Photo courtesy of Netflix.
On April 27, 2020, a Netflix comedy series premiered on the streaming service. And that series is Never Have I Ever. The premise follows a first-generation Indian-American teenager (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) who is dealing with the sudden loss of her father and her complicated life. The show was created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. The show was flooded with positive reviews and praised for breaking traditional stereotypes.
Let’s recap the first season, shall we? In season 1, we meet Devi Vishwakumar, a 15 year old girl from Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles, California. After her father passes away, Devi looses feeling in her legs for three months. After having a socially awful freshman year, Devi wants to change that. In her sophomore year in high school, Devi deals with grief, identity, school life, and struggles with her relationship with her mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), her cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani), her two best friends Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young) as well as her high school crush Paxton (Darren Barnet) and her nemesis Ben (Jaren Lewison). I know it’s a lot, just hang in there. We still have way more ground to cover.
In season 1, Devi entangles herself in a big, fat lie. She has had a crush on Paxton for a long time but he didn’t really notice her until she draws him into her web of lies. After lying to Fabiola and Eleanor, she tries to apologize and make it up to them but they don’t budge. We also see Fabiola struggling with her sexual orientation but accepts that she’s gay later on in the series. She’s afraid to tell her mom at first but eventually tells her. Eleanor’s mom was originally supposed to be away performing on a cruise but finds out that she’s been working at a Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks all along. As the two become closer, her mom leaves her to pursue an acting career yet again.
We also meet Ben, Devi’s nemesis. As the season progresses, they start to hate each other less. At Ben’s birthday party, he tries to kiss Devi…not once but twice. Their relationship started off on a weird note as Ben was a total jerk to her in the beginning of the season. Enemies to lovers excellence, am I right? In the season finale, Ben helps Devi reconcile with Fabiola and Eleanor and takes her to the beach to scatter her father’s ashes. Later on, Devi finds Ben asleep in his car. He reveals that he wanted to make sure that she was okay and Devi kisses him. As they kiss, Paxton leaves Devi a voicemail.
If you are onto this part of the review and you don’t want spoilers. I urge you to stop reading. Go watch season 2 if you haven’t already and come back here. Here we go.
Season 2 picks up right where season 1 ends. We are back at the beach with Devi and Ben still making out. This season was definitely crazier than I expected. Devi ends up dating Ben and Paxton at the same time and it works for a little while. It eventually blows up in her face and makes her life insane. She goes back and forth whether she wants to be with Ben or Paxton and many obstacles get in the way during her decision-making.
Meanwhile, Nalini has drama of her own. She has many confrontations with her business rival Dr. Chris Jackson (Common) which eventually turns into something more. She also visits India to see if she truly wants to move there with Devi and ultimately decides against it but brings someone home instead. Kamala struggles to be respected at her job at a prestigious stem cell research lab.
Fab struggles to fit in with her girlfriend Eve’s friends and Eleanor ends up dating a guy who ends up being the opposite of who she thought he was.
Paxton has his own solo episode like Ben did in season 1. Instead of Andy Samberg narrating it, to my surprise, it’s Gigi Hadid. I thought she did a great job. She had me laughing a lot and much of her narration was relatable to how I was feeling during the episode.
I really enjoyed this season. I believe it’s better than season 1 as far as the story and it’s much more complex. I love that it explored important issues. The first being Kamala’s storyline. It was nice to see a show portraying the reality of women working in male-dominated industries. The second being how Devi’s character was explored further. There were a few times where I cried because the acting felt so real. The way teenagers are portrayed in this show is so realistic to the point where it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a TV show sometimes.
Something else I found interesting was the fact that I actually like Devi with both Ben and Paxton (I’m still Team Ben) but the way they explored Paxton’s character more was great. I do wish they did this in season 1 rather than season 2 but I’m happy we got character development.
There were some things I didn’t love. Some of the plotlines were predictable as far as Devi’s. I knew they were going to end in disaster.
If you haven’t watched season 2 yet, what are you waiting for?
Never Have I Ever is available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
Cast: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Jaren Lewison, Darren Barnet, Lee Rodriguez, Ramona Young, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani
Creators: Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher
Producers: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher, Howard Klein