MASTER OF NONE Season Two Review
If there’s one thing you’ll for sure know after watching MASTER OF NONE, it’s that dating as a millennial sucks. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang continue to riff off the examination into dating culture by way of Dev’s misadventures as in season one, but with the opportunities they have to tell a greater story, spend too much time focusing on a lackluster one. Though this season is beautifully framed with elegant food and New York scenery, it only speaks to a certain kind of millennial—a well-off male in his 30s.
One of the best qualities of MASTER OF NONE is how diverse its cast is, and how it dips its feet into cultural discussions of religion, parenting, and sexuality. However, it is a shame that these good qualities are overridden by Dev’s quest to pin down the girl he chases in each season. It makes no sense to present such interesting topics and pretend that at the end of the episode, we still care about Dev’s stance with (insert girl’s name here).
Apparently, Francesca has never seen a real pharmacy before. Isn’t that cute?
Image Source: Screenshot
Certain episodes that mean to speak a bigger truth miss a mark. An episode that is supposed to be an accurate depiction of what it is for a person of color to come out in terms of their sexuality, showcasing the Thanksgivings Dev had spent with his lesbian childhood friend Denise over the years, falls over itself by slut shaming one of Denise’s ex girlfriends. Sure, maybe Denise and said girlfriend couldn’t connect on said girlfriend’s enjoyment of WorldStarHipHop videos, but Dev’s comment on how he feels as though he’s already seen her naked from her Instagram feed is something entirely different. In contrast, we have Denise’s current girlfriend, who dresses somewhat more modest and makes fun of Denise’s outfit choices with her mother. Sure, the connection between Denise and her current girlfriend is more evident, but the depiction of Denise’s ex-girlfriend is something uncalled for.
An earlier episode follows a day in the lives of several New Yorkers, and provides another glimpse into what the show could be but, unfortunately, isn’t. It is obvious that New York is home to people of different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and employment statuses, but yet the show continues to refocus on Dev, an Indian dude in his 30s that continues his bland search to pour his unrequited love (pasta included) into the next woman he has a conversation with. Denise and Brian could’ve been more relevant, but we don’t see much of them as we had in the first season. Although the show strives to broaden its scope and reach, it remains out-of-touch and almost takes a step backwards.
The guy on the left is as upset as I am about his screen time being cut short by how cute Francesca is
Image Source: Screenshot
And that brings us to the main reason (aside from the soundtrack) the show has become such a success: Dev’s love life. Season one highlighted the comings and goings of Rachel, an interesting girl that had real goals and aspirations. The show Ansari and Yang created then was a beautiful expose of the dating world, and gave solid reasons as to why love works and doesn’t, along with great bouts of comedy.
But season two doesn’t bring us anything new. Aside from a wonderfully executed episode featuring Dev on a couple random tinder dates, Arnold going to his ex’s wedding, and Brian’s father trying to decide between which woman he wants to go steady with, the main plotline is tired and overdone. There’s Francesca, the beautiful Italian woman who worked at the same pasta place where Dev had his apprenticeship. There isn’t much notable about her except her “cute” accent and skill at teasing Dev. She’s the quintessential manic pixie dream girl of Dev’s Italian dreams. Except, oh no! She has a boyfriend.
Francesca likes to romantically dance with her friend even though she has a fiance! Isn’t that cute?
Image Source: Screenshot
Later on, of course, Francesca returns for two visits to New York in which she and Dev spend a lot of time going on (purely) platonic dates and, to not much surprise, romance sparks. Except, oh no! Francesca is getting engaged. It is an all too familiar tale that is not treated well at all. Though their scenes together are very adorable, including the two dancing with a glass door between them and laying together in a field covered in red leaves, Dev becomes all too selfish in his “love” for Francesca. Even though Francesca tells Dev that it’s impractical for her to leave Italy, he doesn’t care about her concerns at all and only coerces her to move to New York because of him. Dev’s entitlement to her leaving her life behind for him is unnecessary. It appears more so as a jerk move rather than a romantic one; good on Francesca for sticking to her ground and giving herself time to think.
The show finishes on a cliff-hanger that doesn’t bring much of a surprise. Though a fun season filled with good food, music, and landscapes, it doesn’t make up for the show’s lack of growth. Dev’s change is stagnant as his romance for Francesca leaves him in the same spot as he is in the beginning of the season. The show also could’ve said a lot more than it did, as it overshadows interesting characters and ideas for Dev’s tired thirst for romance. If you’re really itching to hear Ansari be the host of a cupcake battle reality show, give it a watch. If it were possible, I would suggest visiting New York or Italy instead, as it is apparent that Dev isn’t a reliable tour guide.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend