Aziz Ansari’s Master of None premiered to critical acclaim and praise. However, despite its acclaim, the Netflix exclusive show attempts to break cultural barriers and tackle racial stereotypes which are present in society, and in the film industry. Ansari, who is of South-Asian descent, plays an actor, Dev, who is often faced with stereotypes in the film industry and in life being a first generation Asian American. Featuring a diverse cast, the show addresses the issue of majority white casts in the film industry and minorities often playing stereotypical roles. As a result, Master of None offers a necessary insight into the lives of Asian Americans.
Dev, Ansari’s character in the show, is an up and coming actor who deals with life, relationships and an often conflicting culture which brings on multiple problems, some as a result of his South Asian origin. Although the whole series doesn’t just deal with these issues, there are certain topics that are clearly addressed as something faced by Asian- Americans or any first generation American for that matter. The episode “Parents” is a perfect representation of a situation faced by many first generation Americans like me. Ansari, whose real parents depict his parents in the show, is faced with the dilemma of having a distanced relationship with them.
Similarly, his friend Brian, also first generation Asian, comes to an understanding of the sacrifices his parents made to come to America in order to improve the lives of their children. The show is not afraid to tackle issues such as this, which can’t be said for many other series. Master of None also portrays the real life issue of racism by the stereotypical roles that are often assigned to actors of color.
The episode ‘Indians on TV’ shows Dev’s struggle to find roles that aren’t accented, Indian stereotypes. Dev is often asked to use an accent when auditioning for a role because it would somehow convey the “authenticity” of his character. The issue of racism and discrimination only furthers within the episode as Dev and his friend, both of Indian origin must compete for a role, since the producers don’t want more than one person of color in the show as to not sway the show away from its intended white audience. Master of None makes a statement against this by its diverse cast as well, featuring two Asian Americans, a white male and a gay black woman as the core cast.
Ansari’s attempt at creating a show that depicts the struggles of finding colored actors as well as cultural stereotypes is successful to say the least. Although a comedy, the show still offers a necessary insight in the lives of Asian-Americans and common struggles they must deal with as a backdraw of their race. As a result, Master of None is a one of a kind experience.