Now that Master of None has been out on Netflix for a week, it’s safe to assume everyone’s seen it. Specifically that religion episode depicting the authentic tension millennials often feel.
Today, Vulture published a long compilation of interviews about the religion episode—the real-life experiences behind it, the scenes that didn’t make the cut.
On the concept behind the episode:
“Religion” was one of the first episodes we wrote this season. It has real stuff like parents dealing with children who are not as religious as them and the politics of inheriting this religion that has all this baggage now in the political climate. But there’s all this humor that’s coming from this thing that’s portrayed as this dark, mysterious thing, that, as I say on SNL, is the thing you normally just associate with that scary Homeland music. I’m really happy with that episode. It’s like, no one’s ever done anything like that. Just my dad walking around going, “As-salāmu alaykum, brother,” and lying about me fasting, that’s so funny to me. Islam has the same kind of lighthearted issues as every religion, like someone being more religious and judging the less religious people.
He goes on to talk about the universality of inheriting your parents’ religion:
As a kid, your religion is just doing whatever your parents picked up. I’ve never heard of [a] kid who’s like, “Well, I studied every religion and the one I picked ended up being the one my parents picked.” No, everyone’s like, “This is what our parents did, we’re doing the same thing, and you’re doing the same thing.” And I remember even as a kid just not liking that aspect. I remember learning about religions in school and being like, “Well, why?” And this is before there was any kind of issue with Islam. I didn’t want to be doing it just because my parents did it.
Ansari also talks about what it was like to direct his parents again this season and how they feel about the episode.
I think [they’re OK with the episode] because it ends on a sweet note and it ends on a tiny step forward in understanding. A lot of the stuff is real. The Quran they gave him before going to college and that note, a lot of that is based in reality. I’m sure when they saw the script there were things they were concerned about and probably feelings they still have, but I think they saw the value in, “Look, this is a story told from both of our sons’ point of view, and this is how they feel. And it’s not so antithetical to how we feel, either.”
You can read the entire story here. It’s long, but well worth your time.