Never Have I Ever netflix review
Web Series Review

Never Have I Ever- A power-packed Netflix Show of feelings, drama and comedy!

The popular party game, “Never have I ever,” now has an exceptional twist in its portrayal, and how! This American comedy-drama revolves around an Indian teenager brought up in the States, with her parents’ souls rooted in India. What happens when you find out that your culture does not think that the people you grew up around aren’t cool enough? What happens when you lose the one person you love the most? (This isn’t a spoiler by the way)? What happens when a controlling mother and a head-strong teenager act riled up against one another? What happens when you feel stuck between Indian nurture and American nature?

Never Have I ever is Netflix’s 2020 invention, which is a power-packed show dominated by feelings, drama, and comedy! After very long, we came across a show in this genre, that needs no recommendation. Word of mouth and the fabulous narration by John McEnroe would have been enough to sell! Somehow, we think it hasn’t got the widespread acknowledgment that it deserves.

Is Never have I Ever for you?

Have you ever seen an American soul in an Indian’s body? If you haven’t, then this show is for you. If you have, then you cannot enjoy anything more than this one! The show is a fine-tuned medley that revolves around the strength of emotions, family, first crush, parenting, grieving, kiss, sex, friendship, and the teenage rush of mistakes & do-overs. Do you connect with that phase of life when every teenager thinks that their parents do not want the best for them? Or, maybe the time when you feel that only what you think is right, and that nobody understands you? If you are there, been there, or are dealing with it, we recommend you binge on this Netflix show.

Take a look at the trailer to know what you are in for.

Never Have I Ever Cast

never have i ever cast

Fresh faces, with John McEnroe’s narration, make the show a perfect fit. It stars eighteen-year-old Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, a Canadian actress in the lead. Actors Poorna Jagannathan and Sendhil Ramamurthy play parents to fifteen-year-old Devi, an exceptional harpist. Darren Barnet is the hottie on the show as Paxton with his killer abs and macho looks. Richa Moorjani plays Kamala, Devi’s good-looking and well-mannered (is she really?) cousin. Jaren Lewison, Ben, takes the character of a very competitive classmate, and a “must-have” type of friend.

Lee Rodriguez playing Fabiola and Ramona Young as Eleanor, are the perfect teenage besties. You know, the “through your thick and thin” types, who could have a fallout and get back together again? Another actor who deserves mention in our review is Niecy Nash, the very comforting therapist called Dr. Jamie Ryan to the confused teenager.

Never Have I Every Netflix Review

never have i ever review

The story revolves around an Indian teenager raised abroad, now stuck with her very Indian mom. The things that are normal to the teenagers and parents in America do not find a place in Nalini’s (Devi’s mom) dictionary. A dermatologist herself, Nalini loses her romantic husband and an amazing dad to their daughter, Mohan. That tragedy, which very sensibly the writers establish in the pilot episode, changes everything for Devi.

Devi struggles to find a way to establish interest in her first crush, Paxton(Darren Barnet), hoping to have her first kiss with him. Does that happen? Well, telling you that would be a spoiler, isn’t it? No one knows how to deal with grief.  The relationship between Devi and her therapist Dr. Jamie Ryan( Niecy Nash) is so high-toned that going to her clinic becomes more like home. It doesn’t happen every day that you find a show, where the therapist gives out sensible reactions and advice! (Yes, there have been terrible examples on television.) Devi and Dr. Jamie’s relationship is one to look out for on the show.

Broken but Beautiful… To watch or not?

Here’s what to expect

Never have I ever

High-level Melodrama

Didn’t we say it is about an American soul stuck in an Indian’s body with a very rooted mother? This description screams melodrama all the way!! An angry mother and teenager duo has a call for spectacles written all over it! Moreover, the tragedy that befalls the household, the introverted sentiments of grief, the constant word battles, and the Indian restrictions imposed outside the country all lead to not some, but loads of melodrama. You have nothing to worry about; they are far from the daily soaps!

Super-cool Characterization

Starting from the characters revolving around Devi, to those who appear only for short roles, all make a mark. Paxton’s stupid friend, Trent, the school’s principal, the professors, the Indian aunties, the very cosmopolitan Indian Pandit, and Paxton’s sister with special needs, all leave their scenes making a difference to the show.

Comedy derived from emotions

That is a hard expectation of understanding, but you will connect with this once you connect with Devi on Never Have I Ever. Even amid the high-raising emotions of love, hatred, and misunderstandings, comedy receives enough space throughout all ten episodes, sufficient to keep the viewer entertained. John McEnroe’s narration is so impactful that you cannot imagine the show without it! We sincerely hope there is no replacement or change in that area in Never Have I Ever Season 2.

Friendship

The show cannot do without the friendships that build on the show. Starting from the time of being there for Devi, to the time when Fabiola, Eleanor, and Ben have to encounter parental and personal issues, it all seems incomplete if not for their togetherness. Sleepovers, parties, fights, break-ups, make-ups, being there, messing up, apologies, tears, laughter… the show covers it all!

The oh-so-cute “firsts feelings.”

