Master of None promotes a vision of America that is enriched by the complexities of its immigrant communities, instead of persistent racist narratives.
In Aziz Ansari’s Master of None,
Dev Shah is an aspiring actor living in New York City. He’s cute, charming, and a gourmand obsessed with pasta. His love life is equal parts adorable and painful. Oh, and he’s also an American of Indian origin, a fact that shapes how Dev moves through the world, but only becomes a big deal when we look at the serious lack of diversity in television today. Like the Wachowski Sisters’ Sense8
, the diversity in Master of None
is thoughtfully presented as a natural matter of course of life in NYC. Dev’s best friends are a white dude (Eric Wareheim), a black lesbian (Lena Waithe), and a first gen Chinese-American man (Kelvin Yu). He and his Desi actor buddy, Ravi (Ravi Patel) commiserate over their stereotyped casting calls and auditions. Dev dates women of all ethnicities and types, and through his relationship with Rachel (Noël Wells) becomes a feminist ally — basically, he’s a freaking unicorn. A brown dude as not just a lead of his own show, but a romantic lead at that, is groundbreaking for the South Asian American community. Master of None
just aired its marvelous second season on Netflix and it is some serious balm for the troubled soul, in many ways especially because of how compassionately it tackles the issues of being an immigrant in the United States. Like the actor portraying him, Dev Shah is a first generation immigrant who has only known life in the USA, unlike his parents who came over from India with great difficulty. While every immigrant family has a unique story, Master of None
thoughtfully shows the threads that bind these disparate life experiences. Related: 9 Desi Feminist Activists You Need to Know