Netflix’s new coming-of-age show Never Have I Ever ticks all the boxes for a series of its genre. It’s funny, sweet and charming, with fifteen-year-old protagonist Devi coming across as lovable and, at times, frustrating. We empathise with her and her problems, mostly grieving for her father, struggling with bullies at school, pressure from her family, and making big mistakes, all with typical teenage drama in the mix – but then again, who didn’t have some petty dramas when they were fifteen?
Never Have I Ever feels grounded and natural. There’s nothing massively unrealistic about it, which makes it appealing to a lot of teens. The conflicts are on a relatable scale. Everyone has memories from their teenage years of falling out with their friends, feeling like they don’t fit in and being put under pressure by family and school. However, with Devi’s family being Indian-American, we also see her battle with concerns that are more specific to her culture. For instance, her cousin’s reluctance to go through with her arranged marriage may not be a relatable scenario for many Western viewers but it is interesting to have an insight into some of the feelings and experiences associated with situations like this.
A particularly unique and enjoyable element of the show is the narration by tennis legend John McEnroe. Although this is seemingly random and odd, it adds humour to the story and brings in another dimension. The narration is also tied in as it is revealed that McEnroe was Devi’s father’s hero when he was alive and he also appears at the end of the series at a beach in Malibu. The way McEnroe narrates the series is witty and endearing, and adds a sense of unusual fun.
Of course, another appealing part of Never Have I Ever is its romantic plot. Devi’s intense crush on high school jock Paxton is what takes up most of the series, but a twist at the end of the series leaves Devi in a surprising and unexpected love triangle. It’s hard to say whether or not there will be a second series of the show or not, but it would be interesting to see what decision Devi makes regarding her newfound romantic interests.
Never Have I Ever is a funny and engaging show that’s easy to watch (30-minute episodes make each part of the series feel more bite-sized and manageable than some other Netflix series). It’s diverse and interesting, witty and entertaining, and I am hoping for a second series to tie up some loose ends (like that all-important love triangle)! Although some episodes can feel a bit repetitive, with similar problems involving friendships and crushes coming up time and time again, I have no doubt that it will continue to appeal to teenagers and adults alike, especially if Netflix does bring out another series.