Master of None premieres this Friday
Popular comedian Aziz Ansari will release ten episodes of his new television series, Master of None, to Netflix on Friday, Nov. 6. Ansari gained fame and popularity with his portrayal of Tom Haverford on Amy Poehler’s comedy Parks & Recreation, in which Haverford navigated the politics of small government with loose morals and bizarre antics. Since then, Ansari has entertained his fans with various comedy specials, most notably Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening, and has, most recently, charmed America with his book Modern Romance. But beside his achievements in the world of comedy as it pertains to appearances and specials, Ansari has claimed a place in the lives of twenty-somethings as a sort of love guru.
Ansari speaks a lot to what relationships mean in the current day and how the process of dating has changed since he himself was in college. Ansari, now 32, discusses dating in the modern era with self deprecation, confusion, and with the goal of illustrating the challenges and changes presented to those who are trying to find love.
In Modern Romance, Ansari introduces the term “emerging adulthood” to describe the period in a person’s twenties in which they are exploring romantic options, while still developing as an individual. Ansari juxtaposes this period with the way the twenties were perceived back in the early to mid twentieth century, when marriage happened soon after high school and, more often than not, to an individual in the same neighborhood. Nowadays, people are bombarded with options with no clear life trajectory set up. Now, people often sift through a huge amount of people in their attempt to find their soulmate, instead of marrying a person they like for the opportunity and lifestyle it presents, and growing to love them more later.
While romantic comedies often portray a miracle ending to love, Ansari’s take on relationships deals with figuring out when to stop looking, or how to communicate through the noise of having too many options. This is why Master of None is set to be such an interesting, sentimental, and surely hilarious examination of love. As a person more than a little obsessed with love, and also social psychology, Ansari’s insights totally interest me and also scare me.
In the new trailer released last week, Ansari and a cast of characters, played by actors ranging from Noel Wells to Ansari’s own parents, all participate in the humor surrounding Ansari’s quest to figure out what he wants and then find it. The trailer includes a trip to a drugstore to buy some Plan B, discussions surrounding the difference in Instagram comments between genders, Ansari going to an audition where he is asked to demonstrate his talent with an Indian accent à la Ben Kingsley, and conversations about racism. One of the funniest parts of the trailer is Ansari’s conversation with his father, who talks about the problem he had with the first woman he considered romantically who he found too tall.
At one point, a friend asks Ansari’s character Dev to close his eyes and try to determine if he can see a future with a certain woman. Closing his eyes, Ansari answers “All I can see is black.” This seems to demonstrate that the show will take some light comic material and then reflect more deeply on it.
I often put people into two camps: those who embrace modern technology as wildly improving their lives but refuse to acknowledge the complications that it presents, and those who reject modern technology completely and don’t attempt to make it work for them. Ansari falls in the middle. He embraces the new technology that has made swiping through 50 potential matches in an hour possible, but is also quick to point out the way this is both great and terrible. His mission is to figure out how to make it less painstaking to use technology to find what you are looking for. Hopefully, with this awareness, those who find themselves in the “emerging adulthood” period can feel less lonely and understand the boat that they are in.
So far, Master of None has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from those who have seen the series ahead of its release. Both deadline.com and Entertainment Weekly have sung the show’s praises.
For anyone who has not watched Ansari’s ruminations on modern romance, I recommend watching some of his clips on Youtube. His stand up bits about explicit and uncalled for sexual text messages and his story about 50 Cent’s first grapefruit experience are great places to start. As a warning, Ansari does not deliver answers to the people. He does not have a secret recipe for success in love. But his theories and his observations and his sheer comedic talent make watching anything he does totally worth it.
Hopefully, this Friday, everyone will gain a little bit of wisdom while laughing uproariously at this semi-autobiographical Netflix Original.