Never Have I Ever
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An award-winning comedy-drama about a first-generation American high schooler, Devi, who must navigate teen social hierarchies, her first boyfriend, friend breakups, and her well-meaning but intense mom, all while contending with her grief from her father’s passing.
Based on the childhood of co-creator Mindy Kaling (Sex Lives of College Girls, The Office), the show is narrated by tennis star John McEnroe and stars Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi and Poorna Jagannathan as her mom, Nalini.
Never Have I Ever is more than just a fresh comedy. Throughout its three seasons to date, we get an intimate snapshot of the ways grief rattles family dynamics and affects each person in different ways.
As viewers, we see how healing from grief is not linear as we follow Devi and her family through many ill decisions, misunderstandings, and crazy hijinks. Throughout all three seasons, she navigates the shark-infested waters of high school, the comfort and conflicts of adolescent friendships, her first crush, and romance. We also catch a glimpse of the myriad ways Devi deals with grief. From her therapy appointments and support from friends to distracting herself with the normal antics of adolescence, her mourning takes many twists and turns.
It’s a show that both teens and parents praise, sparking conversations about how grief affects each family member differently, as well as questioning gender norms and stereotypes.
A charming coming-of-age dramedy, Never Have I Ever depicts how the death of a loved one can impact teens’ mental health as well as a parent’s well-being. Families enduring similar struggles will find relatability and reassurance to know they’re not alone.
With a rating of 14+, this series is best for adolescents and their families, or anyone interested in delving into grief. Due to mature themes around sexual intimacy and alcohol use, the show isn’t suited for younger kids.
The show discusses the death of Devi’s dad and grief throughout, which could be triggering. But with the nuanced writing, more comedic storylines, and heart-warming themes of romance and love, the show strikes a nice balance.
*This recommendation was written by both Dr. Juli Fraga, a San Francisco-based psychologist, and her daughter, Lucy Fraga, an 8th grader.