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This episode of Aziz Ansari's TV show holds 5 beautiful truths about Thanksgiving.

'Master of None' taught us all how to be a bit more grateful.

If there is one show worth watching ahead of the holidays, it's the "Thanksgiving" episode of the critically acclaimed "Master of None" Netflix series.

[rebelmouse-image 19469851 dam="1" original_size="480x199" caption=""Thanksgiving" warmed the hearts and minds of people around the country." expand=1]"Thanksgiving" warmed the hearts and minds of people around the country.

Released this summer, the episode was so touching and thought-provoking that its writer, Lena Waithe, made history in becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing.  


Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

The episode follows queer character Denise Watkins (Lena Waithe) and her coming-out story through decades of Thanksgivings with her family.

There are a lot of things that made this episode great. From watching Catherine, Denise's mom (Angela Bassett), capture many familiar aspects of black motherhood to Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Denise’s unbreakable friendship to a rare happy ending for a black queer couple in love, "Master of None" gave us a heartwarming story centered around queer black culture not often seen on screen.

Here are five important lessons from "Thanksgiving" that viewers should take into the holiday season.

1. Friendship is truly the key to life.

Denise and Dev’s decades-long friendship showed the importance of friends who love us through all the highs and lows.

Dev’s annual appearance at the family’s Thanksgiving dinner was an important tradition to the family. It gave Dev an opportunity to see and understand Denise for who she truly was and to be a source of refuge for her as she began dating in front of her family. Without Dev’s support, Denise’s coming-out experience may have been very different, and it’s clear that having Dev as a presence at the house was vital to her feeling comfortable with her family.    

2. Queer people fall in love, fall out of love, and love again, just like everyone else.  

"Master of None" is one of the few public representations of queer love between two women that isn't overly dramatic, doesn't involve cheating, and didn’t end with one of the characters dying.

These queer female characters have values, jobs, preferences, desires, and, well, you know, human complexities. In "Thanksgiving," Michelle and Denise's breakup (despite still being in love) was representative of an experience many queer women go through on the quest to find their match.

Michelle and Denise were a rare — and necessary — representation of female queer couples of color. Image from "Master of None."

Not all women are the best romantic partners, and queer women do in fact sometimes date women who are ultimately not a good fit. Queer women also sometimes date women who are terrible and hurtful or simply not compatible, just as straight women date men like this. The quest for love is difficult for most people, queer or not, and "Thanksgiving" gave us one of the most authentic representations of that journey.    

3. Changing hearts and minds takes time, and that’s OK.  

In a perfect world, everyone would be understanding, empathetic to others' experiences, and everyone could be unapologetically themselves.

"Thanksgiving" shows viewers that while this isn’t typically the case initially, change is possible. It appeared Denise may never feel comfortable bringing a committed partner home to the family after her mom and aunt’s didn't react great to her girlfriend, Michelle...

[rebelmouse-image 19469854 dam="1" original_size="480x196" caption="GIF from "Master of None."" expand=1]GIF from "Master of None."

But by the third Thanksgiving after coming out, Michelle was plating cornbread and joking with Denise’s mother. We are all human, and some people take longer than others to adjust to change. In this episode, viewers find that giving people a chance — and a little bit of time — can often change hearts and minds.    

4. Our families aren’t perfect, but they are ours.

Families are complicated. Between different views, complex pasts, and relative resentments, family gatherings can be a difficult place, having to engage with all these various components. Still, our family is our family. While we certainly shouldn't exempt hatred and bigotry, nor surround ourselves with problematic people just because we're related by blood, if there's room for growth, embrace it.

A family that works through things together is a gift.

5. Find gratitude — even in the little things.  

[rebelmouse-image 19469855 dam="1" original_size="735x306" caption="Image from "Master of None."" expand=1]Image from "Master of None."

Food. Shelter. Friends. Family. A job. A car. That really good coffee you grabbed on the way to Thanksgiving dinner.  

It’s no secret that 2017 has been a challenging year. Attacks on LGBTQ people have spiked, public policy decisions have been put in place that undermine policies meant to support the most vulnerable, and immigrants, Muslims, and people of color have been under increased scrutiny in society.  

We can't ignore these realities, but we must take stock of all the good things that have happened and will continue to happen. Activists are continuing to fight for equality, minorities are continuing to shine in the face of oppression, and people are continuing to live their best lives on their own terms.

