Gimme Something To Watch: Master of None

I am pretty positive I once read in a Woody Allen book that the best humour is supposed to make you think, not just provide quick & cheap laughs. At least I used to be positive. I can’t seem to find that quote anywhere. Am I tripping? Maybe. But I’m certainly not out of my mind when I say Master of None goes toe-to-toe against Louie for the title of best comedy show right now.

MoNIndTVMuch like Louis CK’s brilliant TV show, Master of None features Aziz Ansari in the quasi-autobiographical role of Dev: an aspiring actor of Indian descent whose biggest role was a yogurt commercial. A young dude, at – a lot of – times immature, getting caught in situations that demand more of him. He doesn’t always take the higher road, but it’s exactly those honest mistakes that make him such a relatable and lovable protagonist.

The show is not an onslaught of jokes. It finds a sublime mix of real life and absurdity like a carefully constructed dish balances its flavors . Each episode has its own major theme behind the series events, such as having children (“Plan B”), cheating (“The Other Man”) or typecasting in entertainment (“Indians on TV”, and many other episodes). Some of them feel almost like modern Aesop fables, if Aesop was hilarious and wrote about humans instead of talking animals. The main arch revolves around Dev’s love interest in Rachel (Noël Wells), the indie darling we’ve all fallen for at one point or another.

Besides the phenomenal writing, the casting and character development behind this series is on a whole other level. The fact that the main actors involved are not extremely famous is a plus, since it grants the characters a lot more personality; a lot more “truth”. They’re presented without introduction but are gradually given more depth as the show runs. This slow build is a breath of fresh air in a world saturated with “comedy” shows that have caricatures, not characters. Each member of Dev’s gang is pivotal in their own manner; there are no expendables here.

Several were the moments in which I saw myself or people I know somewhere in the show. Dev is a pasta enthusiast and foodie who has a very hard time making up his mind. Shouts out to Denise, portrayed by Lena Waithe, a lesbian character that is not a walking cliché. My sister is homosexual, and it’s nice to see lesbian women being well represented for a change. “Old People” is one of my favorite episodes, and it goes right after my feels gland – TovH regulars will know of my highly publicized love for my grandma. It’s also the episode where Eric Wareheim (Arnold) and Lynn Cohen (guest starring as Rachel’s grandmother) steal the show.


Dev, Rachel, Denise and Arnold sharing one of the show’s many meals. There is some serious foodie bait going on in Master of None, featuring real NYC eateries such as Mission Chinese Food.

Even if the first episode “Plan B” is not enough to sell you on this show – it wasn’t for me – the second chapter blew me out of the water. “Parents” illuminates the contrast between the lives of first and second generation immigrants in America, carrying a very poignant message of gratitude. I don’t want to spoil the details, but I have to say this episode offered me a very personal insight about my own behaviour. The direction is masterfully handled by Ansari himself, juxtaposing a sweet Manhattan life with the woes of living in India and China. Dev’s parents are played by Aziz’ own folks, who did a great job. Shoukath Ansari, his dad, is quite the character, literally and figuratively.

I could go on and on about what easily became one of my favorite shows, but I’ll stop here. Peep the videos below, listen to the killer soundtrack on the ‘Fy, and get on it. I need people to discuss the show with.

Decisiveness seems to be a long lost trait in this age of infinite choices. Dev can barely choose a taco stand, let alone decide what he really wants to do with his life. I find myself in a similar spot, and a lot of you likely do too.

However hard decision-making may be, watching Master of None is a no-brainer.

Written by:

Published on: February 23, 2016

Filled Under: Opinion, Reviews

Views: 894

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  • Dagon

    Come to think of it, humans are nothing else but “talking” animals.

    Shit, Aesop.


    ill have to check this out, as im a big fan of Aziz

    • Parks and Rec cast members >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


        mmmm well Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones have some big duds (not boobs).

        Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, and Aziz it seems can do little wrong

        • Still enjoy them all nonetheless.

      • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

        One of them has a cop comedy out. No idea if it’s any good, but the previews looked promising.

        • Angie Tribeca, I have yet to see it.

          • it’s slapstick in the vein of Airplane and Police Academy. everybody is straight-faced whilst doing goofy stuff. i dig, but it’s not life changing. (p.s. Rashida Jones >>>>>>>>>>>)

          • Oh, so this should be right of KJU’s alley.

          • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

            That’s the one. Looks like it has a sorta Naked Gun/Pink Panther/Good Guys thing going on.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I like that show a lot,

  • Great show.

  • This show is bullshit specifically because Dev’s apartment is way too nice for a struggling actor in NYC.

    • Ha, wasn’t that the case for Liz Lemon to in 30 Rock?

    • Dubs
      • The castle seems like a better deal on the surface until you realize there’s no indoor plumbing.

        • Dubs

          That’s why you invest in one of those Victorian-era nightsoil rooms.

    • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

      I dunno, Friends got away with portraying an all-white Manhattan where everyone’s happy all the time, no one in NYC is rude, and shit was apparently cheap for god knows how many seasons.

    • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

      Come to think of it, the main character in Ugly Betty was able to afford a condo in NYC working as an intern at a fashion magazine. That probably pays even less than a struggling actor. (yes, I like Ugly Betty. Sue me!)

  • Noël Wells is so goddamn cute as well.

  • Dubs

    I haven’t really sunk my teeth into a comedy in a long time. You make a good case for this one.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I’ve been watching SNL and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon lately with my better half. For a long time the only things I watched were dark, violent, serious, etc.

    • Dubs

      Is that Riot’s mascot?

      • Hahaha! That’s exactly what I thought.

  • Funniest moment of the show…

  • Speaking of Netflix shows, I’m finally getting around to watching season 4 of Arrested Development.

    • Owlswald

      I just finished season 1 of Better Call Saul which was just one big tease. I should start skipping the first season of any show and start at season 2

      • Nooo. You’ll miss one of the greatest episodes ever with Mike.

      • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

        I definitely wanna watch that after I finish Breaking Bad! Doesn’t it sorta go where BB left off?

        • No, before.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Second episode was pretty decent.

          • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom


          • Yeah, it’s well before all the shit happens in Breaking Bad.

          • Owlswald

            It makes me want to re-watch breaking bad though. Gives you good historical perspectives on some crucial characters.

          • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

            Next week, I’m probably gonna be spending a lot of time catching up on GOT. I’m only 6 episodes into the entire series.

    • Dubs

      I was in Season 2 I think and just got really bored of it. I felt like nothing ever resolved and the exact same plot was presented in a slightly different way in every episode. That said, I thought David Cross was absolutely hilarious.

      • I never really watched it for the plot.

      • Owlswald

        The new Mr. Show episodes are excellent BTW

      • Óðinn

        Yeah. It’s meh. Too boring.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Everyone should watch Akercocke- “the making of Words that go Unspoken”

  • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

    I might check this out. I like comedy that requires some thinking, like Pooty Tang, Master Of Disguise, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Baseketball, Shakes The Clown, stuff like that. Should be right up my alley.

    • Owlswald

      Zohan, Baseketball and Beerfest. I could watch those movies on repeat.

      • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

        Oh damn, I forgot about Beerfest! It’s been ages since I’ve seen that. Don’t forget Grandma’s Boy.

    • I know you are being sarcastic but Master of None dose not require thinking. It’s just a real life comedy.

      • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

        In all seriousness, the summary in the article sounds interesting, so I might check it out after I get done with Breaking Bad (finally) and finish the last two episodes of Fairy Tails. I’ll probably get around to it on the weekend.

  • thanks for spotlighting this show, @dagonthefishgod:disqus; it’s absolutely spectacular (no surprise it still holds a 100% on rottentomatoes).
    fav episode: Ladies and Gentlemen (“Let’s go get some tacos! Come on. Give a nice guy a shot. Let a nice guy win for once.”)

    • Some of the more subtle moments in that show crack me up. Like the scene where he gets dog shit on his shoe and he tries scraping it off for an over extended amount of time. Same goes for the toy dinosaur “Roar” scene.

      • …and every scene with H Jon Benjamin!

        • Of course. always welcomed.

        • DVRKBEVRD

          oh shit, it has H Jon Benjamin in it?

          • For a few episodes, yes. Not a huge role.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            way to under sell it, Fishgod

  • I dig this show, but some of the acting is fucking atrocious.

    • i dunno m[ann], i can’t find any complaints. of which actors aren’t you fond?

      • Yeah, never noticed that shit acting.

        • RJA

          Dude, that Eucharist record is pretty killer – I should learn to trust your recommendations!

          • Ha, some people dare to trust me. Haha!

