“Master of None” is heavily influenced by film and filmmakers, from the great Italian NeoRealist directors Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang drew from for the black-and-white premiere to the hour-long ninth episode constructed like a mini-film unto itself, complete with fresh opening credits cast over the skyline of Manhattan.
But what makes the series special isn’t what it draws from, but what it creates. Ansari, Yang, and the team of writers and directors behind the Netflix original series craft specific human moments within the framework of their cinematic inspirations. So below, we’ve ranked our favorite scenes of hilarity, insight, or hilarity and insight from the inspired second season. While these seven are inarguably unforgettable, please feel free to list your own favorite moments — big or small, Arnold or Dev — in the comments below.
[Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for “Master of None” Season 2. If you’re looking for a spoiler-free analysis, may we humbly recommend our original review.]
7. Papa Ansari Goes Big – “Religion,” Episode 3
Directed by: Alan Yang
Written by: Aziz Ansari & Aniz Adam Ansari
We fell hard for Shoukath Ansari, Dev’s father, in Season 1, so his triumphant return in Season 2 cannot be kept off the list. It seems like Papa Ansari has only gained confidence during his time off, and he goes big in his Season 2 debut.
That Harry Potter obsession. (“The new one is very good.”) Lying about going to the Apple Store. (“The line is too long.”) His devotion to the Indian version of “The Voice.” (“Only Indians sing. No whites.”) Dev’s dad hits every line with all he has, sometimes shouting — “We could have gone to the seafood place! None of this would’ve happened!” — and sometimes adding a touch of flair (“I’ll see you later,” immediately after Dev fixes his iPad). No matter how big or small, Ansari brings his all — and it’s simply divine.
OK, so maybe the best scene in this episode was Navid, played by Aziz Ansari’s real-life cousin Harris Gani, and Dev’s conversation about pork paired with their subsequent adventure to the BBQ festival. Poison’s “Nothing But a Good Time” hasn’t felt so fun since the ’80s… but we simply had to give a shout-out to our favorite funny father figure.
6. Tinder Matching Montage – “First Date,” Episode 4
Directed by: Eric Wareheim
Teleplay by: Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang; Story by: Sarah Schneider
Something tells us to credit Sarah Schneider for this dynamite opener that shows a plethora of ways potential couples can get matched up on dating apps. A woman swipes right at a funeral, saying, “Fuck it, why not?” Another passively hits “no” three times in a row while grocery shopping. A Lyft rider says yes and a woman in the bathroom gives an emphatic no. But of all the people tapping a heart next to Dev’s thin-lipped grin — really, that’s your first photo? — the one that gets Dev excited wasn’t even her choice: Priya (Tiya Sircar) has some pushy friends, and they set up the titular “first date.” How many more happened differently?
5. “Best. Food. Friends?” – “Door #3,” Episode 7
Directed by: Melina Matsoukas
Teleplay by: Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang; Story by: Lakshmi Sundaram
Before Chef Jeff (Bobby Cannavale) was outed for sexual harassment, he was one of the best additions to Season 2. OK, objectively speaking, he was still one of the best additions even after we found out what he’d been doing to women, given how his good-standing as Dev’s best food friend complicated the reaction to his bad behavior. It’s one thing to turn on a guy who’s always acted like a sleazy douchebag, but it’s a lot harder when he’s been nothing but good to you.
But when Dev first pitched his idea for a traveling food show to Chef Jeff, all we were worried about was their friendship. His high energy was always a positive when Dev was eating with him, agreeing with him, and hosting Chef Jeff’s show, “Cupcake Wars.” But what would happen when Dev told him “no”?
Turns out… he loves it! After repeating the show’s title, “Best Food Friends” seven times between them, Chef Jeff finally unveiled his euphoric reaction and we fell in love with him all over again. Maybe it was the enthusiasm. Maybe it was Cannavale’s cleverly ingratiating performance. Maybe it was the stuffed bear in the corner of the room, with a stuffed lion climbing its back. But we loved Chef Jeff… right up until we hated him.
Read on for dancing, dinner, and drives…