‘Never Have I Ever’ Star Jaren Lewison Hopes That Ben Wedding Scene Becomes Iconic

The actor talks about being a real-life college student while filming the Netflix comedy

Jaren Lewison attends Netflix's "Never Have I Ever" season 4 premiere. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for Netflix)
Jaren Lewison attends Netflix's "Never Have I Ever" season 4 premiere. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for Netflix)

Warning: This piece contains major spoilers for the final season of “Never Have I Ever.” If you haven’t watched yet, turn back now!

Jaren Lewison hopes the scene in Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” Season 4 finale where Ben Gross realizes he needs to profess his love to Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) becomes as iconic as Heath Ledger’s dancing in “Ten Things I Hate About You” or John Cusack’s boombox scene in “Say Anything.”

In the scene, Ben flies from New York back to California to tell Devi he “likes her,” nay, he “loves her” during Nirmala’s wedding.

“I’m really hoping that audiences respond to that because I think that’s the culmination of the last four years of every Ben and Devi moment, the first one being at Model UN when they work together. There’s a connection there, and Ben says to her, ‘I guess we’re a pretty good team for two people who hate each other,’” Lewison told TheWrap. “And then you work through the series and you see that throughout really difficult moments in their lives and even the highest of highs, they find each other. I don’t know if that makes them soulmates. I don’t know if that means that they’re destined to be together or written in the stars or whatever that means, but I do think that it’s something worth noting that they have this magnetism to them.”

Season 4 of Mindy Kaling’s young adult comedy, set in Sherman Oaks, Calif., sees Devi, Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Ben straddle the senior year challenge of having fun and also getting good grades to get into their colleges of choice. Ben has been Devi’s academic rival since freshman year when they divided up which extracurriculars to claim so that they wouldn’t derail each other with their heated competitiveness. 

“Everything is culminated in terms of the arc for this fourth season. Slowly he’s been inching and getting there. The theme for Ben this season is growth and finding his identity as an adult,” Lewison said. “Last season, the theme was definitely pressure. I think that the season before was about relationships. The first season was about who he is as a person and trying to peel back some of those layers and be a little bit more vulnerable. This [fourth] season really is a culmination of all of that.”

Ethan Morales (Michael Cimino) distracts Devi romantically for a bit, but she eventually returns to the original love triangle between Lewison’s Ben Gross and Darren Barnet’s Paxton Hall-Yoshida. In the final episode, she ends up with Ben over Paxton, and they give dating the old college try.

“They’re constantly reminding each other of who they are and who they want to be, and they’re helping each other grow, and they’re pushing each other outside of their comfort zones. Yeah, sometimes they make each other crazy, but I think that when you look back at this series, it’s such a wonderful foundation of love and care, and yeah they mess up, but they always sort of find each other,” Lewison said. “A lot of high school relationships — you’re sort of figuring things out, and I think that Ben and Devi are doing that throughout this series. Yeah, it’s a little bit heightened, obviously, because Devi and Ben both kind of make each other nuts sometimes.”

Ben encourages Devi to write a supplemental essay when she gets waitlisted at Princeton, and he gets into Columbia University early. In Season 3, he stressed himself out so much over wanting to get into his father’s alma mater that Paxton had to take him to the hospital because he was so constipated. 

“He really did work as hard as he possibly could. He’s a fantastic candidate. He planned everything out. Yes, he did go a little bit overboard for his own mental health, but if you’re looking at a candidate holistically, they can’t see that he got so stressed out that he wound up in the hospital after not pooping for 16 days,” Lewison said. “ They’re gonna see, hopefully, a fantastic essay. They’re gonna see incredible extracurriculars that show a very diverse and well-rounded candidate, and there’s a legacy there for Ben.”

Lewison related to Ben’s focused mentality when it came to college, especially because he attended the University of Southern California all while filming the show. He got the call to screen test at his freshman orientation, and he filmed Season 1 while living in a dorm. COVID changed his already abnormal college life, causing him to isolate himself instead of live with six other guys while filming Season 2. He also didn’t outright tell people he was working on the show.

“There would be times where I would be eating lunch or something with friends and I would disappear. And they were like ‘Where are you going?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m working. I work at Universal.’ And they would be like ‘Oh, okay, cool.’ And they wouldn’t ask me follow-up questions, so I wouldn’t tell them,” he recalled. “Sometimes there would be one or two that asked ‘What do you do?’ And I’d be like, ‘Oh, I work in the studios.’ And they’d be like ‘Oh okay.’ Finally, if they said ‘What do you mean, are you a ride operator?’ I’d be like ‘No. I work on a show,’ and I would finally tell them. It was like prying it out because I wanted it to feel normal.”

All episodes of “Never Have I Ever” Season 4 are now streaming.