A grateful heart can do a lot more than an ungrateful one.

This Thanksgiving, follow the Watkins family and enjoy good food, good laughs, and a good holiday.  

Representation in television matters. It empowers the voiceless, challenges stereotypes, and inspires people in very real ways.

"The day I saw Whoopi Goldberg on television, I cried so hard," comedian Leslie Jones told co-hosts on "The View" in July. "Because I kept looking at my daddy going, 'Oh my God! There's somebody on TV who looks like me! She looks like me! Daddy! I can be on TV. I can be on TV. "

When the Primetime Emmys air on Sept. 18, 2016, you'll notice at least one person of color is nominated in every single leading acting category (that's never happened before!), and a notable 25% of all acting nods went to non-white performers — an improvement from last year and 2014, and much more diverse than the overall figure throughout history.


This landmark year wouldn't have been possible without those who broke barriers first.

From José Ferrer to Gail Fisher, from Peter Dinklage to Laverne Cox, countless performers have helped blaze the trail for future generations, making it that much easier for people of color, LGBTQ artists, those with disabilities, and more, to follow their dreams all the way to the Emmy stage.

Here's a timeline of some of our favorite, most notable Emmy firsts:

The awards were for Most Outstanding Television Personality, the Station Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement, a Technical award, the Best Film Made for Television, and Most Popular Television Program. A special Emmy was also given to the statue designer.

Just four years after the first Emmys, José Ferrer was nominated for Best Actor.

Danny Thomas won Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series for his role in "Make Room for Daddy."

Ethel Waters was nominated for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her work in "Route 66."

Gail Fisher won Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Drama.

Rita Moreno won Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Variety or Musical for her work in "The Muppet Show."

Isabel Sanford was nominated for an Emmy seven times in total for her role in "The Jeffersons."

Marlo Thomas won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for her work in "Nobody's Child."

This year, Tracee Ellis Ross is up for an Emmy in the same category, making her the first actress of color to be nominated since Ferrera, who was also nominated in 2008 as well.

Peter Dinklage took home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Laverne Cox was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Drama categories at the Emmys remain stubbornly behind the times on the diversity front, which made Viola Davis' win that much sweeter.

A win by Aziz Ansar for his role in "Master of None" would make an even bigger splash in the history books, while A&E's "Born This Way" already took home Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program this year.

Don't let the timeline fool you, though: We still have work to do.

Hollywood is still very white, very straight, and very cisgender (as evidenced by the Oscars).

As you may have noticed from the timeline, no actor of South, Southeast, or East Asian descent has ever won an acting Emmy, and although it's fantastic Tracee Ellis Ross is up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for her role in "Blackish," it's the first time a black woman has been nominated in that category in three decades. As Vulture pointed out, the coveted drama categories are still lagging on the diversity front too (just three of the 24 acting slots for dramas went to people of color this year).

What's more, the Emmy firsts above don't take into consideration the quality of the characters; many actors from marginalized groups are too often boxed into overlooked or "token" roles that allow harmful stereotypes to persist. It's still too rare to see complex, thoughtful, realistic roles created for actors who aren't white, straight, and able-bodied. We can do better.

Let's not celebrate the 2016 Emmys as the best we got. Let's use it as a springboard to make sure each year we get better at recognizing all the actors and characters who deserve their stories be told too.

On June 24, 2016, comedian Aziz Ansari penned an essay in The New York Times on Donald Trump's Islamophobia.

Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Peabody.

It's filled with heart, common sense, and cold, hard facts.

All of which are, you know, the most obvious attributes lacking from the reality-TV-star-turned-presumptive-GOP-nominee's increasingly perplexing campaign for the White House.


Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

The essay, "Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family," nails several points about why Trump's candidacy is so dangerous and how it's directly harming many Americans.

"Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels," Ansari wrote. "It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense."

Every word is worth the read. But here are three main takeaways from Ansari's essay.

1. Trump's Islamophobic policy platforms are ludicrous. And Ansari has the math to prove it.

"The overwhelming number of Muslim Americans have as much in common with that monster in Orlando as any white person has with any of the white terrorists who shoot up movie theaters or schools or abortion clinics."

Citing data that suggests the number of U.S. Muslims with potential ties to terrorism barely registers above 0%, Ansari spells out why Trump's baseless Muslim travel ban proposition not only paints families like his own as more dangerous — it's completely nonsensical.

Really, if we're going to be fearful of Muslims, we should probably be just as scared of white guys (at least, according to, you know, data).

2. White people can't know what it feels like to bear the brunt of Trump's racist rhetoric, Ansari explains.

"I asked a young friend of mine, a woman in her 20s of Muslim heritage, how she had been feeling after the attack. 'I just feel really bad, like people think I have more in common with that idiot psychopath than I do the innocent people being killed,' she said. 'I’m really sick of having to explain that I’m not a terrorist every time the shooter is brown.'"

Believing that Muslims inherently have an extra responsibility to condemn terrorism to prove they're not part of the problem is flat-out wrong. We don't ask white Christians to apologize for the Westboro Baptist Church — why should we demand apologies from 3.3 million American Muslims

Trump's blanket statements grouping everyone of a single faith with extremism have real effects. They play into the message of actualterrorists that seek to drive a rift between the West and Islam, validated by Islamophobic violence.

No one should feel forced to apologize for a stranger's acts they had nothing to do with.

3. When it comes to a more level-headed method in preventing terrorism than barring Muslims? Ansari suggests letting fewer military-style weapons get into the wrong hands.

"Suspected terrorists can buy assault rifles, but we’re still carrying tiny bottles of shampoo to the airport. If we’re going to use the 'they’ll just find another way' argument, let’s use that to let us keep our shoes on."

Lawmakers may detest terrorism, but they seem to hate taking on the National Rifle Association even more.

Despite the fact that military-style guns were used in the mass shootings in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Sandy Hook, and despite a recent filibuster and 24-hour sit-in in the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., still has yet to push through any substantial gun control measures to help curb the violence.

Trump presents a unique form of bigotry we haven't seen in a presidential race in quite some time. We need more people like Ansari calling it like it is.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards.

"The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump isn’t so far off from cursing at strangers from a car window," Ansari explains.

And the last thing we need is a bigoted driver with road rage behind the wheel in the White House for the next four years. 

Aziz Ansari is the co-creator and star of "Master of None," a show that's pretty revolutionary for a sad reason: It actually reflects the diversity of the real world.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.


"Master of None" has a diverse cast in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

And that's not as common as it should be in Hollywood.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.

So when Ansari was honored at the Peabody Awards on May 21, 2016, he gave thanks where thanks was due.

"I want to thank Netflix and Universal for believing in us and letting us tell our stories," he said.

"I think they really seem to get what diversity really is. It's not, 'Hey, let's give this white protagonist a brown friend!' No. It's, 'Let's have a show where there's a token white guy.' And that's what [our show] is."

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Peabody.

In an entertainment landscape still embarrassingly homogenous (behind and in front of the camera) Ansari is right: Netflix stands out.

Hollywood tends to create content that's overwhelming white, heterosexual, and told through the male perspective (didn't you watch the Oscars this year?). In Netflix's original programming, however, you'll find quite a few projects that buck the trend.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black." Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Series like "Orange Is the New Black," "Narcos," and "Master of None" prove TV can certainly be successful, sans-white leads. Superheroine "Jessica Jones" is breaking down gender stereotypes when it comes to action series. "Sense8" is piling on awards for its groundbreaking inclusion of LGBT characters and themes. And it says a lot that the company's first original theatrical film"Beasts of No Nation," starring Idris Elba — featured an all-black cast.

"We’re programming for diverse and eclectic tastes and for an increasingly global audience," Cindy Holland, Netflix's vice president of original content,told Variety. "So the folks working on those titles and the folks here at Netflix serving those consumers have to increasingly be more reflective of the audience we serve and the programs we make. It’s something we’re very focused on."

Idris Elba at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

It's not just Netflix, either. Other streaming services — namely, Hulu and Amazon Prime — can boast relatively diverse original content as well, with hits like "Transparent,""The Mindy Project," and "Difficult People" breaking the mold.

Still, across virtually all platforms (streaming or not), there's ample room for improvement.

Thankfully, diversity in television is, slowly but surely, getting better (to Ansari's delight, I'm sure).

Although streaming companies have largely led the push for change, network TV is beginning to come around.

But could this desire for diversity simply be a hot trend that'll surely fade?

That's a firm, "no" from Holland, who said Netflix is "absolutely" committed to making its programming even more diverse. It seems like they're not alone.

Diversity on TV shouldn't be all that revolutionary. But until it isn't, at least we have Ansari's candid acceptance speeches to look forward to.

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Variety.