A show came out on Netflix recently called ‘Never Have I Ever’.
Have you watched it yet? Let me know in the comments section.
The show was created by Mindy Kaling, whom I love and Lang Fisher.
If you would like to know more about Mindy’s claim to fame i.e. the inspiring story of how a brown girl has held her own in Hollywood, click here.
Netflix approached Kaling to ask her if she would like to write a show about her childhood, and of course, she was on board, She asked teen at heart Fisher to join her to capture the voice of youth appropriately.
Never Have I Ever Netflix Honest Review – NO SPOILERS
The show follows the life of an Indian girl named Devi Vishwakumar who after a traumatic year, is all ready to spruce up her reputation at school.
Devi is from a traditional Indian family but is not so rooted in it. The show brilliantly touches about a common disconnect that Indian children face when they grow up outside India. Never Have I Ever highlights cultural aspects of Indian traditions such as the Ganesh Pooja, where Indians come together to pray and celebrate, yet here we see Devi being not into it, as most teenagers are when asked to attend a religious event.
What really piqued the interest of myself and many other Indians who watched the show is how toxic aunty culture exists and prevails across the border. By toxic aunty culture, I am referring to people who are partially related to you or know your family, passing judgments on you and your family and trying to make their families look better.
Never Have I Ever also had widely interesting characters. Devi is essentially a nerd who is always competing for the top spot in school with a rich boy named Ben whom we grow to hate. But an episode about his life, has us feeling slightly different. Her two best friends are Eleanor Wong who has a flair for dramatics and Fabiola Torres who loves robots and science.
It is very rare that nerds are given a prominent role in a series, except for The Big Bang Theory and yet they almost always seem way more interesting than any of the popular kids.
Devi is all set to gain a high school status, and not be seen as the crippled girl anymore and the only way she knows she can do that is to get a boyfriend. Her preferred choice? Paxton Hall Yoshida, a gorgeous swimmer sportsman who is retaking his final year of high school.
All she dreams about is Paxton sneaking into her bedroom, late at night, or paying her attention. This is supremely hilarious because her mother has banned her from having any boys over, going to parties, or drinking.
The show has subtly dealt with the aspect of mental health, through Devi’s visits to the therapist. It demonstrates how people who go through trauma deal with it in different ways, which can lead to psychosomatic behavior, irrational behavior, and fits of rage. And Devi has ticked the boxes in all three departments.
Although the show had a heavy load to carry with Devi’s backstory, it glides through it with humorous one-liners and hilarious situations. Like when Devi outright asks Paxton to have sex with her, when Devi quotes Tyra Banks while doing an impromptu photoshoot and it’s constant references to the extreme hotness of the characters and complete nonchalance of the parents on the hit teen show Riverdale.
A great storyline and brilliant actors, Never have I Ever has hit the mark in every department and is the feel-good show you need to watch right now.
There are two other aspects that make the show that make the show so charming. Devi’s cousin Kamala, who has come to Davis, California, to study but has to battle family pressure while pursuing her studies. And the second aspect that added such a fresh feeling to the show was that it was narrated by tennis player John McEnroe, for reasons that become clear upon watching the show.
I do recognize that the show propagates certain stereotypes about the Indian community and the sad thing about stereotypes is that they exist for a reason. I urge you to look beyond them when you watch the show.
Never Have I Ever is a huge win for the South Asian community. The show proudly embraces Indian heritage and culture within a teenage comedy-drama that has definitely become one of the most well-received shows on Netflix.