Even though Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series, Master of None, has only been out for a few weeks, it’s already made a big impression on critics and viewers alike. A 10-episode series about Dev (Ansari), a struggling actor living in New York, quickly became–dare I say it–the voice of a generation.
You might recognize Ansari from a little show called Parks and Recreation, where he played Tom Haverford, a materialistic and entrepreneurial bro who is a caricature of social-media-and-consumer culture wrapped up into one person. His character on Master of None is the same guy–but has real life problems, and is much less gregarious.
Surrounded by his friends Arnold (Eric Wareheim), Denise (Lena Waithe) and Brian (Kelvin Yu), Dev balances family, romance, work and friends, all while connecting to a deeper part of us–the part that wants to connect with our families, with our partners, with our bosses.
The second episode, “Parents”, is a standout in the series. Dev and Brian both lament that they can’t seem to connect with their parents–Dev’s father can’t get his iPad to stop dinging and is asking Dev for tech help, and Brian’s father is a man of few words. The episode flashes back to the stories of both their parents–Dev’s in India and Brian’s in Taiwan. The parents, who came to the United States so their kids could have more opportunity, play a crucial role in shifting the perspective of how immigrant families are portrayed in TV and film. Instead of the two families being compared to the majority white culture, they are South Asian and East Asian cultures who live in America, and they play wonderfully against each other.
Master of None can be binged or picked at: each episode is rooted strongly in a single concept, but the overall series follows the romantic arc of Dev and Rachel’s (Noel Wells) relationship, from the first flames of romance to the more established routine of relationships.
You can watch Master of None on Netflix.