Tag Archives: Master of None

A sensational story of a Muslim doctor, explaining Islam in rural Minnesota. “Master of None” was superb in Season 2. And Steve Rushin, writing master craftsman, opens the curtain a little

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day; the Lewis family sure did. Had a terrific time at a playground in Central Park with our little man, then a picnic lunch under a big ole’ tree in Central Park, followed by dinner and watching fireworks from our window. Macy’s fireworks have been in the same place (over the East River) for the last four years, but somehow the view from our bedroom window was much, much better than in past years. Anyway, it was a great day. Life is awesome.

Two excellent pieces of writing/journalism to share today, sandwiched around a fabulous TV show we just finished watching.

First, from the Washington Post, comes this beautifully reported and told story by Stephanie McCrummen. It’s about a Muslim doctor in Minnesota named Ayaz Virji, who several years ago moved to a small town in the state and was welcomed warmly.

Then, the 2016 election happened, and things changed quite a bit. Now, Virji feels cold shoulders and stares where he goes, and to help combat the anti-Islam feeling that suddenly seems pervasive around him, he’s gone around to three small towns in Minnesota to essentially, explain the truth about Islam.

“Ayaz wasn’t sure (explaining Islam) was his responsibility, but how else would people learn?” she writes.

The story takes several surprising turns, and is absolutely beautifully written by McCrummen. Read this for a look at one small way 2016’s election changed everything.

**Next up, my wife and I just finished binge-ing Season 2 of the sublimely excellent Netflix series “Master of None.” I raved about Season 1 last year, because Aziz Ansari’s look at love, food, New York City, religion and everything else that interests him was so fresh and new.

Season 2, which was released two months ago, is miles better. Ten episodes, of varying length and subject matter, explore so many things that broadcast television wouldn’t touch. There’s an entire episode about Ansari’s character Dev explaining to his family that he’s not a devout Muslim anymore. There’s a fantastic, Woody Allen movie-esque episode of three different slices of life for New York City residents, starring a group of foreign-born cabdrivers, a deaf couple arguing about their sex life, and doormen in a swanky building and the interesting predicaments they’re often put in.

There’s a wonderful season-long romance between Dev and the gorgeous Alessandra Mastronardi, and the penultimate episode of the season will break your heart. The season starts in Italy, moves to New York, and gets sensational performances from guest stars like Angela Bassett and Bobby Cannavale.

Seriously, “Master of None” is expertly written and directed. Maybe the best thing I’ve seen on TV this year. Streaming on Netflix now, I highly, highly recommend it.

**Finally today, my man Jeff Pearlman continues to grind out a weekly Q and A on his blog with fascinating people from all walks of life, and his most recent Quaz is near and dear to my heart.

Steve Rushin was a big inspiration for me as a young sportswriter; his prose in Sports Illustrated each week was truly like none other. Twenty-six years later, I still remember his game story in SI from the 1991 World Series, maybe the best I’ve ever seen, between the Twins and Braves, and memorized the story’s opening (Rushin’s lede: “The truth is inelastic when it comes to the 88th World Series. It is impossible to stretch. It isn’t necessary to appraise the nine days just past from some distant horizon of historical perspective. Let us call this Series what it is, now, while its seven games still ring in our ears: the greatest that was ever played.”)

His wordplay can be dazzling “I ate Frosted Flakes right out of the box, and she was on boxes of Frosted Flakes” and the next cliche Rushin uses will be his first. He’s an original, brilliant writing voice, and may be the first sportswriter to marry a women’s pro basketball legend (Rebecca Lobo).

He opens up with Jeff about his career, how fluky it was that he got to SI in the first place, and where journalism is going. His story about the letter he got from President George W. Bush five years after meeting him is hilarious.

Anyway, the interview is a damn entertaining read, just like all of Rushin’s stories.

 

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The Jets with a stunning, thrilling win over the Patriots, as Belichick makes a rare stupid decision. “Master of None” a superb new Netflix show. And the rapist who made sure his victim got home safely.

