‘Never Have I Ever’ 1×01: “Pilot”

When you tell me that Mindy Kaling has created something, I admit, I will automatically watch it. I think that the woman is a genius and what she comes up with is always new, innovative, and captivating.

And always fun.

Never Have I Ever is a new coming-of-age comedy about the complicated life of a modern-day first-generation Indian American teenage girl. The series stars newcomer,  Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, an overachieving high school sophomore who has a short fuse that gets her into difficult situations.

While, sure, since I have seen the entire season, I could write a season review, but this show gives me so many thoughts that I am going to sit here a review each episode.

Let’s break it all down.

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FRESHMAN YEAR

If you tell me that your freshman year was a good one, then you were not someone that I knew in high school. You were one of the people that my friends thought was a fluke of nature and hated.

You were also probably someone that made my life miserable.

But when watching this – I will know that my freshman year was nothing to really complain about – because Devi’s sucked.

We’re not starting with her freshman year. Devi is praying to the God for a better year. She has three things that she’s asking them for. She wants to be invited to a high school party where alcohol and drugs are available. It’s not that she would do either one – it’s that she wants the opportunity to turn them down.

She would like her arm hair to thin out – it’s too much and too dark for her.

And lastly she would like a stone cold hottie for a boyfriend. Not a nerd. She wants someone who wants to be with her.

And you can’t hate on Devi for any of these, because we’ve all been there. Like no joke. And don’t let someone tell you just shave your arm hair – cause that shit grows back thicker.

But Devi just doesn’t want a repeat of freshman year. Because the worst things have happened to her. In the middle of a recital, her father had a heart attack and died. Then a week later while jumping into a pool at school, her legs stopped working. There was no medical reason why it was happening, but she was wheelchair bound for 3 months.

Until one day when at the store with her Mom, and she sets eyes on her crush, Preston. She stands up and doesn’t notice, but her Mom quickly notices she’s back to being able to stand.

THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT

The thing is – when you are a freshman, life sucks. Everything that you do is going to shape your high school years. Devi knows that she is going to have to overcome what freshman year defined her as.

And so she has a plan. The plan is that her and her best friends – Fabiola and Eleanor will become popular. She tells her friends that they have to get boyfriends and she has figured out who is best for them.

For herself, she’s decided on Jonah. Jonah is gay, but hasn’t come out and Devi says that she will gladly be his beard. See, Jonah is popular and thats her way in.

Her and her friends take a seat next to the boys that they are supposed to make their boyfriend, and Devi takes her seat right next to Jonah. Although Jonah seems like he can’t be bothered with her. And that’s not a great thing, because her arch nemesis Ben, is right there and giving him any ammunition is not something that she wants to do.

These two have been in competition since they were kids. Always trying to out do each other and it has been a competition that has sometimes gotten out of hand.

Devi has a temper. A big ass temper that honestly, I am in awe of. I’ve been there girl – anger control isn’t easy. And while Devi is concentrating on Ben and a verbal exchange, class starts.

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I love a teacher that tries to be “hip” but really just doesn’t know that’s not what kids need. They need someone that they can relate to. Sure. But more than that – they need someone who doesn’t care about being their friend, but instead cares about teaching them.

And then her whole world changes. Preston – the hot guy with the hot body that she wants to notice her walks in the classroom. He failed the class last year and has to retake it.

Suddenly this is looking up.

I will say this for Devi – she’s bossy AF, but also a little bit fearless. After class the teacher calls them back in – Ben and Devi – and asks if they can keep their competivness dialed down a little bit.

And as they agree – it takes less than 24 hours for us all to see that it may not be as easy as that. The two get in competition in class and are sent to the principal’s office.

I can’t stop laughing at the principal – cause she’s not having any of their shit. She puts them quickly and tells them that they both have detention after school.

UNREASONABLE BREAKDOWN

Devi and her friends have been there through thick and thin for each other. Fabiola and Eleanor are putting up with her shit, because they don’t want her to have a nervous breakdown.

That’s good friends – protecting those around them.

They know that Devi has gone through a lot so they are indulging her quest for popularity, while not correcting her for putting them down. I woulda slapped a bitch.

But that’s why they are better than me.

While doing her after school detention, Devi and Ben walk in a room and they catch Eleanor making out with Oliver. This is not the guy that Devi assigned her.

Turns out that Eleanor has been keeping this a secret. And it kills Devi inside when she finds out that this secret has been kept from her only – because Fabiola and Eleanor thought that she would have a nervous breakdown.

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Though Devi tries to say she’s fine – she’s not. And her freakout happens quickly. She goes home and throws her book through a window. She takes off running and ends up at her therapists office to discuss what has happened.

I love her therapist. I think that what is best about her therapist is that she’s blunt as fuck. Now, I have been through enough therapy that I know that’s not the way that it would happen. But she asks Devi if she thinks that she would be a good girlfriend to anyone at this point and points out to her that she should be focusing on other things.

A rational person who think that means getting your life together, but that’s not Devi. Devi says she knows what she has to do.

WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST ASK HIM?

If I knew what I had to do – it would be going home, making a to do list, and figuring out my goals.

For Devi it means running to school and talking to Preston.

This girl has balls of steel.

She introduces herself to Preston and he only recognizes who she is when she says that she was the paralyzed girl last year.

She tells him that she knows that they won’t be boyfriend and girlfriend, but she just asks if he’d wanna have sex with her.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. DEVI.

She turns to walk away and he says sure. Preston, I don’t like you. Like you’re thinking with your penis and I get that in high school we are all horny toads.

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But you’re fucking with someones emotions.

Devi’s excited by this and say she will circle back with him. She heads home and writes in her journal that she’s going to have sex with Preston.

We’re only in the pilot and I am kinda wondering what part of this is shock value and partially just how out of touch I am. I don’t know – I would hope that people would be more caring about peoples feelings.

OTHER THOUGHTS

  • Since her father died, Devi’s cousin Kamala has come to live with them. She’s absolutely stunning. When they are at dinner and Devi’s Mom tells Kamala that her parents have arranged a marriage for her – I felt bad for her. Kamala is obviously traumatized by it. But when Devi says she’s jealous of it – I was like ummm – you’re just looking to argue.
  • Devi’s Mama is the best. I fucking love her.
  • When Devi dreams about her Dad, I can’t even talk about it. I cried through it and wanted to hug her and let her know that it will be okay. But I am glad she had that conversation with him – because he gave her the strength to remind her of who she is.
  • Ben is gross and I wanna kick his ass.

Never Have I Ever is created by executive producer Mindy Kaling, with Lang Fisher serving as executive producer, showrunner and writer. The Universal Television project is also executive produced by 3 Arts Entertainment’s Howard Klein, David Miner, and Tristram Shapeero.

It is streaming on Netflix now.

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