author_by_night: (LeslieBen by nuv0le_rapide)
[personal profile] author_by_night

So I watched the second season of Master of None, and have thoughts both on that and Aziz Ansari's saying that he doesn't want a third season until he's in a different place in his life. 

(This post is 100% spoilery.)

 

I think it was a very good season, and stronger than the last. However, it was also very different. Last season felt more like a dark comedy, with a few more serious episodes. This season was definitely not a comedy, although there were comic moments. Rather, it was an art form, complete with a black and white episode and an episode that wasn't even really about any of the main cast. It at times almost felt more like a series of short films based around the same people. Which is a format I'm fond of in novels, where every chapter feels more like a short story. I don't know that I've ever seen a show do it, with the exception of murder mysteries, since those tend to have one plotline and one cast of characters. But even those often have the same formula (to the point at which you often know who did it once you've seen enough episodes), whereas Master of None had very different formulas.

 

People seem to be debating on who was more sympathetic in the Pino-Francesca-Dev storyline. I think it was just a complicated situation overall; I think Francesca was scared to leave Pino, but also had legitimate reasons for not wanting to leave Italy. She wasn't just choosing between a man she wasn't overly enamored with and Dev, but leaving her entire life behind. Pino dropped the ball emotionally a lot, but didn't seem to be a horrible person. Dev got a little... "Nice Guy" towards the end, honestly, but mostly I think he even tried doing the right thing, except then he didn't, and it just went downhill from there. Still, those episodes really weren't my favorite.

 

My favorite episode was "Thanksgiving." I liked that we saw Denise and Dev over the years, and I also felt they portrayed Denise's Coming Out very well. As a white cisgender woman  I can't speak for accuracy on the being a black lesbian front, but it certainly felt raw and real. Particularly with Denise's mother wanting life not to be hard for her, and that being her primary concern, rather than religious or social concerns. (Although she still didn't get that it wasn't a choice Denise made, at least not at first. However, she was ultimately very accepting of Denise's girlfriend in the end.)  My only criticism is that for an episode based partially around Denise and Dev's friendship, we actually didn't see much interaction between them this season. Arnold seemed much more like an old childhood friend than Dev, even though he's apparently quite a bit older.

 

Which brings me to my next point. Aziz Ansari has apparently said that he doesn't want there to be a third season yet, in part because he feels he can't keep writing about a single male in NYC. I do wonder if, for this purpose, a more ensemble show would have been better. The show does have episodes with characters apart from Dev, and a great one where Dev is barely featured at all, so it must be doable. Now, I personally didn't have a problem with the lack of an ensemble storyline, but  he might have had more room for other story arcs if that was what he was going for.  He also said he feels he'd have to be married or something to write about that, but I'm not sure that's true. Jane Austen wrote romance novels, and she never married. "Write what you know" is a very misleading notion.

 

On the other hand, I've had the same problem when tackling storylines that seem above my experience - writing about a divorcee, for instance, who has children. I've never been married, let alone divorced, and don't have kids. However, I think if you know your characters, and you know the story, you can make that lack of experience work. But maybe because the show has a biographical element, Ansari has opted out of that, which I can certainly respect. Although I'm also not sure why his show even has to just be about being single in New York - he's portrayed acting just as heavily. Having said that, this season was so artistic I'm not even sure it needs another season. Maybe it's best as is.

 
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