Netflix’s Master Of None: A Taste Of The Old Country

Off the success of season one, Master of None continues with the hilarious encounters of Dev Shah (Aziz Ansari). Season two puts more of Ansari’s creative and inventive, comedic genius on exhibition. Co-created with Alan Yang (Parks and Recreation), season picks up a few months after season one ended. Dev has gone to Italy to learn how to make pasta. Long story short, he spends some time there, meets some people and then goes back to New York. Meanwhile, the girl he met in Modena, Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi) has come to New York and the rest is history. Though Dev being Dev, life isn’t easy.

At the end of season one, he’d just broken up with Rachel (Noël Wells). Then randomly goes to Italy to learn how to make pasta from scratch. We are witness to the awing landscapes of Italy for the first few episodes, and then we’re back to busy New York City. I much preferred the terrains of Modena. Though, rather than do what a lot of shows do and pick some random destination that looks cool for the sake of it, Dev’s time in Italy is imperative to the plot, as it ties into the season’s story arcs. His time in Italy changes him, not just with the food but with the contacts he made, including the lovely and amiable Francesca.

Francesca ((Alessandra Mastronardi) comes to New York to visit her “friend” Dev
(Master of None, Netflix)

When the Italian cuisine wasn’t making me drool, Dev is with his all of two friends trying to work out the meaning of life in their many existential philosophical discussions that on a road that will likely make them depressed in the long run. By meaning of life, I mean, should Dev and company be with their soulmates already? Also, were they with their soulmate and screwed things up? Arnold (Eric Wareheim) faces such things when he visits Dev in Italy and they attend the wedding of his ex who got married to Eric’s doppelganger. His doppelganger was shorter and that’s about the only difference between him and Eric.

Master of None still has clustertons of laughs. Whilst season one had ‘Parents’, season two had ‘Religion’ which turned out to be my favourite episode of the series. I’ve not laughed that hard since Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon debuted on Saturday Night Live as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s a side note from the main storyline that takes us into Dev’s past telling three stories about family,Thanksgiving and sexual identity. It’s an episode that spans years that tells the story of Dev and Denise (Lena Waithe), and ultimately tells the tale of her “coming out” to her mother (Angela Bassett), and then being accepted.

I’m a sucker for black families on TV shows because they’re so damn entertaining
(Master of None, Netflix)

‘Religion’ also allowed Dev’s parents to come back into the fold for witty banter, as well as introducing his other traditional Muslim relatives. Dev “came out” as a bacon-eater which didn’t go down well, and confessed to his cousin that he drinks alcohol, regularly, without his parents knowing. He’s thirty years old and this stuff happens. Welcome to Muslim Families. Also, season two allowed Alessandra Mastronardi to blossom as Francesca. She shined like something chronic, and I think she may even have out acted Noël Wells, who played Rachel in season one. Every scene she’s in is made better by her presence and she’s a joy to watch, even in the scenes where her and Dev are talking about serious topics.

Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) comes for the ride as Dev’s TV boss and food buddy. Chef Jeff is a part that Cannavale is made for, and honestly he plays it a little too well. He’s a showman. He collects experiences, but has also been known to collect people, especially women, if you know what I mean?! He likes to engage in what Americans like to call “guy talk” and has a knack for ball-busting, a bit too much if you ask me. But then I’m British, and not accustomed to it, which could be why it leaves me feeling edgy. Chef Jeff may look like a harmless TV boss, but he’s more than what’s on the surface. After all, in that business, you’re going to run into some dodgy blokes once in a while. That much is certain.

Dev (Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Warheim) are BFFs, and are often too comfortable in each other’s company
(Master of None, Netflix)

Master of None has returned with a great batch of episodes, and I enjoyed it a lot more than last season. And that’s not just because of it having a whole episode in black and white, nor was it having the first few episodes in Italy. This season was cool, confident and could really inspire viewers to go out into the world and do something crazy. Thanks Dev!

Life isn’t always about surviving, why not try some living as well?