Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: NEVER HAVE I EVER (Season 1, Netflix)

It’s really not that much of a revelation that I don’t like Mindy Kaling very much…as an actress. She’s an incredible fucking writer. She’s written some of the best episodes of The Office, The Mindy Kaling Project, and I really liked the Amazon Original Movie Late Night. She has an incredible ear for dialogue, character, plot, and story. So when I heard she co-created, co-wrote, sometimes even solo wrote many of the ten episodes of the new series NEVER HAVE I EVER, and especially when I found out that she doesn’t even make an appearance in it, I knew I wanted to watch it. No offense to Mindy Kaling as an actress, she has the personality of one, I just think she plays the same person in whatever she does, basically…she just plays herself, and she’s loud, too crude sometimes, and crass, and I just don’t care for it. Anything written by her though, I can’t wait to read or watch. Never Have I Ever is no exception. I fucking loved every minute of this short comedy series and my only problem is that there weren’t more episodes to watch and we’ll probably have to wait a long time for season 2 because of butthold COVID-19. In all the repeated bullshit of television, this really quick and wonderful binge was definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s funny, well acted, the dialogue is snappy and quirky, the characters are all nicely layered, even the supporting ones. It’s just a wonderful show and you should stop reading my review, not because of spoilers, I promise not to give any, but you just need to watch it for yourself. It’s that good.

Per Netflix and IMDB.com the series is about “the complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American teenage girl, inspired (not directly based) by Kaling’s own childhood.” That teenage girl is played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and I was really surprised to look her career up, and this is her very first acting credit…ever. She does a phenomenal job for this being her first gig. Phenomenal. Other than two very recognizable narrators (one is just for a special episode dedicated its focus on a different character) who I will not spoil for the fun of it all, the cast is mostly filled with unknowns. And not only is all of their acting great, but all of their characters big and small have fantastic development and arcs and by the end of the ten episode first season one, they feel like a well established television family that I got to know very well and want to spend more time with. This series could’ve played on a regular network like ABC, NBC, FOX, etc. but due to the nature of some of the content (Devi, the main character, wants to lose her virginity to a hot guy and constantly talks about sex) and some well timed choice, yet not overused language, I’m very happy that it isn’t censored and not on Netflix. Makes the entire narrative and situations more relatable. And even though it is a coming of age sitcom, it feels more honest and realistic than most, and that is due to the excellent writing of creators Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher, & their team. I hope they all stay on for a second season (which is 100% at this point as it’s been in the top ten of Netflix for days now, this series was released last Monday).

Even though I predicted a lot of the things that were going to happen, the show brought them on in a way that kept me interested and wondering how a season two will play out. This season has a well established arc, and you think you know what it is going into the season, but doesn’t really show its true cards near the end. It’s a very strong message about family, and it completely sticks the landing. I’m just also amazed by how much the series subverts your expectations on some of the supporting characters. One character named Ben goes from a completely despicable asshole and morphs into one of the best characters. Another character, Kamala, the cousin of Devi, seems like she’s going to be a stereotypical good looking Indian woman that is too much into her looks, boys, fashion, but again, the show goes in the opposite direction and makes her a very smart and compelling character, another one of the best of the supporting ones. Every character is great here, even the jock the Devi ultimately wants to hook up with. By the time you are done with all ten episodes, you’ll feel like you are at home with the world within the show. It just sucks it’s only ten episodes right now and we might have to wait awhile for Season 2, but I have a feeling it will be worth the wait. The good thing about these 10 episodes is that they are definitely re watchable, over and over until we get a new batch of episodes. When a comedy get re-watchable episodes for me right off the bat, sort of like Seinfeld, Friends, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, etc….that is really saying something. Highly recommend. Never have I ever fallen in love this fast with a comedy series right off the bat. Check it out immediately.

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