The "Slow-Build Rom-Com" Sitcom
Like New Girl, You’re the Worst or Togetherness, Master of None is a show about the peculiarities of modern relationships that doesn't immediately announce itself as such. Dev’s love interest Rachel, played by one-season SNL vet Noël Wells, is introduced in the first episode and eventually becomes a key role, but the character appears only sporadically early on in the season. A more conventional series like The Office might let its keystone relationship evolve over multiple seasons. Master of None plays fast and loose with time; a year passes over the course of the season without making a big deal about it. That type of inventive plotting sets the stage for the episode “Mornings,” a delicate, impressionistic take on a common sitcom problem: moving in together. That elasticity lets the show go to emotional and psychological places that other more timid shows would shy away from.
Ultimately, as the season’s final episode reveals, that indecisiveness isn’t a flaw or a bug in the show; it's reflective of Dev’s mental state. Whether he’s worrying about his relationship with Rachel after hearing the heartfelt devotional vows of a couple at a wedding, contemplating a career change after being cut out of a zombie film, or trying to find the perfect taco truck, Dev is constantly gripped by the modern anxiety of unlimited choice. It’s the same feeling of creeping existential dread that happens when you fire up Netflix and start scrolling through through the streaming options, each image offering up a different path to take on a quiet Saturday night. Master of None offers the perfect solution: take a little bit of everything. That way you don’t have to worry about what you might be missing.
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Dan Jackson is a Staff Writer at Thrillist Entertainment and he's never met a sitcom trope he didn't want to re-contextualize. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.