Aziz Ansari (director)
Network on Air (studio)
29 April 2019 (released)
29 May 2019
This multi-award winning American comedy-drama series, co-created by and starring Aziz Ansari in the lead role, has already been a huge hit on Netflix and is now available both on DVD and Blu-ray.
Aziz Ansari plays Dev Shah, a thirty-something New Yorker whose parents originally hail from India. During the ten episodes in Series 1, Dev tries to make ends meet as an actor for TV-commercials (with ambitions of appearing in feature films) while trying to figure out the meaning of life… and love. The other main characters of this series are Rachel Silva (Noel Wells), a music publicist and Dev’s main interest in matters of the heart, Arnold Baumheiser (Eric Wareheim), the gentle giant who shares Dev’s passion for good food, Denise (Lena Waithe), a black lesbian who’s fast talking and often challenges Dev with her opinions, and last but not least Brian Chang (Kelvin Yu), another one of Dev’s closest friends and the son of Taiwanese immigrants.
In the opening episode ‘Plan B’ Dev has made the acquaintance with Rachel and the night ends up in his bed… before it ends in complete chaos due to a burst condom and emergency contraception. This spells the temporary end of a budding romance, though more chaos awaits Dev when he offers to mind the two young kids of his mate Amanda for one afternoon – not realising what brats they are what with creating havoc in a supermarket…
In ‘Parents’ both Dev and Brian take their parents to dinner as a ‘thank you’ after having realised the sacrifices their families made, through another trademark of the show which is the use of flashbacks to emphasize characters, situations etc. The situation in the restaurant begins awkward and ends funny. Families aside, Dev auditions for a low-budget horror flick called ‘The Sickening’ which forces him to audition via Skype in a crowded café and make a total twit of himself.
Other standout-episodes are ‘Indians’ during which Dev tries his darnest best to get film parts which go against the stereotypical Indian cliché though he doesn’t have much luck, not even with a now job working for a barbecue commercial. Dev has even less luck when he invites one of the waitresses from his local bar along to a gig (‘Hot Ticket’) and the dame turns out to be a crazed kleptomaniac! Meanwhile, old flame Rachel is back on the scene but confesses she has a boyfriend back in Seattle. Further mishap ensues when a frustrated Dev falls for sassy food critic Nina (Claire Danes) who turns out to be married… though cheating on her hubby inadvertently saves Nina’s marriage but leaves Dev a singleton yet again. He does get his chance at last when Rachel calls to inform him she has broken up with her boyfriend, resulting in her and Dev spending a wild day in Nashville!
Back in NY, Dev and Denise are the heroes of the underground when they film a fellow subway passengers jerking off, culminating in his arrest. Later in a bar Dev, Rachel and Denise are discussing feminist issues while one of his colleagues from a TV-commercial, Diana, finds herself stalked by a lonely man on her way home… and the theme music from John Carpenter’s slasher ‘Halloween’ is played.
One of the most poignant episodes is ‘Old People’ during which Arnold’s gramps passes away just one week after Arn and Dev visited him and home – leaving behind him fond memories and a robotic seal baby that Arn becomes attached to! Meanwhile in the local care-home, Rachel’s gran insists she shouldn’t be in a home to begin with and begs Dev to take her to her fave Italian restaurant, which he does thanks to tricking the care-home warden. After a humungous meal gran excuses herself as she needs the toilet… only to sneak out of restaurant and disappear. A worried Rachel and embarrassed Dev finally track gran down in a jazz bar which used to be her fave nightspot and find her on stage singing the blues!
Rachel moves into Dev’s apartment and while things seem blissful at first it only takes a few months before the first cracks appear, not made easier by the fact that Dev seems to ‘hide’ his white girlfriend from his parents while Rachel isn’t exactly the tidiest person. She receives an offer for a music PR job she always dreamt of but it means she would have to re-locate to Chicago for six months which, in the end, she turns down in favour of her relationship with Dev. Doesn’t mean things get much better though! After having attended a friend’s wedding both Rachel and Dev suddenly have doubts as to whether their relatively young age of thirty-something should also call for marriage and a settled life or whether they should perhaps explore life a little more… and not necessarily together! As if private things weren’t complicated enough Dev is dealt a terrible blow during the movie premiere of ‘The Sickening’ – having invited all his friend and family, only to find out the hard way that all his scenes were cut from the film! Too down and disappointed to even begin an argument with the director, Rachel more than makes up for it as she lashes out at the director during the after-party, and in a drunken state at that. With personal and professional matters in disarray, Rachel decides that it’s high time to follow her dream of moving to Tokyo before she’s too old to do so, which in turn prompts Dev to try his luck elsewhere… and we see him on a plane direction Italy to learn the art of pasta-making!
While primarily funny, MASTER OF NONE touches in topics most of us can relate to… the frustrations, disappointments, issues with race identity but also the hopes and dreams that everyday life throws as us.