As we said, there is a lot of “firsts” that Devi wants to experience, but she is on a roll to unintentionally (sometimes, intentionally) mess things for her. Seeing a shirtless guy for the first time, to wanting to experience the feeling of her first kiss, the first drink, to every other first, it is all “oh-so-cute!”

The varied parent-child dynamics

Several characters on the show have some conflicting dynamics with their parents. It reveals to us the complexities of this relationship, especially when the child grows into a young dynamic. The characters of Devi, Ben, Kamala, Fabiola, and Eleanor put up an insightful display of the same, thereby introducing us to the different parenting styles, mistakes, and more! The want for parents’ attention and the feeling of not letting them down or disappointing them is a burden that many of these characters carry.

A purpose

The Netflix show Never Have I Ever has a very subtle purpose behind every episode, which all comes together in the last episode. Much like the several other web-series, this show too leaves us waiting for Season 2. It ends on a note, where you want to what screwed-up decisions Devi will make next, and how she plans to deal with them. It showcases the typical teenage problems that begin with pimples, to hiding the things your Indian parents strongly disapprove of. In the process, you do not realize how the last episode leads the viewer to a space, for which the buildup starts from the pilot episode.

The Entertaining 10 Never Have I Ever Episodes (Spoiler-free)

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan

Every episode has an exquisite title, which speaks about something that Devi has Never Ever done before! Does she end up doing them? That is something you should watch to know. Here is an episode list of the show, with super short descriptions. make deciding to watch or not easier! Stick with us till the end of our final verdict!

Episode 1: Pilot Episode: The Teenage Rage

The pilot episode is a well-established thirty minutes that leads you into Devi’s lives and introduces the viewers to almost all the characters of the show. The “bang” element gets a good origination here, which only picks up in the further episodes to see a peak.

Episode 2: Never Have I Ever had sex with Paxton Hall-Yoshida

The episode takes you into the profundity of Devi’s life, friends, grief, and nature. The will to be noticed, and become one of the talked-about school chick, takes the lead on her agenda. Not to forget all the sentiments she tries to avoid while trying to do so!

Episode 3: Never Have I Ever Gotten drunk with the Popular Kids

Devi hasn’t done it before; in fact, the popular kids were never the part of her orbit. Are they now? Does she really drink? And what about her overly strict and always-annoyed mother?

Episode 4: Never Have I Ever Felt Super Indian

One of the most fun episodes on the show, it is sure to introduce you into the Indian society, and some of their traditional beliefs. But, Devi isn’t typically Indian. With the Indian clothes on, does Devi behave anything as her mother wants her to? Also, what is Kamala’s reason for distress?

Episode 5: Never Have I Ever Started a Nuclear War

The episode on the nuclear war is yet another one of the appealing episodes—a lot changes when Devi and Ben are off on a UN Debate competition. Full of twists and turns, this episode does indeed shift a lot in Devi’s life!

Episode 6: Been the Loneliest Boy in the World

We are not going to tell you who the lonely boy is and why he is lonely! Everything was only about Devi so far. Then who is the “Boy” in question? Watch to find out! We made a promise to make this spoiler-free, and we intend to stick to it!

Episode 7: Never Have I Ever Been a Big, Fat Liar

We all lie when we have to, and then we do make excuses to clean the crap we left behind! What lies, and how Devi chose to handle them is everything that the episode contains.

Episode 8: Never Have I Ever Pissed Off Everyone I Know

The title reveals enough of what you should know at this point!

Episode 9: Never Have I Ever Had to Be on my Best Behavior

That is something that parents expect from their kids, especially their teenage kids. The episode contains the maximum drama and highest emotions. Devi’s flashbacks reveal more than we knew all this while! Also, a lot unfolds about Kamala’s life in this episode.

Episode 10: Never Have I Ever Said I’m Sorry

What did Devi do, that she had to do the thing she had never ever done before? Episode 10 leaves viewers in an emotional state, by when you would have connected with the characters enough! Dealing with the tragedy and realizing the “true people” in life is the crux of this episode. When that ends, there is a semi-romantic moment, with Devi having to decide the next step of her life. Although we wouldn’t know what that is until Season 2!

John McEnroe

Our Verdict

Here is the part where we finally give you our verdict of whether you should watch Never Have I Ever or not. Our review is undoubtedly a give-away of what the verdict is, but of course, perfection is hard to achieve. Not that there are significant loopholes that entertainment cravers would find, but it is also not a perfect score. One major reason we can point out is (small spoiler) Kamala forgets her promise to her boyfriend Steve when she sees an attractive arranged marriage prospect. The reasons for break-up do sound silly after the promises she made.

What we can assure you is that if you are looking for a show to watch without crime, hatred, and killings in this quarantine season, then go for it. With a simple story background, and compelling performances, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever is sure worth a watch, and most definitely worthy of a Season 2 (It’s happening!)

So, yes, definitely a WATCH! We rate the show a 4/5, which is a pretty hard number to achieve in this competitive web-series era.

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Hemali Adhiya is the co-founder and author of the e-magazine Love Smitten. Alongside writing and editing for several other websites, she hosts a YouTube Channel- Total Angrezi. Traveling is her way to unwind, and she loves recording these experiences!

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