'Master of None': An arthouse-inspired ode to Black lesbian love

Four years after the airing of its second season, the comedy-drama Master of None returns to Netflix. In just five episodes, Aziz Ansari explores five chapters of Moments of Love.

Naomi Ackie and Lena Waithe
© Cian Oba-Smith, Instagram
Naomi Ackie and Lena Waithe

In the first two seasons of Master of None, we followed the daily life of New Yorker Aziz Ansari. The actor and director of the series, of Indian descent, reflects upon living in the Big Apple, all the while keeping in line with his heritage. The episodes bluntly portray the struggles and little joys of a young creative in our millennium. One that has to find time for professional ascent, maintaining social links, and building strong partnerships.

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In 2021, four years after the airing of the second season, Aziz Ansari's acclaimed show did a complete 360, much to our delight. Ansari co-directed the third season—Moments of Love—with fellow actress Lena Waithe, who also plays Denise on-screen.

Reflection upon isolation

The five new episodes drastically differ from the previous two seasons by its slow-pace. The directors chose to film the daily cottage life of Denise and her partner Alicia, played by Naomi Ackie. Far removed from New York, the couple find joy in farm life, contemplating sheep at dawn, feeding chickens and drinking warm tea under a blanket on a rainy day.

In order to portray the slow-pace of countryside living, Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe opted for an aesthetic that is comparable to that of an arthouse film. Moments in Love beholds this particular retro film grain as the colours are slightly desaturated. The images are often static and wide-shot, and only at crucial emotional moments are we gifted with close-ups.

These static shots often last for a few seconds and find beauty in the mundanity of everyday life. The protagonists are isolated by choice and find joy in the small things life offers to them. We follow their evolution and their thoughts, that they so maturely discuss by the fireplace.

Portrayal of modern love

Moments of Love, as the title suggests, portrays the struggles and workings of any contemporary couple. It sheds a new light on lesbian couples, one that is of normality. Despite the power of their love, the wives find it difficult to be synchronised on a professional level, which, in turn, takes its toll on their love life. Whilst Denise faces growing popularity with the release of her book, Alicia aims at building a family. Things don’t quite work out as planned, but their love turns into unconditional friendship.

A few episodes later, we follow along on Alicia's journey as she challenges herself to undergo in vitro fertilisation and face motherhood alone. We also discover the hidden social limits politics induce on LGBTQI+ communities experience when trying to have children.

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