Review: Master Of None, Season Two, Episode One, Netflix

The end of the first series of Aziz Ansari’s Master Of None saw excitable lover of life Dev (Ansari) flying to Italy to learn how to make pasta. We catch up with him in the first episode of the second series and, sure enough, that's just what he is doing in beautiful Modena. 

So far, so sitcom. But the opening episode, entitled The Thief, is more audacious than it sounds. Some might call it pretentious. The credits immediately evoke the spirit of Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 neo-realist masterpiece Bicycle Thieves and, sure enough, eagle-eyed viewers will spot a DVD of the movie next to Dev’s bed.

And like the classic film it is shot in black and white. And large chunks are in Italian with subtitles. But don’t let any of that put you off. This is lovely little filmic episode with a meet-cute plot - Dev meets a woman in a restaurant, they have fun together and then not his bike but his phone is stolen, meaning that he has lost her number. The episode follows him as he hurtles around the town hoping to get it back.

As with the first series this is certainly not laugh a minute stuff. Anyone thinking they will see shades of Ansari’s over the top Parks And Recreation character Tom Haverford will be disappointed. This is more mature, more subtle, more Woody Allen/Noah Baumbach territory. Neatly observed conversations and scenes that ooze charm.

It will be interesting to see how this series pans out. I’ve heard that each episode is food-related but very different and that it does return to New York at some point. But before Dev crosses the Atlantic again enjoy this opener, which should give a boost not just to Ansari’s career but to the Modena tourist industry. And Vittorio De Sica’s back catalogue.

The full series is available now on Netflix here.


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