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Master Of None

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heard the two co-creaters interviewed on Fresh Air today - they were refreshingly lively and thoughtful.  They had definitely thought about making a show where race, culture, and identity will be undercurrents, but not treated in a too pat, condescending, or politically correct way.  I am definitely intrigued enough to give this show a try.

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I loved how the first episode took on the rift between people with kids and people without kids, and how each feels the other may be either missing out or having all the fun. As a childless person (by choice and very happy with it), I was worried at first that they were painting child-free people as shallow losers who had missed the boat, but by the end I was satisfied that they were saying people with kids are often only there because they were just passive in the face of conception or sloppy in the face of deciding vs defaulting into that path. And either way, the culture is very different between parents and non-parents. That has been shown before, but I liked the way they did it here, with the acknowledgment that even though people sometimes stay in each others' lives, there's still a gulf. THe path taken here completely changes everything; people say that, but this show meant it.


There was the one mom who seemed to genuinely be glad to be a mom, but she was also stressed and aware of what the drawbacks were, there was the totally arrested development guy without kids who seemed unsuited to adulthood in general as well as to parenting, there was the dad who was miserable and doubted his choices even if he loved his kid, and there was Aziz, who was exhausted by kids even if he liked them but didn't come off like a child himself. That seems fair. I've seen all those types and I liked that nobody got to be romanticized, and the level of love or loneliness seemed to track with the person, not which way they'd gone on breeding or not breeding.


Also, I loved Dev's lesbian friend, who basically represented the "this is a straight people problem" point of view. Lots of lesbians I know have kids, but it has a whole different layer of choice involved, and isn't something that happens because the birth control failed. There are just no surprise babies for lesbian couples. And her discussion of how we view protection made me laugh, even if in my experience it's not 100% true; I'd say it's true in many cases, but not all by any means. But where it's not true, the concern is about preventing disease, not pregnancy. There's a whole other kind of conversation going on.


I also liked that they are addressing social awareness in the course of daily life, like how Aziz was worried about taking the little girl into the public bathroom, and how when he asked a stranger to do it he got called on stereotyping. Neither he nor the women involved came off totally wrong, though. He got their point, and he apologized sincerely, but they were also kind of bitches. I thought that was cool-- there was a three dimensionality to it. And then when the kid acknowledged it was a weird situation, but then told a stranger he "took her into the bathroom and said not to tell anyone"-- and it was awkward but did NOT result in police being called; she was a brat, not a victim and that was handled in a balanced way, also.


"We cannot sell food that has had the penis of a small boy on it"-- so funny.

"He was only gone for a minute, how could he have put his penis on all 30 packages?"

"Don't yell people's ethnicities!"

"Don't put your penis on anything!"

Great lines, and again-- handled as passing moments and not major plot points. I liked how he apologized to the people who had to hear the kids yelling ethnicities, and they basically seemed to accept his apology, instead of it getting turned into a major catastrophe. Kids are the worst! Everyone knows it. It needs to be dealt with, but it doesn't need to ruin everyone's day. Likewise, the mom saying that since there was no blood, he had done a great job babysitting-- so refreshing in the face of the insanely over-protective parenting that's common these days.


In the Parents episode, I liked how Aziz and his friend came off as total brats compared to the parental flashbacks, but then how the parents were also part of the problem because they never shared about themselves (and when Aziz bought his dad a guitar, he preferred the video games too). I also liked how "iffy wifi" at first sounded like a "real problem" only from his spoiled point of view, but later was shown to have cost him a job (and the audition in the cafe was great, with everyone unsure whether to panic or if he was actually acting and whether to let him finish or not). And the dad was supportive when Aziz didn't get the job, despite that Aziz had earlier said his dad was never supportive. And he did call his dad right away when he got bad news, so you kind of realize that at some level he does feel loved and supported, even if he consciously feels like they don't connect.


I thought the parents were a little much with his mom yelling about how she doesn't like Chinese food right in the restaurant, and the dad not giving a fuck about whether she likes it when he suggested going there again. But I also liked how the other parents were speaking Chinese to the waiter to basically apologize for the obnoxious/ignorant behavior of his dining companions behind their backs. It's not just white people who are stupid, and how often do we see that shown in any way that isn't getting white people off the hook? Loved it.


