TV review: Master of None, Netflix
- Brian Donaldson
- 12 May 2017
Aziz Ansari returns with a second season of musings upon modern romance in the age of Tinder
Whatever you may think of Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang's very modern sitcom, there's no denying that they like to mix it up. While season one seemed to switch from a relationship half hour followed by a racial identity episode and back again, the follow-up collection plays so wildly around with form and structure and content that no two episodes appear in any way alike.
At the height of its playfulness, one episode's narrative drive more or less excludes the main cast, instead batting between the trials of a bellhop, a deaf couple and a cab driver.
Each episode can be watched in isolation while simultaneously maintaining a general thread of Dev's hunt for 'the one': for some that could be as much of a strength as it is a weakness, but with the UK and US sitcom environment in something of a creative stasis, such inventiveness is a blast of fresh air.
Having relocated to Italy in order to cultivate his pasta-making skills and get some distance from his season one amour Rachel, Ansari turns on his natural charm (some have cruelly suggested this is down to a lack of acting ability) as Dev cycles around Modena or runs around its alleys chasing the thief who nabbed his phone. Yes, thieves and bicycles are there to please fans of Italian neo-realism while shooting this episode in glorious monochrome only adds to the nodding and winking at film buffs.
While the main focus is on making each segment aesthetically distinct from one another, the narrative weight shifts from social commentary (though one half hour is entitled 'Religion') to relationships, with Dev and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) still on a relentless hunt for something akin to true love in the age of texting and Tinder. Master of None is as contemporary a comedy series as you'll find, while keeping its roots firmly embedded in ye olde matters of the heart.
Master of None is available now on Netflix.