Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

Apr. 27, 2020
Your rating: 2
9 8 votes

Creator

Cast

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan isDevi Vishwakumar
Devi Vishwakumar
Poorna Jagannathan isDr. Nalini Vishwakumar
Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar
Jaren Lewison isBen Gross
Ben Gross
Darren Barnet isPaxton Hall-Yoshida
Paxton Hall-Yoshida
Lee Rodriguez isFabiola Torres
Fabiola Torres
Ramona Young isEleanor Wong
Eleanor Wong
John McEnroe isJohn McEnroe (voice)
John McEnroe (voice)

Video trailer

Synopsis

After a traumatic year, all an Indian-American teen wants is to go from pariah to popular — but friends, family and feeling won’t make it easy on her.

Devi and her two high-achieving best friends, the theatre nerd Eleanor (Ramona Young) and the robotics whiz Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) are known, McEnroe explains, by “the lightly racist nickname the U.N., ” because they’re “an ethnically diverse group of academically focussed, um, I can’t think of a better word for dorks.” Devi is also a “hothead,” we’re told.

Just as McEnroe once screamed at umpires and threw tennis racquets, Devi blows up at her friends and relatives, and does things like smash her chemistry beaker when Ben gets a better grade. She’s feisty, which we like, and grieving, which we empathize with, but she’s also difficult. And both she and the series itself tend to fixate on hotness in a way that’s off-putting, suggesting that nerds of many ages simply can’t differentiate between beauty, desire, love, and connection. Devi’s frequent comments on looks are meant to charm us, I think—as when she exclaims that a visitor to the house is “hot,” when she’d worried he’d be “an uggo.” The visitor politely thanks her, but some of us will cringe.

Devi’s parents, Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan) and Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy), came to the U.S. in September, 2001, McEnroe tells us: “Not a super chill time to be a brown person in America.” They were a happy family of three; last year, while watching Devi’s harp solo at a school concert, Mohan had a heart attack and died. Soon after, Devi’s legs stopped working, and she spent three months in a wheelchair. She was cured from her paralysis by a glimpse of the school hottie, a swimmer named Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet), which inspired her to rise up and walk. (Cue the opening credits, to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.”) By the end of the first episode, Devi has introduced herself to Paxton and offered to have sex with him.

If you’re thinking, Yowsers, I agree. The series is itself like a socially awkward teen-age nerd—charming but maladroit, heedless, a little exhausting. (The wheelchair subplot is treated as a lightly embarrassing trauma, then abandoned.) Like many nerds, it leads with a bit of showing off: there’s a montage of Devi’s having competed for No. 1 since elementary school with her rival, Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison). “You might call them the John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors of Sherman Oaks High School,” McEnroe says. “Not to make this about me.”

And yet this beauty fixation, in the form of Paxton—his meaningful glances, his meaningful hoisting himself out of a pool—sets in motion a kind of hero’s journey for Devi, to the benefit of characters and viewers alike. Paxton, like many classic rom-com dreamboats, has a soul behind his penetrating stare. He’s a jock who doesn’t care about school, but, as played by Barnet, he has the subtle thoughtfulness of rom-com hunks from Jake Ryan to Gilbert Blythe to Jordan Catalano to Peter Kavinsky, and, like them, he’s observant and often kind. Many actual teen-agers learn the hard way that the love interest they’ve been idealizing is less appealing than they’d imagined, but in rom-coms, including this one, we’re shown what might have happened if that fantasy had been right. Devi has a dream in the second episode in which Paxton whips off his shirt, revealing truly astonishing washboard abs; praises her oversized T-shirt and the scent of her dandruff shampoo; and wants to have sex with her. But what he does during Devi’s waking hours is almost as fantastical: he notices how she’s feeling, asks her how she is, and begins to welcome her into his happy, easygoing world. “Whoa, Devi, you came!” he says, when she shows up at a cool-kid party. “And brought California Brittle! This slaps. Come in!”

Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever
Original title Never Have I Ever
TMDb Rating 8.2 1,514 votes
First air date Apr. 27, 2020
Last air date Jun. 08, 2023
Seasons 4
Episodes 40
Average Duration 30 minutes

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