In episode 3, I loved how the "dream date" turned out not to be someone he actually liked, once he got past the most superficial level of appearance. And also how he was trying to figure out how to be both respectful and a player. LOVED that he liked the one date prospect saying she would love to go but only as friends (but he didn't want that, so he didn't choose her). Hated that he ditched the date he'd finally made plans with, when the woman he first wanted to go with became available-- but liked that he knew it was wrong AND that it backfired on him when she turned out to be not his type. Also liked that when he re-connected with the date from episode 1, it didn't turn into the "second chance perfection" Hollywood says is always just around the corner. And he was disappointed, but he didn't act like a jerk about it, he was real about it but not obnoxious. There's this thin line, in life as well as art, between swallowing your truth in order to look good, acting on your feelings to the point of transgressing boundaries, and getting it right as an aware but not fake person. I like that the show is trying to show that balance, without making anyone exactly a role model or a villain. Fallible within tolerable limits, or at least watchable limits, to me is a funny enough place.


I haven't watched past episode 3, but so far I really like it. Dev is a little more of a jerk than I would want in a friend, but not so much of one that I hate him on screen. And his constant struggle to bridge various gaps, whether between his real and ideal selves, or himself and the people in his life, and to navigate complexity (like with the kids or his parents or the job interview or dating), I think is good fodder for humor that is a little cringy because of identifying with it, a little self-congratulatory because you can sometimes believe you'd be better than him, and a little inspiring because you see him sometimes get it right and you want him to have a win, or vindicating because sometimes he gets it wrong and you want to see him get his comeuppance. You just never know which it's going to be in any particular scenario, so it keeps you on the edge, while finding out. I like that feeling, of not being sure which way something is going.


And, again, I love that they've populated the show with more than tokens. It makes me feel like they aren't taking sides.

  • Love 4
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"Dev and Brian learn about their parents."



I loved, loved, loved this episode.  I don't think I've ever sat through a half hour of scripted tv that has felt that real to me, and I thought it was done with a light touch.


I was a little worried it would be too serious and heavy when I heard there would be flashbacks to the fathers' respective childhoods - so it was great to see the cut from Brian's father's story to the group laughing in the restaurant.

  • Love 8
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I thought the ending of the episode with the sandwich scene was outstanding.  The humor came from having Dev make the unexpected choice, and being able to voice what everyone else is thinking, while the mom is sitting right there, caught in her own wish she could say it.  So funny.


Ansari and Yang already have a very well developed point of view and style in this first episode.  I'm looking forward to more.

  • Love 4
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Great post, possibilities.


I can't stack up to that -- I only wanted to say that I am wanting to mainline this show the way I hear people wanted to watch all of Kimmy Schmidt (only that one didn't appeal to me).


Also, because the comparison is going to come up, this show is sort of what I expected The Mindy Project to be like, except this one succeeds in being funny.  And human.

  • Love 3
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Oh, I love this show... and I am really rooting for these kids Dev and Rachel.

What a great episode of television. I hope this show is on for enough seasons to see these kids get married.

Love the old 80s and 90s music featured in most episodes!

(Sorry, I've been binge watching this season for too many hours straight and after working all day, am too tired to post anything insightful).

  • Love 1
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I can't stack up to that -- I only wanted to say that I am wanting to mainline this show the way I hear people wanted to watch all of Kimmy Schmidt (only that one didn't appeal to me).


Also, because the comparison is going to come up, this show is sort of what I expected The Mindy Project to be like, except this one succeeds in being funny.  And human.


Yup, I feel the exact same way. I've only seen the first two episodes so far, and I loved both. I was also never able to get into Parks & Rec, despite liking the individual actors, so I'm glad I can actually watch Aziz in something all the way through, because I think he's not just talented but also very affable.


I hope the show keeps up with having us meet different friends of Dev's each episode - I think it's a fresh and fun concept. 

  • Love 1
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I loved that Dev took his one-night-stand to the drugstore (agonizing whether to wait longer for the fancier Uber), paid for the Plan B, and also threw in some apple juice. That's chivalry in the Tinder age!

I don't have children myself, but I've babysat many cousins/nieces & nephews/kids of friends, and all of them have been angels compared to the two brats Dev had to babysit. That boy in particular is way too old to be taking his wiener out in public. It's very rare that I see kids behaving that poorly in real life, and when I do, I blame the parenting more than the kids themselves. I'm really glad Dev took a stand and ate the deli sandwich. If the kiddos think their first-ever sandwiches are so great, they should eat them themselves.

Edited by chocolatine
  • Love 7
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I agree the mom wasn't great, but dad seems like a natural.


I really loved this episode, even better than the first one. As an immigrant myself I could relate to the parents' stories, especially Brian's dad's chicken story since I have a similar one, and the general recollection that "it was hard". I was a little surprised that the sons knew so little about their parents' lives. Brian's dad, while not a chatterbox, seemed very articulate and was happy to answer Dev's dad's questions, so I'm sure he would have been happy to talk to his son if he had shown genuine interest.


I thought the group text exchange was the funniest part, with Dev's dad texting the wrong Brian, and the wrong Brian accepting the invitation to the next dinner. The coffee shop audition fell a little flat for me since I've just recently read actor Kunal Nayyar's book, which has a chapter about him auditioning for a play in an Apple store via FaceTime.


