For part of the season, viewers might be hoping that Dev will serendipitously reconnect with Sara, à la Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset, but alas, that fantasy never comes to be.
Instead, Dev pursues an equally dreamlike romance with an Italian woman named Francesca, whom we also meet in that first episode.
All three comedians are adept at talking about race and their experience of being raised Muslim in this country, and can’t necessarily be expected to represent experiences — or desires — besides their own.
But nevertheless, they do all end up appealing to a certain, familiar fantasy of manhood.
Meanwhile, in his own New York Times profile published earlier this month, Aziz Ansari tells the interviewer, “When you think of the star of a movie or TV show, you don’t think of someone that looks like me.” And indeed, for nearly a century, Asian men in Hollywood have been primarily depicted as the antithesis of the ideal man — as meek and strange, almost never attractive and sexy.
Muslim men are rarely seen onscreen at all, unless they’re praying in some ominous montage and/or terrorizing someone in an action film.
Ansari, whose star rose by playing silly but slightly misogynist men in projects like Funny People and Parks and Recreation, begins the second season of his show with a black-and-white episode set in Italy called “The Thief,” a play on Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves, and a 30-minute romantic comedy on its own.
It features a dreamlike encounter between Ansari’s Dev and a British woman named Sara, who is black (played by Clare-Hope Ashitey).
But, as Apatow alludes to, there are some very familiar things about these scripts.A storyline like that, which veers almost entirely away from the traditional romantic comedy script and doesn’t feature any white people at all, is probably never going to happen on Love.And while the episode feels revelatory, unfortunately, the new season of Master of None doesn’t maintain that kind of freshness all the way through.Yet, despite the significance of seeing Muslims represented onscreen in this way in 2017, it’s interesting that at the center of both The Big Sick and Master of None remains the story of a straight man in pursuit of a straight woman, and more specifically, the story of a straight man in pursuit of a straight white woman.Minhaj’s Homecoming King special treads similar territory, as he spends a good deal of time relaying how his desire for a white girl in high school didn’t live up to the romantic expectations in his head (alongside the story of his marriage to his wife, who is Indian).There’s a scene early on in the new romantic comedy The Big Sick, where the comedian Kumail Nanjiani (playing a version of himself) is sitting next to his girlfriend Emily (Zoe Kazan), talking about wine.During their conversation, which begins flirty and fun but soon turns emotional, Emily looks at Kumail and suddenly says, “I am overwhelmed by you.” They’ve only been dating for a short while, so her admission comes as a bit of a surprise, but Kumail, looking into Emily’s eyes, unable to repress a smile, replies that he is also “overwhelmed” by her.You can also see it across Apatow’s oeuvre, in films like Knocked Up.Apatow even produces a Netflix show that centers on an awkward, bespectacled white comedian named Paul Rust — and it’s simply called Love.Following the May debut of its second season on Netflix, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None is the most talked about romantic comedy on TV right now.And The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj, who hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, released his own widely praised Netflix comedy special Homecoming King last month, which is itself a romantic comedy of sorts .