TV Review: Master of None - Season 2

With Season 1 of comic Aziz Ansari's unique creation in Netflix's Master of None delivering a slick and experimental dissection of everything from modern dating to racial stereotypes, this month gave us yet another sensational season of Ansari's quirky yet masterful satire. Diving further into the show's central characters, from Ansari's lovable actor-turned-pasta-chef Dev to the sensitive best-friend of Eric Wareheim's Arnold, this Emmy-winning series returns with fantastic delight and some of the best writing on TV right now.

After a sudden break-up with his ex-girlfriend Rachel leaves Dev (Aziz Ansari) struggling to find himself again, he soon ends up in a small town in Italy. Apprenticing as a pasta chef, Dev has found solace in the quiet town and the new friends he's made. Following his apprenticeship, Dev travels back to New York, where a massive career opportunity puts him back in show business. As his life begins to take a turn for the better back in the Big Apple, however, an old friend from Italy (Alessandra Mastronardi) takes a massive toll on Dev's emotional state. As the show takes us on an emotional and complex journey into the lives of Dev and his friends, the stakes have only gotten greater in Season 2 of this charming series.

Returning to the odd world of wit and wisdom that is the combined mind of creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, one of Netflix's most dynamic comedy series managed to find even more acclaim in its sophomore season. Bringing back its staple "cringe humor" and realistic outlook on contemporary society, Master of None only upped the ante in Season 2, as it traveled far beyond its original setting of New York City, and even further inward into its protagonist's humanity. Strung along by its charming cast, from Ansari to its newest cast members, Master of None once again prided itself on exploring nonconventional storytelling and using masterful dialogue to its advantage.

Right from the first episode of the second season, I knew that I would fall madly in love with this series once more. Moving from its initial setting of contemporary New York City, where Season 1 explored themes of modern dating, birth control, and Indian stereotypes, Season 2 began in one of the most captivating countries on Earth. Already diving into the emotional state of its central character, Dev, as he learns pasta-making in Italy, we're given an introduction to his character this season through an episode parodying the 1948 film Bicycle Thieves. Promising a season full of these types of smart references to popular culture, intertwined into the show's primary narrative, this aspect only got me more excited for what's to come.

The show does not solely benefit from its awareness of classic pop culture however, it also utilizes the similar format of its first season to paint an even more complex, character-driven story in Season 2. With Dev eventually returning to New York in order to further pursue his career in show business, the central perspective of Ansari's lead is not the only one we witness throughout the season. Much like Season 1 put us in the shoes of Dev's traditionalist parents (played by Ansari's actual parents), this season does much of the same, as it explores the conventions of modern religion, as well as the modern issues of the LGBT community, through the eyes of Dev's friend Denise (Lena Waithe). Probably one of the main reasons the show is able to appeal to mass audiences, its ability to convey somewhat controversial issues in a light that seems revealing but all the same satirical makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.

While this season does have its fun exploring such things as religion, dating apps, and cooking shows through the eyes of various characters, one of the things that made the return of Master of None such a compelling endeavor had to be the show's central premise of Aziz Ansari's Dev finding himself and his purpose in the whirlwind that is contemporary America. Whether it's through progressing his career as an Indian man on television, or finding "the one" on the streets of New York, Ansari's fluent wit and energy throughout the series definitely made for a fascinating return for the series. With this season also introducing a new love interest in Alessandra Mastronardi's Francesca, the undeniably heart-breaking complexity of modern love found in the later episodes of the season made for even greater television.

Overall, while Season 1 did stand out with its smart dissection of modern society, Season 2 of Netflix's Master of None managed to up the ante as it traveled to Italy and brought back even more satire and romance for the series than before. With Ansari's writing and lead performance shining just as they did in Season 1, Master of None delivered another bingeable season of heart-breaking love, phenomenal self-awareness, and beautiful storytelling.

I gave this season of Master of None an 8 out of 10, because it's possibly the best thing you could be watching to escape from the modern realm of politics, war, and everything else that's depressing the world right now.  

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