Romance comedies always end the same way. The lead character gets a love interest. It may not have been their first choice when the story started but in the end, they are not alone, romantically. The same applies to Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. The only problem with this is that this show is so much more than just a rom-com.
The problem with this is that Never Have I Ever should not have succumbed toits cliché ending. It already side-stepped the clichés of the prom proposal, the final school dance. But when it came to the grand romantic gesture as we see with Ben crashing Devi’s grandmother’s wedding, it fully embraces it, and all that follows it. Devi, the lead character had spent 4 years on an emotionally compelling journey to become a much better person. She did not need a boy as the final sign on how much she had grown.
Did Devi Really Need to End up with Ben?
The writers decide to end Devi’s story by giving her everything she had wanted since she was a junior – Princeton University and a boyfriend. She ends up at Princeton University which is a few miles away from Columbia University where her boyfriend Ben Gross attends. Devi already had all the wins she needed to become a well-adjusted member of society but inserting a boyfriend almost ruins the poignancy of Devi’s work.
When Paxton Hall-Yoshida breaks up with Devi in season 3 he tells her she learns to love herself. Devi does learn to love herself and even when she almost deals with triggers, she is able to come to terms with the events in a less self-deprecating way. In previous seasons she would have struggled with this. The writers, in choosing to let Devi end up in a relationship, do not give her time to explore what fully loving herself looks like in every phase of her life. They are implying that while self-love and the love of friends or family can be plenty, romantic love is still the most important love anyone can experience.
Never Have I Ever Is a Coming-of-Age Story About Conquering Trauma
Never Have I Ever is more than just a high school drama series; it’s a story about overcoming trauma. The protagonist, Devi Vishwakumar, is dealing with the sudden death of her father, which leads her to struggle with her mental health, her cultural identity, and her relationship with her mother and friends. Each episode of the series shows Devi making attempts to move forward and resolve her grief in different ways, sometimes in positive ways and sometimes in not-so-positive ways. Devi’s story mirrors the journey of many teenagers who are dealing with trauma in varied ways and coping mechanisms.
Throughout the series, we see Devi trying to understand and come to terms with her emotions, her ties with her family, and her connection to her Indian heritage. Devi’s story speaks to the immigrant experience, generational differences between parents and their children, and the portrayal of mental health in immigrant families. The show makes a sincere effort to address these themes in oftentimes hilarious and witty ways. Providing a relatable and inspiring representation of a young woman’s journey to self-discovery as she comes to terms with a life-changing event. The decision to end the story finding romance robs Devi of the opportunity to learn how to be her own person and hold on to that for a while before delving into a relationship.