Never Have I Ever returns July 15 on Netflix.
By Ariba Bhuvad
Never Have I Ever is back with its second season, and remains almost as funny as its first. From the hilariously genius mind of Mindy Kaling, season two takes us right back into the complicated life of Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a first-generation Indian-American teenager. As a first-generation Pakistani-American, this series hits close to home in so many ways, and is a beautiful homage to all aspects of life growing up in two cultures.
There’s no one better to take on this task than Kaling herself who was born in Massachusetts and understands too well the dilemmas one faces with trying to cross cultures and find a place to “belong”. In the second season of Never Have I Ever, the complications in Devi’s life continue as she navigates new relationships, hiding those relationships, and potentially face the possibility of moving to India.
As someone who can relate, this series continues to make itself relevant in an ever changing world of diversity. Each culture has its own identity, and living through it, especially as a first-generation member, comes with its roadblocks and challenges. Never Have I Ever continues to shed light on those differences, but it eloquently discusses how we’re more of the same than not.
In the five episodes given to critics to review, we get a glimpse of the direction Devi’s life is headed in, and how it’s leading her down a path of maturity. Things aren’t simple in high school, and when you mix in cultural differences, it’s hard to keep a solid head on your shoulders. But I admire that the series is pushing Devi towards embracing who she is, and teaching her to balance her two lives as one.
Given that we only got five episodes, there is certainly something missing from the episodes that doesn’t quite feel right. I think it has more to do with the fact that we don’t know the complete story yet, and less to do with how the season was made. Nonetheless, there are more slower moments this time around, and sometimes the humor falls short of its usual hilarity.
I’m going to reserve a bit of the judgment since we haven’t seen the entire season yet, and there is hope yet for things to turn around. Given how the first season went, I fully expect for things to stay to the tune of how funny things were.
I am happy to report, however, that the cast remains entertaining as ever with Ramakrishnan at the forefront of it all. She represents my childhood so perfectly, and I am in awe of her comedic talent. In the first five episodes, she definitely shines as the series’ central star, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out over the rest of the season!
I give Never Have I Ever season 2 a B-.