I noticed that Brian's mom was only in the flashbacks but not in the present-day scenes - has she passed away?

  • Love 1
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I liked his behavior in the drugstore and about the Uber and everything, but he didn't call her to find out how she was feeling the next day or anything (I've never taken Plan B, but doesn't it cause quite a few uncomfortable side effects?), so I'm not sure quite how awesome to feel he was. I guess if it's a one night stand and everyone knows it, there's no obligation, but it kind of felt to me like some follow up would be polite after the Plan B.


Then again, I've never sought a one night stand with a stranger, so what do I know about the etiquette of such things.


I enjoyed the scene in the toy store, where the guys were liking the toys. Also, how the woman they ran into, who had since married and had a kid, was trying to be interested in whatever insane story they were telling about themselves. She seemed so genuine and decent, not a crazy or bitter or judgmental person at all, despite the weirdness of the guys. I loved her.

  • Love 4
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Loved this. LOVED it.


The guy exercising in the background while Dev and Ravi were weighing options, was great. So funny. "Keep those carbs away from me!"


Ravi saying he needed to stress eat, and raiding Dev's refrigerator-- ha!!


I also love how Dev and Ravi worked together instead of being competitive about the role.


I live for stuff like this, which calls out shittiness in the world, and airs it with complexity. What to do was not clear, and kept changing. The sheer exhaustion of dealing with it is enough to total anyone, even if you don't account for the anger, frustration, loss of opportunities, etc.


Also, the on-going revelation/depression about the brownface actor, and Ravi's evolving attitude about whether or not he was willing to do an accent-- loved it.


I thought Dev's agent was a bit of a stereotype, though (sassy Black Woman)-- that surprised me.


Loved that the athlete business partner totally got why Dev was upset and supported him, even though he was in business with the offender already. Also, the reaction to the guy dying of a heart attack ("I'm not going to high 5 that!")-- both Ravi's reaction and Dev's. I like that this show does not oversimplify, or take too many sides as to what does or does not cross a line. There's a lot of moments where someone does something that might be considered too much, but it's treated like a moment, a line was crossed but not The Rubicon.


I can't believe there are only 10 episodes. I want to see at least 100 more within the next 6 months.

Edited by possibilities
  • Love 8
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I don't have children myself, but I've babysat many cousins/nieces & nephews/kids of friends, and all of them have been angels compared to the two brats Dev had to babysit.


The general concept (truth) that other peoples' kids are exhausting, no matter how well behaved they are, when you don't have kids yourselves made me laugh really hard.  I've seen both ends of that one, and it didn't matter if the kid/s were better behaved.


I will never forget trying to keep my then-new nephew entertained for about 4 hours (felt like 8) while my sister-in-law went to a wedding or something.  I distinctly remember how clever I thought I was to make up a game of clapping his feet together.  (LIke no one has ever thought of that before.)  Then I thought about how many times I'd have to repeat that game (or think of something new) and the time ahead of me seemed to stretch out toward infinity.

  • Love 8
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I think it's really neat that aziz' parents played Devs parents here. His dad was especially funny.

I think Clem Cheung (Brian's Dad) was a gem.


Brian's Dad:  "Did you read the Economist article I emailed you?"


Me:  Falling over laughing.


I"m sorry to see from imdb that he's only scheduled to appear in the one episode.  Bring him back!


Also, Kelvin Yu (Brian) is pretty cute.  Aziz (Dev) steals the show, though.  So nice to see him acting like a real person.

  • Love 7
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This ep saved the series for me. The first two eps didn't make me laugh so I almost bailed (his parents clearly aren't actors). I love Aziz's standup so it's cool to see how the eps elaborate on each bit.

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Watched all 10 episodes--the series, as a whole, gets better and better as it goes along, because we get to know the characters and the actors become more confident, comfortable in their roles.  And while Aziz's character can be snarky, selfish, and superficial at times,  he's ultimately decent, and there are some truly moving moments in every episode.  I LOVED Episode 4 ("Indians on TV")--incisive commentary there on racism in the TV industry--and then the last three episodes, "Old People," "Mornings," and "Finale," which were so sad and lovely.  "Parents" (Episode 2) was also really good, though I would have loved even more flashbacks to the parents' childhoods/young adulthoods.


Highlights (without being too spoilery):

The Sickening!  The Sickening!

Anush cracked me up with his exercise mania and then his showing up in such a visually funny moment later in the series.

Alfred the Ghost and Baby Justin

Colin Salmon and Shakespeare

The actress who played Rachel's grandmother--wow--amazing.

Paro started out creepy but ended up adorable and so necessary.

