DUB Review

DUB Review: Never Have I Ever Season 3

Never Have I Ever season 3 marks a departure from the ‘cringiness’ of its earlier seasons, and introduces a lot more emotional depth and character development.

Netflix’s ‘ Never Have I Ever ’, created by Mindy Kaling, has become a wildly popular show since its first season came out in 2020. I was one of the people who were eagerly looking forward to the show, so my disappointment was real when the first season did not match up to my expectations. I found the second season even worse. However, the third season of Never Have I Ever is a massive turnaround from what came before, and it has managed to silence the cynic in me who only watched it in the hopes of laughing at cringe content.

First things first: John McEnroe’s narration continues to be as delightful as it was in the last two seasons. The hilarious contradiction in an elderly tennis player narrating the story and thoughts of an Indian-American teenager in high school adds much to the overall comedic effect of the show.

The direction is good, as it has always been, but it is the writing that absolutely shines through in this season. There is so much character development throughout, and not just in Devi. Certain arcs of the storyline get deservedly beautiful endings, while newer, interesting arcs are introduced in the last few episodes of the season. Kamala’s character gets a more prominent role as compared to the earlier seasons, which was lovely to watch. Paxton’s character has also been rounded off beautifully (creators have confirmed that season 3 marked the end of his time on the show). However, it was the deeper exploration of Nalini’s grief about Mohan’s death which stole the show for me, along with the development of the mother-daughter relationship between Devi and Nalini. Both Maithreyi Ramakrishnan and Poorna Jagannathan turn in stunning performances which anchor the entire season.

This season also adds an interesting dynamic to its exploration of an NRI’s relationship with their culture through Manish’s character. Stereotypically desi elements such as the efforts to marry Kamala off and Nirmala’s feuds with other grandmothers continue to exist, however they do not feel as superficial as they have done on occasion in earlier seasons.

All this is not to say that it was a perfect season. There are quite a few elements of the story which I did not like and thought were unnecessary. I also felt that Jaren Lewison’s acting as Ben and Anirudh Pisharoddy’s acting as Nirdesh seemed stilted and visibly forced in certain scenes. Overall, though, there are far more positives than negatives. It was exciting to see the vast improvement from previous seasons, and I am looking forward to seeing how the next (and final) season will turn out.

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Urmi Maitra

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Urmi loves history and loves books. She is always on the lookout for learning something new, and will happily discuss anything ranging from political theory to jazz. Hopes to be a dog mom someday.