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ONE PERFECT EPISODE / Master of None: "Buona Notte" / Kaylee Craig


The room is enveloped in a division of icy blue and steamy red: Dev on the icy side, Francesca on the red hot side. The tension is hovering, but everything is slow moving. They could be demonstrating their passionate love for each other, but there is something amiss. We, as the audience watching this unfold, are sucked into this affair from the get-go, and our desire for it to succeed rests on this episode. However, we learn that there is so much more to feelings than embracing them.

Love doesn’t always save you, sometimes it makes you feel worse. In the case of Dev and Francesca, love can prove to actually be an escape from reality. There is no doubt that love is present between these two, but by the end of this episode we see it in a whole new light when it is placed out of its fantasy and given the ultimate test in reality. The events that continue to unfold around this affair, that are seemingly unrelated, further steer the audience to reflect upon how following our feelings can actually prove to be selfish when not grounded in reality. As we see with Chef Jeff, Dev’s co-host on their cooking show, and his sexual harassment accusations being laid out for all to see, desires and ego can’t always be trusted; they can actually hurt others. There is a very fine line between what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and anyone can cross it even if they didn’t intend to. Then we feel the icing on top of the cake for Dev, when he runs into his ex, someone he thought he once loved. The encounter is awkward and cringe-worthy for all involved, but it is a situation we can all relate to, which makes us that much more invested in the episode’s premise and aware of the lessons at play. By the end of the episode, the viewers are left feeling just as frustrated as Dev and Francesca. All the feelings and moments they shared seem lost, and we are almost sure that Francesca will choose her fiance and life back in Modena over life with Dev in New York City. And yet, the ending proves to set fire to those beliefs while we watch Francesca and Dev lying side by side in bed together. There are so many questions we are left with no answers to at this point, and it gets better... Francesca lays there with a look of regret on her face. Is this scene real? Or is it just a part of Dev’s imagination? Aziz Ansari, as the writer and director, is an absolute genius because he leaves us convinced that it is real but also could be a fantasy at the same time, and in turn he captures the essence of how complicated affairs can be.

A perfect episode to me is one that either leaves you laughing out loud, sobbing over a tub of ice cream (how cliche!), or left questioning all that you believed (and causing you to ponder upon what the episode was really trying to say). In this case, I was left wondering if it is better to love, knowing there will be an expiration date, than to not love at all? And what do you do when your belief in soul mates, your one and only, is challenged to its core? How do we reconcile with the decisions that result? Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the co-writer and director, captured this perfectly, and that tense scene in the beginning of the episode always sticks in my mind. A beautiful portrayal of the complicated nature of love and lust.

Kaylee Craig is a writer, poet, and lover of TV shows and movies full of quality comedy and/or beautiful cinematography. When she is not binge watching The Office for the hundreth time, she is probably binge watching Parks and Rec or How I Met Your Mother again (thank goodness for Netflix!). She currently lives in California and writes poetry, science fiction, short fiction, and general prose. You can follow her on insta @kaylee.craig_ for more of her content.