Master of None, the latest Netflix series to inspire acclaim and feverish binge-watching, is hard to classify. On the surface, the show could not be more conventional: Thirtysomething comedic actor Aziz Ansari plays thirtysomething aspiring actor Dev Shah, a man-child navigating romantic, familial, and career challenges in New York City. Ansari, best-known for stealing scenes as the obnoxious-but-sweet Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, has spent more than a decade exploring the many facets of his persona in his stand-up sets, so you could simply consider Master of None to be his comedy-auteur showcase, a la Louie or Maron.
But the further you delve into Master of None, the stranger it becomes, revealing itself to be a formally-challenging show -- even when stacked against Netflix’s often boundary-pushing programming. Unlike the diabolical House of Cards, the zany Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or, um, whatever Bloodline is about, Master of None sheds its skin with each episode, embracing different sitcom tropes and micro-genres as it needs them. Just how many gears turn during its 10-episode run? Consider the following things you may have missed while breezing through season one: