Written By Avani Goswami
Netflix’s newest teen comedy Never Have I Ever is taking over right now with so many people home and looking for something to watch. But is it worth sitting through?
The show, created by Lang Fisher (The Mindy Project) and Mindy Kaling (Late Night), stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, an Indian-American highschooler who deals with the death of her father, along with boy problems, popularity, and drama with her friends and family.
The cast is exceptionally diverse, starring people of color as Devi’s best friends and even as one of her potential love interests. Her friends even get some great moments to shine throughout, and it was refreshing to not see them completely pushed to the side as they might be in some other teen shows. Her academic rival Ben (Jaren Lewison, Tag) even has an episode to himself and his perspective.
A love triangle is one of the other major aspects of the show, and it features some unrealistic boy moments, but I didn’t expect any different going into it. I won’t spoil any of her romantic moments, but I’d say the relationships she forms are generally enjoyable and compelling to watch. It’s hard to not click “next episode,” one after another.
I think some of the other highlights of the show were Devi’s cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani, 9-1-1), who was a fun character to watch with an interesting side plot to get invested in, and the flashbacks with her father (Sendhil Ramamurthy, The Flash). The bits of the show where he comes in or where Devi reflects on their times together are some of the most heart wrenching moments. Her dad is optimistic, funny, and lovable in the short flashes we get to see of him, and it’s easy to see that his relationship with Devi was a special one. The familial moments tug at your heartstrings, and I even cried once or twice because of the depiction of the relationship between both her and her mother and both of their relationships with him.
At first, I was unsure how to feel about the series because, like Devi, I am a first generation Indian-American woman. I was hoping it would represent our culture in a way that felt authentic and true to some of the experiences I’ve had. I feel that it actually did a good job as a whole of encompassing what parts of growing up were like. It was great to see an Indian-American family on TV and see some elements that hit close to home like the Indian functions held at Devi’s high school. For some of the scenes, I was unsure if I liked them or not, but I would still suggest giving it a try.
The main issues I had were some of the lines played off as “jokes.” I found some of it a bit uncomfortable. One example of this centers on how they dealt with her paralysis, which was discussed in the very beginning of the series. Overall, however, I would recommend this show. I have some mixed feelings about it and there’s definitely more work to do, but I really enjoyed Never Have I Ever and am certain it will be getting renewed very soon.