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Series / Master of None

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Master of None is a 2015 Netflix exclusive Slice of Life sitcom co-created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. It stars Ansari as Dev Shah, a 30-something actor living in New York City. Inspired by Ansari's standup, it mixes drama and comedy to tackle various subjects, including romance, family, career and modern life.

Compare Louie, another semi-autobiographical comedian vehicle (albeit darker in tone).

No relation to the sci-fi novel2004 by N. Lee Wood.

This Series Contains Examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: The very last shot of Season 2 is Dev and Francesca lying down in Dev's bed wearing different clothes from the last time they did that, and Francesca's not wearing her wedding ring.
  • Author Avatar: Brian Chang represents co-creator Alan Yang.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Kyle convinces Dev of this when he talks about how utterly sublime raising a child is. Subverted when Dev comes back after the party and learns the truth, that having a kid ruined Kyle's life and he's secretly miserable.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first season finale has Dev booking a plane ticket. The audience is led to believe that he's going to follow Rachel to Tokyo. The show even goes so far as to have the most noticeable extras on the plane be Asian. But it turns out he's moving to Italy to learn pasta-making.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Parents" has flashbacks in Indian and Chinese, and "The Thief" is almost entirely in Italian. The middle portion of "New York, I Love You" is silent with characters communicating in ASL.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In the first season, Dev was completely cut out of the movie he was starring in, meaning all the filming work was pointless and he will get no credit. And his relationship with Rachel goes downhill, because of doubts about the future they both were having, causing Rachel to give up everything and fulfill her dream of moving to Tokyo. Dev is left devastated and uncertain what he wants to do. However, after some thought, Dev buys a ticket to Italy so he can study at the culinary school.
    • In the second season, Dev's television show deal vanishes when his costar is accuse of being a sex offender, but Francesca apparently changes her mind about staying with her fiance and ends up with Dev... Only for the last shot to imply the honeymoon phase is over between them, and their chemistry is gone.
  • Black Comedy: A lighter shade of black than some, but it's got some fairly dark elements like divorce, freedom, and growing up.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • Aside from a few establishing shots and flashbacks, "Mornings" takes place entirely in Dev's apartment. It also features only two characters (including Dev) for most of the episode.
    • "First Dates" takes place in a single restaurant, bar, cab, and a girl's apartment. The only thing that changes is the rotating cast of girls who are with Dev.
    • "Thanksgiving" takes place over a number of Thanksgivings at Denise's mother's house.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Discussed in the first episode. After a condom mishap, Dev and his circle discuss their friend Doug, who got a girl pregnant despite both using a condom and her being on birth control.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Colin Salmon. He's an tall, imposing black man playing a grizzled soldier in The Sickening, but he's extremely well-spoken and his cat was even named Shakespeare.
  • The Comically Serious: Dev's parents.
  • Coming-Out Story: "Thanksgiving" shows Denise's family coming to terms over the years with her being a lesbian.
  • Companion Cube: Arnold's grandpa carries around a robotic seal named "Paro" which was given to him by the VA. After his death, Grandpa Hampton leaves Paro to Arnold, who grows fond of it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Rachel's grandma in "Old People".
  • Cringe Comedy:
    • The series begins with an incredibly awkward sex scene, leading to Dev and his one night stand getting the Plan B pill. And it gets more awkward from there.
    • Arthur's behavior at his ex's wedding in La Notte.
