Over the past few years, Netflix has released a plethora of original series. In April, they premiered a brand-new series, Never Have I Ever, created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. The series was also recently renewed for a second season.
The show follows Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a first-generation Indian American high schooler, as she reacclimates herself to school after the unexpected death of her father. Along with Ramakrishnan, the show stars Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Poorna Jagannathan, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Richa Moorjani, Darren Barnet, Jaren Lewison, and John McEnroe.
While the series is chock full of charm, emotion, and laugh out loud moments, we picked a few of our favorites to highlight from season one.
Fabiola Comes Out
One of my favorite arcs in the series is Fabiola’s, as she struggles with and begins to accept her sexuality. There are multiple episodes where Fabiola comes out to someone, and the first time she acknowledges it is to her robot Gears Brosnan. The first time she comes out to a human, though, is the one I want to highlight. While Eleanor and Fabiola are hanging out, Fabiola decides to tell Eleanor, who couldn’t be more excited for her friend. A weight is finally lifted off Fabiola’s shoulders, and she tells Eleanor, “I feel like I’ve just solved an escape room I’ve been trapped in my entire life,” noting how important the moment is. Read more about Fabiola’s journey in our Pride spotlight for her.
One of Eleanor’s greatest qualities is her enthusiasm for theater. She’s not one to push down her flair for the dramatic, leading to a great opportunity. Eleanor’s just learned her mother is back in town, causing her to become emotional during her audition – which is exactly what helps her in the end. Though she was reading for a secondary role, her teacher is moved by the raw emotion Eleanor brings and decides that she should play the lead role instead. Eleanor beams with pride, as does Fabiola, who’s watching the auditions.
Devi Finally Plays the Harp Again
This was one of the most touching scenes in the show thus far. The last time Devi played the harp was at her school’s orchestra concert, which was the same night her father unexpectedly died in the middle of the performance. After witnessing his death, an understandably traumatized Devi could only flashback to that moment when she tried to play. However, during lunch with her uncle and Kamala’s potential future husband Prashant, Steve shows up, and Kamala and Nalini need to sneak him out. As a distraction, Devi decides to play the harp. She struggles at first, but soon she’s playing the way she used to, flashing back to happier memories.
Mohan and Nalini Buy Their House
Though Devi’s father has died, he still plays a major role in the series via several flashbacks. In a particularly heartwarming one, Mohan and Nalini are looking for a house. They soon end up at the house they would eventually buy. Nalini is reluctant, but Mohan talks her into it, helping her visualize how their life would look if they buy it. When she finally agrees, Arlene (their realtor) gets ready to head off to start the paperwork. Mohan hears “Beautiful Day” by U2 playing on the radio, and in his excitement, he tells Arlene to turn up the volume and dances with Nalini.
Devi, Nalini, and Kamala Spread Mohan’s Ashes
In one of the final scenes of the season (and undoubtedly the most emotional one of all), Nalini, Kamala, and Devi finally put Mohan to rest on his birthday. Earlier in the episode, Devi and Nalini were fighting, and it was uncertain whether Devi would make it to the beach where Nalini and Kamala go to spread Mohan’s ashes. Devi makes it just in time, with the help of John McEnroe (who was only a voiceover up until this episode). She and Nalini have an emotional reunion. Soon after, Nalini is ready to spread the ashes, and after reciting a small prayer, she prompts Kamala to play a song. And that song? “Beautiful Day” by U2. (Be right back, just need to have another cry over this.)
Ben Has Dinner with the Vishwakumars
In a Ben centric episode, we learn that behind the confident, rich kid façade, Ben Gross is a lonely teen who struggles with his limited friend pool and the constant absence of his parents. When Ben goes to the dermatologist (who happens to be Nalini) to take care of a nasty pimple, he begins to cry, something that comes about when Nalini mentions eating with her family and how his parents must be proud of him. This prompts her to invite Ben to dinner (though we don’t see her ask). After an awkward greeting, Ben eventually falls into the rhythm of the Vishwakumars, and they all enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the evening.
Devi Tells Ron What’s What
At the beginning of the season, we learn about Devi’s ambition to get into an Ivy League college. Part of her plan includes connecting with Ron Hansen-Bhattacharya, a career counselor whose students ALWAYS end up in the Ivys. Devi finds him during Ganesh Puja, which is being hosted at her school. When she makes a case for herself about why Ron should take her on, he tells her she should use the story about her father’s death. Otherwise, she won’t stand out. This understandably upsets Devi, and she defends herself and her hard work, telling him she’s not just another Indian kid. She tells him, “I don’t need some washed-up white dude who leases a Tesla telling me what makes me special.” Yes, tell him, Devi!
Paxton Stays at the Hospital with Devi
Devi decides to go to a party hosted by one of her classmates, as a way to continue trying to get close to Paxton Hall-Yoshida. While she’s there, she notices Paxton getting cozy with someone else and decides to divert her energy towards drinking. Shortly after, she stumbles outside where she’s met with a coyote she thinks is really her father. It’s not, and when Devi reaches out to talk to it, she’s attacked, while everyone at the party is watching. Paxton takes her to the hospital, but instead of dropping her off and leaving, he stays with her. He tells her everyone thinks she’s dead (a bit dramatic), and the two take a selfie together to prove she isn’t, which Paxton shares on social media, much to the surprise and delight of Devi. He only leaves when Nalini arrives at the hospital.
Mohan Comforts Devi
After Ben throws a rude comment at Devi during school, she returns home, shaken by what he said. When she arrives, she finds her father (yes, the one who died) sitting on the couch watching an old John McEnroe tennis match. She tells him about what happened, feeling down about not being beautiful like Kamala. Mohan tells her she is, and she should fight back (“with your spirit, little one”) and not let anyone get her down. Of course, Mohan isn’t really there (and Devi abruptly wakes up after the scene), but he’s still able to be a source of comfort and love for Devi.
Never Have I Ever season one is now streaming on Netflix.