Romance has always been a part of movies and TV.
Ross and Rachael.
Ted and Robin.
Jack and Rose.
These names instantly bring an image to your head, maybe of grand romantic gestures or ballads being blasted from your television speakers.
This is movie romance.
This is the kind of romance that you've seen a thousand times where they meet and fall in love and live happily ever after.
This isn't real romance.
This isn't the kind of romance that makes your chest ache with longing or your heart flutter whenever you think of it.
To me, Master Of None is the first TV series to ever give me that feeling. The feeling of longing for what the characters on screen have. The feeling I get when I watch 500 Days Of Summer or Her. The feeling of well written, well observed, real romance.
Here, Aziz Ansari has constructed characters that transcend their world in a way that very few writers can do. Characters that aren't really characters but instead come across as people you could bump into on the streets of New York City.
Arnold and Dev's friendship will remain one of the most genuine in television history and the romantic interests have incredible depth and nuance when alongside Dev. The women aren't portrayed as goals or items on a checklist but as people with their own dreams and desires that often have nothing to do with the male lead.
It's these characters and their interactions that give the show such a punch.
And believe me, Aziz does not hold back. There are parts in both seasons one and two that really hit you in a way that "movie romance" cannot. I think the fact that Aziz is so aware of the tropes and cliches of the genre allows him to create this feeling without being overly sentimental or letting go of the heart of the show which is the characters.
When watching Master Of None (especially season 2) you can really see Aziz's love for cinema. His style of writing and directing show off his infatuation for the artform that I also hold very dear. Wide shots that show off the landscape of his beloved New York elicit Baumbach's best work and perfectly encapsulates the sense of constant awe the characters are in in terms of their immediate environment. The stunning Modena allows Ansari to put his love of classic European cinema to the forefront; especially in season two's first episode where he homages such Italian classics as The Bicycle Thieves to great effect. The editing and shot composition recreating that iconic cinematic era flawlessly.
However, I think his love for film is most apparent in his writing. Aziz captures the weight of longing that is often neglected by lesser writers. The ache of love is rarely felt, especially in film but Aziz pulls it off. Rom-com writers take note, you have a new master.
Master Of None is brilliant and streaming on Netflix now.