This past weekend my wife and I decided to binge the new Mindy Kaling series ‘Never Have I Ever’. As South Asian parents raising a young daughter in United States today, my paternal instinct and curiosity wanted to get a sense of what kind of hell lies ahead for me.
‘Never Have I Ever’ tells the story of a young Indian girl, Devi, raised in America and is dealing with the recent death of her father as she navigates the more traditional teenage perils of high school like finding a boyfriend and how to become more popular.
‘Never Have I Ever’ has the most diverse cast with nearly single character comes from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Devi is South Asian Indian, and her two best friends are Asian and African American. Devi’s high school jock crush is with half-Japanese Paxton Hall-Yoshida.
More importantly, the show isn’t good because it’s so diverse its because it’s a well-written and well-acted series that realistically shows us what’s its really like for a young, Americanized Indian girl who is trying to bridge her two cultures (American vs. Indian). This is something that has not been seen in other comedy series.
Lead actress, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, is a total newcomer to the industry. This is her first listed acting credit where she went from being a complete unknown to leading the number one series on Netflix. That’s huge.
The series is well written as each thirty-minute episode breezes through and effortlessly blends humor with some deeply moving emotional moments, and features love stories and triangles that are genuinely interesting, and not your usual teen fare. There’s really nothing cheesy here, which is something you might not be able to claim about other productions.
This is probably Kaling’s best TV series to date and not a surprise to me that ‘Never Have I Ever’ has maintained it’s 1st place standing for a show or movie on the Netflix’s 10 list. The show has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, only off from a 100% by a single review. That puts it in around the top 25-30 Netflix original series of all time, and if it can crawl 1% higher, in the top 20. There are few comedies this high up other than some ultra-new-era classics like Big Mouth or Master of None, so it’s in storied company.
Check it out.