Aziz Ansari has been lauded from the start of Master of None for his ability to break down barriers with his portrayal of immigrants and season two is no different.
In a particularly well-done episode “Religion,” Ansari tells the story of Dev, who is not particularly religious, and how it impacts his relationship with his parents, who are more religious Muslims. It shrewdly depicts many modern Muslims’ relationships to their religion and more importantly, shows the humorous side of the religion, which is very often (if ever) portrayed on television.
Speaking with NY Magazine, he said,
“No one ever sees anyone laugh about Islam, but I was telling Alan [Yang], there are so many little bitty funny things. There’s a bit in the show where my dad is trying to pretend like we’re more religious than we are. Where he’s like, ‘Dev prays five times a day.’ It reminded me of the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David is pretending to be super religious so he can get Richard Lewis on the kidney list. I was like, ‘There is a version of that with Islam and no one would believe me.’”
“Islam has the same kind of lighthearted issues as every religion, like someone being more religious and judging the less religious people.”
Although the episode was filmed a bit after the election, he didn’t change anything about the script and is really proud of the way it turned out. Overall, he wanted the episode to be light-hearted and playful, which it absolutely is.
A lot of the incidents that occur in the episode to Dev, like eating bacon accidentally as a child, totally happened to Ansari in real life. He jokes,
I don’t even want to talk about when I started eating pork because my mom doesn’t like reading about it. But it was sometime in college. Once you leave home and have your independence you’re eventually like, ‘Okay, this is just something I’m going to do. It’s not something I care to adhere to anymore.’ I talked to a bunch of other young, Muslim people about the pork thing, and it’s a weird thing! Kids are like, ‘Oh yeah, my parents have seen me drink, they’ve seen me smoke cigarettes, but I do not eat pork around them.’
We love that he’s used his platform to put a friendly face on American Muslims because so many folks are Islamophobia are so because they’ve never met anyone Muslim in real life and have no positive associations with the religion.
As you probably know by now, his parents in the show are his parents in real life. His dad has pretty much become a break-out star ever since the episode “Parents” first aired on Netflix. Ansari says,
“I think my dad is even funnier than he was in the ‘Parents’ episode. He kills it.”