Netflix’s Never Have I Ever teen series is full of fresh drama and comedy, yet also full of stereotypical and unnecessary fluff and language. Is Never Have I Ever on Netflix kid friendly? For tweens, I’d say no with all the sexual dialogue and content. It’s a shame, because it could have been so much better and something all families could watch together.
Is Netflix’s Never Have I Ever Kid Friendly?
Netflix’s Never Have I Ever is rated TV-14 for language and sexual content. It follows the sophomore year of a first-generation Indian-American teenager, Devi Vishwakumar. She’s had tragedy in her life within the past year, but this year was going to be different; she was going to get a boyfriend and be invited to a party where they “drink alcohol and do hard drugs.” But she obviously wasn’t going to do them, duh.
She’ll learn about friendships, boys, and family all while making mistakes along the way. Here’s your parents guide to Never Have I Ever on Netflix.
There is some language in this 10-episode series. There are at least 2 used of the f-word, 5 uses of bi–h, 20 uses of sh–, a few uses of damn and a–, and at least 5 uses of g-ddammit. Other sexual words and phrases used like bangable, bone, pop the cherry, boinking, railed, douche, and dick are also said.
There is mild violence where a girl hits a boy and flashbacks of Devi’s father’s death, but nothing gruesome.
For a teen drama/comedy, there are some heavy topics addressed like grief, death of a parent, homosexuality, sex, underage drinking, and mention of prescription drugs. While there is a lot of talk about sex, no characters engage in it, but you do see a male character without a shirt, while another character touches him.
Also a character calls another character unfu–able nerds.
Is Never Have I Ever Appropriate for Teens?
There are some definite positives about Never Have I Ever, and I applaud the efforts in a beautiful story of dealing with grief. While Devi struggles with the death of her father and anger in general, we learn about the Hindu Indian culture and traditions. And I think many immigrant children and teens will relate to Devi’s somewhat strict upbringing and harsh expectations.
However, for a show trying to debunk stereotypes, some of the stereotypes were directed elsewhere with odd fat jokes and common jock/popular kid behaviors. Parts were very predictable and felt like parts of a story already told. Unpopular nerd wants to be with hunky popular guy. This main character just happened to be Indian.
Is Never Have I Ever appropriate for teens? It’s not ok for kids or kid friendly, unless you want them talking about different sexual positions with stuffed bears. I wouldn’t recommend Never Have I Ever for teens under 16.
In an effort to discuss topics that can be seen as taboo, like sex, the portrayal of these 15-year-old to 16-year-old kids crossed the line of curiosity into sex-hungry. And while that is accurate for many teenagers, there are also many who don’t think about it like that, who are trying to navigate first kisses, feelings, and sexuality without the pressure of it being a status symbol.
Of course the Model UN version of Devi could only be seen as popular while finding booze and having slept with the hottest boy in L.A. The notion reverses the message it seems like they were trying to accomplish, and if you throw in a sister with special needs, then she’ll show you the light, so you’re not an arrogant prick.
However, when one characters comes out as gay, the support of family and friends is very heartwarming and needed. And John McEnroe as the narrator was unexpected and surprisingly delightful.
With Never Have I Ever’s missteps, there are also wins. Devi’s awkwardness is adorable (Later, skater), visits to her therapist, explosion of anger, mistakes and repentance with her friends, and trying to figure out who she is with sass and wit make for real TV and relatability. It just doesn’t have to be so provocative for a teen crowd, even if it is better than Riverdale.
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