This past week, Netflix released a teen sitcom called Never Have I Ever. It gained much recognition in a few short days and brings a fresh take to American TV. It centers around an Indian-American teen girl named Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) navigating the rigors of high school life.
After watching the show actress Mindy Kaling created, it was easy to realize a fresh new perspective should always be welcomed. Audiences saw a teen girl try to deal with the usual challenges of life such as classes, enemies, and romance. In addition, she had to deal with her father’s death, balancing Indian culture with American culture, and finding her identity.
Devi did not consider herself to be very associated with Indian culture, and this was evident when she attended a Ganesh Puja ceremony. This is where the show becomes more serious and can relate to Indian-Americans who may have had a similar experience. The sitcom is a massive step of progress for Indian-American voice and representation on-screen in America. It also features a diverse cast, which is another major plus for a TV series.
Photo Credit: Roger Ebert
Devi must navigate getting in trouble and living under the strict rules of her mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan). The mother’s rather conservative views clash with the teen’s open-mindedness. Though there are some stereotypes of Indian parents in the season, the show also contains authentic and genuine moments.
An example of this is after Devi has a nasty fight with her mother because she says they are moving to India. The high-schooler then shares a powerful moment with Nalini where she apologizes at the coast during the time they were going to pour her father’s ashes in the ocean. It was a touching scene in which a mother and daughter band back together to honor a father and husband.
The series depicts some powerful themes and lessons. This includes being proud of your heritage, the love from parents is unconditional, family is everything, and even the strongest relationships do undergo rough patches, as in the case of Devi with her two best friends Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), along with her mother.
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on whether Never Have I Ever will return for Season 2. Let’s hope we never have that feeling of not knowing how Devi’s adventures will continue.