For the last couple of years, Netflix has perfected the art of Binge-Watching. With complete seasons of TV shows surfacing online in a single day, Netflix has added a new aspect to watching television. Two new Netflix original series has gained notoriety as of late, Master of None and Friends from College. Created by comedian Aziz Ansari in 2015, Master of None has quickly become a Netflix favorite for viewers. Cleverly written and complex, the show follows Ansari as a fictional character Dev, who is a first-generation Indian immigrant. The show follows Dev as he navigates the difficulties of friendships, work, and relationships in New York City. The show follows a unique arc that involves an overarching plot but contains nonsensical episodes mixed in between the plot context. These nonsensical episodes add depth to the filmography, location, and characters within the show giving the readers a brief respite from the continuous plot.
Friends from College is Netflix’s newest original comedy series. Created in July of 2017, the show focuses a group of six 30-some-odd friends who have been close since college. With different professions and different marital statuses, the friend group finds themselves in difficult situations pertaining to love and friendship. Friends from College consists of eight 30 minute episodes that follow a rather lingering and predictable plot throughout.
I had two vastly different impressions when binge-watching these two shows. I was captivated by Master of None and it’s rather random assortment of episodes, while I found the continuous plot line of Friends from College to be rather boring leading to me getting lost in other activities while watching. In my opinion, the spontaneity of Master of None leads to a far more enjoyable binge-watching experience.
In the Master of None episode “Thanksgiving”, the show focuses on old Thanksgivings shared between Dev and his lesbian friend Denise. Coming from an Indian family who does not celebrate the holiday, Dev starts a tradition of going to Denise’s to celebrate the holiday with her stereotypical African-American family. The episode focuses on Denise and how she slowly is able to tell her religious mother that she is lesbian through a time-lapse of Thanksgivings of past. This break from the overall plot of Master of None is what makes the show so captivating to binge-watch. The actual plot of the show deals with Dev as he attempts to court a married Italian woman who met overseas. The Atlantic wrote a piece on how some of the best episodes of the show are actually the ones that do not focus on the plot. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/05/master-of-none-season-2/525804/ In the Atlantic piece I believe they bring up several good points and that they understand the concept of curiosity in the overall “watchability” of the show. With the current state of binge-watching, it is important to get a break from the plotline regardless of how incredible the show is.
Master of None, succeeded where Friends from College did not. The interesting depth that this not contextual episode creates allows the binge-watcher to be kept attentive even when the plot is drudging along. Friends from College was a far too predictable show for it to have retained my attention throughout the binge-watching process. With no breaks from the plot, the show became more of a task to watch than pleasure.