An American girl with Indian origin facing several trials to find her identity and overcome her complexities as well as her fears is the crux of the wholesome Netflix’s fun saga Never Have I Ever.
15-year-old Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who suddenly loses her father, played by Sendhil Ramamurthy, has to grapple with many uncertainties and amidst all that quirky clamour, she enters sophomore year of school.
Devi’s wish list, which ranges from having thin hair growth in arm pits to having a full blown sex life, doubles the clutter around her and throws her life into a state of more confusion.
Furthermore, an overprotective mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), a rival in class Ben (Jaren Lewison), who scoffs at her and peer pressure in the form of friends Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young) all add to the drama in Never Have I Ever.
Never Have I Ever belongs to Ramakrishnan all through and she makes it look so simple with her perfect timing and brilliant performance.
Jagannathan contributes well as a character who never cares for anything else except to see her daughter in a bigger league. All other actors have done well in their respective roles making the entire series lively and buzzworthy.
The Indian touch to a rather American high school sitcom is quite appreciable and the way some of Indian traditions and festivals are presented like Ganesh puja etc. shows the amount of research that has gone into this series.
The creators, Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling, whose childhood is apparently an inspiration for this series have done a marvelous job to unwrap stark realities in a teenager’s life in an amusing way.
Above all, the voiceover of the tennis legend John McEnroe with many tongue in cheek one liners dotted with his on court tantrums leave everyone in splits. He is the biggest attraction of the whole series besides the inimitable performances by Ramakrishnan and Jagannathan.
A teenager scrambling for sex and facing some tough situations in her efforts to explore her inner self has been seen in many shows like Sex Education or the Degrassi series. Never Have I Ever is nothing new in this aspect except that it adds an Indian touch
The socioeconomic differences among Indians in America and elsewhere in the world are highlighted in a very subtle way pointing at the need for some self-introspection. Also, how the teenagers are consumed by expectations and pangs of anxiety is presented impressively in Never Have I Ever. There is no reason to miss this highly engaging fun-packed show. Go for it!
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