Making the Case: Netflix’s ‘Master of None’

In an on-going series, Joey Moser makes the Emmy case for Master of None to win the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy. Over the next week, the writers of AwardsDaily TV will pour out their hearts and minds to try and convince Emmy voters to follow their expert opinions.

Netflix’s Master of None

Metacritic: 91
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Number of Nominations: 4
Nominations: Comedy Series, Lead Actor Comedy Series (Aziz Ansari), Writing (“Parents”), Direction (“Parents”)

When Netflix debuted the comedy Master of None last fall, it seemed that everyone had an idea of what the show might be. Comics have made the transition from big stages to the small screen before with varying success, and the episodes highlight Aziz Ansari’s ease on camera. Not only did Ansari co-create the show with Alan Yang, but the duo wrote all of the episodes in the first season. It’s a quietly ambitious series that recalls the joys of being young and living in New York City. It’s one of the best shows of last year, and it rightfully should be in serious contention for all 4 of the Emmys it’s nominated for.

The most striking thing about Master of None is that it’s not a straightforward comedy. Ansari and Yang could have made this show simpler by focusing on a group of thirtysomethings trying to make it in New York City. Ansari’s Dev is an easygoing actor who is always down for finding the best restaurants in the city. In the first episode, “Plan B,” he explores whether or not he would want to have children after the condom breaks during a late night rendezvous. Dev then spends some time with his friend’s kids and he realizes that the joys of parenthood is probably not something he wants to experience—at least not at this point in his life.

Master of None
(Photo: Netflix0
The second episode of the first season, “Parents,” really gives us an idea of what Ansari and Yang want to do with the show, and that’s when you tipped off that Master has an open ear and heart. Dev and his buddy Brian (played by Kelvin Yu), realize that their relationships with their parents aren’t as strong as they should be. The episode flashes back to highlight both fathers coming to America and starting their new lives in this country, and it allows for Ansari’s real-life parents to shine in their roles. It’s criminal that Shaukath Ansari wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

Master of None
(Photo: Netflix)
The reason why Master of None works better than other similarly themed sitcoms is the thoughtfulness behind it. Dev can be a selfish guy (like when he badgers his girlfriend about keeping “his” apartment clean after she moves in), but he’s more open and considerate than a lot of leading men on television. It’s refreshing to see a male lead of a sitcom that’s not a total douche bag. It also helps that Ansari is a truly capable actor. He’s not self-conscious. He deserves votes just for screaming his head off in a coffee shop for a Skype audition for an alien action drama (“The Sickening…is happening!!!”).

Ansari stands a real chance of winning multiple awards at this year’s ceremony, and I say bring it on. “Parents” was submitted across the board, and it’s the strongest episode of the season. It’s already won the Critics’ Choice for Best Comedy Series (yes, I know that that doesn’t always translate to Emmy gold), and it should be noted that it’s the only nominee for Outstanding Comedy Series that’s nominated for its freshman season. Jeffrey Tambor took Leading Actor last year for Transparent, but his performance in season two was a lot quieter. Ansari’s Dev is lovable, funny, and kinetic. Giving him the trophy for Actor in a Comedy would definitely be an appropriate response to “Indians on TV,” a hilarious condemnation of white actors portraying people of color.

The competition for Outstanding Comedy Series is fierce this year, but Ansari and Yang’s show has the heart along with the laughs. The best, most memorable comedy manages to weave relatable material in with the jokes, and no one does that better in this lineup than Master of None.

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