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Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. It’s been several hours since the New York Jets pulled off an always-satisfying, and always-rare, win over the Patriots Sunday.

And I’m still jazzed. Damn, that feels good. I’ve said before that a victory over New England, since it’s so uncommon, feels like two wins instead of one. And this one certainly does.

Where to start? Well, for once Bill Belichick didn’t come off as such a genius. Coach Hoodie seemed to make major blunders throughout the game, starting with the end of the first half when he inexplicably decided not to try to score more points, with 1:50 left, 2 timeouts, and his team trailing by 7.

But Billy boy saved his best brain work for OT, when after winning the coin toss, he told his captain to say the Pats wanted to kick off. This meant, if the Jets scored a TD, New England wouldn’t get the ball at all and the game would be over.
Which is exactly what happened.
Because Ryan Fitzpatrick, God bless his journeyman soul, led the Jets downfield for a beautiful TD. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into Fitz this year, but this isn’t the QB I watched so many years in Buffalo and Houston. This guy is calm, poised, and after a shaky start, played a terrific game Sunday.

And Brandon Marshall… you complete me. I never saw Don Maynard because I wasn’t born yet, but Marshall’s the best Jets receiver of my lifetime. At least he’s having the best season of any Jets receiver of my life. He’s been so clutch, and so huge, in so many games.

The Jets defense also was fantastic, though to be fair, I think the Patriots were down to the kids from “Lucas” on the offensive line and at wideout by the end. Brady is just so fricken good, he almost pulled out a win anyway.

Ah, so much fun to beat the Pats. Now the Jets have set me up for the ultimate heartbreak: Having to beat Rex Ryan and Buffalo next week to get in. Bills, nothing to play for, Rex desperately wanting to beat his old team, Jets in a great spot… what could possibly go wrong?

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**Next up, I’ve been reading and hearing over the last few weeks about how fantastic Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix comedy, “Master of None” was. I’ve seen it on a bunch of “Top 10 shows of the year” lists, my favorite TV critic Alan Sepinwall had raved about it, and word of mouth about it was great.

Still, I wasn’t a big fan of Ansari or “Parks and Rec,” his last show, so I didn’t immediately watch.

Big mistake. The wife and I have been binge-watching it this weekend and it’s absolutely terrific. We’ve seen eight episodes (of 10) and it’s getting better and better.

The show, ostensibly, is just about a single man (Ansari) in his 30’s, working as an actor, hanging out with his friends, and having adventures both in dating and professionally. But it’s much more than that.

The writing is sharp and real; the chemistry among the actors (none of whom besides Ansari are famous) is terrific, and the stories told are fascinating.

One episode has Ansari’s character, Dev, vying with another Indian actor for a role in a TV show, since “you’re only allowed one Indian per show.” Another hilarious episode has Dev and his Asian friend Kevin trying to repay their parents for giving them a great new life in America by learning about their journeys.
And maybe the best storyline so far involves Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich in guest-starring roles, playing comedy so well.

It’s the rare show that treats its audience as intelligent adults; the relationships seem real, the dialogue is really funny, and it’s just a great, great show.

Can’t wait to watch the last two episodes; this is definitely a show you should check out.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but just got around to reading it this weekend, and it’s brave and powerful and fabulous so I wanted to share it. Alisson Wood wrote this in the New York Times Week in Review a few weeks ago, about the time she was a college student, working as a waitress in a diner, and was raped by her boss, a manager at the restaurant.

The headline “Get home safe,” my rapist said” doesn’t grab you, nothing will. After committing his sexual assault in his office, Alisson’s boss helped her into her car, then followed her home.

It took years for her to come to terms with what happened, and her essay brings forth all her emotions. It’s difficult, important writing, and it’s done very well.

Rapists come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors; the stereotypes are often very wrong.

It’s a terrific essay and I highly urge you to read it.