Mindy Kaling's new show has her written all over it — and she's not even starring in it. Netflix's Never Have I Ever teaser is the writer and actor's next step in bringing more Indian American representation to the screen. The new show, created by the Office alum, stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, an Indian-American high school girl who does so well academically, but still finds herself in sticky situations socially thanks to her ambition and her short fuse.
The short teaser shows Devi praying to Hindu gods on the first day of school, likely prefacing the season to come. "I think we can agree that last year sucked for a number of reasons, so I thought of a few ways you guys could make it up to me," she says. Among those ways include getting the chance to say "no cocaine for me" at a high school party, thinning out her arm hair ("it's an Indian thing"), and getting a boyfriend — but not someone from her AP classes (he can be dumb, as long as he's hot — it's fine).
Never Have I Ever marks the first ever acting role for Ramakrishnan, a 17-year-old girl who grew up in Toronto. Kaling found her after holding a nationwide casting call that drew over 15,000 applicants, something she said was very important to increase the number and broaden the type of Indian actors working in the industry.
“We see a certain kind of Indian actor all the time in auditions," Kaling said in an interview with Variety. "Our show is about a Tamil Indian girl, and typically they’re South Indians and they’re dark-skinned. I felt lucky to be able to do a show about an Indian nerd who’s also badly behaved, to show that because I’m deeply familiar with it."
The series, with its unapologetic infusion of Indian culture, looks like a refreshing take on the typical young adult shows about teenagers finding themselves, something that Kaling is particularly proud of. “There’s been these amazing YA shows from around the world that have the same universal themes of relationships, coming of age, right of passage,” she told Variety. “To see yourself in your own language, in your own country, with the nuances and specificities of that country, has been a really powerful next step in YA for us.”
The series will premiere on Netflix on April 27.