This article contains spoilers for Never Have I Ever season 3.
Never Have I Ever started its journey on Netflix as a unique perspective on the trials and tribulations of teenage life told from a South Asian perspective. Mindy Kaling and her team have found all the right notes through the last three seasons to capture the experience of growing up as a first generation Indian-American. Romance has always been at the heart of the story, but the third season takes the relationships to an entirely different prevalence.
Nearly every character is tied to another, and they change partners quicker than a game of musical chairs. This can make it hard to process who is compatible with who, but we will do our best to rank the couples by their chemistry. Note that just because a couple ends up together at the end of the season, it doesn’t mean they necessarily belong together when the series calls it quits.
8. Ben and Aneesa
Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison) is a hard person to get along with. He’s a know-it-all, he’s a smartass, and he has a lack of social awareness that is pretty fitting for someone who dedicates his whole life to academic dominance. It’s safe to say he’s not compatible with most people (except for one very obvious person, and there’s more on that later).
The pairing between Ben and new girl Aneesa Qureshi (Megan Suri) in the second season seemed to work out at first, but friction arises in the first half of this third season as Ben takes out his stress and frustration over losing Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) on Aneesa. It seems nothing Aneesa says or does is good enough for Ben, and it makes the audience see all of Ben’s worst qualities rather than good ones.
Ben needs to be with someone who can stand up to him and fire back when his arrogance starts to stand out. Aneesa is too kind to be that person. Her standing up for herself and moving on was a highlight of the middle of the season.
7. Fabiola and Aneesa
Aneesa thinks that the person who will respect her and love her is Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), and she’s very correct, sorta kinda. Human sexuality can get very confusing when you are going through puberty, and Aneesa mistakes her feelings of appreciation and friendship for Fabiola with that of passion.
They share a kiss in the girls’ bathroom, a high-water mark for female same-sex representation on a major streaming television show in 2022. There’s simply not enough non-exploitative exploration of young women and their sexualities on TV right now. Many of these adolescent-centric shows focus on the development of queer men.
Fabiola and Aneesa try their hardest to find that spark again, but it’s to no avail. They finally understand that they only love each other platonically, but their attempt to date is the type of stuff Mindy Kaling’s show has done so well: delicately explore an important social issue with compassion, understanding, and humor.
6. Devi and Des
Devi goes into one of her classic teenage romance crises after breaking up with Paxton (Darren Barnet) several episodes into the third season. When she agrees to meet with her mother’s friend’s son at a local high school party, she thinks the boy is going to be a stereotypical dweeb. Instead, she’s immediately impressed with his charm and intelligence.
Des (Anirudh Pisharody) is, in many ways, too good to be true. He’s physically attractive, he’s incredibly smart, and he’s Indian. The third bullet point makes him the ideal boyfriend in the eyes of Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), and having Mom’s approval is always imperative. Devi spends the majority of the season dating Des, and it looks like they are really great for each other.
The main issues between them arise due to Des’s mother not taking a liking to Devi’s personal traumas relating to her father’s death. She believes Devi will overwhelm Des at this time in his life, and Des doesn’t really put up a fight in the matter. Devi deserves a man who will fight for her, and accept her for all of her quirks and flaws. This makes Devi and Des a ship that sailed its course, and pales in comparison to several others in this season.
5. Fabiola and Eve
We’ve arrived at the couples in the show who truly have some awesome chemistry. Fabiola and Eve (Christina Kartchner) are a couple that were split too soon. Just when they become the school’s first queer couple to become prom queens at the end of the second season, they are immediately and abruptly separated at the beginning of this new season. Eve moves overseas, and Fabiola has a hard time making a long-distance relationship work.
This is really unfortunate because Eve was the person who helped Fabiola understand she was a lesbian. Your first love is often someone you feel incredibly passionate about. When it’s your first LGBTQ+ love, this becomes an even more valuable relationship. Eve represents Fabiola’s ability to accept herself and love who she wants to love. The way she is written out of the show makes me think that Kartchner may have had other contractual obligations this season. Hopefully we see a reunion in the final season between this great pairing.
4. Kamala and Manish
Kamala (Richa Moorjani) is a sweet, intelligent woman who has been forced into living the life others tell her to throughout the majority of Never Have I Ever. She often is used as a character that contrasts Devi. Kamala always listens to authority, and she respects her parental figures in a much more traditional way.
Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself, though, and that’s exactly what she does when pursuing Manish (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as her boyfriend. Manish isn’t well-liked by Kamala’s grandmother, Nirmala (Ranjita Chakravarty) because he represents a juxtaposition between old-school Indian values and new-age Indian-American culture.
Because Manish and Kamala choose to be together, and they are able to overcome those who disapprove of their relationship, they are one of the cutest, most genuine couples on the show. This shines through even to Nirmala by the end of the season.
3. Devi and Paxton
We’ve hit the titans of the show now. The third best couple is Devi and Paxton, even though they have spent the majority of the three seasons as platonic friends. They finally start officially dating at the beginning of this season, but Devi’s insecurities lead to a heartbreaking separation. This isn’t the end of the line for “Daxton”, though. Their friendship is rich and complex, and it’s one that teaches us a lot about each character.
Paxton started out as someone Devi never imagined would ever even speak to her, much less befriend her or date her. What she didn’t realize is that Paxton may have been just as intimidated by her presence as she was his. Devi has pushed and prodded Paxton into becoming the well-rounded adult man he is by graduation day in the third season finale.
On the other end of the spectrum, Paxton was able to show Devi that she should never feel less than her partner. She is a beautiful person who will find love, no matter whether that looks unlikely during her bouts of moodiness or anxiety.
2. Eleanor and Trent
Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Trent (Benjamin Norris) are the definition of opposites attract. Eleanor is great at school and artistically talented, while Trent’s main skill is goofing off with Paxton in a garage all day. Their connection is such a fluid and fitting one because they also have more in common than you might think.
Eleanor and Trent both have an undying loyalty to the people they care about. They often think with their heart and feel with their brain, making rash decisions for the thrill of it all. They love being around each other, and that’s the biggest obstacle for a couple at any age.
It’s been exciting to see Trent’s personality and plot lines evolve as he became closer to Eleanor, and him being held back to repeat the 12th grade means there will be even more time for this romance to blossom.
1. Devi and Ben
It always had to be Devi and Ben, right? While ship wars can get a little toxic in teen romance shows, the ultimate compatibility between Devi and Ben was obvious to every viewer. They’ve known each other for ages. They are both amazing at school, and they have self-esteem issues outside of the classroom.
Devi and Ben both use sarcasm and snoodiness as a shield for the insecurities they feel on the inside, but when they are together the chemistry is unmatched. The passion both characters feel when around one another allows them to be their most confident selves. This is rare for adolescent characters to realize, but when Devi comes over to Ben’s place to cash her coupon for “One Free Boink”, it’s hard not feel like it’s anything other than a culmination of three seasons of love and affection.
This is a classic example of enemies-to-lovers, and it should be exciting where the romance goes in the final season of this fantastic show.
All 10 episodes of Never Have I Ever season 3 are available to stream on Netflix now.