August 10, 2022
“We’re circling it. We both want to. It’s imminent for sure.”
That’s the clinical way Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) reveals that two weeks into her “surprisingly PG-13” relationship with longtime crush Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet) — as described by trusty, crusty narrator and former tennis star John McEnroe — the couple has yet to have sex. Even she’s been solely focused on losing her virginity since her sophomore year, she talks about it as if it were nothing more than a business meeting that keeps getting pushed on the calendar, naturally.
This scene from the opening episode of the third season of Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever has all the hallmarks of classic virginity plots from 1990s and early 2000s American teen shows, à la Boy Meets World, Gilmore Girls, The O.C. But these days, it seems, Gen Z is a lot more direct when it comes to sex. Think Euphoria (in which a character memorably proclaims in the pilot episode, “Bitch, this isn’t the ’80s, you need to catch a dick!”), Gossip Girl, Sex Education.
So it feels a little anachronistic when three seasons into Never Have I Ever, the story still hinges on Devi’s desire to lose her virginity with the same insecurities, jealousy, and anxieties. Initially, these familiar plot points make the new season, which hits Netflix on August 12, feel formulaic. But toward the end, Season 3 evolves into something more profound, offering some of the series’ best episodes yet.