Masterful Work

Remember a little bit ago when I posted the trailer to Master of None and speculated wildly about how good it would be? Well damn, it’s fantastic. After seeing the first half of Season One, I’m absolutely hooked.

I can’t decide what I like best about this show. Every detail seems meticulously planned so that it all comes off effortlessly. Even the opening titles are worth a mention, along with the pitch perfect soundtrack (horrific pun slightly intended). Each episode tackles a specific story arc while remaining interconnected, and Ansar and Alan Yang aren’t holding back. They’ve covered having kids, dating, race and minorities in show business, the immigrant experience and infidelity in the first five episodes. The show also walks the walk when it comes to the topics it discusses: the cast is diverse without feeling like a quota-filling response to demographic data. It’s effortless. When different voices are heard, it feels natural, not like a punchline. Characters are valued as individuals before they’re discussed as types.

Most importantly, though, it’s genuinely funny. Like, really damn funny. Each episode thus far has elicited at least one straight up, out-loud belly laugh from me. And that’s super rare. Seriously, when’s the last time you literally “lol-ed?” Exactly.

Sure, there are some occasional moments where familiar sitcom tropes raise their heads, or dialogue seems a little broad and expository, but these are the rare exceptions. And who cares when it looks like this? There’s a cinematic feel to the show that far transcends your run-of-the-mill three camera sitcom. I put it up there with Louie—some serious, prestige comedy work.

On a personal note, there’s something about the show that I find inspiring. Ansari has years of experience to make it seem so effortless, I know, but Master of None has me banging the keys on some projects I’ve been scared of tackling for a long time now. It’s accessible. It’s smart and funny and feels real, so much as the heightened reality of scripted TV can. It makes me want to contribute. The show is like a conversation you want to be part of, like talking with your best friends.

I just read today that Netflix is gearing up to spend 5 billion on new content next year. While there’s a lot to be said about what a ridiculously large sum that is and what the future of TV is, what I really hope is that a good chunk of that money makes its way to Mr. Ansari. His efforts should be amply rewarded and his voice given a platform commensurate to his skills, which are considerable.

I’d write more, but I can’t, ’cause I’m off to watch the next episode.

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