As the third season of Never Have I Ever recently hit our screens, we couldn’t help but nod enthusiastically about just how relatable so much of it is. If you haven’t seen it yet, get yourself over to Netflix and enjoy. If you have seen it, you’ll know that it follows Devi, who is dealing with all sorts of complicated things following the loss of her dad, from projecting her grief onto major crushes, to dealing with the complicated relationship she has with her mam, and the ups and downs of friendship.
Devi is hilarious, honest and flawed too (which we love because no one is perfect!) and over the three seasons, we’ve come to learn a lot from the show. Here’s our thoughts…
Grief is complicated
The show kicks off with Devi coping with the loss of her dad. The show gives us a really good example of just how many ways grief can affect you. For Devi, it’s initially a physical reaction, in that she literally forgets how to walk, but that’s not all. The teen also projects her grief onto her friends and crushes, and finds certain situations unbearable as they remind her of her loving dad. She sees him in dreams and imagines he’s sitting there chatting to her, and in the mix of it all, we couldn’t help but admire how it shows the messiness of grief and all the ways it manifests.
Therapy is a super tool, especially if you’re honest
Devi regularly attends therapy to deal with the loss of her dad and the other issues she’s struggling with. During their sessions, Devi never holds back and is never afraid to tell Dr. Jamie exactly how she feels, even if it sounds totally silly or irrational. Therapy is all about being honest with yourself as a way to understand your feelings, and Devi’s sessions are a clear example of how to use therapy freely and effectively.
You don’t have to do anything you’re not ready to do
When Devi is dealing with difficult times, she’s convinced that all that she needs to fix it, is to sleep with a cute boy. She sets her sites on Paxton, the popular jock at school. Though she strikes up a friendship with him and has other crushes throughout the show, she soon realises that rushing into things with a boy isn’t the answer to life’s problems. When she dates boys in later episodes, she and her love interests are clear about how comfortable they are with being intimate and are also vocal when they don’t feel ready to take things further.
Friends come first
While a huge part of the show is about Devi and her crushes, her friends always come first. Sure they have fights and fall-outs, just like any group of friends, but they always come back to each other. Together Devi, Eleanor and Fabiola go through all sorts of obstacles like figuring out their sexuality, parental issues, grief and heartbreak, and always find a way to stick together and make each other feel better. That isn’t to say Devi and the other girls don’t make mistakes, like everything, they tend to mess up from time to time but they’ll always apologise, take ownership, and put it behind them.
Own up to your mistakes and people will still like you
Speaking of which, this is also a super important lesson from NHIE. While Devi and her friends regularly own up to their mistakes, they’re not the only ones. In the third season, we see that Paxton hasn’t always been the best guy, and when Devi asks him to apologise to a former flame who he ghosted, he decides that it’s the right thing to do, and goes on to apologise to all the other girls in the school who he’s treated badly.
Mother-daughter relationships can be tricky, but she only wants what’s best for you
Our relationship with our parents isn’t always easy. We see this a lot in NHIE, Devi’s mam Nalini is raising a teen daughter on her own, she’s super strict and holds Devi to an impossible standard in school. And while they fight and don’t always see eye to eye, there are lots of scenes that remind us that Nalini really just wants what’s best for her daughter, and loves her completely.
Being your true self is so important
All of the characters in NHIE are totally individual and learn to love themselves and all their differences. While we see this in lots of characters, from Eleanor embracing her dramatics to Ben embracing his nerdiness, we especially love watching Fabiola figure out her sexuality. Once Fab realises that she’s gay, she shares it with her friends who support her wholeheartedly. She even ends up dating the girl she’s secretly had a crush on for ages, and lives her best life.
Doing well in school is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters
Both Devi and her frenemy Ben are super smart, and for a long time, it was the only thing either of them cared about. While they both continue to excel in school, they soon learn that friendship, family and having fun are all super important parts to life too, and that studying and getting good results aren’t the only measure of their worth.
You will heal after heartbreak
Characters like Devi and Fab face heartbreak throughout the show and while it totally sucks, they eventually move on and realise that they will in fact be okay, even if it hurts for a while. Unfortunately heartbreak is something most people experience throughout their life, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel and it wont be long before a new crush comes along to cheer you up!
Family comes in all shapes and sizes
If you don’t have a ‘nuclear’ family (the mam, dad, siblings type of set up) you might have grown up feeling like your family wasn’t ‘normal’ or that you wished that you had the same thing as everyone else. For Devi, her home structure includes her mam, cousin and granny under one roof. While she sadly lost her dad, the Vishwakumar household is full of love and just as whole and real as any other family structure. Family doesn’t always look like the perfect cookie cutter four. It can include a wonderful mix of blended families, extended family, and amazing friends who you choose as your family too!
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