Saturday, Dec 09, 2023

‘Never Have I Ever 4’ On Netflix Review: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s Fitting Emotional Finale To The Rollercoaster Ride Of High School

‘Never Have I Ever 4’ On Netflix Review: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s Fitting Emotional Finale To The Rollercoaster Ride Of High School

Outlook rating
4 / 5

Netflix has finally come up with the last season of ‘Never Have I Ever’. Is the Maitreyi Ramakrishnan starrer show worth your time? Or can you simply binge something else? Read the full review to find out.

A Still From 'Never Have I Ever'
A Still From 'Never Have I Ever' Instagram

‘Never Have I Ever 4’: Cast & Crew

Show Creators: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher

Director: Lang Fisher, Adam Countee, Kabir Akhtar, Dean Holland, Lena Khan, Erica Oyama

Cast: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Darren Barnet, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, John McEnroe

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 10 Episodes, Around 30 Minutes Each

‘Never Have I Ever 4’: Story

The complicated life of a first-generation Indian-American teenage girl is inspired by Mindy Kaling's own childhood. In the last season, Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) is all set to go to college. But will she be able to make the most of this last year? Or will she get embroiled in things that are unnecessary and hold her back from achieving her dreams of going to Princeton University? Will she finally find out whom she actually loves between Paxton (Darren Barnet) and Ben (Jaren Lewison)? Who among the two is her eventual true love? Well, to know all that, you’ll have to watch ‘Never Have I Ever 4’.

‘Never Have I Ever 4’: Performances

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is the star performer and she has been growing in self-confidence season after season. In this last season of the show, she definitely shows her full potential and manages to give the character of Devi her best shot. The physical antics and the facial expressions that she gets are so inherent that you can’t see anyone else playing Devi. The simplicity with which she pulls off these antics is what makes the character feel oh-so-real.

Darren Barnet gets a raw deal in the last season of the show. He has been the hottie to look out for in all the previous seasons, but somehow in this season, he ends up playing second fiddle. Even with the minimal screen time, it felt that he was not his usual self and the character felt more forced on him.

Jaren Lewison finally opened up and spread his wings to his ultimate capacity in the final season. The character had been pretty much playing a dork throughout the previous seasons, who was cute but not date-able. Thankfully, that image is finally out of the picture, and he ends the show on a high. The character graph was really good, and he manages to express the emotions to utter perfection.

Poorna Jagannathan may have had a smaller character in this season, but she was spot on like always. She imbibes the character of a South Indian-turned-NRI mom to utter perfection. Not just in her dialect, but even in her body language, she is a character. Her character reminds you of your mother when you were growing up, and that relatability to the real world is what makes the character so lovable. Wish there was a spin-off just on her back story and her struggles to get from India to the US.

It was hard not to see Sendhil Ramamurthy in this season as much as you would have loved to. He is just there in a few blink-and-miss appearances. Considering he is the main reason behind everything that’s happening in the lead character Devi’s life, it would have been great to have him more present in the flashback or visual-imagination scenes than he actually is. It would have just meant a proper send-off to him as well in this final season.

John McEnroe's narration is, as usual, filled with the right punches, touches of sarcasm and laughs. I wish in the final episode he was brought in the closing once again like he was at the end of the very first season.

‘Never Have I Ever 4’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Lang Fisher, Mindy Kaling, Aaron Geary, Ben Steiner, Akshara Sekar, Marina Cockenberg, Asmita Paranjape, Christina Hjelm, Carley Whitt, Amina Munir and Gabe Liedman’s writing is what’s the best part about this new season. The relatability of the characters is what makes the writing so good. Every character, right to the smallest of character artists who may have just a 2-minute scene, even their characterisation is perfect. One look at them will make you remember similar characters from your own school life. That associability with the characters makes you like them all the more.

Another striking thing about the writing is that despite having so many different writers for different episodes, creators Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling manage to keep a common tonality throughout the show. There is not a single place where you find that there is even the slightest mismatch between the episodes. Another good thing about them is that they’ve managed to keep the representations of different communities really well. The minute details of the Indian community in America and the Jewish community in America have been very well showcased.

Rhet Bear’s cinematography encompasses the local feel pretty nicely. The way they’ve broken the fourth wall every now and then and talked directly to the audience, that’s captured so well that you, as a viewer, are never feeling awkward. It seems like a single-camera shoot, which gives more depth to every shot selection.

The editing by Jonathan Pledger, Mat Greenleaf, Jessica Sisk, Christian Kinnard, Sarah Hilado and Kelsey Myers is crisp and keeps the narrative away from getting boring. There are a few instances where you would feel like why was this thing kept and not chopped off, but by the end of the season, it all makes sense. Keeping every season of the same length is in itself a tough task, and managing to get that perfection is brilliant.

The music by Joseph Stephens is decent. The background score gives you the necessary high school vibe, and not to forget, also the culturally diverse sentiments of southern India and Jewish traditions as and when necessary.

‘Never Have I Ever 4’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘Never Have I Ever 4’ is one of those shows which you might start off with an apprehension of it being a chic teen drama, but it eventually wins you over with its storytelling, the much-relatable and realistic-looking issues of that age group. If you’ve seen the previous 3 seasons, then it’s a no-brainer that it’s definitely a Must Watch. If you’ve not, then it won’t be a bad choice to pick it up for a Breezy Binge Watch over a lazy weekend. I am going with 4 stars.