August 24, 2022
“When you lock yourself into a dream of what your life should be, you limit yourself…You want to date the hottest guy in school. You want to be Miss Popularity. And you just gotta go to Princeton…Maybe you’ve outgrown that dream. Are you still the same Devi you were in freshman year?”
That’s what Dr. Jamie Ryan (Niecy Nash) tells Never Have I Ever’s Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) early on in the Season 3 finale after she finds out that Devi has just been accepted to Colorado’s esteemed Shrubland School, an intensive one-year boarding program that increases her chances of reaching her life-long goal of attending Princeton. The path to this moment has been chaotic, filled with high school angst and heartbreak. Devi is fresh off a fling with Des (Anirudh Pisharody) after his mother Rhyah (Sarayu Blue) decided she was simply too much for him. Getting into Shrubland offers some much-needed validation, but it’s also an unforeseen (and overwhelming) decision for Devi.
Since its premiere in 2020, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever has been heralded for depicting multiple three-dimensional South Asian characters from different backgrounds, generations, and life experiences. But by the finale of Season 3, Devi’s decision represents something entirely new: a chance to do what she wants to do rather than what she should do — a choice rarely afforded to South Asian characters.