            Seriously though, glad you dig that.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            speaking of, my Skaphe records are otw!

          • Same! Shipped today.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            awesome! perhaps youll approve of some of the others slated for tax returns. no spolies, tho

          • DVRKBEVRD

            i didnt see your edit earlier but that Beastia Arcana and that Darkspace really wanted to be bought, might have to come back to em

          • RJA

            I’m in the latter half of the first track – I need to crank this when I get home.

          • It’s so suffocating.

    • Lacertilian

      I’m 3 episodes in, and yes, there’s a couple of scenes where the acting could be more believable.


    Yo. this woman just tried to tell me that she was allergic to the radiation from my phone, and if i could step back from her.

    How the fuck did she answer her own phone this morning? Fucking people man

    • more beer

      She probably had her tin foil hat on.

    • Max

      Did you ask her exactly that question?


        i didnt wanna trigger her bro

  • comments section is kinda quiet. in steps JJM…
    this show is shot BEAUTIFULLY, more like a movie than a sitcom. the credits are shown in the beginning. the directors make full use of the widescreen presentation. lighting is always natural.

    • Quiet you say?


        • No.
          Please no.
          Anything but Da Ruckus.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan


    • Dagon

      I’m glad you like this. Now I wanna fly over to watch season 2 with you.

      Apparently they’re in no rush to produce it because they want it to feel as natural as 2.

      • well if ole’ Gil makes it big in the scratch-offs, i’ll arrange for that!

        • Dagon

          Harold’s Chicken + Kuma + Master of None s02

          • Kuma’s in Chicago? that place slays

          • Dagon

            I really want to make a foodie trip to Chicago one day

  • Dev’s relationship quibbles hit very close to home. be it finding great chemistry with a girl who turns out to be taken, the dreaded silence after sending out that first text, questioning if a relationship is actually going to grow into something serious versus fizzle out after the newness is over…

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      They hit close to home with me too. I hate being single but every time I ask someone out they reject me so I’m extremely hesitant to keep on going for it with all the rejection I’ve faced. At least they aren’t rude when they reject me, they let me down easily.

      • Vault Dweller

        Sometimes those small victories are all we can ask for.

  • Aziz said on a podcast (WTF with Marc Maron) that the show has been getting tons of praise for its diverse case, but the creators never went out of their way to inject diversity. the girl who plays Denise just turned out to be the warmest person to audition for that role. they did however, want to toy with racial stereotypes. for instance Brian (Alan Yang’s character) plays a hunky ladies’ man in the show, cause how often is that character played by an Asian?




    • Vault Dweller

      Don’t know that I’ve ever seen the Azn dude play the ladies’ man on TV, but my college roommate definitely played that role for the 3 years we lived in the dorms!

  • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

    In whole other (sad) news, RIP Piotr Grudzinski (Riverside’s guitarist).

    God fucking damnit, 2016, stop being a fucking dick!

  • nbm02ss

    I still need to check this out. Glad Vikings is back on and Vinyl has been pretty watchable so far.

    • Flying Hairy Uvula Of Doom

      Damn, forgot about that show! I got 2 episodes in and got sidetracked.

    • Óðinn

      Yes. Vikings is good. Vinyl, so far so good.

  • Óðinn

    Black Mirror was pretty good.

  • Lacertilian

    Finally checking this out as I type this Dagon, I remember you telling me last year to get on board, this was the reminder I needed to kick my arse into gear. I haven’t been watching much TV lately, 3 episodes in and it’s not too bad.
    I prefer the artistic aspect of Louie but Aziz has always made me smirk so I think this will still work for me.


    is it seriously only wednesday? just fucking kill me now

    • cannibal corpse is playing in my area tonight.

      • Boss the Ross

        I gotta wait a few weeks.

        • you an Abysmal Dawn fan? are they opening?

          • Boss the Ross

            I can jam them, though I’m not too familiar with them.
            Obituary and Cryptopsy as well

          • try them on for size. i’d say they’re my favorite out of the four bands. even though i’m huge into CC

          • Boss the Ross

            Solid man, will do.


        go see it, theyre great live

        • ticket in hand. can’t wait! gonna be minted out AF

          • DVRKBEVRD

            hard upvote

  • Vault Dweller

    Damn, I’m interested. Good review, Dagon!

  • Waynecro

    I was considering watching this show. I guess I’ll have to give it a shot. Thanks, Dagon!