Mindy Kaling’s Netflix series offers delectable desi drama for a global audience
Never Have I Ever Season 2
Creators – Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher
Cast – Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Darren Barnett, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, John McEnroe
Review of Never Have I Ever Season 2: Maitreyi Rajakrishnan & Poorna Jagannathan star in Netflix’s sweet, heartfelt coming-of-age series with a touch of emotional maturity.
Never have I ever is often preoccupied with winning white men’s approval. However, it Sometimes offers an authentic insight into desi culture. The sweet-natured Netflix comedy grows up like Devi in its second season.
This culture clash is still very much present. Devi’s mother, Devi, wishes for a closed casket funeral in an ecstatic moment — an odd joke considering she is Hindu. But Devi’s ‘patient” watches news about a tropical hurricane and wonders if there are any relatives to call.
Talking with distant relatives about unusual weather conditions is an Indian pastime that is extremely rare (and often underrated). Or time-pass as we prefer to call it. People from all parts of the country reach Mumbai to talk about flooding every monsoon season. Summertime sadness is further fuelled by the calls from New Delhi to discuss the heatwave.
Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling continue to share insightful observations on the misadventures and struggles of Devi Vishwakumar, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan in their coming-of-age comedy. They discuss her
Struggle with love, grief, and how she deals with her mother, best friends, and relationship with her father. She learns to accept her flaws, something she struggled with within the first season.
She prompts eleanor and Fabiola to use her name as a negative adjective’. She makes so many mistakes in these new episodes that they laugh so hard. She is disapproving when they say, “You Devi’d it up” in one scene. Every time she makes a mistake, she gravitates to the last voicemail she received from her father before he died. He used to call her his “perfect girl
Devi is aware that Devi is far from perfect and that she’s not a ‘devil. Season 2 begins with Devi being split between Paxton Hall-Yoshida, a jock, and Ben Gross. Devi and the series both make an initial decision about who she should date. Paxton is then iced with almost no regrets for the next few episodes. Devi doesn’t get off the hook. Devi’s bizarrely on-brand decision not to date them simultaneously, coupled with her passive aggression towards Anesa, another Indian girl, massively backfires and leads to public humiliation.
This season is more Devi-centric that the previous, which I felt was about three female leads. Her mother Nalini and her cousin Kamala were equally as touching.
Season two sees Nalini test the waters of romance after her husband Mohan’s passing. Common plays Sendhil Ramamurthy’s fellow doctor. Common fills in for Sendhil Ramamurthy’s void. Poorna Jagannathan plays Nalini with ease. She effortlessly balances the more intense scenes with the more relaxed mother-daughter moments. Richa Moorjani’s awkward accent and series highlight are still a problem.
Never Have I Ever is a bizarre beast. This suggests that Indians eat Naan with every meal. We don’t. It is clear that this is the result of someone who has a generational separation from their culture. Devi and Kaling are both hounded by this conflict. She is a typical American high-school student. She doesn’t like Nalini’s pani puri and prefers pizza to her friends when they come over. Nalini, a teenager, goes to India for a vacation and invites her whole year to a party at her home.
While Aziz Ansari’s attempts at un-cancelling himself are filmed with deliberate pace, Never Have I Ever offers a more balanced representation of South Asian culture on Netflix. Although its audience is younger, it shows maturity in its handling of the themes.