'Never Have I Ever' becomes sharper in the 3rd season of Indian-American representation

| Updated: August 23, 2022 15:38:59

'Never Have I Ever' becomes sharper in the 3rd season of Indian-American representation

Never Have I Ever started as an original teen comedy-drama by Netflix in August 2020. Since then, it has gained popularity as the best on-screen representation of an Indian-American lead character exploring her life as a teenager. It drew a sizable audience from the South Asian region and appeared appealing to international viewers.

After two successful seasons, this series was renewed for two more seasons in 2021. But as Netflix is infamous for disappointing the audience after a few successful seasons, it didn't disappoint this time. 

Instead, the third season overcame the expectations with flying colours, with the lead character Devi exploring the late stage of her teenage years.

The first two seasons were focused on Devi Vishwakumar overcoming her grief of losing her father, growing as a character, and improving her relationships with family and friends. However, she is seen obsessing over her childhood crush Paxton since the first episode. After a series of mistakes, heartbreaks, and realisations, she finally dates him in the second season finale. But is it the happy ending? The third season elaborates on it.

Devi is involved in her dream relationship, but the path is not so smooth. She wants to explore her love life as every teenager does but is scared and confused about traversing this path. 

Paxton finds it hard to understand her as a simple-minded, kind-hearted teenager. It puts Devi into a series of confrontations with him, which ultimately leads to heartbreak.

But Devi's romantic life isn't the main focus of this season. Her character development of growing up from a teenager to an adult is evident this time. 

She doesn't argue with her mother all the time, like in the past two seasons. Instead, they have a pretty understanding mother-daughter relationship. Devi doesn't have unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with her sadness, and they don't impact her friends and family anymore; instead, she finds healthy ways to process it. 

All these improvements make Devi a praiseworthy teenager who is learning through her mistakes and is ready to face the world. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has portrayed her since the first season, and she always outdoes her acting.

Paxton was a static character throughout the series, but this season lets the audience see his character development. He isn't the womanising macho teen anymore; he learns to rectify his mistakes, communicate meaningfully, and perhaps become a wise young man. 

Watching how he keeps healthy relationships with the people he hurt in the past was heartwarming.

It would be a mistake not to talk about Ben Gross. He remains in this series as Devi's frenemy, later her love interest, and again her frenemy. He seems too condescending in the first half of this season, but later on, he realises his mistakes and becomes an empathising friend.

Never Have I Ever is an excellent series portraying South Indian representation in the first world. Director Mindy Kaling created the character Devi based on her teenage years, and she did the job gracefully. 

With the fourth season announced to be released in 2023, the audience has yet to see the senior year adventures of Devi.

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