“I just want to be a normal girl who isn’t called mean names and could actually have a boyfriend,” sighs Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), the teen at the center of Netflix’s new comedy Never Have I Ever (premiering April 27). In this sweet, shrewd series created by Kaling and Lang Fisher, Devi has to navigate what “normal” means for a girl who’s juggling two cultures, coping with grief, and above all, totally “ready to bone.”
Never Have I Ever is narrated by legendary (and legendarily temperamental) tennis champion McEnroe. It’s a strange but brilliant choice; like McEnroe, Devi is a “hothead” prone to sudden outbursts of anger and sarcasm. (When Ben tells her she has a “difficult personality,” Devi shoots back, “I’m a goddamn delight! I should punch you in the Adam’s Apple for saying that.”) Newcomer Ramakrishnan, whom Kaling found through an open casting call on Instagram, has remarkable comedic swagger; she delivers Devi’s savage takedowns with the cheerful confidence of a young Amy Poehler. McEnroe is skilled at self-parody, and he toggles his tone between supportive observer, frustrated adult scold, and OK Boomer. (“Damn, Devi! Preeti’s sister really schooled you. Read the room.”)
Never Have I Ever premieres April 27 on Netflix.