I’ve been sick, and that’s given me time to watch a lot of TV (and do a little reading). So I powered through the newly released Master of None in just over a day.
I enjoyed it a lot. It’s fun and warm-hearted. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang have done a great job in drawing out the comedy in strange situations. I liked even more that it’s a comedy that looks outwards, at least a little. It is mostly about a thirty year old well off actor, but there’s at least an effort to think about what it meant for immigrant parents to come to America (which I really enjoyed), or the range of everyday sexist acts that men may be unaware of. Through it all, there’s a lot of decent comedy.
One thing that felt a little uncertain was what the narrative question was. Is there any bigger question in Dev’s life that I should care about? To some extent it was the challenges of a thirty-year old being uncertain about his life; marriage, kids, career purpose – an early life crisis, perhaps. But that’s developed in a small way, rather than as a strong narrative driver.
Of course, it’s entirely possible to have a major sitcom built around the small minutiae of everyday life. The enormous success of Seinfeld suggests that you can have a story built around people experiencing everyday life and the minor narratives in every episode, without there being a larger narrative arc.
So perhaps it’s just a preference thing; personally I would have loved at least some kind of question that Dev was trying to answer. But for all that, it’s a fun show – worth watching.