Wednesday, May 26, 2021

What I’m Watching: Master of None (Season Premiere)

Master of None: Season 3, Episode 1 “Moments in Love, Chapter 1” (B+)

I really did not expect this show to return, and seeing the announcement about the upcoming premiere one month ago caught me by surprise. It’s been four years since season two dropped, and it’s an unexpected pleasure to experience more of this show. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Aziz Ansari is that he’s happy to share the spotlight, allowing his co-winners at both Emmy ceremonies, Alan Yang and Lena Waithe, to deliver speeches while he stood silently by. I, as I’m sure many others did, wondered whether him stepping back from the lead role was in response to the issues brought up about his conduct a few years ago which didn’t quite derail his career but led to a lengthy absence, and I didn’t think that he was going to appear in the show at all. But instead, like at the Emmys, he just pivoted focus to someone else he wanted to spotlight, and showed up again as a very unlikeable and unkind Dev who was unnecessarily brutal to his girlfriend when the truth came out in front of Denise and Alicia. Denise’s story is definitely different than Dev’s but it also works well, and just as the season two installments in Italy felt like a departure from reality, so too did this opening episode, which ran very long and covered a lot of ground. Naomi Ackie is a fantastic addition to the cast, and it makes me want to watch the second season of “The End of the F***ing World” since I somehow never managed to get around to it (I did see her in “The Bisexual”). There’s something so natural to their relationship, and while it’s not all happy, it’s very intimate in a way that doesn’t feel invasive or overly dramatized. It was nice to see Darius, played by Anthony Welsh, a standout supporting cast member from “Pure,” so eagerly volunteer to be their sperm donor and for that process, however unsuccessful, to be easy, familiarity, and only slightly humorous in nature.

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