‘Never Have I Ever’ is predictable yet satisfying


Netflix / Public domain

“Never Have I Ever” centers around an Indian-American teenager, Devi, as she navigates through her sophomore year.

Cameron Thomas, Managing Editor

Though I hate to admit it, being at home pushes me to desire the dreadful conventions of high school, oozing with angst and hierarchy. I even miss the cliques, the peer pressure, the lack of individualism, the endless search for identity and everything that comes with being in that environment, taking me back to a time where there were no worries in the world other than the next physics test. I now crave purpose in life, hoping that at some point I will discover something to fill this cold, empty void.

“Never Have I Ever” was that something.

This tasteful Netflix original allowed me to live vicariously through the lives of these messed up teenagers dealing with typical TV teenage drama and problems. Even though the concept of the show is kind of played out, it still managed to give me a breath of fresh air. It didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, but it somehow kept me watching. The show had so many layers and dynamics that were easy to follow yet entertaining nonetheless.

The show follows Devi, a smart Indian girl on a journey of self-reinvention after tragedy struck her life. She is mentally damaged and scarred from her father’s death, which put her in so much shock that she was paralyzed for three months.

Her failure to address it and be vulnerable for once prolongs her healing process. She wants to be the hot popular girl with the meathead boyfriend instead of the girl who was paralyzed all summer or whose father died in front of the whole school.

Devi is an extremely flawed person, which, in my opinion, makes her even more of a perfect character. She does and says things whimsically that should  make us hate her. Girl’s got serious temper issues. However,  you cannot help but to root for her.

At first, I thought her entire world revolved around this boy, which angered me because I’m not a fan of archetypal female characters that adhere to tradition and domesticity. Then, I discovered that she was the exact opposite. She was a confident and assertive boss who was unapologetically taking control of her sexuality.

While the show is pretty straightforward, I love how each character is so layered and complex, giving you a love-hate relationship with all of them. Devi’s perfect Indian cousin just wants to be an all-American STEM queen who is in control of her own love life. Her best friends Eleanor (serious mommy issues) and Fabiola (scared to come out as gay to her family) took a break from her after a huge argument. Her crush, Paxton, has a vulnerable side other than his cool-kid reputation. Ben, her competition, is in much need of a friend because my guy is lonely.

Her mother is your typical strict Indian parent, but she has trouble dealing with Devi’s ambitious nature, especially with her husband’s recent passing. Their relationship is the most complex of any relationship in the show. Both are avoiding dealing with their emotions, and they often take it out on each other. All they actually want is to be accepted by one another.

I also have to mention that the representation in “Never Have I Ever” is more than present. It is a glorification of minorities. The main characters are Asian, Afro-Latinx, Jewish, LGBTQ+, etc. There’s a normalized sense of women’s empowerment, and none of the characters adhere to racial stereotypes.

All of the characters seem so simple at first, and just when you think that you have them figured out, the show reveals more about them. That’s what you have to love about the show. The attention to detail and the complex relationships is what makes the show stand out, but the good vibes are what keep you watching. No matter what crazy situation is happening, you can’t help but to be happy while watching it.

The only thing that I didn’t like about the show, other than its predictability, is that it ended so quickly. Will season two live up to season one’s glory? Only time will tell.