Sunday, July 30, 2017


an affliction, a disease.
one that i've embraced, rather than tried to get rid of.
for half of my life now.
i think she's here to stay, in fact i hope she does.
but cinema has hurt me in so many ways.
i love cinema, i really do, i can't get her out of me
i absorb and absorb, she's in my pores my veins
my eyes
my mind
she's ruined me pathetically
disrupted my life in so ways
is my life in so many ways
is my life
is cinema my life
i'd like her to be
cinema cannot leave me
other things have left me, or never even came my way
all because of cinema.
and when people ask me about her, i just say,
"i just hope it's all worth it in the end".
who knows if cinema will ever reward me.
cinema's made me useless, really.
though it's really quite obvious, anyone could see
that i blame cinema, rather than myself
for the things that left me or never even came my way.
i am lacking as a human being. am quite useless, really.
so am i to blame or is it cinema's fault
she struck me at 16 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Master of None

I was having a really, really hard day. Really down. Again. (Big surprise). This has been the story of my life for many years, the sadness comes and goes. I came home and tried to sleep. But I couldn't. I finally got up, got dinner together for myself (meaning I used my microwave and cooked an egg), and decided to watch the last episode of season 2 of "Master of None".

I was told some weeks ago by a friend of what to do when I'm down - have a routine that makes me feel better. I'm still figuring out that routine, but clearly wanting to just go sleep never helps. I need to make more of a habit of distracting my mind sooner rather than later.

So for that, I thank you Aziz. I've had mixed feelings about you for years, but I wanna thank you for helping bring my mind back to a more sane place tonight. There are a couple of silly things I just haven't been able to get over for too long and I long to just throw myself back into my work and forget about it thank you for creating some TV that helped me get my mind off of stupid stuff (that I'm sure Dev could relate to actually. Actually I kind of wish I could hang with Dev and Arnold and get their advice).

Some meandering thoughts on your program/television show/Netflix series:

- This second season is MUCH better than the first one.

- Glad to see you date women of colour. Even though your character didn't end up with one.

- My God, you really love food. You must have great metabolism. I mean Dev - Dev must have great metabolism. Or maybe he walks around a lot. I miss all the walking I got to do in NY. In L.A. you have to make an effort to just walk around.

- I still can't buy that Dev and his family are Muslim. His name is DEV. His dad's name is RAJESH. You picked the most Hindu names for your TV family. My guess is that you didn't think this through, maybe you actually wanted them to have a Hindu background, then people called you out on it (rightfully so) and you decided to add some Muslim-ness to this season. In your "Religion" episode, I couldn't get past their names and think that they're Muslim. So my brain kept saying "That's Aziz. Aziz". A super Muslim name, even though you're not Muslim anymore - and hey, I get it, trust me, that's totally cool.
It might've been better to not add the Muslim stuff. Or to have just given them legit Muslim names from the beginning. I'm sure you know Aziz, that desi Muslims just don't have those names. Maybe a Hindu who's converted to Islam - but even then, they'd probably change their name (though they don't have to), but they probably would, just coz names like DEV and RAJESH are 1000% Hindu. I mean Dev means "God" in Sanskrit. Not hating on these names, but they don't work for characters who are meant to have a Muslim background. It'd be like if I made a TV show with a character based on me, who's Muslim, and her name was CHRIST. It'd basically be the same thing. Wouldn't work, right?

- Ok, moving on.

- Your parents can't act. Sorry man. Even though you're a better actor around them, but if you're going for the authenticity thing, well first off - you failed with those names, and second, you can't make up for authenticity by casting your own parents. I wasn't sold at all on it, bad acting is bad acting, and I can't look past it and consider these characters to be real people and not just people in a TV show. I mean when I watched "Master of None" the only people who felt like real people to me were the people in the "NY I Love you" and "Thanksgiving" episodes - and those didn't feature Dev and Kevin and their families...sorry.

- Alongside that, what also felt inauthentic to me (I dunno what other word to use) is that Dev is a native New Yorker. Look, you're Aziz bloody Ansari. Everyone knows you're from South Carolina. This show is basically about YOU (hello, you casted your own parents...duh). So why make Dev supposedly from NY, I'm guessing, Queens? You were a transplant to NY. Dev basically acts like one too. Trust me I know - I was one, albeit much more broke. Dev does transplant things all the bloody time, and acts like one dresses like one walks like one. Nothing about Dev or his parents - or his friend Kevin too, btw - makes it seem like they're New Yorkers. The only time I believed Dev was from NY is when you show him as a teenager smoking weed - that kid sold it. I believed that brown kid to be from Queens. Why? Probably coz the actor wasn't you.
On the other hand, Denise is clearly a New Yorker. She has that swag. (And that actor is from Chicago). Dev doesn't have that swag (hey that's a word I learned in NY - trust me I have no swag myself at all). Aziz why'd you do things like this - it takes viewers like me completely out of the story and annoyed with the show and you! If you're gonna make a program about you, and cast yourself (and your parents - don't forget) in it, you might as well as stick to the same story, and get that authenticity that's so imagine pasta with no sauce. Dev supposedly being a New Yorker, is so inauthentic it's like eating pasta with no sauce. Or, with a knife and fork (shout-out to DeBlasio).

