Opinion: ‘Master of None’ tackles millennials and minorities

The new season of actor Aziz Ansari’s show continues its offbeat take of the problems this generation faces.


Photo courtesy of Shardayyy Photography

Thomas Chiles, Features Editor

The second season of “Master of None” has hit Netflix and is breaking down Hollywood stereotypes along the way. The show is shaped around a diverse cast with issues that speak directly to the people of the millennial generation.

“Master of None” is a Netflix original comedy-drama created by and starring actor/comedian Aziz Ansari, focusing on his life as an actor and his struggle find love. While this sounds familiar and played out, Ansari’s skillful execution is what makes the show stand out.

While the new season pays homage to old Italian films and focuses heavily on artful cinematography, it also addresses multiple topics ranging from cultural differences, religion and race to millennials’ take on dating, social customs and social classes.

The episode “Religion,” addresses the cultural gap between Muslim immigrant parents and their American-born children who do not agree with or follow all of their religious traditions. This spotlight on Muslim millennials is an important highlight of a portion of the population that isn’t often featured in mainstream TV.

The millennial generation has been the guinea pig for online and mobile dating apps such as Tinder. Ansari weaves this fact into “First Date.” The episode creatively intertwines multiple dates to portray the exhaustion and frustration that comes along with dating via apps.

The actor, who was born in America and is of Indian descent, examines dating with someone of a different race and culture throughout the show. This is shown in part by the episodes featuring his main love interest, a native Italian woman. Their love connection can sometimes be awkward, but as the season carried on I found myself rooting for the endearing romance.

Aziz Ansari. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“Thanksgiving” delves into homosexuality in the African-American community when one of Ansari’s best friends Denise (played by Lena Waithe) reveals to her mother that she is a lesbian. This episode shows how a black, single mom initially grapples with, but later accepts that she has a daughter who’s part of the LGBT community.

One of the most intriguing episodes of the season is titled “New York, I Love You” and is not focused on Ansari’s character at all. Instead, the show follows various minorities in New York City and gives us a glimpse into their life. This is directly in contract of the customary whitewashed depictions of New York.

It begins with a doorman who is overworked and underappreciated before shifting to the life of a deaf deli clerk who is in an interracial relationship where she feels sexually unsatisfied. Finally the episode follows a Rwandan taxi cab driver and his roommates’ night out on the town in the Big Apple.

This exploration of different cultures, jobs, and social lives of minorities wrapped into one episode beautifully highlights not only the diversity of New York City, but the growing diversity of our nation as well.

The cinematography of the show is masterfully stylized (pun intended) and each episode is edited to have a unique look. And don’t freak out when you start watching, only the first episode of the season is in black and white. It’s titled “The Thief” and pays homage to an Italian film “Bicycle Thief,” even replicating shots from the old movie.

Without a doubt, “Master of None” is an important show for our generation. In a time where minorities and people of mixed races are beginning to become the majority, this show addresses stigmas that have been embedded in different cultures for decades.

Thomas Chiles is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thomas_iv.