Netflix’s new coming-of-age series, Never Have I Ever, centers around Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a studious teen who is trying to change her high school image. But at every turn, she’s challenged by her longtime nemesis, Ben Gross. The actor who plays Ben is Jaren Lewison, and if he looks familiar, it’s because he’s been in a number of popular film and TV projects over the years.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Never Have I Ever, Episode 10.]
Who is Jaren Lewison and what else has he been in?
Lewison is a 20-year-old actor who’s first notable role was playing Joshua in the children’s series, Barney. He reprised the role in three Barney movies, including Let’s Play Outside in 2010 and A Very Merry Christmas in 2011.
The actor then appeared in a number of movies, including Bad Fairy, Men, Women, and Children, Beyond the Farthest Star, A Horse Tale, and Away and Back. In 2018, Lewison played the younger version of Ed Helms’ character, Hoagie, in the comedy film, Tag. And in 2019, he starred in the crime drama, 90 Feet From Home.
Lewison plays Devi’s childhood nemesis in ‘Never Have I Ever’
In Never Have I Ever, Lewison plays Ben, Devi’s childhood nemesis. As John McEnroe narrates in the first episode, Ben and Devi have been competing against each other for the top spot in their class since the first grade. And now that they’re in high school, the two enemies exchange continuous verbal jabs, and their competitive relationship drives the faculty up the wall.
But eventually, Devi and Ben form a truce while competing for the Model U.N. And after a few misunderstandings and emotional moments, they actually become good friends. By the end of the season, Ben proves that he really cares for Devi, and is there for her during her toughest times.
The ‘Never Have I Ever’ star is thrilled to be part of the series
On his Instagram page, Lewison shared a promotional photo for Never Have I Ever and revealed how excited he is to be a part of the show. He also gave a shout out to the series’ showrunners and cast.
“World, meet Ben Gross,” he captioned the post. “So excited to finally announce my part in @neverhaveiever on @Netflix! Created by @MindyKaling & @LoulieLang: two of the most incredible women I know. I cannot wait for everyone to see this hilarious, witty, and touching story of a 15-year-old Indian-American girl (Devi) navigating through high school. Played by the goofiest dude I know, @maitreyiramakrishna.”
‘Never Have I Ever’ fans are already Team Ben
In the finale of Never Have I Ever, Devi kisses Ben, which leaves her in a love triangle with Paxton Hall Yoshida (Darren Barnet). Fans are now picking sides, and many are showing their love for Lewison’s character by siding with Team Ben.
“Sorry, but Ben > Paxton,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “I LOVE THEM BOTH but I’m living for Ben‘s character development and he needs to be protected at all costs.”
“I love Paxton but damn, the way Ben looks at her,” another fan tweeted. “He’s clearly been in love with her for years. I’m definitely #TeamBen. Sorry #TeamPaxton, I honestly really don’t wanna see Pax HY get his heartbroken but I feel like Ben is Devi’s endgame.”
One viewer pointed out that Ben and Devi have more history, which makes their relationship the stronger one. “Devi doesn’t like Paxton, she likes the idea of Paxton,” the viewer explained in a tweet. “Ben and Devi actually know each other.”
As of now, the Netflix series hasn’t officially been renewed. But if it is, fans will likely see a lot more of Ben and Devi’s relationship in season 2.
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