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Master of None: Season 1 (Aziz Ansari) - Review

Master of None: Season 1

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT’S been almost four years since Aziz Ansari’s Master of None debuted on Netflix to generally widespread acclaim. But while those who read the reviews and placed it on their radar have had to be patient (if they didn’t have Netflix), the wait is most definitely worth it.

Ansari shot to fame playing the high-energy and sometimes highly conceited Tom Haverford on Parks & Recreation. But anyone anticipating a new spin on the same kind of character format will be pleasantly surprised to find the actor in much more restrained form.

Rather, where Haverford often went for the comedy jugular with quick-witted put-downs, his character in Master of None, named Dev, prefers to tickle the intellect.

Dev is a 30-year-old trying to jump-start his acting career and improve his dating game technique with help from his eclectic group of friends. In doing so, it has plenty to say about identity, race, gender and diversity – as well as the delights that can be found in food.

In many ways, it’s an intensely personal project, reflecting Ansari’s own experiences of the world in general, as well as that of showbiz. He co-created the show with Alan Yang and even cast his own parents in the role of Dev’s parents.

Of the season one episodes that standout, Parents sets the standard early, as Dev and his friend Brian attempt to show their appreciation for their immigrant parents with occasionally awkward results. There is comedy mixed with thought-provoking genre here – but it feels authentic (and not necessarily in an Office-style approach).

Indians On TV is another episode – and arguably one of the season’s bravest – for the way it marries comedy with some generally astute observations on casual racism. While there’s a genuinely poignant episode to be found in Old People.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Master of None was named ‘the year’s best comedy’ by the New York Times after it first aired in 2015, going on to win numerous awards and nominations – including an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Ansari’s performance. It’s easy to see why such accolades came its way.

Season one is an immensely enjoyable ride and with the second, Rome-based season following onto DVD in just a matter of weeks, it’s a home entertainment delight that’s not to be missed.

Master of None: Season 1 is available to buy on DVD on Monday, April 29, 2019.