Aziz Ansari makes his own way in ‘Master of None’

Master of None

Three and a half stars

Master of None Season 1 available November 6 on Netflix.

On Parks and Recreation, Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford was most often the target of jokes, and while he experienced a bit of personal growth, he was a buffoon all the way to the end of the series. Ansari himself, however, is much smarter and more self-aware than Tom, as he’s demonstrated in his stand-up, his recent book Modern Romance and now his Netflix series Master of None, which draws from both of those sources. Like Louis C.K., Ansari is influenced more by independent film than by TV (and particularly by the dramas of the 1970s), and Master of None has a loose, low-key tone that makes it both charmingly unpredictable and occasionally inscrutable.

Co-created by Ansari and Parks writer Alan Yang, Master of None has a familiar setup, with Ansari as a single, 30-something struggling actor in New York City. But this isn’t Ansari’s version of Friends; the supporting characters drift in and out of what are mostly self-contained episodes, which tackle big issues in off-kilter ways that can be as odd as they are funny. Like Louie, Master of None sometimes seems a bit scattered, and not everything Ansari tries works. But when the show does succeed, it captures Ansari’s unique voice, giving it a deserved spotlight.

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