In Master of None Season 2, Dev (played by Aziz Ansari) is single and ready to mingle, which he does a lot of in the episode titled "First Date." Dev goes on a series of online dates with women at the same restaurant and the roughly 20-minute montage on Master of None nails what it's like to date as a millennial. As the title indicates, the entire episode (which is 25 minutes long) follows various first dates Dev goes on throughout the different stages of the night — some end up in the bedroom, others stall early — but all of them accurately reflect the modern dating scene. Minor SPOILERS ahead.
According to a University of Chicago study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, more than one third of couples who got married between 2005 and 2012 met online, showing the practice is super popular, but Master of None shows some of the more frustrating aspects of it. Dev meets up with all of these women, and they are so seamlessly edited together that it seems like all of these dates start to run together — for both Dev and the viewer. I have to admit that I began to confuse some of the dates with other ones, unsure of which one Dev was on at the moment, but that was clearly the point of the episode. Online dating has made it possible for millennials to trying to find their soulmates while doing on as many dates as they can possibly go on.
But it's important for the episode to portray the confusing, awkward, and random parts of online dating, because the process doesn't always end with wedding rings and a meet-cute story. I've long since deleted my online dating apps, but my experiences have included getting invited to some strange guy's hotel room in Los Angeles within my first five minutes on Tinder, receiving a daily deluge of messages on OKCupid from different guys that only said "hey," and going on some of Dev's exact dates from "First Date." I once had a first date with a guy that ended with one of Dev's lines from the episode: "I'm out of stuff to say, so I think I'll probably head out."
In the show, Dev was being sarcastic and joking around, but the guy who said that to me was being serious. There was no second date.
The episode even reflects some of the sociological research on online dating written about by Ansari in his 2015 book Modern Romance, in which he found that most millennials get exhausted by the process. Ansari wrote in the book,
"All that work that went into even finding one date — reading through messages, finding a message you like, clicking the profile, sorting through the profile, and then, after all that, still have to engage in a series of back-and-forths to gauge rapport and then plan a real-world meet-up — was taking its toll."
But even so, at the end of the episode "First Dates," Dev does what many of us have done after an unsuccessful online date: he returns home, takes out his phone, and starts the whole process again.
"In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.
The next day, I got a text from her saying that although 'it may have seemed okay,' upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.
I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue."