May 11, 2017

CABLE | Aziz Ansari Tastes 'Master of None' – Netflix Season 2

"Those tapas loving f*cks!"
Aziz Ansari Alan Yang | Master of None | Netflix Season 2

Comedian Aziz Ansari and co-creator Alan Yang return to familiar, but still endlessly enlightening, subject matter in season two of their acclaimed Netflix comedy series, Master of None. Ansari's Dev Shah continues his single life antics navigating romantic life as an affluent millennial and product of Asian-American immigrants.

Last we saw, Dev was headed to Italy to rediscover his one true love, pasta. His desire for romance and self-satisfaction continue to motivate his pursuits. Ansari's tastes remain remarkable as he channels elements of classic Italian cinema for the early episodes of his pasta-making romanticism. His arthouse influences range from the contemporary zeitgeist to fleeting historical cultural references with another eclectic soundtrack.

New this season, the character of Francesca, a seemingly platonic companion played by Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi, acts as a slowly devastating obstacle in an unattainable romantic object echoing the nature of forbidden love. Their possible relationship is refreshingly teased with some easily amusing chemistry between her and Ansari. Their story feels like it's own full-length film within the greater Master of None narrative as its own dissection of male-female friendship slowly leading to more romantic love and heartbreak.

Each episode continues to act as a fairly fully-formed unit of storytelling. Most episodes live and breath from beginning to end as essentially separate stories within the larger context of Dev's journey. Themes of racial isolation and losing ethnic identity through assimilation feel even more relevant. Even more so than before, a love of food, travel, and culinary pursuits as a measure of life is expressed as casually sumptuous as ever.

Aziz Ansari | Master of None | Netflix Season 2

Ansari has really stepped up his artistic flourishes, writing or co-writing every episode and directing four, while experimenting more and more with unconventional episodic form. One of the more memorable episodes tracks the entire history of his childhood friendship with Denise (Lena Waithe) into adulthood through Thanksgiving dinners over the years similar to how last year's "Mornings" followed the year of a romantic relationship. Another episode barely features Ansari or his disparate supporting cast to weave in and out of the everyday lives of New Yorkers on the street, including a doorman, deaf cashier, and taxi drivers, all to great delight.

The way the show explores loneliness and malaise is beautifully human as it continues the thread of fairly contained individual stories or short films within the larger context of his life and friends. The ambition with which the show explores seemingly menial tasks such as eating or going out is simply splendid to watch as Ansari uses observational humorous touches to dissect modern life problems sublimely.

Season two of Master of None is remarkable in its high sophomore quality. In numerous ways, it's a more confident and ambitious television season while continuing Ansari and Yang's collaborative auteurist brand of comedy. It manages to be somehow both surrealist in emotion yet naturalistic in style at the same time while still being so universally realistic feeling. It also continues to be effortlessly rich in portraying a diversity of experiences and largely expands the reach of the first season in spades.

Master of None season two is available for streaming now on Netflix.

More | YVArcade / Season 1AV Club / IndiewireThe Playlist / Uproxx

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