One of the best episodes from Master of None’s brilliant second season is “First Date,” a fractured odyssey into a familiar, uncomfortable practice. As a character showcase for both Dev Shah (Aziz Ansari) and the rotating lineup of women he’s just getting to know, it’s a fantastic work — and much of that is owed to comic Aparna Nancherla, who plays an Overwatch obsessive many of us will recognize from our own lives.
[Spoiler warning: Some very light spoilers for this episode’s funniest reveal follow.]
Nancherla’s unnamed bachelorette is one of several that Dev meets for drinks and conversation throughout the episodes, and her odd quips resonated with us the most. They’re odd only in context, of course; she’s big into wrestling, PlayStation 4 games and bad Hollywood adaptations of arcade classics, while Dev prefers endless buffets and Italian movies.
In short, Nancherla’s character’s life revolves around many of the same things as ours, as her fellow video game and nerd culture fanatics.
She’s not quite winning Dev over with her talk of eight-hour Overwatch sessions and hot takes on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. But there’s something fascinating and wonderful about her storyline: Of all the women that Dev takes out during “First Date,” Nancherla’s video game nerd is one of just a handful to leave a lasting impression.
It turns out that she’s really just using the dating app that brought them together to find friends, despite finding her own boyfriend using the service. That aside, it’s a comforting reminder that there’s no reason for women — or anyone — to hide their interests on a first date, no matter how an Overwatch addiction may be perceived by a nongamer. (It probably helps that she’s also got a successful ramen review blog, and Dev’s got eyes bigger than his stomach.)
With a player base 30 million deep, Overwatch is referenced surprisingly rarely on television. Master of None’s may be the first we’ve noticed in a show, and we imagine it will be a tough bar to clear.