H. Jon Benjamin was fantastic as the fellow actor on set, who gives such honest, wise advice.


Sidenote: I'm a huge Flight of the Conchords fan, and as I watched Master of None, I sensed moments where Aziz's show was sort of a natural "evolution" of Bret and Jemaine's show.  (BTW, Aziz was in the "Drive By" episode of FOTC.)  While Bret and Jemaine were two hapless immigrants (befuddled New Zealanders), trying to figure out love, friendship, and work (and in their own off-kilter ways, they addressed issues of racism, assimilation, and masculinity), Aziz is the "second generation" comic who's exploring the same issues but who's tech savvy, culturally assimilated, and blessed with more opportunities/options.  A nice connection, besides Aziz himself, is that Todd Barry (the director of The Sickening) appeared in both shows (playing a jerk in both, as well!).  I also thought I saw Murray's office in a scene in Episode 4, with Ravi and Aziz sitting in the same chairs Bret and Jemaine used to sit in.

Edited by alrightokay
  • Love 2
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The walk home scene was incredible. The switch form Don't Worry, Be Happy to a horror movie soundtrack was perfection. That's basically what I hear in my head any time I'm walking alone at night. 


I loved the citizens arrest scene too. "If it isn't real how do we both know the term?" killed me. That seems like a strange way to judge if something is real or not. 

  • Love 10
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Damn, did not intend to binge this one. It's a thoughtful series and I wanted to savour it. Now I'm left confused: why did one of tv's most charming couples break up? Really, if S2 rolls along and Rachel is nowhere to be seen then, let's just say I'll be upset.

  • Love 4
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Each time one of the dads would ask his son to help with some small thing and the son would say no, the closeups on the dads' faces as they went to their respective "it was hard" flashbacks had me laughing so hard I actually cried! It was so great. I also loved that "fun" is a recent concept.

Edited by DiabLOL
  • Love 9
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I like that this episode had some timeless situations like being the fun uncle who takes the kids to the playground and for ice cream, but it also had some very of the moment situations like taking Uber to get Plan B during a one night stand.

The little girl yelling people's ethnicities cracked me up. That is the random kind of thing that you never expect kids to do until they actually do it, so it's not something you can specifically warn them not to do ahead of time.

While I do have one friend who got married because shr got pregnant and she and her husband are still together over a decade later, I appreciate that Dev's friend had a more realistic outcome. Marrying someone because she got knocked up six months after you met her doesn't seem like the best recipe for a successful long term relationship. You barely know this person but you are committing to a lifetime together? Good luck with that!

Loved that Dev's friend was so into the bounce house.

  • Love 2
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I was all set to hate-watch this show (for some reason IDK why I like Aziz just fine) and am so shocked and delighted by how charmed I've been by it. Really impressive.


I can't get over how good Aziz' dad is! I assumed he was an experienced actor! And in their scenes together Aziz looks at them with profoundly sincere affection.


I'm about to watch ep 6 and have yet to find Aziz and his gf nauseatingly "schmoopy"- cute or his hipster Brooklyn pals unlikeable. There's a new balance in this show that I can't say I've seen before so maybe that's why? It's like so thoughtfully written that it doesn't tend to go overboard on anything that would start out as a win at first but then easily overdone. Maybe that's why.

  • Love 2
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When my mom asks me to do stuff for me, I try to remember all the sacrifices she made for me, how hard her life was, and how much technology has changed in her lifetime but even so, I still sometimes get annoyed and impatient (seriously, mom, how many times can I show you how to save things on the external hard drive?). So yeah, I totally appreciated the contrast of Brian and Dev just wanting to go see a movie or hang out and what their parents went through. But I can see why their parents haven't told their kids these stories before. A lot of Asian born immigrants were taught not to complain or to feel sorry for themselves so they don't use their trials and tribulations as guilt trips for their kids (even though maybe they should).

  • Love 4
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In general, I preferred to be friends with someone before dating them (it's a good prescreening process because if I can't be friends with you, then I definitely don't want to date you). Dev's experience with Alice supported my practice because when you ask someone on a date and you really don't know them, you run the risk of finding out that they're into aggressive Cartman impressions, stealing coats, or hypothetically blowing strangers.


And didn't Dev see that episode of Seinfeld? When you date a waitress at a restaurant you like, you run the risk of never being able to go back if if ends badly.


I loved that Dev's takeaway from the conversation with his married friend was to watch Sherlock with his other friends. Not to sound too schmoopy, but as a happily married person who just binge watched Master of None, I freely admit how awesome it was to spend Saturday night watching a good show with my favorite person, so that wasn't the worst message for Dev to take away!


Ha, who gives themselves "Little Funyuns" as a nickname?!

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
  • Love 2
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