“Master of None” Is Coming Back, Focused on Lena Waithe’s Character This Time

Aziz Ansari's series will return to Netflix with a new lead in May

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe in "Master of None"
Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe in "Master of None."

It’s been four long years since we last saw new episodes of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, but on Wednesday, Netflix shocked us all with the news that the show will return for a third season sometime in May.

However, it sounds like the popular series is going to look a bit different when it comes back. Variety reports that the new season will shift focus away from Ansari’s character Dev and be centered around Lena Waithe’s Denise instead. It’ll also have a new name — Master of None: Moments in Love — and be significantly shorter than previous seasons, with just five episodes planned.

There’s no word yet on whether Ansari will reprise his role as Dev on the new Denise-centric season, but he reportedly co-wrote each episode with Waithe and is also slated to direct all five episodes.

The shift in focus from Ansari to Waithe’s character could be a good move for the show for a number of reasons. For one, the season two episode “Thanksgiving,” which was centered around Waithe’s character and her coming-out story, earned Waithe and Ansari an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, and it’s widely regarded as the best episode of the entire series. Trying to replicate the success of that story obviously makes sense. And of course, diversity and representation remain huge issues in Hollywood, and a series with a Black lesbian lead is still a rare thing. But furthermore, taking as much focus away from Ansari as possible after his sexual misconduct scandal from 2018 might be a wise move.

Ansari’s case wasn’t as cut-and-dry as a lot of other Me Too instances. He didn’t commit any actual crimes, and while the allegation against him did help raise some awareness about coercion and the ways women are constantly pressured into sex because men refuse to accept a simple “no,” some critics claimed his accuser was simply describing a “bad date.” It’s more nuanced than that, of course, but the fact remains that watching another season of Ansari’s romantic trials and tribulations might come off as tone-deaf in light of that whole debacle.

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