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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

‘Master of None’ stands out in a year of great comedies

Master of None stands out in a year of great comedies

Well, that was terrific. “Master of None” explores life through the eyes of Dev (Aziz Ansari) as he tries to take off in his acting career. Dev started in commercials to pay for his rent, but when he lands a part in “The Sickening,” he begins to see the various perspectives everyone has on life.

Along with Dev are his friends Arnold (Eric Warehelm), Brian (Kelvin Yu), Denise (Lena Waithe) and Dev’s girlfriend Rachel (Noel Wells), and each forms a part in a fantastic comedy group. Everybody in the main cast is likable. They are funny people that you would want to hang out with, which is what made “Parks and Recreation” so special. Some of the highlights include Arnold and Rachel shopping for a couch together, based on an ad on Craiglist. It gives the opportunity for Noel Wells to have a comedic voice, something that “Saturday Night Live” was never able to do in her brief run back in 2013, and for Eric Warehelm to be as goofy as he was back in Adult Swim’s brilliant “Tim and Eric: Awesome Show.”

Another comedic gold moment was when the group was discussing the different ways Dev should ask a friend of his to the concert. Having all of the ideas bounce off of each of the characters allowed everybody to deliver witty dialogue and have fun with each other.

A comparison the show faces is how “Master of None” is Netflix’s version of the terrific FX series “Louie.” Upon first glance at it, “Master of None” does feel like “Louie” quite a bit, as “Louie” also has explored life in New York City, but “Louie” is mostly a series with an often funny, but cynical viewpoint.

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“Master of None” is an incredibly funny show. You will be hitting the pause button to take a breather from laughing so hard. “Master of None” succeeds as it tries to make Dev, his friends and the audience become better people through optimism.  “Louie” tends to be a show that delivers some terrific dramatic moments sprinkled throughout its surrealist humor.

“Master of None” is weird at times, but it never goes into dark places “Louie” hits. That is fine, “Master of None” is not a comedy-drama. There are a couple of moments in the episode “Mornings” that hinted at how this was a different kind of series. Ansari’s team mostly features Dev and Rachel trying to work through their relationship problems in a very funny, but bittersweet way. “Louie” is its own unique product and so is “Master of None,”neither one outranks the other. Both are terrific series within their own right. In many ways, “Master of None” is a comedy of perspectives.

From different generations, marriages, people and issues in the film industry, “Master of None” takes viewers on a five-hour ride that allows the audience to hear conversations and ideas Ansari has taken from his own stand up material and life and put together nicely. Take the “Indians on TV” episode that Aziz Ansari said in a Twitter Q&A went through multiple rewrites to create. Throughout the episode, Dev meets up with Ravi (Ravi Patel) and talks about how he is done with Indian stereotypes featured in movies and TV. Dev has backed this up with a cold opening highlighting various TV shows and movies that have portrayed Indians as convenience store owners, doctors or scientists. “Why can’t there be a Pradeep, just once, who’s like an architect?” a frustrated Dev asks. It is a standout episode from the rest because it takes a pause from the season’s overarching story, and it briefly becomes a documentary style between Dev and Ravi talking about the issues they’ve faced in trying to get work.  Its second episode “Parents” works the same way as Dev and Brian talk to their parents about the struggles of coming to America, and it feels very real and emotionally honest.

This is, without a single doubt, the best work Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang and godfather of its production Michael Schur of “Parks and Recreation” fame have created for Netflix. It has been an outstanding year in comedy, especially for a network like Netflix. They have produced such series as the wonderful debut of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” to the second round of “Bojack Horseman” and “Master of None” is a welcome and necessary addition to their lineup. It drives home the point that we still need better diversity in movies and television, but when you look around in the last year and see shows have a breakout lead like Amazon’s “Transparent,” FOX’s “Empire,” or the comedy lineup of ABC with “Blackish” and “Fresh off the Boat,” TV is more than ready to have unique storytelling ideas.

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