- Never Have I Ever -13 Pop Culture References In 'Never Have I Ever' Season 2 That Actual Teens Probably Won't Get
Devi Vishwakumar is back, ya'll, and she's still making pop culture references that are so old school only the most devoted Gen Z hipsters and actual millennials will know what she's talking about. In the grand tradition of all the best teen TV shows, Never Have I Ever Season 2 is full of pop culture quips that actual teens would never make. This phenomenon was previously a staple of series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The O.C., and Dawson's Creek (I'm old now, and I still don't know what Dawson was going on about on that show), so at least Devi and her pals are in good company.
To be fair, Never Have I Ever earns most of its '80s and '90s references because it is a multigenerational story narrated by John McEnroe, a tennis pro who was at the height of his fame in 1984. Plus, it's not like it's not peppered with modern slang and Gen Z appropriate name drops, too. (I mean, I have no idea if teenagers actually say things like "I wanna house a Double-Double," but King Princess being an unproblematic icon checks out.)
Still, there are moments when it's pretty clear the majority of the writers are basically just Steve Buscemi on 30 Rock. That's just the circle of life: By the time someone is willing to pay you to write about your teenage experience, you yourself will be a 30-something with a passionate belief that Ghost is still the most romantic movie ever made.
Strap in, kids, because it's time to countdown the most random pop culture references in Never Have I Ever Season 2.
1.Celebrity Hall Pass
As she tries to justify dating Ben and Paxton at the same time, Devi tells her therapist Paxton is so hot he's basically a celebrity hall pass. Now, celebrity hall passes have been around for a while, and they often crop up as plot points on shows like Friends and This Is Us. In short, it's a list of previously agreed upon celebs you're allowed to sleep with even if you're in a committed relationship. However, I don't think it's a concept the youths dwell on too much, especially not in relation to their high school romances.
Fabiola may not know anything about The L Word or Killing Eve, but she has definitely seen the 1990 classic Ghost, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Either that or she stumbled across the chimpanzee parody of the pottery scene from those old TBS commercials on YouTube.
3. Space Camp
Space Camp is still a thing, I looked it up. But there's no way it holds the same mythical quality for Gen Z as it did for millennials who wanted nothing more than to go on Double Dare and win a trip to the out of this world camp.
4. Young Sheldon
Ben does indeed look like a young Sheldon Cooper, but even though Trent has a surprising amount of layers, I don't believe he's watched Young Sheldon. In fact, I don't even believe he knows what CBS is.
5. She's All That
Technically, the college counselor could be referring to any number of teen movies from the '90s and early '00s, but her suggestion that Paxton dated Devi as part of a bet feels very She's All That to me.
6. The Good Fight
The Good Fight starring Christine Baranski is a terrific show, but never mind teens, even the Emmy voters don't know it exists.
7. Star Trek: The Next Generation
McEnroe's "Mother of Borg!" exclamation is both old and nerdy. Just in case you haven't seen all of the Star Trek spinoffs and movies, Borg is a reference to the hive mind entity that was first introduced in Star Trek: TNG.
8. The Apartment
Just when you think you've figured out Trent, he goes and references the 1960 Billy Wilder classic The Apartment, a movie about a try hard businessman who loans out his apartment to his colleagues so they can have affairs behind their wives' backs.
9. Last Comic Standing
Last Comic Standing hasn't been on TV since 2015, and it wasn't exactly a watercooler show then. But hey, Devi does kick it old school and new school, so I'll allow it.
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
This one might be controversial. Surely, Ferris Bueller's Day Off transcends generations? The tale of one teen's carefully orchestrated ditch day is timeless. But it was also released in 1986, which sadly means some youngsters may not know the joys of watching a young Matthew Broderick torment Jeffrey Jones.
11. Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson
I don't want to live in a world where there are people who don't know who Tom Hanks is, but he and his fellow actor and wife of 33 years Rita Wilson are maybe not the first celebrity couple teens would think of.
12. "Drops of Jupiter" by Train
Is "Drops of Jupiter" a great song? Absolutely! Has it withstood the test of time? That's debatable. However, since Kamala is the one talking about this vintage Train jam, the reference rings true.
13. Billy Crystal
PSA: If you've never seen When Harry Met Sally, please stream it immediately so you can understand how delightful it is that Billy Crystal made time to make a cameo appearance on Never Have I Ever (via Cameo, of course). While Crystal is truly the most random guest star the show could have possibly gotten, his rom-com past also makes him a weirdly perfect fit. Well, that and his devotion to the Clippers.
Never Have I Ever's references aren't always current, but you have to give the writers props for keeping the '80s and '90s (and '60s) nostalgia alive.
Images: Isabella B. Vosmikova; Netflix