Format: Web Series
Movie Rated: 16+
Genre: Comedy, Drama
What is the story about?
Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is a bright Indian American student, who loves her life in California. After a series of unfortunate events, such as, the death of her father, her immobility, all she wants is a perfect high school life..the one which is more fashionable in the US. She wants to be invited to parties where teenagers snort cocaine only to get one opportunity to say, “Cocaine, no thanks!”. Much like any other teenagers she hates her life, hates her original culture, but being Indian, she does not necessarily let it out in the white world. Only in front of her mother and cousin Kamala.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, as Devi breaks the stereotype of the Indian girl. She is still a topper in her class but she is also a young girl who wants to go to parties where teenagers do drugs, just to get the opportunity to say no to cocaine. Darren Barnet as Paxton Hall Yoshida plays the young swimmer. Unlike other guys in the teenage films, she does not disrespect a woman to look cool in front of his boy gang.
Ramona Young as Eleanor plays an aspiring actress who loses focus when her mother abandons her. She deals with a different sort of emotional outrage. Richa Moorjani as Kamala shatters the idea about Indian women. She more of a domestic example that Priyanka Chopra has set for her US fans.
Netflix has done a fine attempt in breaking the stereotype. With various international public figures such as Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Hasan Minaj Constance Wu, making their mark in the US, the binge-watching audience has able to see Asians as something apart from job-stealers from the American market.
Watching an Indian girl’s story being narrated by John McEnroe in an American television series might act as a huge refreshment. This wasn’t the first time. Earlier, with films such as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, PS: To All The Boys I Still Love You, three Korean Americans too found a ground to break the stereotype.
We quickly conclude a teenager to be selfish creatures, but Never Have I Ever chose to remain objective about the perspective of a mother, daughter, cousin, and friends. While Devi appeared to be a self-centred girl on the outside, we understand that she has a hidden emotion for her dead father, and she used Paxton as her distraction from her otherwise messed up emotional life.
When you were in High School did you ever consciously see that phase to be a moment when you made memories with friends and became cool? That’s why when teenager Devi consciously reminds her friends that they are not cool, it feels absurd to watch a character who is so wise yet such an imbecile.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes. Being an Asian girl isn’t all about celebrating Hindu festivals or living with their parents until they get married. Indian teenagers are as sexually active as American teenagers, but unlike the latter, some of them are shyer about it, only to make sure that their parents don’t come to know that they are having sex, or kissing a white person.
Even the concept of arrange marriage gets a better perspective. What is an arranged marriage? It is the act where your parents find a suitable spouse for you. When you can trust your parents to find a suitable partner for you in blind dates, why can’t we trust our parents to find a suitable spouse for ourselves and have a consensual marriage?
Do I recommend it?
Yes. It shows an Indian family that is modern but has not forgotten its roots in the right sense. There is a mother who is strict and wants to take her daughter back to India, but she is also a woman who is ready to listen to her daughter’s opinion. Of course, she glares at her when she learns about her daughter going to a party where people drink beer, but which mother would actually be comfortable to know that their teenage daughter is having sex with a classmate?