The coming-of-age series, based on Mindy Kaling’s childhood, has spent two rich seasons exploring the trials and tribulations of adolescence – from dealing with the complicated emotions of a crush to coping with the grief of the death of a loved one People. Season 3 returns to Netflix and promises to expand on those teenage emotions as Devi embarks on her first relationship.
opening shot: Devi and Paxton go to school holding hands and eventually become boyfriend and girlfriend, much to the confusion of everyone else at school. A signature McEnroe voiceover accompanies her performance.
The essentials: in the I have never Season 3, Devi has finally broken through to the big leagues and is officially dating the man of her dreams, Paxton Hall-Yoshida. But not everything goes according to plan – Devi can’t get out of her own head and enjoy the moment, wondering if Paxton really likes her or not. Elsewhere, her friends are all in different relationships (including Ben, who may or may not still have a crush on her despite dating Aneesa), her cousin Kamala comes to the fact that she may never want to get married, and her mom Nalini finally expanding her circle and making new friends.
What shows will it remind you of? The series has carved its own niche in the teen comedy landscape, but it’s finding new ways to find itself back in love triangle territory — not unlike this summer’s The summer I got pretty (although the tone of the shows is noticeably different).
Our opinion: I have never is at her best when she leans on Devi’s (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) tough exterior, whether it’s clashing with her mother or being selfish towards her friends. Sure, it doesn’t make her the most likable character, but it definitely makes her a realistic one. Season 3 continues this thread and presents Devi with one of her toughest challenges yet: self-love. Devi’s insecurities come to the fore, providing a rich canvas for her growth.
The ensemble cast continues to shine, with Poorna Jagannathan continuing to bring the perfect amount of warmth and rigor to the widowed Nalini. Season 3 Sarayu invites Blue in as a potential new girlfriend for Nalini, who forces her to relax – something completely opposite to her natural behavior. Kamala (Richa Moorjani) also has an important story to tell after her broken engagement as she comes to terms with the reality that she may not want to get married. For a culture so focused on marriage (especially for women), it’s great to see alternative lifestyles and options for women on screen. Season three also brings back Aneesa (Megan Suri), who is now dating Ben (Jaren Lewison), but both prove to be a wandering eye and some internal realizations to process.
Similar to previous seasons, one of I have neverThe greatest strength of is that it doesn’t rely on stereotypical characterizations and allows for nuanced and meaningful storytelling. As the series rushes toward the finish line (season four will be its final season), it only builds on the strength of previous seasons and continues to remain one of the heartiest, funniest, and most meaningful shows about growing up.
gender and skin: Sex is a big topic in season 3 as Devi decides if she is ready to take the next step in their relationship or not. But as far as there’s actually anything explicit, the show doesn’t go there.
farewell shot: At the end of the first episode, Devi receives an anonymous DM, forcing her to wonder if she can trust Paxton.
sleeping star: Devi’s grandmother (Ranjita Chakravarty) remains with the Vishwakumars and is a riot – especially when she decides to ice Kamala at the end of season two for breaking off their engagement.
Most pilot line: Nothing too piloty given that this is the Season 3 premiere, but the episode was written by Mindy Kaling and not only showcases her distinct humor with plenty of pop culture references, but also creates moments of genuine connection and heart between the main characters.
Our appeal: Stream it. The show continues to be a realistic and empathetic portrayal of what it is like to be a teenager.
Radhika Menon (@menonrad) is a television-obsessed writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared on Vulture, Teen Vogue, Paste Magazine, and others. She can always think about Friday Night Lights, the University of Michigan, and the perfect slice of pizza. You can call them Rad.