SPOILER ALERT: Multiple, and we mean several, spoilers ahead for the second season of Never Have I Ever.
Can I just say that we’re obviously experiencing 2020 all over again? Multiple states are in lockdown, Scott Morrison continues to inhabit an alternate universe and Never Have I Ever just dropped on Netflix. Yes, much like COVID, Devi and her misadventures in Never Have I Ever are back for their second season. But unlike COVID; it’s nice to see her back.
If you recall, last season finished with an emotional crescendo: Devi, her mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan) and cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani) spreaded her father’s ashes on a Californian beach, leaving many of us unexpectedly sobbing to U2’s “Beautiful Day” two decades after its release. Devi then promptly kisses her academic nemesis Ben (Jaren Lewison) in a car while simultaneously missing Paxton’s (Darren Barnet) call. Ooof, the drama!
Predictably then, the first couple of episodes of season 2 see Devi navigate the love triangle she’s found herself in. But the second season’s romantic entanglements don’t stop there: this season is filled with couples, from Devi’s mum’s secret rendezvous with a dermatologist who looks a lot like Common (OK, it is Common) to Eleanor bailing on her boyfriend for a former Disney child star. And look, it’s not a competition – but if it was – Which Never Have I Ever couple would take home the bouquet?
Here are season 2’s Never Have I Ever couples, ranked:
9. Eleanor And Malcolm
Given how quickly Eleanor (Ramona Young) broke up with her by-all-accounts-very-nice boyfriend Oliver (Martin Martinez), this relationship was cursed from the beginning. Malcolm (Tyler Alvarez) apparently returns to Sherman Oaks after some time spent on the Disney show about a magical limo (his resemblance to Zac Efron, by the way, is palpable.) As a fellow thespian, Eleanor is instantly intrigued by this man whose Adam's apple became too pronounced to keep playing a fourth grader”, but as it turns out, he is the worst. He’s manipulative, talks down to Eleanor and even breaks up with her via a text message. No to this man.
8. Aneesa and Ben
It’s hard not to dislike this couple given that it feels like Ben mostly pursues Aneesa to get back at (or at least get over) Devi. Not to mention Aneesa’s frenemy subplot. Ben seems genuinely supportive of Aneesa, though, which is nice.
7. Kamala and Prashant
Congratulations on Kamala and Prashant (Rishi Kota) for being so good-looking, but beyond that, I was bored. Oh, and that time Prashant advised Kamala to “keep her head down” when her colleague refused to put her down as the co-author of an article for which she literally ideated the premise? Annoying.
6. Devi and Paxton
I know this is meant to be higher up on the list; Devi’s infatuation for Paxton is the lynchpin of Never Have I Ever, is it not? But admit it: Paxton and Devi together are a mess. He invites his horrible friends to their dates, is weird about being seen with Devi in public, doesn’t “like labels” and at one point calls her “little buddy”. Plus, using her as her workhorse after finding out he was cheating on him? Disgusting.
Even Paxton jumping through Devi’s window Dawson’s Creek style as Glass Animals pulsated in the background felt forced. If “Heat Waves” can’t save you, what will?
5. Eleanor and Trent
Ooh, quirky. But no.
4. Fabiola and Eve
After Fabiola came out as gay last season, it was endearing to see her navigate being, as Devi puts it, being “girlf and girlf” with the very relaxed (and culturally in-the-know) Eve. While Fabiola spends a lot of this season panicking about being too into robotics for the queer community (and frantically watching The L Word on her iPad), she ends up confessing she “feels unsafe in ripped jeans” to a very unbothered Eve. They’re in love, you guys.
3. Kamala and Mr K
Kamala and Mr Kulkarni (Utkarsh Ambudkar) barely have two scenes together and somehow their chemistry is off their charts. No wonder Kamala literally ran to him in the night. I would also run to him in the night. Or to Kamala, to be fair.
2. Nalini and Dr Jackson
I’m sorry, but Nalini’s secret fling with fellow dermatologist Dr Chris Jackson (Common) is just very hot, okay? I don’t know, maybe it’s because they’re much more grown-up than every other pairing on this list; plus they’re both hot and rich. (And Nalini’s suits are incredible.) It was also a treat to see Devi’s mum, whose default mode is “low-key livid”, get all cute and flustered on a date; especially after a long period of grief.
1. Devi and Ben
You know it was coming, but these two nerds are made for each other. While Ben was a bit of a dick to Devi for a good chunk of this season, that’s to be expected after she cheated on him, and his response felt way more proportionate than Paxton’s. And unlike Paxton, for a teenager he seems to be very good at communicating (“I want you to be my girlfriend”, he declares to Devi in the season premiere) and is even OK with a long-distance relationship. Ben also seems to genuinely care about Devi and would never make her do his homework.
My god, Paxton. What is wrong with you.
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer for MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @purpletank.