Top 20 Shows of 2015, Vol. 13: #8

Traditionally, the eighth episode of any given season of either The Bachelorette or The Bachelor is a special one that brims with hide-behind-a-pillow awkwardness and eyebrow-arching judgement as we — the audience — receive the treat of visiting the four remaining contestants’ families.  In short, these episodes are an American institution, and if you think I’m wrong, then I advise you to consult with Chris Harrison, and he will echo my sentiment because he, too, is an American institution.  Like it or not, this dating franchise will emblematize our nation’s pop culture for years to come.  Best turn into the skid and embrace it. #sadtruth #thischrisharrisonlife

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


#8: Master of None

Aziz Ansari, we can all agree, is one funny dude.  From his standup specials to his stint as Randy in Funny People and Tom in Parks and Rec, we knew this guy could bring the funny.  But with Master of None, Ansari emerges as the next auteur of television; his writing positively bursts with insightful examinations of race, gender, and identity, couched inside a hilarious show that is also — oh sweet miracle of miracles — effortlessly diverse.  It’s also, hands down, the best show on Netflix.

Amongst so many stand-out episodes, I found it difficult to pick a favorite.  “Parents” becomes a fantastic rumination on the pre-immigration lives of the parents of Ansari’s Dev and Kelvin Yu’s Brian.  It also has the added bonus of introducing Ansari’s real-life father Shoukath as Dev’s dad, and that man is hilarious.  Meanwhile, “Indians on TV” examines the lack of diversity on television to hilarious and thought-provoking effect, while “Ladies and Gentlemen” illuminates the institutional misogyny plaguing modern women.  How could I choose a favorite amongst such a great collection of work?


Of course, the show isn’t strictly a platform for Ansari’s musings but also an equally adept and genuinely funny story of dating today.  Frank honesty and gut-busting comedy coalesce to create a series unlike any other you’ve seen.  The closest I can think of is Louis C.K.’s fantastic Louie, but even that comparison doesn’t align; while that show relishes its more sad-sack tone, a hopefulness pervades Master of None.  Sure, Ansari and co-creator Alan Yang know life out there ain’t perfect and can be downright unjust and cruel and rough, but in shedding light on some of these dour truths, an implicit optimism — for a more enlightened tomorrow — underpins it all.  In just a single, ten-episode season, Ansari seems to have his artistic vision and point of view firmly established, and television is much better for it.


See you tomorrow!  Bet you can’t guess what’s next! #desperatepleaforcomments

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