the show is intentional, as Dev is a true “master of none,” and he
demonstrates that lack of mastery throughout the first season.
Additionally, the intentionality of self-reflexivity and understated
portrayals of diverse characters on the show operates at the highest
degree. In addition to that intentionality, the show is funny,
charming, and authentic, which is no small bonus.
But (and isn’t there always a “but”?), there are unintentional
consequences of certain elements of the plot, important
consequences that subvert much of the strong, critical perspective
the series provides throughout the season. In the remainder of this
chapter, I explore both the intentionality and unintentionality of
the show in the following order. First, I briefly explore the
ontology of the words Master of None and the assumptions one can
make from the series based on the title. Then, I move to a critical-
cultural critique of the show’s intentional normalization of various
tropes. Finally, I critique the unintended consequences of the
plotlines and the lasting implications those consequences have on
Ontology of Master of None
In choosing the title for the series, creators Aziz Ansari and
Alan Yang had to be very intentional with their choices. In their
selection of Master of None, they were very intentional in
constructing the message they wanted viewers to receive when
making assumptions about the show based on the title. The title
says to viewers that the characters in the show are not completely
accomplished at any one thing. With its root in an English language
idiom, master of none, is the tail end of the idiom. The full idiom
reads: Jack of all trades, but master of none. The statement implies
that a person can be good enough at most things to pass but is not
an expert at any one thing. Generally, the idea that a person is a
Jack of all trades is a compliment to that person. If someone is a
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