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And this fantasy doesn’t have much room for South Asian women.Their choices are reflective of the stubborn limitations of an industry where straight men still dominate, and where whiteness remains an integral component to what love looks like onscreen.Certainly the reality of having men of color in the writers room, and the inclusion of the perspectives of women, makes a project like Master of None or The Big Sick different from Midnight in Paris (not to mention the fact that neither Ansari nor Nanjiani have ever been accused of abuse).And Ansari, Nanjiani, and Minhaj are able to follow in the footsteps of black men like Chris Rock, who mentors Ansari and is cited by Minhaj as a hero, as well as South Asian folks like Russell Peters and Mindy Kaling. Take for instance, Master of None’s “Thanksgiving,” directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-written by Lena Waithe about her experiences coming out to her family as a queer black woman.Meanwhile, in his own New York Times profile published earlier this month, Aziz Ansari tells the interviewer, “When you think of the star of a movie or TV show, you don’t think of someone that looks like me.” And indeed, for nearly a century, Asian men in Hollywood have been primarily depicted as the antithesis of the ideal man — as meek and strange, almost never attractive and sexy.
Namely, like only a few Apatow-produced films before it (Bridesmaids, Trainwreck) — The Big Sick doesn’t center around a white guy.
A storyline like that, which veers almost entirely away from the traditional romantic comedy script and doesn’t feature any white people at all, is probably never going to happen on Love.
And while the episode feels revelatory, unfortunately, the new season of Master of None doesn’t maintain that kind of freshness all the way through.
All three comedians are adept at talking about race and their experience of being raised Muslim in this country, and can’t necessarily be expected to represent experiences — or desires — besides their own.
But nevertheless, they do all end up appealing to a certain, familiar fantasy of manhood.
It’s the kind of sweet moment, heightened by the levity that surrounds it, that exists only in the best romantic comedies.