Plus some bonus reflections on Primo and the short-order streaming comedy
I wish the show had gotten as much time as it needed instead of... well, being on Netflix, and the idea of a world where it had 22-episode seasons is intriguing, but I have to wonder if that would've affected its capacity to stay squarely focused on Devi's journey.
While having a lot of flaws, the way it centered on Devi and her relationship with Nalini and Kamala, especially on this last season, was amazing. That last scene with the therapist (Niecy Nash did so much with the little scenes she had) legit made me cry a little. The show knew that more than a love triangle, it needed to pay off the struggles and trauma of Devi.
This was such a good little series. While I enjoy The Sex Lives of College Girls, this show always had a personal and intimate quality that struck a chord with me. The way that it deals with trauma and the way that it doesn't let its lead character off the hook for what she does made it very watchable and made it always have something to say. Seeing how popular the season apparently was, I'm hoping Fisher and Kaling are allowed to revisit these characters at some point in the future. I just want to live in their world for a little bit longer.
Never Have I Ever S4 brought this wonderful series to a sweet and satisfying conclusion. After thinking the third season was maybe the strongest one yet, I'll admit this season felt like a step down for a number of reasons. Because its overriding concern is how to send off Devi, Fabiola, and Eleanor, not to mention Ben, Paxton, Nalini, Kamala, and Nirmala, winning characters like Aneesa and Manish get reduced to cameos, and some potentially good storylines like Fabiola's changing the culture of the robotics team and significant events like Eleanor's [SPOILER] occur offscreen as it rushes through an entire year in ten episodes. Also, it's fucking bizarre that this show cast Jeff Garlin after his shitty on-set behavior on multiple shows was made public, and he doesn't even give a good performance as a shady suitor for Nirmala (who gets a lot of Horny Grandma humor).
But despite some gripes, I still adored this season from start to finish because it's like the best of what a network sitcom could be, episodically attacking situations with humor and heart and a remarkable efficiency. Narrator John McEnroe leads the audience along as a proxy who's also invested in teen drama while feeling a little uncomfortable being invested in teen drama. Stealth MVP credit to Alexandra Billings, who pops up very frequently this season since a guidance counselor really needs to give guidance to seniors and always has a great combination of exasperation and empathy for what Devi and her friends are going through. And Devi and her friends really have grown so much! All the characters have! How did Paxton go from dreamboat hottie to emotionally mature...hottie.
Even through all the ups and downs, this season really does right by its characters and their individual goals and dreams and why they MATTER to each one of them. So much coming of age all up in here! And of course the show pulls the fucking Mohan Card at just the right time and stabs us all in the heart. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is such a great crier that when she cries, I cry. I really hope she gets some roles worthy of her talents after this.
All in all, this show has been so fucking great for so many reasons over the last few years, so diverse and female-focused without being self-conscious about it and offering a relatable picture of Indian-American life from multiple perspectives in three generations. Usually when I finish watching a show, I immediately take it off My List or whatever since it is over and reducing my watchlist by one item is something at least, but...I couldn't bear to today. Not yet. I'm going to miss this world and these characters. I hope they all live happily ever after.
The 2nd and 3rd season lost me a bit and I kept wondering when things would change for Devi finally, but this season was a lovely ending for this show. Was pleasantly surprised when Ethan didn’t land her in a love triangle yet again and disappeared fairly early on. The way everything played out with Ben was such a testament to Devi’s growth, was so proud of how far she’s come and definitely found myself emotional and nostalgic near the end.
Randomly discovered Primo recently too and really loved it! Gave me the same vibe and comfort as New Girl, which only made me wish there were more episodes in the season!