You’ve had this happen, right? You meet someone and you connect. And when I say connect I mean you see them for the first time and they are already familiar even though there is no possible way that you could have seen them. I don’t know if it’s a chemical level or a psychological level or a karmic level, but you are certain they are meant to be part of your life, and the conversations that follow only support that idea. Somehow it feels like it was meant to be.
Of course there can be complications. Maybe you’re married. Maybe that someone is also married. Maybe you live in different countries or cities or (in New York) different neighborhoods. But you can’t shake it. And to make everything worse — painfully, awesomely worse, that someone feels the same about you.
Season two of Master of None is about more, a lot more, than whether Dev and Francesca are going to end up together. There’s a great Thanksgiving episode that made me cry a little, and there is a love letter to people in New York that don’t often appear on TV in important roles, even if their roles in New York are important. There’s funny stuff with Dev’s father and with Arnold and with Brian and his father. All the stuff you enjoyed in season one is back in season two, except for Rachel. While Dev tries to get over Rachel he falls in love with Francesca, a woman he meets at the pasta shop in Modena, Italy.
Two small problems. One is that Francesca lives in Italy and he lives in the US. Two, perhaps more important, she has a boyfriend, Pino, who she’s been with for ten years since she was eighteen. Is it realistic for Dev to ask Francesca to give up her home, her stable life, her boyfriend for a chance with Dev? And what does she know about Dev? They have chemistry, and they always have fun being around each other, but that is not what a relationship is like. Sure there is fun and all that but there is also the hard work of being in a relationship, especially on those days when you aren’t happy with the other person. Those days always come. How will Francesca’s choice look when she is annoyed with Dev, when she feels like she messed up her life, when she wants to kill Dev in his sleep?
I was watching season two with my wife and at one point I suggested that Dev shouldn’t say anything to Francesca about how he feels. Note that this is not the advice that I would ever listen to if I were in Dev’s shoes. I would always say how I felt, I would always take the chance on making it weird, I would always play for the great romance. But I suspect that’s usually a bad idea.
To my surprise, my wife disagreed with me. She thought Dev should tell Francesca, take the chance. My wife’s idea is that you shouldn’t worry about how things can go wrong, that people who bail on relationships because they can’t last are making a mistake, because it’s better to have one year of a great relationship than ten years of an unsatisfying one.
(At this point, I’m starting to think of Bridges of Madison County, or Nicole Kidman’s character in Eyes Wide Shut remembering that navy officer.)
And you know what? My wife is right. She is right because if you live long enough you realize how few times in your life you will feel like Dev does about Francesca, and you will realize how depressingly rare it is that the other person feels the same way about you.
If this sounds like advice to run off with the next person you feel a connection with, well, I’m probably not saying that. (And Francesca doesn’t exactly run to Dev.) Shit is complicated, and blowing up your life is not a choice to be taken lightly. But… the point of life is not to be like Linda and Andy in Singles. (Sorry, but I don’t have a more current pop culture reference on this.) “What took you so long?” Don’t let that be you. Bernstein’s memory (and speech) of the girl with the white parasol is unforgettable, but that’s not a life.