Warning: Season 2 spoilers ahead! If there's one thing Aziz Ansari seems to understand, it's the modern dating world. In the second season of Master of None, millennial dating plays a huge role, as it did the first time around. Actually, there's an entire episode dedicated to it early on and if you've ever tried to date using an app, it will feel all too real. Episode 4, aptly titled "First Date," masterfully opens with a bunch of women doing mundane things — sitting on the toilet, grocery shopping, sitting in a cab — and swiping "yes" or "no" on Dev. So you know it's going to get real right away. Ansari likes to hammer home the fact that online dating, or even just dating in general, is a complicated journey.
The episode progresses with Dev going on multiple dates, with multiple women, in the same places. Each date melds into the next one — they're totally interchangeable. Some of them start awkward but get better, others go great then get bad (like that whole racist condom jar situation Dev was faced with). One date, with an Indian woman named Priya went so well that they decided to go on a second date, but that one turned out to be a total bust. Another woman, an awkward gamer, eventually revealed herself to be a mysterious food blogger, leading to Ansari trying to kiss her. Except that she has a boyfriend — who she met using the same app. She just uses the app now to make friends. Seriously?
Does any of this feel familiar? It should. Especially because Ansari and his co-creator, Alan Yang, have obviously done this IRL.
So has pretty much everyone. According to a study done by dating service Plenty of Fish, 75 percent of millennials use online dating apps and 50 percent of them just use it to hook up. Dev isn't dying to get married and settle down, but he's not not looking for love. He wants a real connection, but the dating scene in New York City isn't exactly doing it for him. When you consider the fact that 80 percent of millennials, using a dating app or not, have been ghosted — the dating landscape seems pretty bleak.
The best thing though about Master of None's portrayal of millennial dating is that the dating scene isn't depicted as bleak and Ansari's writing isn't cynical. If anything, it just shows how absurd it can be. Ansari depicts dating as fun, necessary, infuriating, and, if anything, an excuse to go to his favorite wine bar and then have a good story to tell Arnold and Denise about later.
In addition to the online dating world that Dev engages with, he's also courting Francesca, a woman who's engaged to a man she's been dating for 10 years, making the whole "single guy's life" theme of the show all the more believable. One has to mix it up.
Francesca asks Dev about her impending marriage, showing that she's sort of hesitant to tie the knot. "That's what you do, right? After 10 years? Get married?," she asked. Not exactly the type of attitude to be going into a marriage with. But if anything, this just further proves how complicated and confusing dating (and love) can truly be.