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Josh Reviews Master of None: Moments in Love

It’s been four years since the second season of Master of None.  I’d assumed the show was finished.  That saddened me, because I absolutely adored the first two seasons of Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang’s series.  (Click here for my review of season one and click here for my review of season two.)  To my great delight, the series has returned with a five-episode installment titled “Moments in Love.”  This new short season focuses on Denise (Lena Waithe), a stand-out supporting character from the first two seasons, and her partner Alicia (Naomie Ackie).

I enjoyed watching “Moments in Love”, but this new mini-season represents a huge departure for the series.  To be honest, I’m of mixed feelings whether this should have been called Master of None at all or if it would have been better for this to have stood on its own as an entirely new thing.  While the first two seasons of Master of None focused on Aziz Ansari’s character Dev, Dev is almost entirely absent from these new episodes.  (He makes two brief appearances.)  Other than Denise, all of the show’s other characters have been jettisoned.  The show looks very different visually, with a 4×3 aspect ratio and a distinctly different style of long, uninterrupted takes and very few close-up coverage shots.   Most importantly, the tone of this new season is completely different.  There are almost no jokes to be found.  This is a very somber, elegiac, melancholy season, telling a story that is emotionally wrenching.

One of my favorite aspects of the first two seasons of Master of None was the soulfulness found among the comedy.  The show never shied away from telling emotional and dramatically real stories.  And yet, I never tuned into Master of None expecting to watch a melancholy drama.  I’m reminded of when Woody Allen shifted from his funny films to the entirely serious, dramatic 1978 film Interiors.  

However, I enjoyed this season of Master of None quite a bit more than I did Interiors!!

It’s a pleasure to see Lena Waithe’s Denise given the spotlight, and Naomie Ackie (Jannah in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) is a dynamite partner for her.  Both women turn in very powerful, moving, and emotionally real performances.  I loved their on-screen chemistry.  They have such a great energy together onscreen right from the start of the first episode (which is part of what makes the roller-coaster journey the two go on, over the course of the season, so painful to watch).  Both women really shine throughout the season.  These are Emmy-worthy performances, without question.

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe co-wrote all five episodes, and Mr. Ansari directed them all.  I’m impressed by what … [continued]