An Advocate article tells us that Dino Petrera was happy to be called back to play the out-and-proud Jonah on Season 2 of Never Have I Ever, about an Indian-American girl struggling to become popular and get a boyfriend. Dino notes that he and his character are hearing-impaired, but he's still "confident and has a whole personality." Maitreya Ramakrishnan, who plays Devi, tells us: "It’s awesome that the series shows multiple different characters who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community because the community cannot be truly represented with just one character." Multiple gay characters?
Well, Devi has a lesbian friend who gets a romantic-entanglement story arc, and then there's Jonah, who spent Season 1 being the stereotypic catty, eye-rolling gay best bff. Maybe he gets a more detailed story arc in Season 2, or maybe we will discover that there are other gay boys at the school?
Let's check it out.
Beefcake alert: The overt mega-bulge that cured Devi's paralysis is no longer emphasized, but the delightfully hunky Darren Barnet (top photo) still takes off his shirt in nearly every episode. Plus there are several new hunkoids to dazzle the senses, such as Martin Martinez as Oliver, who becomes someone's boyfriend.
Episode 1: No Jonah. But there are multiple story arcs, so it's understandable.
Episode 2: At Devi's party, Jonah plays a beer-drinking game with the guys. Later, he shrieks in horror when Devi's boyfriend Paxton is hit by a car.
Episode 3: No Jonah. But Paxton has a subtext scene with his stoner buddy Trent, who wants them to stay together "for the rest of our lives." So it's Devi-college or Trent-video games.
Episode 4: They all compete in a 24-hour relay race. Jonah isn't there. This is getting tiresome. The nerd Eric (Jack Seavor-McDonald), who I thought was a throwaway character, has joined the group and gets a heterosexual-romance storyline (he doesn't play a gay character in Love in Moreno Valley, either) But no Jonah to be found. We'll have to be content with Paxton's sweaty, muscular, slow-motion scene.
Episode 5: Finally Jonah appears, doing his nails in the science lab. The girls asks why he told rival girl Aneesa that a rumor going around accuses her of being anorexic: "I'm not fake, and people deserve to know what people are saying about them." But where did he hear the rumor? He keeps a log of all the gossip, and can look it up: Eddie Tan. (They trace it from Eddie Tan through several other people back to Devi, who started it). Later, Devi sees him being the life of the party in chemistry class.
Don't worry, the episode ends with a website where you can get information and resources on eating disorders.
Episode 6: No Jonah, but a character who is an "out and proud asexual" is mentioned. That counts as LGBTQ representation, I guess.
Episode 7: Nope. But Paxton stares at fellow Devi-boyfriend candidate Ben (Jaren Lewison, left) in an empty classroom. Could he be on the road to coming out as gay?
No. He spends the rest of the episode hugging and kissing Devi.
Episode 8: The big Harvest Dance. Fabiola blows off her girlfriend to work in the robotics lab. The girls track her down. Fabiola: "I don't fit in with the queer girls. I'm as a bad as being a lesbian as I was being a closeted straight person."
Jonah appears out of nowhere, noting that his hearing aid is tuned to LGBT people in distress: "It's hard living your authentic life after hiding for so long. But the whole point of coming out is, you get to be who you are." Moral: You don't need to imitate other people.
Then he vanishes - appearing only in the distance, dancing with an unspecified boy. No other same-sex couples visible. Trent gets a girlfriend, so that gay subtext is squashed. But Fabiola and girlfriend Eve are named prom queens.