The premise of Aziz Ansari's new Netflix comedy series may sound familiar for those who have followed the comedian outside of Parks and Recreation. This sitcom, which premieres Friday, covers the insanity that is dating in the digital era and how to navigate or even invent new rules of etiquette and manners to go along with our technology. So, is Master Of None based on Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari's book that covers many of the same topics?
While the short answer is "no, it's an original series," according to Deadline, the Netflix series is somewhat based on Modern Romance. It's probably not an adaptation as point blank as, say, Game of Thrones — or even something a little more loosely based on its source material, such as Sleepy Hollow or Elementary. It's important to remember that Master of None has a co-creator, Alan Yang, who also produced, wrote for, and occasionally acted on Parks and Recreation. However, the concept of texting and social media as something that muddies up the already complicated realm of dating and relationships has clearly been consuming Aziz Ansari as a comedian and artist for quite some time. It has also been prevalent in Ansari's stand-up comedy. The Buried Alive tour dealt heavily with the concept of marriage, and the recent stand-up special for Netflix at Madison Square Garden questioned similar aspects of our society. Here's a sample clip about "hanging out until you die, for tax reasons," as an example.
It also just seems natural that after working with leading sociologists to put together Modern Romance, everything that Ansari learned and absorbed would contribute to his next project. According to an interview with the AV Club, a few experiences from writing the book did inspire Aziz Ansari both for story ideas and how to write characters. Just the experience of talking to other people and learning their stories led to scenes and whole episodes in Master of None. "I spent a lot of time when I was writing the book talking to older people in retirement homes," he said, "and that’s where I told Alan [Yang], 'I think we should do an episode about old people.'” See? You can be inspired in many ways.
Basically, I get the impression that a series like Master of None has been marinating and bubbling (am I hungry) in the back of Aziz Ansari's brain for quite some time.
Image: K.C. Bailey/Netflix