Aziz Ansari Explains Finding the Perfect Music to Make a Point About Gender on ‘Master of None’

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Pitchfork published an interview with Aziz Ansari and Master of None music supervisor Zach Cowie, exploring the extent to which the new Netflix series’ soundtrack is in on the joke.The show, which hit Netflix on November 6, wields all kinds of music, from modern indie rock, to country, to Toto, to set the tone and, occasionally, to give a clear context to the gags. The title, even, refers to a Beach House tune.

Perhaps most notably, in a scene highlighting the differences between men and women’s experience leaving a bar late at night, the show sets Ansari’s character Dev’s walk home to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” while his female co-worker’s walk is scored by the classic horror theme from Halloween. Ansari told Pitchfork:

To me, that’s the best horror movie score I could think of. Then, I was trying to think of the dumbest songs I could play. ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ is pretty stupid. That scene —it’s really crazy how much it’s made by the music. That was a tough scene because it’s a dark scene that’s happening. To be able to get the humor out of it, the music really is what kind of helps sell that scene in a lot of ways. Even the little thing like when that one guy grabs the door and you hear that [high pitched noise] –that little thing is from Halloween too. All those little flourishes help that scene work. It’s a woman getting followed by this creepy guy, so the music actually really helps.

By playing with music and tone, Ansari and company were able to make one of the strongest, most effective statements about gender in recent memory on TV.

The first season of Master of None is available in its entirety on Netflix. The carefully curated soundtrack is available as a playlist on Spotify: