAAAAAANDY With Eight A’s on YouTube:
Being filled with joy when he made a brief appearance in Kanye and Jay-Z’s “Otis” video:
(Aziz briefly pops up around the 2:33 mark)
And feeling like we made it when he crushed his role as Tom Haverford in the now iconic show, Parks and Recreation:
I loved the first season of Master of None, but there was just something about the second season that made me so happy. Aziz’s story is a rags to riches fairytale, everything he does has a “if he can do it, why can’t I?” vibe to it…and I think that’s because he wants it to.
Throughout the second season Ansari says to hell with the rules by including an entirely silent ten minute segment that follows a deaf New York City girl’s quest for love; dipping himself into the extremely touchy subject that is homosexuality in black culture; and giving the world a hysterical, yet eye-opening, sneak peak into the life of a African taxicab driver. Some criticize the show for assuming that everyone can relate to NYC life, but I find that criticism to be invalid as Seinfeld did the exact same thing. Those who consume TV know what it’s like, or at least have their own fantasy of what it’s like, to be an ant in the Big Apple.
The way he constructed the show was amazing, he takes breaks to shine the spotlight on his friends and give the viewer a break from the plot, but he always ties things together in the end, much like the aforementioned Seinfeld. Although he would be deemed a “comedian” by most of society, Ansari created a romantic masterpiece in the second season as it’s anchored by the idea of forbidden love.
In a rare feat, Ansari provided the perfect show for everyone. He pulls back the curtain and reveals what it’s like to be a minority in nearly every sense of the word. Watching the second season of Master of None is like taking a road trip by yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll laugh, cry, enter into a pit of depression and even experience that ever elusive moment of anagnorisis.
Let me put it this way, it made me sit down on a Sunday and write a review for like four hours, and I don’t even like writing TV show reviews. In a weird way, that perfectly describes the second season as Ansari forces the viewer to go down a road he or she may not even want to explore. Master of None makes you afraid to not, in the very least, attempt to become the best version of yourself. What more can you ask of a show?