You know Denise, Dev's lesbian friend, if you followed Season 1 of MASTER OF NONE. That's the fresh and fabulous series created by and starring Aziz Ansari. On this Netflix series, he plays Dev. Dev is a young Indian dude, a Muslim, and an actor in New York City.
The Season 2 episode "New York, I Love You" is like a valentine to the New York City I know. Dev, Denise and Arnold are on their way to a movie. Arnold mentions that he's heard it has a great surprise twist at the end. Dev and Denise are irritated. Arnold didn't tell them the ending but they'll be expecting a surprise twist because he mentioned it. THAT broke me up laughing. I will not mention a surprise twist when I'm reviewing a movie for that very reason. In fact, I have blocked people on Twitter who have revealed the surprise ending of movies simply because the films are over 20 years old and the blocked Twitterers felt those old endings were fair game. From the trio's movie talk, we meet an apartment building doorman and a privileged resident who obviously thinks all Latino, doormen on the staff look alike. We go on to meet an interracial couple having problems with its sex life. She's black. He's white. She's a shop clerk, deaf, and they both sign. We meet an African cabdriver who lives with other African guys and they all want to go out for some nightlife. A little wackiness ensues. But they wind up in Chelsea, get some late night fast food and meet some friendly young black women. They meet them in a fast food joint. A roommate of the African men works there in the kitchen. What gets mentioned in conversation? The movie Dev, Denise and Arnold were talking about at the top of the episode.
This is the real New York. It's the multi-cultural, multi-racial New York City that Woody Allen still refuses to reflect in his movies after all these years.
The "Thanksgiving" episode. That one deserves Golden Globe and Emmy nomination attention. Inspired by the real life story of Lena Waithe, the MASTER OF NONE actress who plays Denise, we go back to the early years of the little Denise and little Dev friendship to see where the bond began and what holds it together. Through of number of Thanksgiving dinners over the years, we see them grow up and we see her mother grow into dealing with the fact that her daughter is gay. In this episode, Aziz Ansari and his team accurately show that, as Denise tells Dev, coming out is different for black people. That is so true.
I came out to my mother in 1992. It was not pretty. At Christmastime in 2005, she asked "Are you still gay?"
The mother would like to meet a good man. Over the years, she meets a couple of different women that Denise is dating. One is absolutely clueless. If she saw a lobby sign that read "Wet Floor," she probably would. Even frustrated Denise didn't realize how intellectually-challenged her date was. Her date cannot stay on topic during Thanksgiving dinner conversation and the way Dev highlights her cluelessness via an Instragram name is very funny. It's then that the heterosexual mother probably realizes something I said to a straight friend of mine years ago: "When it comes to love, we may be batting in different leagues. But we're all playing the same game."