I heard about Master of None from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, a show I listen to every now and again on the drive when I grow tired of the same six songs played on the hip-hop station I tend to leave playing after dropping off my daughter at school; and when I’ve already heard the round of stories on the local NPR station. If you haven’t heard of it, MoN is a Netflix show in its second season that stars Aziz Ansari of Parks & Rec fame. Last year, Ansari and co-creator Alan Yang won a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing, Comedy. This weekend’s upcoming Emmy show finds the show nominated for three awards, including one for Ansari and co-star, Lena Waithe, for their writing on what I’m certifying as my current favorite episode of television right now – Thanksgiving.
While others tout this episode as sweet, fabulous, or awesome for a number of reasons, it goes beyond these things for me. It spoke to me at a high volume, seamlessly melding the right mix of music (play New Edition and I’m yours), effervescent nostalgia (I have a strong fondness for the ‘90s), and solid performances (heard of Angela Bassett, anyone?) to create a succinct, satisfying 30 minutes of television that I can’t get enough of. There’s contemporary references involving crazy Instagram names (there really is a NipplesandToes23 posting on IG – what came first, the episode or the ‘gram?), older and newer talks around the table about racism and police brutality, and flashes on a couple of my favorite shows of Yore – Friends and A Different World. As someone whose greatest pleasure it is to bring fulfilling and fun stories to those in need of a little entertainment, this bit of t.v. accomplished a fantastic fete: it made me jealous. Jealous of how wonderfully crafty the writers were at telling Waithe’s powerful story (the episode was based on her experience coming out as an Black female). I am absolute sick with envy over how great their storytelling is. I only hope that, one day, I’ll be able to pull together such a fine piece of work for you wonderful readers of Dianderthal. I should be so lucky.
Congratulations, Master of None, Aziz, and Lena for transporting the world to your glorious space.
Classic Dianderthal Episodes [Not exhaustive – I’ll keep adding]
Master of None – Thanksgiving, Season 2 [just blogged about it]
Sex and the City – An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux, Season 6 [I love the part when Miranda is bathing her mother-in-law and, upon seeing her do so, her housekeeper Magda says in her Ukrainian accent, “What you did right there – that’s love”]
Sex & the City – The Post-It Always Sticks Twice, Season 6 [Carrie smokes a doobie]
Sex & the City – One, Season 6 [Magda does it again, making me cry with her knowing glance at Miranda and Steve after catching them close to canoodling in the closet at Brady’s birthday party]
Friends – The Ones With the Embryos, Season 4 [Competition and quizzes turn me on – this is where Rachel and Monica lose their apartment to Joey and Chandler – thanks Ms. Chanandler Bong]
Friends – The One Where Ross Finds Out, Season 2 [Umm…Ross finds out!]
A Different World – Everything Must Change, Season 4 [Dwayne Wayne returns from Japan with Kinu, very much to Whitley’s revenge]
A Different World – Save the Best for Last, Part 2, Season 5 [Whitley leaves Byron at the altar for Dwayne – not smart…we later learn years later in Scandal that he’s Command]
Grey’s Anatomy – Now or Never, Season 5 [All shock and surprise when George dies]
Seinfeld – The Big Salad, Season 5 [George gets mad about a salad, and also breaks down my maiden name superbly]
Seinfeld – The Puffy Shirt, Season 5 [George ruins his chances of being a hand model, a vocation I too once dreamed of having; and Seinfeld also dates a “low talker”]
Melrose Place – The Bitch is Back, Season 2 [I’ll never forget the moment Kimberly removes her red wig to reveal a gnarly scar on her head from her near-fatal car accident]
Silver Spoons – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Season 1 [Ricky Schroeder in drag]
This Is Us – Memphis, Season 1 [I can’t…I’ll cry]
This is Us – every other episode in Season 1 except the season finale [I can’t…I’ll cry]