Never Have I Ever Read Two Op-Eds About the Same Show


Lyvia Huang and Rasesh Joshi

By Lyvia Huang
Never Have I Ever has become one of the most popular TV shows in the world; its third season is currently ranked second on the Netflix Global Top 10 list. I have re-watched this show countless times, and I believe it to be one of the most entertaining shows I’ve ever watched. What makes Never Have I Ever so fun to watch is its entirely unrelatable relatability. The main character, Devi Vishwakumar, has a lot of thoughts and feelings that high schoolers can definitely relate to, and she does a lot of things that high schoolers have probably imagined doing. However, although high schoolers likely imagine doing a lot of these things, most wouldn’t actually do the things Devi does, such as asking a boy she’d never spoken to before if he would have sex with her.
Devi goes through problems with her two closest friends, Eleanor and Fabiola, which is something many teens have experienced. However, what makes Devi’s friend problems especially entertaining to watch are her levels of self-centeredness and disregard for others. When her friends were trying to tell her something important, Devi screamed at them that she had bigger problems than them although her problems were self-induced and could’ve easily been avoided if she hadn’t lied to her friends. Some of Devi’s actions lead viewers of the show to genuinely dislike her. For example, Devi started a rumor about one of her friends, Aneesa, being anorexic, which led to Aneesa almost transferring schools.
Another unlikeable aspect of Devi’s character is the way she rejects her heritage. In Season 1, Episode 4, Devi’s narrator states that although Devi is Indian, she doesn’t think of herself as “Indian Indian” like some other girls at the Ganesh Puja celebration she’s attending. Devi describes the celebration as “dorky” and “lame” and says, “When I get into Princeton, I’m never coming back. I’m gonna be an atheist who eats cheeseburgers every day with my white boyfriend.” Apparently, Devi thinks being embarrassed of her culture makes her cool and more likely to get a “white boyfriend.”
Yet another reason for viewers to strongly dislike Devi is the way she treats her mom. Devi’s dad Mohan died during her freshman year of high school, and in the first season of Never Have I Ever, Devi does not have a good relationship with her mom as she feels that her dad was the only parent who actually cared about her. However, this doesn’t justify Devi saying to her mom, “I wish you were the one that had died that night.” Also, when Devi’s mom asked Devi to spread Mohan’s ashes with her, Devi told her mom she was just trying to “do some spring cleaning” and “get rid of unnecessary junk like Dad.”
Negative feelings toward Devi are what make people continue watching the show and waiting to see what she’ll do next – she can be thought of as a lesson to viewers on what type of person not to be. Other lessons are taught in this show as well, and while they may be obvious and cliché, they make the show meaningful in a way. I actually cried watching the last episode of Season 3 when Devi, crying, told her mom that she didn’t want to attend the prestigious boarding school she’d been accepted to so that she could spend one more year with her mom before college. I like the character development Devi undergoes throughout this show (compare this to when Devi said she wished her mom had died).
All in all, Never Have I Ever is a great show to watch if you’re just bored and have nothing to do. It’s not particularly purposeful, but sometimes, you just don’t want to watch something deep. Choose Never Have I Ever if you’re looking for another unrealistic show in which high schoolers are played by 30-year-olds.

By Rasesh Joshi
August brings new seasons to many different shows on Netflix. The most popular of these shows has been Never Have I Ever, a coming-of-age drama about the adventures of Devi Vishwakumar, a second-generation Indian immigrant and student at Sherman Oaks High School. Season three has brought back the excitement, drama, and humor that the show is acclaimed for.
Season two left fans with a sloppy, hastily written finale that left more to be desired. The final episode felt rushed and awkward, and many characters had inconclusive and confusing endings. However, it gave promise to an exciting third season with Devi finally dating Paxton Hall-Yoshida, her long-time crush. Many of Devi’s friends have also started having their own romantic adventures.
An idea that is heavily expanded on this season is maturing and moving to adulthood. Devi begins to focus on her self-identity rather than silly crushes or jealousy. For example, after Devi and Paxton break up due to her insecurities, Devi slowly learns to become more confident in herself and trust in her own self-worth and abilities. She also learns how to move on and take the next step in life. This growth from Devi helps her and her mother form a stronger bond and have a better relationship compared to seasons one and two, too. Devi eventually starts talking to Paxton again and the two become good friends.
Ben Gross, a longtime character and “frenemy” of Devi’s, also experiences this change in season three after being taken to the hospital due to the ignorance of his health problems. This is caused by Ben overworking himself and not devoting enough time to self-care. Driven by the insecurities of making his father proud and getting into an Ivy League college, Ben spends all of his time focused on school. However, after his hospital incident, Ben finally speaks with his father face-to-face and learns that no matter what he does, Ben has already made his father happy. With this weight finally lifted off Ben’s shoulders, he is able to pursue his interests and takes up art as a hobby.
However, self-identity is not just limited to Ben or Devi. Almost every character in Never Have I Ever from Fabiola Torres (Devi’s friend) to Trent (a Sherman Oaks student) gains their own identity in different ways. For example, people like Aneesa Qureshi (a Sherman Oaks student) learn to support themselves and not rely on other people for love or affection. Another example of newfound self-discovery comes from Nalini Vishwakumar, Devi’s mother. During this season, Nalini finally seems to have the strength to move on from her husband’s death and do better for herself. She befriends Rhyah, a fellow Indian mother who works as a nutritionist. At first, both Rhyah and Nalini get along well together, even allowing for the dating between their two children to continue. However, when Rhyah turns out to be manipulative and dishonest, Nalini supports her daughter and cuts ties with Rhyah.
This season of Never Have I Ever also explores a new aspect of the Vishwakumars’ life, being good Indians. With the introduction of Devi’s grandmother in season two, the house has come under a stronger Indian influence. This mainly affects the life of Kamala Vishwakumar, Devi’s cousin. After the events of the winter dance from the season two finale, Kamala is stuck in a tough situation. Pati, her grandmother, wants Kamala to get back with Prashant. However, Kamala is not ready to marry Prashant and does not see a future with him. Ultimately, she decides to blazer her own path and move out of the house after finding Manish Kulkarni, Devi’s English teacher, and Kamala’s new boyfriend.
In the final moments of the season, Devi is left with two choices. She can either take an offer she received to attend a highly ranked academy in Colorado, or stay at Sherman Oaks High School and finish her senior year with her friends. After pondering for a while and even visiting the school, Devi decides that she wants to stay in California. She comes across the realization that life can be unpredictable and unknown, and it is important to spend time with the ones you love. Nalini approves of Devi’s decision and her friends feel happy for her. The last scene of this season shows Ben and Devi sharing a happy ending together.
“Never Have I Ever” is a show that encourages people to pursue their dreams and let no one hold them back. It helps portray an important lesson to young adults that you are worth more than what somebody tells you. Never Have I Ever’s flawless combination of heartfelt moments, teen romance, and witty comedy solidifies it as one of the best coming-of-age series ever made.