Never Have I Ever to bring in more tears and laughs in renewed second season

IMDb

IMDb

Amanda Salazar

Variety exclusively reported that Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, the coming-of-age comedy centered around an Indian American high school student, was renewed for a second season.

Filming for season two is set to begin on Nov. 10, and the season could be up on Netflix as soon as spring 2021, according to Variety’s Oct. 22 article.

The show, created by actress, writer and producer Mindy Kaling, tells the story of Sherman Oaks sophomore Devi Vishwakumar — played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan —who decides on the first day of the school year that she would make herself and her friends popular.

In order to achieve this popularity, Devi believes it is necessary for her and her friends to get boyfriends, and she specifically hopes to catch the attention of upperclassman Paxton Hall‑Yoshida portrayed by Darren Barnet.

Throughout her quest for popularity, she stirs up intense conflicts with the people closest to her through some poor choices and by acting irrationally.

Devi often ends up at odds with her two best friends, Fabiola Torres and Eleanor Wong — played by Lee Rodriguez and Ramona Young, respectively — her mother, Nalini Vishwakumar — played by Poorna Jagannathan — and her older cousin Kamala, played by Richa Moorjani. Devi also conflicts with her lifelong school nemesis Ben Gross, played by Jaren Lewison.

Never Have I Ever isn’t just the average teen comedy or drama series; a person could watch and re-watch it several times and still want to see it again.

Considering that none of the main characters are played by very famous actors — in fact, this show was Ramakrishnan’s first professional acting role ever — the acting is amazing.

There are no awkward pauses or weird lines, unlike most teen comedies, as well as in other Netflix originals. There isn’t a laugh track that is used to cover up how unfunny something is, another common cop out for shows made for younger viewers.

The characters seem totally natural, not like they are being played by actors. When they say a line — or in Devi’s case, scream a line — it feels like the character means what they say, and the dialogue fits with their characters and their situations. It’s essentially believable.

Whether this is the mark of good writers, a good director or good actors, it is much appreciated. Bad acting can ruin any good script even with good directing.

Beyond the skilled acting, Never Have I Ever is just a good show at its core.

The characters are written well, the plot is entertaining, there are fun surprises in the show and most importantly, there is more substance than just the average teen drama.

The show proves itself as being deeper than its plotline as Devi is grappling with the loss of her beloved father —Mohan Vishwakumar played by Sendhil Ramamurthy— just eight months before the start of the new school year. All of her actions and decisions come out of this place of grief, adding another deeper layer to the whole show.

Devi’s father’s death caused her so much psychological stress that Devi became partially paralyzed for three months, which she recovered from shortly before the first episode.

The entire show revolves around how his death is affecting Devi while she navigates high school, and this colors all of her actions and decisions. It never feels like the writers made certain scenes happen just for the sake of it; instead, every detail had meaning returning back to Devi’s internal pain.

Devi flies off the handle when there’s a coyote standing in her backyard near the family’s dead tomato garden. The mere presence of the innocent animal breaks her because that was her dad’s garden that she and him worked on together and she couldn’t bear the possibility of it being ruined.

All her actions can be tied back to her father. It adds a layer of depth to the show, and some scenes are even tearjerkers. However, it’s not a sad show by any means, as the majority of it is pretty comical.

Overall, Never Have I Ever tackles grief, friendship and growing up with a very light yet meaningful way.