Netflix’s hit romantic comedy about a food-obsessed actor in New York, Master of None, just got nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category of Best Television Series — Comedy. Star and co-creator Aziz Ansari also got a nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy, for his portrayal of the main character, Dev, who becomes the host of a cooking competition show called Clash of the Cupcakes in Season 2.
The show previously won two Primetime Emmys for writing, and the MON crew used both opportunities to deliver powerful messages. In 2016, co-creator Alan Yang spent his time at the Emmy podium talking about how Hollywood had “a long way to go” in terms of representing Asian Americans on film and television. And this year, co-star Lena Waithe thanked her “LGBTQIA family” while also remarking: “The things that make us different — those are our superpowers.”
The newest season of Master of None involves a plot that’s all-too relevant to the food world right now: A hot shot TV star known as Chef Jeff (played by Bobby Cannavale) is exposed as a creep who sexually harassed multiple people on his rise to the top. Chef Jeff helps Dev land a deal before the allegations become public, and then Ansari’s character tries to distance himself from his colleague on live television.
Aziz has never spoken about the inspiration behind the Chef Jeff character in particular, but Cannavale told Vulture: “I think it happened to Aziz. He was relaying some kind of story loosely based on a guy that he met. He thought he became friends with him and then was like, ‘Oh, shit. This guy’s wrong.’” And around the time of the show’s premiere, Yang told the New York Times about the inspiration behind this plot:
It’s a problem with men in power abusing their position. It’s not that this phenomenon is new — it’s always been there. When we were pitching this story, someone in the writers’ room asked, “Is this going to feel relevant a year from now, when it actually airs?” We said, “It’s not going to stop. It will be relevant. There will be another Chef Jeff.” When the Bill O’Reilly thing happened, I texted Aziz: “Another Chef Jeff! This is crazy! And this one actually does host a TV show.”
Although this could be entirely coincidental, it is perhaps worth noting that Ansari and Yang filmed an episode of Mario Batali’s show Moltissimo about a year before Master of None Season 2 came out. Maybe Mario is one of the inspirations, or maybe it’s one of the many other big name chefs that have been exposed for their sexual misconduct (or haven’t been exposed... yet).
The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards will take place on Sunday, January 7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The show air live on NBC starting at 8 p.m. EST.