Never Have I Ever- Series Review

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This American television series is a coming of age drama-comedy that stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. It is created by Mindy Kaling as well as Lang Fisher. The comedy-drama is loosely, based around Mindy Kalng’s childhood while living in the Boston area and premiered in April 27,2020 on Netflix. 

The TV series plot is about an Indian American high-schooler that’s trying to cope after her father’s death and has gotten plenty of positive reviews. The TV series is seen as a turning point for South Asian representation and inclusion in Hollywood and has received well-meaning accolades for throwing Asian stereotypes out of the window.

Netflix renewed the show for a second season in July 2020.

The Plot

The story revolves around Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s character Devi Vishwakumar who is a 15 year old from Sherman Oaks, LA. After a freshman year that she would rather forget due to it’s social complexities and horrors, Devi is on a journey to revamp her social status. However, her personal feelings, family, and friends don’t give her the chance to do explore.

When Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who is Devi’s father passes on, Devi unfortunately isn’t able to use her legs for about three months. Following the year after her father’s death, Devi struggles with her identity as an Indian, her school life, the grief of her father’s passing as well as the tumultuous relationship she has with her mother Nalini. Nalini’s character is played by Poorna Jagannathan.

Devi is also struggling to deal with her relationship between her two best friends Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), Eleanor (Ramona Young), her cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani), her foe Ben (Jaren Lewison), and her crush Paxton played by Darren Barnet.

Tennis star John McEnroe narrates the show for the most part but Andy Samberg narrates one of the episodes. 

While the show gives viewers a chaotic glimpse into adolescent lives, it also takes a hilarious turn that dives deep into the customs and culture of Indian Americans as well as the lives of three women of color who sprinkle some humor into the show. 

The show also highlights the LGBTQ community when Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) has to come to the realization that while her friends are trying to get themselves boyfriends, she may not be interested in the same thing. She is instead attracted to a girl in her class and is resolute in her decision to define who she is on her own. In a tender and raw scene in the show, we see Fabiola coming out to her friend Eleanor (Ramona Young).

With the show still running, it’s vital to note that LGBTQ representation on OTT is indeed increasing and this is the positive affirmation that the community needs to keep pushing for more when it comes to inclusion. Moments before Fabiola comes out to her friend, she had tried to come out to her parents and failed terribly.

While coming out to her friend, Fabiola apologizes to her friend for not coming out to her earlier. However, her friend, determined to show some support, rubbishes the apology and declares that she loves her decision. This illuminates on the kind of support that the LGBTQ community needs not only in their own inner circles but in their larger communities as well.

Conclusion

Never Have I Ever highlights a very relatable high school story, and the issue of Fabiola’s sexuality is illuminated thoughtfully, it is also a little concerning that her relationship is sidelined and not developed along the storyline of the show. 

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