Need a new Netflix show recommendation during summer break? I highly recommend watching Never Have I Ever. Never Have I Ever is an American coming-of-age-comedy and drama created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. The story is about Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a 15-year-old Indian-American from Sherman Oaks, California who is dealing with the death of her father and navigating high school, friends, family, and feelings of love and sadness. This show sheds spotlight on stereotypical comments made by peers and the community regarding cultural identity. Cultural Representation is also seen in this show through the celebration of an Indian holiday, Ganesh Puja, a common Indian tradition, arranged marriage. The show was released on Netflix in April 2020. This has become one of my favorite Netflix shows as each episode gets more entertaining and heartfelt.
The story is narrated by John McEnroe with Andy Samberg substituting for one episode. The series starts with introducing Devi Vishwakamur as paralyzed in a wheelchair, a daughter who just lost her father due to a heart attack at her school concert performance. She has a widowed mother, Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), and a beautiful cousin named Kamala (Richa Moorjani) who is studying at CalTech while waiting on her arranged marriage (while also dating Steve at the same time). Throughout the series, Devi’s relationship with her mother has been great but sometimes strained and there are flashbacks in the episodes that show that their relationship is at the lowest but counseling and support from both ends made them realize the value of their mother-daughter bond. Meanwhile, Devi has plans with her two best friends Fabiola and Eleanor (Lee Rodriguez and Ramona Young) to make their Sophomore year better than Freshman year which includes changing their styles and getting boyfriends. Throughout the series, these two best friends had problems in their own lives, including one friend coming out to her family that she is gay and one who finds out that her mother, who abandoned her to work on a cruise ship (or so she claimed), is actually working at a Mexican restaurant. These struggles became oblivious to Devi since she was dealing with her own issues and grieving from her father’s death.
As I watched Never Have I Ever, Devi was seemingly in a love triangle with Ben Gross and Paxton Hall-Yoshida. Ben (Jaren Lewison) is her nemesis in academic competition and Paxton Hall-Yoshida, who is her crush, participates on the swim team. Devi lied to her friends and peers by saying that she had sexual intercourse with Paxton. The relationship between Devi and Ben is intense but towards the end of the season, Ben helps Devi realize that family is important, and helps gather friends to spread her father’s ashes at the beach. The relationship between Devi and Paxton is on the other side of the spectrum, with Devi feeling extreme infatuation with Paxton, unbeknownst to him. Towards the end of the season, the two very different people become friends and Paxton’s adopted sister, Rebecca, urges him to make a decision regarding his feelings for Devi. Did Devi make amends with her mother and cousin and go to the beach to spread her father’s ashes? Did Devi end up being with Ben or Paxton or neither? What happened with Devi’s two best friends, Fabiola and Eleanor? How did the situation with Kamada’s potential suitor from India turn out? Did she continue her relationship with Steve? These questions will be answered from Netflix Never Have I Ever Season 1, out now!