The new Netflix series from Mindy Kaling follows Devi as she grows up as an Indian American high schooler and it deals with the trauma in her life, understanding her Indian culture, and typical American high school issues. Much of the show is based on Kaling's own life growing up as an Indian American in America.
A lot of the show focuses on Devi and Kamala's experience as first-generation Americans and everything that comes with that. So far, the show has done a good job of delving into their experiences and hopefully, the second season will continue with this motif.
10 Kamala's Assumed Arranged Marriage
Nalini and Kamala's parents assume that she will go through with an arranged marriage without really speaking to her about it or considering her feelings because this is their cultural tradition. Kamala is incredibly nervous, but afraid to speak out about it to her parents because it would go against her culture.
The audience quickly learns that she has a boyfriend who is not Indian or approved by her parents, but things might actually end up working out between her and the man she is arranged to marry.
9 Food Differences
There are obvious cultural differences between Indian and American cuisine and although the show doesn't delve into it much, there are moments where the audience can spot this, like when Devi and Kamala make tacos for dinner instead of Nalini cooking traditional Indian food.
There is also a fun line when Ben Gross comes over for dinner and Nalini says they need to adjust the spices accordingly, but he still can't handle the heat.
8 Academic Competition
Devi and Ben have a very intense competition when it comes to their academics. Devi's mom, Nalini, treats Devi's education very seriously, even asking her to not put her textbook on the floor after she had it blessed.
In many first-generation American stories, parents put a lot of emphasis on their children's education and their children feel a lot of pressure to do well in school and succeed.
7 Devi Thinking Kamala Is Too Indian
At the beginning of the series, Devi thinks that Kamala is too perfect, the perfect Indian child that her mother Nalini probably wanted.
The idea that there needs to be a balance between being Indian and American or that someone can be "too Indian" or "not Indian enough" is a concept that is brought up in many first-generation American shows.
6 Nalini Wanting To Go Back To India
While Devi can't imagine going to live in India, it makes sense that Nalini would want to go back to what she is familiar with and be with family.
After Mohan's death, Nalini is struggling to raise Devi and wants help and support from her family, but it also makes sense that Devi can't imagine leaving the only world she's ever known to move to India.
5 Big Differences Between Generations
Devi, having spent most of her life in America, is, of course, going to be incredibly different from her parents who spent their formative years in India. These differences are even more obvious when the viewer sees that she just wants to be a "normal" American teenager and might not be interested in her Indian culture.
Devi and Kamala both question parts of their Indian culture, as their parents never did because they have spent most of their lives in America.
4 Kamala And Devi Rebelling
Both Devi and Kamala try to balance their Indian American culture, but there is a fair bit of rebellion from the two against their traditional Indian parents.
Again, because both Devi and Kamala have spent most of their lives in America, they try to balance their American and Indian culture and it causes a lot of disagreements between the two young women and their parents. Their biggest rebellions have to do with secretly dating guys that their parents probably wouldn't approve of.
3 Never Have I Ever Felt Super Indian Episode
This episode sees Nalini, Devi, and Kamala attend Ganesh Puja celebrations and all three of the women feel out of sorts. Nalini is trying to keep her head above water as multiple aunties give their opinions about how she has been coping, as this is the first celebration she's attended since Mohan's death.
Devi is trying to reckon with how she feels about fitting into her Indian culture. Kamala is wanting to continue to date Steve, but she realizes she might be shunned by her community if she doesn't go through with her arranged marriage.
2 Everything About Nalini
Devi's mom Nalini attempts to raise her daughter on her own after Mohan's death and is struggling due to their differences in opinion and their cultural differences.
Nalini's spirituality, focus on prosperity and education, reliance on and closeness to family, and her determination to pass all of these traits onto Devi portrays her as a classic first-generation American mom.
1 Balancing Indian And American Culture
As an overarching theme throughout many first-generation American stories, first-generation American Indian children are constantly trying to balance their Indian and American cultural identities.
Never Have I Ever constantly has Devi and Kamala coming to terms with their Indian culture, while also trying to live their lives within the American culture they find themselves in.
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