  • Dating Service Disaster: Downplayed Trope in "First Date". Most of the dates are just awkward, but the highlights include the girl who thought that the app "Love at First Sight" (a Bland-Name Product version of Tinder) was for meeting friends and had a boyfriend, another girl who starts swiping on Tinder during the date, and another girl who talks about how she was on another date and gave the bartender a handjob in the bathroom.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Thanksgiving" is mostly about Denise's relationship with her family, with Dev mostly being in the background.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The show draws a distinction between Italian and American dating values during season 2, noting that Italians tend to be more focused on finding love rather than being in a relationship and having "options," whereas Dev is shocked Francesca has "only" been with one person and has not spent time dating, as many Americans see young adulthood as an opportunity to "find themselves" by trying different relationships on for size.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: At the end of the first season Dev and Rachel break up. In the second season, Francesca opts to stay with her fiancĂ© than be with Dev. Although the last scene of the season seems to indicate she changed her mind. Season 3 confirms that Francesca and Dev don't end up together.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Nina's husband Mark thinks that Dev is having sex with his wife solely for revenge because he was rude to Dev in an ice cream store, although in reality, Dev was being courted by her earlier, and Mark's behavior was just what pushed him over the edge.
  • Five-Token Band: Dev's inner circle of friends include the Indian Dev, the Taiwanese Brian, white Arnold, and black/lesbian Denise.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Chef Jeff keeps suggesting that Dev aggressively pursue the attractive women around him. Chef Jeff also shows spontaneous grabbiness with his male colleagues. It's eventually revealed that Chef Jeff is a sexual predator.
    • "Door #3"'s A & B plots are about two different characters, Dev and Peter, faced with a tough choice. As the episode title suggests, both end up successfully Taking a Third Option. By the end of the episode Peter's third option has failed. This is one of the clues that Dev's third option will fall apart in the season finale.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Dev's friend Kyle married his wife after dating for six months because she got pregnant. The marriage soured, and they're getting divorced.
  • Growing Up Sucks: A major theme of the series. Characters deal with the trials and tribulations of transitioning to adulthood and adult life in general, from marriages and relationships, divorces, kids, responsibilities, etc. This also plays a big part in Dev's own Character Development.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: This is discussed by Rachel and Dev (along with The Immodest Orgasm) after they have sex about how ridiculous it sounds when people actually do it. Rachel in particular sounds like a porn actress when she pretends it out.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Parents", we see how spoiled Dev is compared to his father. When Dev realizes this, and realizes how much his dad wanted to play the guitar as a child, he gets him a guitar, only for his dad to be more interested in his iPad.
  • Imagine Spot: After seeing his friend Kyle and his two beautiful kids, Dev imagines himself as a happy family man with kids of his own, while his friend Arnold has become a creepy older unmarried man. Later, after a bad babysitting experience, he imagines himself as a harried father with awful bratty children, while Arnold is partying with a car full of babes.
  • An Immigrant's Tale: "Parents" features flashbacks to the immigrant stories of both Dev and Brian's parents.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: In-Universe, The Sickening. It's a cheesy popcorn action flick. The director himself is half-assing it, and lets his actors ad-lib because it's "not really about words."
  • Kavorka Man: Dev isn't hideous, but he's far less attractive than many of the women he gets close to, though they seem most attracted to his sense of humor.
  • Large Ham: Dev. He's played by Aziz Ansari, after all. He can't help but shout half his lines.
  • Love Triangle: In the second season between Dev, Francesca, and her fiance Pino.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: "New York, I Love You" peeks into the lives of some working-class people of color, including a doorman, a deaf cashier, and a taxi driver.
  • Manchild: Dev and his best friend Arnold begin the series as quite immature. In the pilot episode they're incredibly amused by baby toys. As the first season progresses, however, Dev gets into a serious relationship and quickly begins dealing with very adult issues.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed with Alice the waitress, who Dev is utterly terrified of by the time she steals someone's jacket at a concert. He pretends not to know her when this gets her kicked out.
  • Minority Show Ghetto: Invoked. Discussed in "Indians on TV". Dev and his friend Ravi were considered the best actors for the leads in an ensemble sitcom, but the studio couldn't move forward with both of them because it'd be seen as an Indian show. a
  • Mood Dissonance: At the beginning of "Ladies and Gentlemen," the scene alternates between Dev and Arnold walking home from a bar, with Dev stepping in dog poop and ruining his "favorite sneakies," and a woman walking home from the same bar being followed by a guy who tried to buy her a drink, insisting what a "nice guy" he is. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" plays in the Dev/Arnold parts; The Halloween theme plays when following the woman.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chef Jeff in the second season is obviously based on Anthony Bourdain. From his mannerisms, to the fact that he's well known for an episode of a good show in Vietnam (Bourdain famously had an episode of Parts Unknown where he had a meal with then-President Obama). Though as far as we know, Bourdain was not a sexual predator.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Dev's crusades for equality usually go so well that they end up negatively impacting his career.
