Show Review: Never Have I Ever (Season 3)
Review by: Nishka Mishra
Creator: Mindy Kaling
The third season of the Netflix original show “Never Have I Ever” was released this August and soared to the top of the charts. The show captivates teenage audiences with its relatability through the characters and romance that will leave you at the edge of your seat.
Never have I Ever debuted the first-time actress Mayritai Ramakrishnan as Devi, the show’s star. Devi is an Indian-American teenager who works through the challenges of her father’s death, balancing her culture and friendships, and a steamy love triangle. The plot of the first two seasons showcases Devi with her two best friends Fabiola and Elenor and their quest for high school popularity. While the new season furthers on these plots, the main distinction is that season 3 works to break out of classic Indian stereotypes that are found on the screen and develop a new depth to Devi’s character.
This season, Des was introduced as a new love interest, and instead of being the “classic nerd,” he became a real option for Devi and was treated on par with the rest of the male leads. His addition as an Indian lead created a new narrative that showed ethnic men as attractive and did an incredible job of not treating Des’s characterization as “below” what American media would consider conventional love.
Season 3 also featured Kamla, Devi’s cousin, pushing for her own independence from… Watching a South Asian character on screen who broke away from her arranged marriage was powerful, to say the least. Even in the face of rumors and exclusion from her family, Kamla disobeys the idea of an “obedient wife” that was pushed onto her and takes her future into her own hands. She made romance choices that were controversial in the eyes of her family and valued building a career instead of giving it up for marriage. Shedding light onto Kamla’s bold choices was influential in getting rid of some of the stigmas often placed on Indian women, especially surrounding marriage.
The new season highlights a new side of Devi that has never been seen before. This season she focused on making amends to her friends and furthering those relationships in her life instead of chasing after her next date. She was also able to work through her grief and other personal mental issues with more honesty.
Season 3’s message was impressive as it was a refreshing change of pace compared to previous seasons. Devi was no longer the boy-obsessed nerd she was introduced to us as, but instead a more mature person with new priorities. And it was unfortunate it took three seasons for the shift to take place, but Devi’s progress was a win in the books overall of Indian representation.