Netflix series Master of None won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The win came in particular for the famous 'Parent' episode of the first season (the second season just started filming last month).
Just a recap, the episode recounts the main character Dev and his friend Brian learning to appreciate the lives of their immigrant parents. Co-written by Alan Yang and Aziz Anzari, the episode is touching in its authenticity, but still keeps the humor alive. The best line in the episode is the point when Dev contemplates on his and Brian's parents' immigrant stories: "isn’t that the gist of every immigrant story? It was hard." But as Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya points out in her article, "Master of None is both personal and sweeping in its portrayal of immigrant stories", Dev and Brian find out that through their parents recounting that not every immigrant story is exactly the same and that "it was hard" was too simple of an expression to cover the complexities that come with the experience.
Personally, while reading Upadhyaya's article, her ideas that the episode "doesn't generalize", however is still able to relay themes that resonate with others who have immigrant parents, made me realize why I really enjoyed and fell in love with this episode of Master of None, too. It was clear while watching the episode that the experiences of the parents in the show were uniquely their's. However, at the same time, I couldn't help, but feel their stories, like it somehow spoke personally to who I was. Except, the experiences of Dev and Brian's parents are like my experiences at all. I'm just a second-generation immigrant, just like Dev and Brian. I've been able to experience the freedom that being born an American can give. But, this episode did win in that it really made me consider and appreciate the possible hardships that my own parents experienced as immigrants.
This win for Master of None is momentous. We're currently at a time where there are 17 million Asian-Americans residing in the U.S. However, the Asian-American community consistently is almost rejected by media, and if they are mentioned, they are asked to conform to not-so-flattering, practically racist stereotypes, like those stereotypes are the only version of Asian-Americans. Thankfully, some have made strides in Hollywood and other media to make America see that Asian-Americans aren't Long Duk Dong. For example, there's Fresh Off the Boat, which is momentous because it follows an Chinese-American family and has a large Asian-American cast. There's also Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which the creators reached out to have, for maybe the first time ever, a Filipino-American male character, Josh, was the romantic interest in an American TV series and which worked hard to keep everything authentically Filipino-American for the scenes with Josh's family. There's obviously the momentous work of Mindy Kaling from The Mindy Project and the work of Aziz Anzari. However, those are the few times American media have portrayed Asian-Americans without them being written off as "needed to add diversity to cast". Sure, I love watching American movies and T.V. shows as much as the next person. But, maybe one of the reasons I much more enjoy watching Asian movies and dramas from countries like South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines, even though my life is probably more relatable to America, is because finally get to see Asians fully represented on the screen, being more than just the token Asian, but be anything they want to be.
This win for Master of None is momentous, but it can't stop here. Representation for Asian-Americans must increase. I feel so strongly about Asian-American representation, imagine how this must affect young kids, whom only have so few options to resonate with.