The second season of Master of None is, in a word, masterful. Ironic, I know - but it feels appropriate. In Season One Aziz Ansari laid the groundwork for his idea of what a television show could be - real, personal and one that faces issues head-on without overdramatizing the episode. Taking direction from shows like Louie - nothing here feel over-the-top - except for maybe Dev’s new occupation as host of a faux competition show called Clash of the Cupcakes. But even this take on reality programming feels grounded - as much as it exists as a mockery of what modern television has become - that within itself is what makes it so easy to believe.
From the very first episode, filmed entirely in black and white as an homage to old Italian cinema, Aziz’s charm flourishes throughout the rest that follow. Part of what makes this show so exceptional is that it hardly feels like Aziz is even acting. As a fan of his television roles, film appearances and stand-up comedy it’s not hard to notice that the character he portrays is essentially a version of himself - he loves food (he even belongs to a real life group that he assembled with fellow co-star Eric Wareheim called “The Food Club”), he despises modern-day dating but keeps a positive attitude throughout the entirety of the process, and he has significantly great taste in music — which is especially obvious based on the exceptional soundtrack choices.
Speaking of dating, I feel as though it would be a disservice not to mention the fourth episode of the series, "First Date". This episode tackles what it’s like to get enthralled in the world of dating apps such as Tinder. Aziz does this by splicing up multiple dates with multiple women all into the same couple locations to represent the repetition of his “moves” and the highs and lows that follow depending on the connection, or lack-of, that he is having with each of his matches. Also worth mentioning is the episode “Thanksgiving” where Aziz takes the backseat to some secondary characters in order to tell a coming-out story that is every bit impactful as it is integral to this shows overall message.
Much like “Thanksgiving”, each episode is drastically different from each other - almost as though they can be identified in a word like “the one with this” or “the one with that” (sup, Friends?). One episode entitled "New York, I Love You" features the star of the show for less than a minute before you’re taken on a journey through a moment in time of drastically different lifestyles all existing within the same city which showcases just what makes New York, New York. Master of None keeps you on your toes because not once are you left wondering what’s going on in a sense of confusion - but instead, you’re excited to find out the meaning behind what is happening. Because if this show has taught any of us anything - it’s that there is a reason for everything. Every scene, every action is soaked in metaphor and serves as a different form of social commentary. Without giving away too much with specific examples - there is a reason that a particular scene in the episode mentioned above involving the use of sign language and the topic of cunnilingus begins with a woman mid-text who then proceeds to set her phone down and engage herself in reality. The subtleties are significant and because of them this show begs for your attention and states it’s case as to why you should give it repeated watch-throughs to fully comprehend it.
Again, I don’t want to spoil too much about this season but it’s worth noting that the way Rachel’s character is handled, again, while subtle, is very impactful. It is a perfect example of the awkwardness of the aftermath of ending a relationship where the flirtation remains and there is an obvious interest in keeping things alive on both ends for the sake of “just in case”. She lingers - just like things generally do - where at any moment a text message or email can be received that changes everything and because we are groomed to expect this in our own lives - the potential of it keeps our eyes suction-cupped to our devices as we wait for the same thing to potentially happen to these beloved characters.
Dev wears his heart on his sleeve in every relationship that he is involved in - both in friendship (such as the returning and endearing bud-mance between himself and Arnold) and also in his romantic endeavors. He serves as a character that simply loves things and people and is on a path to find which of those things and people are worth holding on to as he enters the next stage of his life. Dev is clearly on a path to find himself throughout this season - however, unlike it’s predecessor where Dev seemed to have the entire world open to him, it appear that as he ages, he realizes that he needs to start making more long-term life decisions rather than temporary ones - almost like it’s more of a quest for permanence than it is one of simply doing what makes him happy.
In season two of Master of None, Aziz further proves his grasp on the millennial mind and the era of which we all currently exist. He tackles subjects such as love, dating, racism, stereotypes, family, sexuality and other major and minor topics in a way that is light-hearted so that the show never enters that deep-drama territory, but one that also feels real and causes you to ponder about each topic and how you’d personally approach or relate to them. Master of None’s second season is a unique and momentous collection of ten episodes that I personally think anybody would find comfort in. I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Aziz and company on stage at the Emmy’s later this year for reasons other than, but also still including, it’s remarkable writing. I have read many publications that identify the current state of television as the “golden-age” due to the high profile of content on services such as Netflix and HBO. I, personally, agree with that sentiment and Master of None is a prime example of why I do.
Side note: planning my trip to Storm King now.