Season Two of the hit show looks at modern-day love
The Santa Clara
May 26, 2017
“You can’t be lukewarm,” Dev says to Francesca in the middle of their helicopter ride over New York City. She says she doesn’t know what lukewarm means. Dev explains, “It means not hot, not cold, somewhere in the middle,” and she responds, “I don’t want to be lukewarm.”
This scene in the penultimate episode of season two of “Master of None” is a perfect juxtaposition between what Dev, a single man in his 30s (played by and based on show creator Aziz Ansari), wants from his life and what he currently has.
The season opens as Dev is finishing a pasta apprenticeship in the small town of Modena, Italy, where the audience last saw Dev leaving for. He was at a crossroads in life, rattled by his break-up with Rachel, the only girlfriend he had ever lived with. Their love story started out passionately as they quickly moved in together.
It was gut-wrenching to watch a relationship with so much potential deteriorate as their everyday arguments intensified until they no longer saw a future with each other.
The pair represented the choice between remaining in an unfulfilling relationship or diving back into the uncertainty of being young and alone, a pervasive theme in the series.
This season again, we watch the passion build and the friendship grow between Dev and a love interest, Francesca, a beautiful Italian he met while working in the pasta shop. Emotions run high as the audience is forced to constantly question “Will they/Won’t they?”
As their relationship progresses, feelings of uncertainty grow between the pair. Francesca remains engaged to her Italian boyfriend of 10 years and has deep ties to her hometown of Modena. Selfishly, Dev becomes irritated with the uncertainty of their relationship. He fails to see all that Francesca would have to give up to be with him in New York.
In the same format as the first season, the show is focused around a romance. The relationship dynamics mostly unravel in the second half of the 10 episodes, featuring episodes that encapsulate a single story or tackle a larger social issue.
“New York, I Love You,” is a homage to the great city known for its skyline, many tourist attractions and bustling nightlife. But instead of that, the episode chooses to highlight the less glamorous parts of the city to demonstrate the day-to-day grind of the working class.
“First Date” is a fresh take on dating apps that comments on how and why young singles are using them. The media mostly portrays the apps only as sex-seeking platforms, whereas in “Master of None,” Dev uses them to find love.
“You see people’s faces and when you see a face you like, you hit a button and if they hit a button on your face, then you have a match. Then you can send each other messages and then, you go out on a date. Wow, when you say it out loud it sounds insane,” Dev explains to Francesca.
She agrees that it’s “crazy” and Dev replies, “It is, but you meet people.”
This simple sentiment touches on a topic that Ansari has discussed in prior works. In his book “Modern Romance,” the comedian claims that dating apps are just the online version of how people have always found connections and romance. There’s the initial physical attraction, a game of trial and error and then finally, a deeper emotional connection.
Of the stand-alone episodes, “Thanksgiving” is by far the standout. The story revolves around the character Denise—Dev’s childhood companion played by Lena Waithe— as she comes out as gay to her friends and family.
The backdrop of the family-centered holiday movingly showcases how people grow to accept Denise’s sexuality, while also providing efficient backstory to Dev and Denise’s relationship.
The power of the show lies in the fact that it’s atypical from the classic rom-com, a genre often ridiculed by critics for its reliance on tired tropes. It’s the kind of show that will have you audibly saying, “That’s so true,” as you watch.
While it centers around the uncertainty of romance, the one certainty about “Master of None” is the way it accurately breaks down factions of life, in ways that no show or movie has done before.
Contact Lindsay Tenes at ltenes@ scu.edu or call (408) 554-4852.