    • In the first season, when he suggests that the women have more than a token part in a commercial shoot, it happens at the cost of his own part in the commercial being reduced.
    • In the second season, he tries to get his friend to step forward about sexual harassment. He succeeds, but the resulting scandal results in his show being cancelled and his own name dragged through the mud.
  • Obsessed with Food: Dev is a huge foodie, and is seen spending most of his free time trying different places to eat with his friends. Lampshaded in Season 2 by Francesca, who describes Dev's life as "running around New York eating at every restaurant"
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Dev and Arnold laughing at a squeaky stegosaurus in the pilot lasts about a minute before the scene finally changes.
    • Dev prodding Denise's girlfriend into spelling out her lewd Instagram screenname in "Thanksgiving."
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Dev jokingly boasts to a woman that he is "one of the top 50 pasta makers in Modena of Indian descent."
  • Race Fetish: All of the minority women in "First Date" discuss how they get messages from people with race fetishes.
  • Racist Grandma: Discussed in "Old People".
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Characters stutter, mumble, and shout.
  • Silence Is Golden: "New York, I Love You" contains absolutely no audio during the deaf cashier's portion, though most of the sign-language conversations have subtitles.
  • Shout-Out: The Season 2 finale has Raven-SymonĂ©, as herself, accuse Dev of befriending a sexual harasser, with whom he co-hosts a travel program. Dev tries to make a crack about her not really being able to see into the future. Neither Raven nor her viewers appreciate his That's So Raven reference, with Raven actually name-dropping the show as she declares such.
  • Standard '50s Father: In an Imagine Spot in the first episode, "Plan B," Dev imagines himself as this (except, you know, brown).
  • The Stoic: Benjamin keeps a low-key personality at all times, making it shocking to Dev when he sees Benjamin deliver a raging monologue on stage.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After so much Will They or Won't They?, Dev and Francesca finally hook up at the end of season two, but when they look at each other, it's clear all the fun and chemistry has been sapped away as the allure of the love triangle is gone.
    • Exaggerated for Dev in Season 3. His misadventures came to a sudden end after his acting career didn't pan out, and he's forced to move in with his parents in Queens.
  • Time Skip: Throughout "Mornings," there are minor time skips of months. The whole episode itself covers a year of Dev and Rachel living together.
  • Token Minority: Discussed in the episode "Indians on TV."
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Dev loves him some pasta.
  • Twofer Token Minority: One of Dev's best friends, Denise, is a black lesbian.
  • Typecasting: Discussed In-Universe. Dev and his Indian actor friends deal with being typecast as cab drivers or convenience store owners with heavy accents.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The second episode, "Parents," is centered around Dev and his friend Brian, both second-generation American citizens, realizing they've been this, not appreciating the sacrifices and risks their parents took for them in coming to America for a better life for their family. However, it turns out that their parents are no better and have no appreciation for their children's efforts to enrich their own lives.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In his own way, Benjamin voices his displeasure with Dev in "Finale" for ruining his relationship with Rachel just because he doesn't feel "100%" about it.
    Benjamin: "Nobody's at a 100. I mean, I'm in a great marriage and sometimes we're at 90, other times we're at like 20 or 30. It goes up and down, it's not just like one number all the time."
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
  • Will They or Won't They?: Dev and Francesca in season two, made more complicated by the fact that she's already engaged. Season 2 ends up with Dev and Francesca in bed together, though it's not exactly a happy ending. Season 3 confirms they don't end up together.