Read Watch Listen - 2021


Series Review: Never Have I Ever - Season 2

By Jennifer Allen

When I heard that the series Never Have I Ever, co-produced by Mindy Kaling, had been renewed for a second Season, I was overjoyed that we would be able to delve more into the complex teen life of Devi Vishnukumar, played by the always boisterous and amazing Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Well Netflix has just released the second Season on the platform, and it's not only built upon the groundwork of the first Season, but also added some new layers to just about every character involved and there's a few new faces to bolster an already stellar cast.

Season 2 starts off right where the first Season ended… with Devi and Ben (Jaren Lewison) sharing a sweet kiss in his car… only to be comically interrupted by her mother, Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan). What follows is 10 fun-filled episodes with many characters going through a semester's long journey. Some will find courage. Others will find new love. Others still find ways to surprise even themselves.

Central to it all is, of course, Devi's own mishaps and odyssey to figure out the kind of person she really wants to be. While the first Season was primarily about her dealing with grief due to her father's death, this Season was more about her goals to break away from her social status as the brainy Indian girl that most of the other students ignore. Along the way she tackles a love triangle, friendship issues, and more conflicts of interest between her culture and the desire to 'fit in' with her classmates.

At the heart of why Devi is so captivating is Maitreyi Ramakrishnan's performance. She can show so much emotion in just her facial expressions that it's so easy to feel exactly what she's feeling in each scene. We as the audience sit back and watch over the course 10 episodes as Devi gradually gains a more confident maturity.

The sheer amount of contrasting motivations and outcomes are what make the series so wonderfully written and a pleasure to watch. Unlike older shows and movies, Never Have I Ever doesn't seek to solve every problem with a crisp, clean satin bow wrapped around it. Many of these characters have flaws and they don't just immediately change when the script calls for them to.

Another standout this season is Nalini who gets to finally be more than a stereotypical overbearing Indian matriarch by questioning her own agency and also interacting with rival dermatologist Chris Jackson (Common). It's nice to see her less as Devi's mom and more as her own person.

I personally enjoyed the storyline for Kamala (Richa Moorjani) who is now not only struggling with her potential arranged marriage but also her life as an intelligent, beautiful young woman. While we didn't get to see much of Kamala's more “brainy" side in Season 1, we are treated to a great arc where she is part of a cell lab rotation group with a rather misogynistic and egocentric boss. When she finally cuts loose on said boss by threatening to “go H.A.M." on him, it's both shocking and pricelessly funny.

Never Have I Ever Season 2 is just as delightful, funny, and relatable as Season 1, thanks in large part to its cast and incredibly witty writing. Look for both Seasons now available on Netflix.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.