'Master of None presents Moments in Love' Review: Melancholy marks new season as Aziz Ansari is sorely missed
Aziz Ansari has said on his absence that he didn't have much left to say about Dev Shah's character on 'Master of None'
'Master of None' was never a laugh-a-minute show, but in the absence of Aziz Ansari providing comic relief just by his sheer presence,' Master of None' season three, titled 'Master of None presents Moments in Love' tends to move far more toward melancholy than laughter. The new season focuses entirely on the relationship between Dev Shah's (Ansari) friend Denise (Lena Waithe) who viewers have been introduced to in previous seasons and her marriage with Alicia (Naomi Ackie).
Ansari directs, co-writes and also makes two small but important appearances in the new season, cameos which end up unwittingly changing the course of Denise and Alicia's marriage. Naomi Ackie who plays Alicia is brilliant, especially in conveying her struggles with infertility and the general sense of panic many thirty somethings can associate with, as they feel the world is moving on without them.
While the new season of 'Master of None', does give voice to several existential crises we're sure many can identify with, it's a relief when Ansari shares lighter comic moments with Denise. We could have used a lot more of those, interspersed over the five episodes that make up the sometimes frustratingly slow season. For instance, when Denise observes the terrible dynamic between Dev and his partner Reshmi (Aysha Kala), she asks in her trademark style what happened to their beautiful brown-on-brown love, and why they are arguing like Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston.
This isn't the only reference to controversial celebs. When Denise finds that her newfound success as a best-selling author is curtailed, Dev tells her she's gone full Hammer and will soon have to do a gospel album to dig herself out of this hole. It's this good-natured ribbing that fans of 'Master of None' will miss.
Ansari in interviews has said that he didn't have much else to say about Dev Shah. But in the few moments that we did see Dev onscreen grappling with what seems like a toxic relationship and failed ambitions as an actor we would disagree. Clearly, Dev is grappling with several challenges personally and professionally which fans of the show would be interested in.
However, following accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at Ansari in 2018, it seems that Ansari is keen to now reinvent himself behind the camera as a filmmaker. 'Master of None presents Moments in Love' is aesthetically pleasing but moves at a snail's pace. So when it comes down to it, do we prefer Ansari the filmmaker or Ansari the actor? We'd have to say that for now at least Ansari is the master of One.