Never Have I Ever Review: Mindy Kaling's Netflix teen drama is relatable, emotional but a tad tedious

Never Have I Ever Review: The Netflix series has nothing to do with the famous drinking game. The Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher created teen drama revolves around an Indian teenager growing up in the US who is on a quest to find a new boyfriend and get laid for she is "ready to bone."
Never Have I Ever Review: Mindy Kaling's Netflix teen drama is relatable, emotional but a tad tediousNever Have I Ever Review: Mindy Kaling's Netflix teen drama is relatable, emotional but a tad tedious
  • 0
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Share on whatsapp

Series Name: Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever Creator: Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher

Never Have I Ever Cast: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Richa Moorjani, Niecy Nash and Jaren Lewison. 

Never Have I Ever Stars: 3/5

Growing up as a girl balancing two different cultures is difficult. So, Never Have I Ever takes a leeway to establish a South Indian girl's story growing up in the valley, embracing the nuts and bolts of an American teenager. While it is fun watching a part of my teenage life being essayed on the screen, the Netflix series took a tad longer than required to set up the story. Thank god for Poorna Jagannathan and Andy Samberg who come to the series' rescue and paces things up. Before I dive into the review, let me give you some context. 

Never Have I Ever is set in California and revolves around 15-year-old South Indian girl Devi (newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) who is always on the top of her game on the academic front. Rings a bell? Well, if you've grown up in the South, this is basically every TamBrahm student's life. Or at least the dream their parents have for them. Narrated by legendary tennis champion John McEnroe, Never Have I Ever tells the tale of Devi, who has a stern mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), lost her father Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) during school music performance. Heartbroken, she loses her ability to walk. However, due to a miracle, she regains her strength to walk again. With Devi 2.0 walking into school, she returns with a mission: a quest of finding a new boyfriend and to get laid for she is "ready to bone." 

While she almost conquests the task she has set out to accomplish, she spreads a sheet of lies and eventually falls on her face. Created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, Never Have I Ever feels like a The Mindy Project teenage version. The series hits homerun with the portrayal of the Indian culture. Having watched numerous shows that have stereotyped Indians, Never Have I Ever pokes fun at the stereotype and you give it a huge shoutout. From being banished for marrying outside the community to pointing out that slapping your child was acceptable in the Indian subcontinent and being grounded until you are a graduate, Never Have I Ever provides you numerous relatable notes.

On the other hand, it also makes sure to have several pop culture references. From mentions of The Big Bang Theory (because the series features CalTech) to K-Pop band BTS, Riverdale and also poking fun at Devi's broken heart after witnessing Nick Jonas marry an Indian woman who wasn't basically her aka Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the show balances both the worlds well. Maitreyi shines as Devi. The teenager successfully brings out the layers of the character without going over the top. Watching her portray a confused teenager struggling to cope with her father's death while tackling her boy crush and managing her friends felt like looking into a mirror. Poorna as Nalini is excellent! She nails the role of the shattered single mother struggling to bring up a teenage daughter while keeping her roots intact. Poorna is one of the biggest drawing points of the show. She made me want to go hug my mother.

The supporting cast - Ramona Young (Eleanor), Lee Rodriguez (Fabiola), Richa Moorjani (Kamala), Niecy Nash (Devi's therapist) and Jaren Lewison (Ben) - successfully keep the pace going with their impressive and subtle performance. While the casting and performance keep you hooked, I must confess Never Have I Ever has a rocky start. During the first few episodes, I was left to wonder where the series is headed towards. Up until the fourth or even the fifth episode, the story seems lost. 

Although the cliches were in place and the laughs kept the series running, I found myself wondering if the establishment of the series was dragged a tad long. However, the series' pace kicks in from the sixth episode when the series is told from Ben's perspective, narrated by Brooklyn Nine-Nine's famous Andy Samberg. With a sudden shift in pace, Never Have I Ever begins its journey to the point of the show and there is no stopping from there. Before you know it, you are knee-deep in Devi's drama and you brace yourself for the tears to roll down. 

Should you watch Never Have I Ever? Despite its flaws, the Netflix series leaves you with a feel-good vibe, brings a sense of cheer and also makes you miss your parents. So watch it to give those dark series and movies a break. It will be worth your time.

Stay updated with the latest entertainment,fashion and lifestyle news. Get our Newsletter

Pinkvilla has updated its Privacy and Cookie policy. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and show you Personalized advertisement.

Options

Pinkvilla has updated its Privacy and Cookie policy. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and show you Personalized advertisement