Everything about this win made me so happy. The fact that they won at all, which we’ll come back to. The fact that when they gave their acceptance speeches, Ansari took second place, letting the much less famous, and much less likely to get a platform from day to day, Alan Yang, have the first turn at the mic. I loved that what Yang said wasn’t about ‘diversity’ and ‘worthy stories’, it was specific, about being pissed off that Long Duk Dong was a stereotype that counted as ‘representation’, and about asking Asian parents to trade some violins for cameras. That’s not just specific and funny, it’s resonant.
I loved that after Ansari was awkwardly played off, and he had time later on to shout out to his parents and talk about how proud he was of their acting. But mostly I was happy that this one little episode of television proves that so many TV ‘rules’ don’t exist. It means that people will watch people of colour, and will remain engaged even if there’s not a single Caucasian on the screen. Gasp!
It means that our stories that we’ve been told aren’t universal, about our parents or their strict rules or the sometimes draconian cultural hangovers, the ones we’ve been told ‘most people’ can’t relate to? Yes they can. And if they can’t relate, they can still be entertained.
If you haven’t watched this one episode of Master of None, it is specifically about these two guys and their specific parents. It doesn’t need to be all things to everyone, and yet everyone I know found something in it to relate to. Imagine that.