Never Have I Ever is a coming-of-age comedy-drama TV series created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. The series stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Darren Barnet, Ramona Young, and Lee Rodriguez, alongside other cast members. Never Have I Ever season 2 has 10 episodes.
– Never Have I Ever season 2 review does not contain spoilers –
The official Netflix synopsis for Never Have I Ever reads:
After a traumatic year, an Indian-American teen just wants to spruce up her social status – but friends, family and feelings won’t make it easy on her.
Ah, Never Have I Ever. Season 1 gave me a lot of feelings but I just could never get over how great the series portrayed the South Asian community without falling on tropes and stereotypes. Sure, there were discussions about casual violence and arranged marriages, but that’s the truth, like it or not. Either way, it changed the way Hollywood viewed brown people and paved the way for a more inclusive and truthful depiction of the life of an Indian in America.
That being said, Never Have I Ever season 2 comes with a lot of responsibilities on its shoulders. Now, not only does it have to keep the bar high, it has to soar over it. Are Kaling and Fisher able to achieve the seemingly impossible and give us a relatable show that is inclusive AND funny? Well, well…
We pick up right where we left off – with Devi making out with Ben. And then she gets asked out by Paxton. Well, we saw this part in the Never Have I Ever season 2 trailer. And we also saw another brown student joining Sherman Oaks. However, what we didn’t see are the friendships, the teen dramas and Devi’s growing up and accepting her faults and taking care of her responsibilities.
Devi isn’t better in Never Have I Ever season 2. Oh, no-no. Devi is still brash, arrogant, selfish and makes the worst possible decisions. But it’s still wonderful to watch her go through this part of her life. She grows, matures and evolves. Of course, there are moments where she slips and falls, but we’ve all been there at 16, right? Devi’s charm works because she’s relatable. There isn’t a moment of realization where she suddenly becomes perfect. Even after 10 episodes, she’s still selfish and stupid, but as her therapist says, she’s human. And that’s ok.
Apart from Devi, the supporting characters too are a great watch. Nirmala, Devi’s paternal grandmother, Rebecca, Paxton’s sister, as well as his grandfather are a great watch as well. They don’t stay long but leave the most lasting impressions.
And what can I say about Nalini and Kamala that I haven’t said in the last season? Well, in Never Have I Ever season 2, we don’t just see Devi struggling with her father’s death as we usually see in teenage-focused shows. We see a bereaved wife’s side too. We focus on Devi so often that we forget that Nalini, too, has lost someone. And while Devi got the chance to be vulnerable and heartbroken, Nalini didn’t. She had to suck it up and be strong for her daughter. We see a side to Nalini in this season that we didn’t see in the last and it’s so wonderful.
Their bond, too, goes through several ups and downs throughout Never Have I Ever season 2. They understand each other better and realise where each is coming from. On the other hand, Kamala’s arc focuses on her understanding of what is right and wrong and that it’s ok to stand up and fight for what’s right. Kamala doesn’t have to take what the world is throwing at her, as women are oftentimes taught in Indian households and so she does just that – she gets up and fights.
The boys, namely Paxton and Ben, provide a lot of conflict in Devi’s life. I think Ben’s character takes a backseat in this season to push Paxton up. Heck, he got Gigi Hadid to do the voiceover in the episode focusing on him. Paxton really shines this season and we get to know his side of the story as well – that not all jocks are dumb and some might just want to do something with their lives and are ready to fight for it.
I am a little disappointed with the new joiner Aneesa. You’d think she’d make more of an impact in Never Have I Ever season 2, but really, her character just helped Devi realise a thing or two and then she just faded back into the back like discarded underwear.
Anyway, as always, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is phenomenal in Never Have I Ever season 2. She’s just so good at adapting Devi’s various moods, and let me tell you, it’s no easy feat. That character has some extreme mood swings and Ramakrishnan catches up to her every step of the way. You won’t be able to look away for even a minute. Poorna Jagannathan, too, is phenomenal as Nalini. You truly feel for her, even though she’s the annoying Indian mom (totally legit depiction).
Darren Barnet is great as Paxton as well. It’s a little difficult when the 30-year-old plays the role of a school student and they show his ripped body in great detail – actually, it’s very confusing. Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, Ramona Young and Lee Rodriguez are all great as well. John McEnroe’s voiceover is entertaining as ever in Never Have I Ever season 2.
Summing up: Never Have I Ever season 2
Never Have I Ever season 2 is as quirky, fun and witty as its predecessor. There is a lot of heart, emotions, tears and learning moments and you take the path down every road holding at least one character’s hand. Everyone is battling their own demons and problems but are so redeemable that it’s a treat to watch. You won’t be able to stop binging this one.
Never Have I Ever season 2 is streaming on Netflix.