To get any more specific about the episodes that follow would ruin the fun for viewers. But I can say there are specks of brilliance sprinkled throughout: “Ladies and Gentlemen” expands some of Ansari’s best stand-up observations by contrasting the way men and women behave when walking home from a bar (Dev’s biggest worry is some dog shit on his sneaker; the woman’s is a drunk man following her into her building). It also touches on smaller, but still frustrating and depressing, gender-related annoyances, such as the differences in Instagram comments for the same photo. “Mornings,” one of the best episodes of the year in any format, spans the course of many months of a relationship. And “Indians on TV” frankly discusses the racism of television, when Dev and another Indian actor audition for a show, only to be told there can’t be two of them in the cast. The episode also features a funny but sad recurring bit about Short Circuit 2.
The diversity of Master Of None is perhaps its biggest strength. It’s in-your-face diverse (Ansari, Yu, Waithe), but that aspect of the show is only mentioned when it’s necessary to the plot. There are good jokes here and there, especially when it comes to interracial relationships, but the show is not just diverse for diversity’s sake. When it does tackle race and ethnicity, it goes all in (as in “Indians on TV” or “Parents”), but it doesn’t turn every half-hour into a special episode that’s trying to teach a lesson.
Master of None is a series that doesn’t lend itself well to a pre-air review; rather it should inspire endless conversation once viewers have had a chance to watch it. Each episode could have an entire thesis written about it — but each episode is also incredibly funny. It’s another entry in Netflix’s canon of addictive and unique series, the kind that stay with you long after you’re done watching.