I’m a big fan of NPR and Terry Gross and her Fresh Air program. Back in early November, I caught this 44:13 minute interview with Indian American comic Aziz Ansari and Taiwanese American co-creator and co-writer Alan Yang on their Asian American experience and their new recently released Netflix series, Master of None, which he co-created and co-writes with Alan Yang, as a show that has a nuanced approach to ethnicity and race.
I had never heard of Yang, and I was never a fan of Parks and Recreation, but when I was listening to the interview, I could not help but relate – especially to Yang, all the things they were discussing, an example including:
“Yang: There is a psychic gulf that exists between myself and my grandparents because they don’t really speak English and I don’t speak Chinese and that’s my own personal shame, because I did not learn ever. I only saw my paternal grandma a few times in my life, and that’s really crazy. All these white people visit their grandparents all the time, and I think there’s a bit in the show about Aziz talking to his grandparents — it’s the same thing with mine. If I’m talking on the phone with my grandma, she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Chinese, so I’m not sure what we’re supposed to say.”
I only knew a little Mandarin, and my grandparents only knew Taiwanese or Japanese – and I had only met my grandparents a few times in my life – when I had visited Taiwan or when my grandparents had visited the United States.
When you get a chance, I highly recommend you listening to this awesome interview. You can also download the MP3 here (60.8 MB).
Since listening to the interview, I’ve since binged watched ‘Master of None’ in a few settings and overall, really enjoyed the show overall. The show is definitely not an “Asian American” show in the sense that it is dealing with the “Asian American” issues, but more of Dev, the main character played by Ansari, still trying to figure out life in his thirties, from his personal to professional life. The fact that Dev is Indian is mostly just a part of his identity, and not all encompassing to the development of the show.