Never Have I Ever Season 3 Is Basically A Bunch Of High School Students Hunting For Ways To Hook Up!

Sexual matters are certainly important themes for a teen drama, however, teenage is also about exploring oneself in other things in life.

Never Have I Ever Season 3 presents us with a very illusory and debased picture of high school where everyone’s sole purpose was to hook up and lose their virginity before their senior year ends.

High School is much more than just searching for boyfriends and girlfriends so that one can exude their cool personality infront of their friends. Being an Indian student my high school was all about making the last days of my school memorable with friends by bunking classes, engaging in cultural events of school and mostly taking loads of academic pressure so that I could get one step closer towards fulfilling my dream of getting into a decent college.

However from the first episode of Never Have I Ever Season 3, we see Devi and her group of friends (Aneesha, Fabiola and Eleanor) were only searching for ways to get laid with their partners (Devi with Paxton, Fabiola with Eve, Eleanor with Trent) and holding discussions over their love life whenever they crossed paths or hung out.

It was so sickening, and at times my eyes got weary witnessing the same rants about Devi’s insecurities regarding her incompatibility with Paxton whom she thought she didn’t deserve to date, Eleanor’s initial issues with Trent and Fabiola’s bafflement over her long distance relationship with Eve, and her development of romantic feelings towards Aneesha.

Yes, these are hormonal teenagers, but is sex the only thing important at this stage?

It’s not mandatory to engage into sexual intercourse with one’s partner unless one is comfortable, and it can never be a sign of one’s naivety. Having sex should never be a yardstick to measure one’s personality. Exactly where I find Never Have I Ever problematic, as it constantly preached the idea that losing virginity should be an inherent trait of a cool personality.

Throughout the first few episodes we see Devi getting being bullied by a group of girls as she didn’t have sex with the hottest boy of the school whom she was dating (Paxton), and who kind of shared a sexual relationship with most of the girls in his school. Devi is shown feeling left out and constantly questioning her worth, detesting herself at times, which ultimately led to the breakup of her relationship with Paxton.

Yes, sex education is important for teenagers as at times bodily desires can be uncontrollable and the ways in which one can resist it, therefore these are themes that should be known. However teenage is not only about getting physical, it’s also about exploring oneself in other things.

This season wasn’t as relatable as the earlier ones…

In most of the episodes we see that after her breakup with Paxton, instead of undergoing self-realisation, Devi was instead looking for ways to get into another relationship when she heard that Paxton had moved on into a relationship with Phoebe.

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Healing needs time, for some it’s faster and for some it takes time, seeing Devi’s character arc from Season 1, I know how emotionally complicated and sensitive she has been eversince her father’s sudden demise, and how difficult it was for her to endure and digest the fact of her father’s loss with whom she was emotionally attached. But Season 3 portrayed a different Devi who was desperate and went out of her way to get herself a boyfriend in order to make Paxton feel jealous.

Another very problematic presentation throughout the series is the way the word “nerd” is associated with Ben and Devi. One who is studious or attentive in class can also be jovial, funny and humourous at the same time but everytime we see both Devi and Ben trying hard to prove that they are alike and smart in aspects other than academics to their friends. Whenever both of them were failing to do so, they self-blamed themselves acting in weird ways, that left a deep emotional impact on them.

Love, relationships… such sensitive aspects of human life are shown in a pretty bizarre manner in this season of the series. It’s depicted like a competition or a kind of race in which Devi and all of her friends were running which therefore only gave these characters a superficial understanding of these human emotions. Due to this shallow depiction, I as an audience couldn’t relate with any of the characters on an emotional level which I did in the previous two seasons of this series.

Yes, the protagonist Devi has evolved over the series, but…

The previous two seasons of Never Have I Ever seemed relatable as it depicted the problems faced by an Indian kid to fit into an American school, the upbringing of Devi single handedly by her mother Nalini according to the conservative Indian social construct, the restrictions imposed upon Devi by her mother, a typical characteristic of all Indian mothers but Season 3 have very little instances of Devi exchanging conversation with her mother as it focused more on Devi’s own journey.

It cannot be denied that Devi evolved as a character in this season as she became more confident, made her school (Sherman Oaks) win the debate competition for the first time with her intellect and excellent oratory skills, dated more than boy and finally gathered the courage to play the harp in the school orchestra overcoming the loss of her father’s death, yet the process of her evolution is not well depicted.

Never Have I Ever Season 3 therefore lacks the spark of it’s previous seasons. The characters other than Devi are not well fleshed out and halfway through the show, one will be engulfed by a sense of mundaness as the characters are driven by one sole purpose of love, breakup, relationship and mid-life crisis. The ending depicted Devi ultimately fulfilling her quest of losing her virginity thereby killing my interest or demands for another season unless it revolves around something different, unique and catchy.

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Srilekha Mitra

An overthinking cinephile who occasionally seeks refuge in poetry. Words are her antidote on bad days. read more...

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