Spoilers for season two of Netflix's Never Have I Ever are ahead.
The new chapter of Mindy Kaling's Netflix project Never Have I Ever is set to pick up exactly where the first season of the teen dramedy left off: right in the middle of antihero Devi's (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) high school shenanigans. If not for the firestorm surrounding her problematic social media activity, Chrissy Teigen would have joined the young cast of the hilarious awkward teen series. But what was she supposed to be doing on the show anyway?
Never Have I Ever stars Ramakrishnan as the spirited Devi Vishwakumar, a high school sophomore trying to balance the grief over the loss of her father with typical teenage growing pains. In the show, Devi's inner monologue isn't in her voice; her complicated, often-sketchy train of thought is expressed to the audience by seven-time Grand Slam singles title winner John McEnroe.
Making McEnroe narrate Devi's life is a unique choice — tied loosely to Kaling's fond memories growing up watching the tennis player's games as a kid — but the athlete's role in Never Have I Ever wouldn't be the only celebrity cameo on the show. In the first season, Andy Samberg lent his voice to the inner monologue of Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison), one of the two young men vying for Devi's attention; Ben got his own special episode fleshing out the roots of his constant negging and competition with the girl he's liked since he was a kid.
Teigen was also set to join the Never Have I Ever Celebrity Hall of Fame as a narrator for a special episode in the second season. The model and chef was initially scouted to vocalize the horny thoughts of high school heartthrob Paxton Yoshida (Darren Barnet) in his own brief solo episode. In it, we learn the backstory behind the carefree, aloof nature of the school's hottest guy. Because his family took his laidback attitude for a general disinterest in...everything, they didn't help Paxton develop a work ethic; unlike Devi, who's expected to be the best of the best, Paxton's parents are fine with him just cruising through life.
Paxton's nuanced thought process was initially meant to be delivered by Teigen, but she was replaced in the narrating role by supermodel Gigi Hadid. The major casting decision was likely influenced by the drama that swirled around Teigen's past social media activity, particularly her part in the troubling cyberbullying of Courtney Stodden when they were just a child. In a shocking interview with The Daily Beast, Stodden shared that Teigen and other celebrities had persistently sent them harmful messages on Twitter after learning of their controversial and abusive marriage to a man 34 years their senior. The Cravings writer was quick to publicly apologize to Stodden and attempted to take accountability for her behaviour through a lengthy Medium note, but her actions were too little, too late; Netflix removed her from the project without offering up an explanation. Since then, Teigen has been missing in action, laying low on social media as to avoid more drama but itching to get back online all the while.
If not for the statement from Netflix that Teigen had been dropped from Never Have I Ever, we would have never known what we were missing for the special episode. Hadid does a great job of breaking down Paxton's complicated personal life, and she actually has a quite lot in common with the 16-years-old; in her own words, they're "both constantly underestimated because people only see [them] as sex symbols." Ultimately, Netflix's last minute decision to bring in the model was a smart one, moving itself and Never Have I Ever away from Teigen's ongoing drama and focusing on what really mattered for the episode: the fact that being hot is no walk in the park. (Look, people with perfect symmetrical faces don't exactly have it easy either!)
Season two of Never Have I Ever is now available for streaming, only on Netflix.