- The season shined with the episode that followed around a bunch of New Yorkers (getting told off for yelling "vagina" in ASL - HIGHLARIOUS) and of course that Thanksgiving episode, Angela Bassett really killed it. Nice work on those episodes. They don't really feature Dev, btw. I'm not hating on Dev...but those episodes were a lot more interesting to me. And to my friends who I whatsapped with about your show. So that's at least...3 people, including me.

- I did get sold though on Dev's feelings. All the feels. I get it, to be into someone who's taken, and it's mutual - in my silly life it's one of the worst things in the world and it repeatedly happens (don't blame me, I hate it). I get it. So I felt what Dev was going through. I got past the fact that Francesca is another white lady for Dev, coz I really recognized his emotional anguish, and for some reason her being Italian helped me look past her whiteness - coz she's a village girl, basically. Wooed by a brown man in a big city. But anyway - even though those scenes and episodes weren't my favourite (see above) this relationship played out much better than the one with Rachel in season 1 - that writing and speeded-up timeline just felt lazy.

- Chef Jeff. I recognize that actor from "The Station Agent" (great film, great actor). I think with your season endings you attempt to shove too many things too quickly right at the end, and so like the shit that went down with Rachel, this shit also felt like it happened too fast. Though the Raven show and cameo, were super funny. Oh yeah - I like the knocks made on reality TV shows, that was done well.

Alright Aziz. Thanks for entertaining me, giving me something to watch, something to write, and for making me feel better. I hated on you a bit (like a week or so ago before I watched this season...sorry) for not being political like some other comedians. But the personal is political too - how could I forget that (?!) It's POLITICAL to show a desi/brown/Muslim person on telly who's just obsessed with eating out and is trying to have a love life. Not everything has to be on-point political. Our real lives do mostly consider of food and whether or not we're lonely, it's exhausting to just exist (as Dev nicely pointed out when he talked to his parents about airport security). So, I get it, I think I know, what you're doing. I appreciate the show and I'm not gonna hate on you for not making it more political...we already are just by existing.

But throw in some Tamil again next time, or South Indian food. Dev's gotta eat a dosa or two. Foodies love dosas, and he's a brown foodie.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Is That All There Is?

This post is about watching TV.

Wow. What a song. Don't know if I've ever heard a pop song like it. Such a melancholic, witty, and knowing pop song. Turns out it was a major hit back in 1969.

It's featured at the beginning and end of episode 8 "Severance" in the 7th and final season of MAD MEN. I restarted watching the show recently, starting from the 6th season. I could never figure out what I liked about Mad Men, I always said that it was a weird and difficult show, hard to like.

However, in May I watched the 1st season of TWIN PEAKS. Don't think I'll watch the others, including the new one. Everyone I talked to about this would say "Isn't it weird?" and I would always respond, actually, it isn't. Watching Twin Peaks now, it feels like a lot of TV shows today; it's cinematic, long, directed by a film director, with lots of awkward pauses. Sure, back in 1990, it must've felt really bizarre, in the era of sitcoms. But I think David Lynch broke a lot of ground with this program, and influenced a lot of current TV, as many episodes of many shows now are directed by film directors, if not the entire series.

In rewatching Mad Men again, I realized very quickly that it had whiffs of Twin Peaks in it. Mad Men is also a weird and awkward show, and I finally figured out where that's coming from - I could really sense at times the impact that Lynch had on television.

I also like the program much more this time around. Before, I liked watching it, but I didn't know why. This time around, with rewatching season 6, the 1st half of season 7, and now I'm watching for the first time, the final 7 episodes, I can see what Mad Men is so good at. The writing is terrific, because you can never tell where the story is going. Even though I had seen most of these episodes already, and only a couple of years ago, I still found myself surprised by the actions of the characters. Terrific writing leads to terrific directing and acting. Mad Men is full of surprises. It's unconventional in that way, and that's why it's so good.

So that's what I'm learning from Mad Men, how you can never tell where its going to go.

The show I was watching before it was THE AMERICANS. I tend to only watch one program at a time; that's all my brain can handle. That's also a great series, and also happens to be set in the recent past. That also has great writing, directing, and acting, though I don't feel as compassionate towards the characters, probably because they are spies and assassins.

What I learned from The Americans, is how every little detail counts. Something appears in an episode of a show or in a film, because it matters. It might not matter right then, but it will come up later. For example - a mailbot that goes around the FBI might seem inconsequential, but it's not, at all. The mailbot drama - an innocent woman ends up dead, the spies risk their cover and lives, the Russians make choices based off of their intelligence from it, and once the FBI finally figures out that they're being spied upon from it, people's careers are on the line. All this from a mailbot, that first appears so casually and comically.

There are so many things like this that pop in The Americans, and I love how the writers handle things like this and play with your head.

One last thing - I think Mad Men has much better music than The Americans. 60s versus the 80s...the older decade wins in regards to its musical output.