Never Have I Ever 3 proves too many cooks make for great broth!

Maithreyi Ramakrishnan is spectacular as Devi in Never Have I Ever 3. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The third season of this coming-of-age comedy and teen drama is easily the best yet! The team seems to be getting more and more closely familiar with the lead characters of all ages and that translates into an excellent experience even for the viewer. I, for one, never felt more comfortable watching any second or third season of a series where the story continues, as when strolling through this endearing picture of Indian Americans and their home and college lives.

After the interesting two seasons that came before it, I truly felt as if I now know all the men and women and boys and girls very well. They were like acquaintances with whom I could be willing friends—each one of them!

The proverb, “Too many cooks spoil the broth” has probably never had a more striking exception than this show. Never Have I Ever 3 follows the Season 1-Season 2 tradition of having multiple directors and writers every season, without losing the plot, loosening the plot or making things unpalatable, inexplicable or anything else negative. As we see how a totally different writer and director wade seamlessly into a new episode, taking the previous one’s emotional, dramatic, quirky or funny developments further, I must doff many hats to the creators of this amazing piece of storytelling.

Devi Vishwakumar (Maithreyi Ramakrishnan), for those who came in late (Strong recommendation: Swim through Seasons 1 and 2 before wading into this lovely treat and you will enjoy it to the fullest!), is a Tamil-American who has lost her father, Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and still cannot forget him. Her mother, Dr. Nalini Vishwakumar (Poorna Jagannathan), a dermatologist, tries her best to balance her professional, social and family (Devi, her niece and her mom-in-law) life and does not always succeed. Yes, creating occasional complications is Mohan’s mother, Nirmala (Ranjita Chakravarty), who resides with them and is way too traditional for Devi’s tastes.

Incidentally, Devi’s cousin, Kamala (Richa Moorjani), who stays with them too while she completes her Ph. D. at Caltech, also does not see eye-to-eye with the old lady in “Indian culture”-al matters!

The series is primarily about adventures of Devi and her ‘miss’adventures in college (Sherman Oaks) and the assembly of other male and female students and their romantic and social lives. The interesting cavalcade includes two eccentric teachers (played by Adam Shapiro and Utkarsh Ambudkar), the latter being Devi’s cousin’s current love interest.

Devi’s friends are a bunch of utterly lovable characters: Ben (the adorable Jaren Lewison) who has a crush on Devi and filthy-rich and has very busy parents, Paxton (Darren Barnet), on whom Devi has a crush, Devi’s female besties Eleanor Wong (Ramona Young), Fabiola Torres (Lee Rodriguez) and Aneesa Qureshi (Megan Suri).  Their romantic peccadilloes and the minor bumps in their bonds form the bulk of the narrative.

Laced with great music and a witty narrative commentary (John McEnroe), the series does not have a single boring moment in 10 episodes. And of course, minus any exceptions, the performances are brilliant, Maithreyi’s being spectacular. The actress is getting better and better with every season and here’s wishing her and us one more season too!

Eleanor Wong, Fabiola Torres, Jaren Lewison, Richa Moorjani, Darren Barnet and Ranjita Chakravorty are the finest of the remaining cast while Poorna Jagannathan underplays perfectly.

Very few series can be revisited, but this one, eminently, can be savored repeatedly.

Rating: *****

Netflix & NBC Universal Television presents Kaling International, Inc.’s, Original Langster’s, 3 Arts Entertainment’s & Universal Television’s Never Have I Ever 3 Created by: Mindy Kaling & Lang Fisher Produced by:Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher, Howard Klein, David Miner & Tristram Shapeero  Directed by:Maggie Carey, Smriti Mundhra, Kabir Akhtar, Kim Nguyen, Erica Oyama & Lang Fisher Written by: Mindy Kaling, Marina Cockenberg, Asmita Paranjape, Akshara Sekar, Gabe Liedman, Amina Munir, Aaron Geary, Ben Steiner, Christina Hjelm, Beth Appel, Erica Oyama & Lang Fisher  Music: Joseph Stephens Starring: Maithreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Darren Barnet, Jaren Lewison, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Niecy Nash, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Benjamin Norris, Adam Shapiro, Cocoa Brown, Lily D. Moore, Michael Badalucco, Donna Pieroni, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Megan Suri, Ranjita Chakravarty, Sarayu Blue, Anirudh Pisharody & others







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