The Writers of "Never Have I Ever" Talking About How Devi's Iconic TikTok Dance Came to Life

Tamara Fuentes
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Seventeen

*Major spoilers for season 1 of Never Have I Ever below!*

If you still haven't caught Netflix's latest YA series, Never Have I Ever, you're missing out on one of the greatest and funniest shows out right now. The show follows Devi as she tries to have sex with the hottest jock in school while trying to find a way to become popular. Her friends, Fabiola and Eleanor, join her in her crazy antics and they even get together in the beginning of episode 3 to make a TikTok.

"We really lucked out with the TikTok! It was Lang [Fisher]’s idea from the start to have a TikTok cold open. But we were writing this in the summer of 2019, so we had no idea how big the platform was going to become," writer Amina Munir revealed to Seventeen exclusively. "We spent a lot of lunch breaks watching TikTok compilations so we knew we wanted it to feel fun and a little thirsty. Thankfully our lovely choreographer brought it to life perfectly."

Series co-creator Lang Fisher said that the cast actually didn't have a lot of time to learn the dance.

"Mindy [Kaling] and I really wanted to show how teens today use social media to connect and express themselves. TikTok is huge right now and it seemed like the perfect medium for Devi to try and get Paxton’s attention. On set, the trio had to quickly learn the dance with our choreographer, Michael Rooney, in between takes while they were filming the rest of the episode. They filmed it in different chunks, so it was so satisfying to see it all come together," Lang exclusively told Seventeen. "I love how invested Fabiola, Devi and Eleanor are in the dance. It’s not as cool as they imagine it to be, but they are fully committed and give it 100%. The writers and I watched hours of dance challenges and compilations for research, just like Devi, Eleanor and Fabiola would have when making their video."

Episode three was also a turning point for most of the characters on the show. Fabiola ended up discovering her sexuality and revealing that she's a lesbian through her robot.

"I just want everyone who watches the show to see a piece of themselves in someone on screen. I hope seeing how Fabiola’s friends and family react positively to her opening up to them helps other people accept themselves—in whatever ways they need," Lang said. "No matter who you are or who you love, you deserve happiness and acceptance."

"Representation on screen is so powerful. I think Mindy and Lang worked really hard to tell authentic, inclusive stories," Amina said. "So, I hope viewers who are in a similar position to Fabiola feel seen and know that their stories are important."

For Devi, the episode also had her face her father's deathwhen she thinks he came back to her as a coyote, which Lang says came from her own experience.

"A lot of times people who have lost someone they love see them come back in different ways, especially when they aren’t able to say goodbye. Mindy and I both had our own experiences with that phenomenon and wanted to give Devi another chance to talk to her dad," she said. "We read a story about the LA coyote population and saw a video of one wandering into someone’s backyard and it all came together. Devi coming face to face with a coyote would not only be majestic and spiritual, but also dangerous. Mohan was such a loving and attentive father, that if there was any way for him to come back, he would definitely do it."

While the second coyote ended up attacking Devi, which lands her in the hospital with Paxton Hall-Yoshida by her side, Amina says that doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't her father.

"It’s a tough balance to write a comedy that deals with grief and this was a story that serviced both," Amina continued. "I would say the coyote gave a stunning performance, so it’s up to the viewers to decide whether or not the coyote was really her dad."

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