As a teenager, I can affirm the fact that teenager life is hard. And Netflix and Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever paints exactly that. To be completely honest, starting from the very first episode of the show, I was taking in depth notes for this review. For the first episode, I had a whole paragraph written, with notes on each of the characters and my thoughts on them. By the second episode, the long paragraph got cut down to just two lines, and eventually, by the third, I had completely stopped. I had gotten so invested in the show that I forgot to take notes and record my feelings, which now I regret because I can’t go specifically into each of the actions of every character. So, I’m going to leave the specifics a mystery for now, which you readers would probably like.
But I have to say, Never Have I Ever was addicting and intoxicating; I couldn’t stop flying through the episodes.
However, the show was far from perfect, despite the storyline being so moving. Never Have I Ever begins with the story of Devi Vishwakumar, played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, a young Indian American girl who had lost her dad at her own orchestra concert, been paralyzed for a couple of months, and is now finally getting back to normal. Through all of this trauma, Devi refuses to acknowledge her dad’s death and heal. Instead, she throws herself into the ever-so-hot Paxton Hall-Yoshida, a half Japanese jock that Devi just couldn’t resist. Meanwhile, she must also navigate her way through her enmity with egoistical Ben Gross. She also must figure out how to handle her two innocent and somewhat clueless friends, Eleanor and Fabiola.
The storyline of Never Have I Ever was quite captivating from the beginning, and the fact that the show starred an Indian American- I couldn’t resist.
We have always needed more Indian representation in TV that wasn’t for a comedy side-piece. Throw in the fresh comedy from Mindy Kaling’s stunning writing skills and some cliches and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent show. However, to me, the cliches seemed a little too cliche, if that makes any sense. The fact that Devi is so boy, alcohol, and sex-obsessed kind of drove me crazy. That is not in any way how a normal teenage girl feels. We have our moments of going crazy over that one hot guy at school, or becoming obsessed with a crush, but going so far as to ruin friendships and spread rumors is not something I’ve ever seen before.
Adding sexuality into the mix with the character Fabiola was actually a great idea, in my opinion. It added another layer of representation to the tv show. Seeing the mother be really understanding towards her made for a wholesome and heartwarming story of acceptance. Her story was also the only sane love story in the whole series.
The interracial relationships throughout Never Have I Ever was just really refreshing. Adding a side storyline for Kamala with her boyfriend was a great addition to the show overall. Paxton and Devi were cute as hell, but then again, so were Ben and Devi.
Towards the end of the show, the fact that Devi had chosen Paxton over her lifelong friends made utterly no sense.
In hindsight, I can see how that decision must’ve been hard. However, she completely forgot about her friends once at Paxton’s. The number of times she had treated her friends like crap was just too many. However, her dad had died and she barely got a year to process it all. Although that didn’t give her the right to treat her friends like that, I can understand the trauma that she had been through. It was made very clear towards the end of the show that Paxton and boys were just her way of coping without her dad. She was trying to form a replacement for her loss. I can’t empathize with this, as I haven’t lost anyone that close to me. However, I sure as hell can sympathize with her.
I can only imagine what she must’ve felt like.
I’m not gonna lie, I was sobbing by the end. Maybe because I just related to her so much since we were both Indian, but losing your dad, it’s just too much. I just can’t imagine it. Losing someone is already hard as it is. Letting go is even harder. But when you’re a teen, I wonder if it’s even possible. The last episode was so many things- heartwarming, choked up, sweet, sad, lonely, inspiring, and so much more.
But, in the end, I am left with one small silly question that has yet to be answered. And hopefully it will be answered in season two (fingers crossed). Will she choose Paxton Hall-Yoshida or Ben Gross?
Never Have I Ever Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars