‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 3: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Darren Barnet & Jaren Lewison on Unexpected Twists

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From co-creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, the Netflix half-hour dramedy series Never Have I Ever continues to follow Indian American teenager Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and the trials and tribulations of her high school and home life, neither of which are ever short of drama. Friendships, romantic relationships, and family are all important to Devi, who’s still trying to figure out who she is and what she wants, with the humor, heart and hormones of a young woman forging her path in life.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Ramakrishnan, Darren Barnet (who plays Devi’s dream guy, Paxton Hall-Yoshida) and Jaren Lewison (who plays Ben Gross, the guy that always challenges Devi but has also proven to be a friend) talked about how much they learn about each season prior to filming, the fun of learning about the unexpected twists, the craziest thing they never saw coming on the show, the magic of the friendship between Paxton and Trent (Ben Norris), the scenes with Devi and her therapist (Niecy Nash), balancing Ben’s banter with his sweetness, and how this show has changed their lives.

Collider: I had so much fun with this season, as I do with every season. It’s always nice when a show can still surprise you with some unexpected twists, and you’re never quite sure what to expect from the characters. When you went into this season, were you told where Season 3 would end up and what the status of your relationships would be, or did you find that out, along the way?

MAITREYI RAMAKRISHNAN: It’s an along-the-way situation. Weeks before we start filming a season, we get the first script of that season. And then, as we go on, the scripts slowly come, which I enjoy. I like that.

DARREN BARNET: I do, too.

JAREN LEWISON: It’s very unpredictable.

Have you guys ever predicted something for yourselves that just was nowhere near what you thought it would be?

LEWISON: [Maitreyi] is so good. She’ll be like, “This and this is gonna happen.” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” And then, it happens.

RAMAKRISHNAN: I’m very good. I like trying to get into the writers’ brains.

LEWISON: And you’re really good at it. I try that too, but I’m just not good at it. It’s always fun to read those unexpected twists, and then be excited and surprised. We get to read them as fans. We’re predicting things, and we’re excited, and then we read them, and we’re like, “Oh, my God!”

BARNET: It’s always cool.

RAMAKRISHNAN: It’s a little bit of an audience moment for us to just enjoy the writing and see what the story goes.

What is the craziest thing that you never saw coming?

RAMAKRISHNAN: I think I actually tweeted about it because I was like, “I wanna reference it back when the season drops,” but I actually got really emotional and cried, not where you think I might have cried, but actually when I read that Devi rips out of her journal, “I’m gonna have sex with Paxton Hall-Yoshida.” She writes, “I have a crush on Des.” Something about that made me really sad. I was like, “No. Wait. I still need scenes with Darren. No way. Things are changing. I’m feeling overwhelmed.” So, that was a moment for me where I was shocked.

BARNET: Freaking Des, man. I was warned it was coming, but when I got a whole episode, I did not really think that was gonna be a thing. And then, having it really highlight my Japanese heritage, that wasn’t originally what Paxton was, so seeing that all come together was really rewarding and it was a lot of fun. It was not something I thought would happen. It was not a direction I thought the show was gonna go in.

LEWISON: The ending of Season 3 just shocked me to my core. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. The possibility of this happening is insane.” We know what happens, obviously, since we’ve filmed Season 4, but viewers are like, “Did they? Didn’t they?” You’ll have to wait to find out

When you got to that moment, were you reading that script by yourself? Were you texting anyone else?

LEWISON: Every time that I would get the scripts, for the most part, it would be later at night and [Maitreyi] is a night owl. I was always like, “Yo, are you reading this right now?”

RAMAKRISHNAN: He’s a faster reader than I am. I’ll honestly take double the time. I’ll clown myself, I’m not a great fast reader. I like to really take my time reading, so he’d have to wait, and he’d get really impatient and send me a spam of texts. Personally, for me, after I read the scripts, the first person I liked to text was my mom because my mom also got them, and I was always like, “Okay, what’d you think?” I like to know her opinion.

BARNET: I didn’t read them until the table read.

RAMAKRISHNAN: That’s such a lie!

BARNET: I swear, I didn’t.

RAMAKRISHNAN: That is such a lie!

BARNET: I swear to you, I didn’t. Maybe for my episode.

RAMAKRISHNAN: He’s trying to act cool.

BARNET: No, I’m not. I didn’t. I wanted it to be fresh at the table read. It’s fun that way. I don’t know. The reactions are more. I didn’t usually read it until the table read.

When you got to that moment, were you reading that script by yourself? Were you texting anyone else?

LEWISON: Every time that I would get the scripts, for the most part, it would be later at night and [Maitreyi] is a night owl. I was always like, “Yo, are you reading this right now?”

RAMAKRISHNAN: He’s a faster reader than I am. I’ll honestly take double the time. I’ll clown myself, I’m not a great fast reader. I like to really take my time reading, so he’d have to wait, and he’d get really impatient and send me a spam of texts. Personally, for me, after I read the scripts, the first person I liked to text was my mom because my mom also got them, and I was always like, “Okay, what’d you think?” I like to know her opinion.

BARNET: I didn’t read them until the table read.

RAMAKRISHNAN: That’s such a lie!

BARNET: I swear, I didn’t.

RAMAKRISHNAN: That is such a lie!

BARNET: I swear to you, I didn’t. Maybe for my episode.

RAMAKRISHNAN: He’s trying to act cool.

BARNET: No, I’m not. I didn’t. I wanted it to be fresh at the table read. It’s fun that way. I don’t know. The reactions are more. I didn’t usually read it until the table read.

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