I loved Master of None Season 1, I very happily watched it twice in a row without complaint, there was something about it that spoke to a) the experience of being a child of an immigrant b) a millennial who has no idea what they’re doing in relationships and life and c) a love letter to New York and lovers of New York
So let’s be frank, that the expectation for Masters of None Season 2 was exceptionally high and even I was doubtful that it could clear it. It was still very, very good. So let’s get to some of those thoughts:
The best episodes of the seasons didn’t revolve around Aziz.
Aziz himself has said that he’s not sure if he’s going to do Season 3, he doesn’t feel he has enough material and frankly, he doesn’t want to talk about being a millennial anymore. I guess it’s fitting that the best episodes were not Aziz-focussed so that if there was a S3, someone else could take that baton. New York, I love you and Thanksgiving revolved respectively around a day-in-the-life around a group of New Yorkers and Aziz/Dev’s friend Denise, they just felt authentic, there’s no other way to put it.
The most inconsistent episodes were the “Dev in Italy” stuff.
The team wanted to push the boundaries of what they could do, and I really respect that they went for it with the Italian episodes with a black and white homage to The Bicycle Thieves and then a follow-up with La Notte – that’s exactly how that sounds. Ambitious. It .. didn’t really work though, it was still fun to watch Dev and Arnold eat pasta but they didn’t feel cohesive with the series and the story-telling was all over the shop for these episodes.
And sometimes when you go overly ambitious with the art-house aspect, you lose what makes you relatable in the first place.
There was a loooooong sequence, where the camera focuses on Aziz/Dev sitting in the back of a taxi at night contemplating his love life (or lack of it) which was straight out of the Wong Kar Wai playbook. It went for about five minutes. My husband walked out of the room, came back in three minutes later and asked “Is he still in the back of that cab??” Yes, yes he is.
Dev’s moral grayness came out to play
I don’t recall if it seemed so prevalent in S1, but Dev steps all over these ethical lines in S2 – SPOILERS NOW – he goes to a barbecue festival on Eid taking his cousin with him, he disavows Chef Jeff on live TV (he could have talked to him first! he could have given him a warning but instead the shit hits the fan) and he spends a good amount of time chasing around the engaged Francesca. Dev is generally a good person who does some highly questionable things this season. If S3 isn’t about Dev anymore and we don’t get a resolution to that story, let’s assume that Francesca and Dev broke up and Francesca moved to LA to be a pasta chef for John Legend.
Here’s what I loved and there were so many things to love:
- Dev’s Dad and his collection of stomach toys.
- Brian’s Dad.
- Brian’s Dad, possibly stealing a dog.
- Angela Bassett! (I might just love all the parents)
- That most excellent and deserved montage to the strains of “Can you stand the rain?”
- Rachel! I really missed Rachel.
- The entire episode of Thanksgiving, down to the details of Denise’s bedroom
- The entire episode of New York, I love you – everyone, everything, it made me miss New York.
- Dev and Francesca totally wasted that helicopter ride
I loved parts of Season 2, the highs were exceptional, the lows were still pretty good, but it felt slightly uneven, though still watchable and still better than 85% of any other content out there. I completely respect (and somewhat understand) what Aziz and Alan Yang are trying to do with boundary-pushing, I hope that they don’t eventually lose sight of what makes the show relatable – that mirror to the millennial experience.