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‘Never Have I Ever’: How ‘Himbo Stoner’ Trent became a fan favorite in Season 3

If there was one word to sum up Season 3’s I Never Did, it would be Trent.

The jock character played by Benjamin Norris and used in the early seasons as comedic relief becomes a major player in Season 3, dating Eleanor (Ramona Young), standing next to best friend Paxton (Darren Barnet), and continuing to bring laughter wherever he goes.

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It’s not the only time Norris has played a lovable stranger. After making his debut on Trent in season one of “Never Have I Ever,” he had an arc in season finale of “Superstore” as an adopted adult by Sandra (Calico Kawahi) and proud shark owner, Tony.

“I love those characters that people will kind of look twice at and laugh and be like, ‘Oh man, what an interesting guy,’ Norris told IndieWire in a phone interview.

Norris played Tony close to what was asked of him in auditions and on the page, but he brought this offbeat charm in spades to “Never Have I Ever,” where Trent became a fan favorite.

“When I got into Trent, the character description was a bit closer to the jock/frat boy type,” he recalls. “She brought a little bit of Humpo Stoner energy in there, and I think it took the flight after that.”

As the characters progress, Trent begins to appear on the sidelines, and friends with Paxton as Devi (Maitri Ramakrishnan) pursue Paxton romantically. But when Davey’s drama girlfriend Eleanor was asked by seemingly blue to dance in the season two finale, fans got wild.

“I’m obsessed with the character of Trent. We got huge feedback from fans about that little moment we felt like, ‘Okay, let’s go for it,'” said IndieWire co-founder Lang Fisher.

Season 3 finds Trent and Eleanor embark on a serious relationship that works oddly well given their divergent interests, personalities, and communication styles. Norris says the pairing worked because Trent “likes to love,” and directs the same loyalty he had to Paxton in these new relationships.

“It was a dream come true,” Norris said of his extended role in Season 3. “I’m so grateful to Mindy and Lang and all the writers. He’s an onion and I feel like they’re showing every layer of him, which is so cool — and not only great for the fans and the audience, but it’s also great for me because I bring this character to life, and every new little nugget of information that They give them to me which I love to use. They keep getting deeper and deeper, and he’s totally 3D and – if I may say so myself – a fantastic character.”

Ramona Young and Benjamin Norris in

Ramona Young and Benjamin Norris in “Never Have I Ever.” – Credit: LARA SOLANKI / NETFLIX

Lara Solanki / Netflix

The “I’ve Never Done That” authors are often on set, which means Norris, his actors, and his directors can go straight to the source to ask questions about the script. The development of Trent – as with any other character – was a dialogue between performer and writer, but Norris also felt that his instincts were valued after having inhabited Trent for years. He regularly improvises lines, including one in Episode 4, when Trent enters the scene telling a story about his grandmother.

And I’m like, ‘Grandma, stop trying to eat your toothbrush. It’s not sausage, Trent says. Norris remembered hearing the writer, director, and producers laugh out loud when filming. It’s an Easter egg for die-hard fans, who might remember Trent talking about his grandmother in season one (Norris said she “may or may not have dementia a little bit”) — and also in honor of Norris’s grandmother, who passed away before her. I love photography and hot dogs.

“I put a little bit of my grandmother in this class,” Norris said. “I think Trent loves his grandmother and I wanted to keep this little bit of character alive.”

Trent may not be involved in the central “never-done” love triangle between Devi (Maitri Ramakrishnan), Ben (Garen Lewisson) and Paxton, but that doesn’t mean Norris didn’t give much thought to his character’s stature.

“The last few seasons he got to know Davy and if he’s friends with someone, he cares about that person,” Norris said. “He wants Paxton to be happy first and foremost, so if this is with Davy so be it. I think he’s bewitched by Davy, how she is herself without apology and Trent is himself without apology. He can see a little Davy in him. At the end of the day, he’s It encourages her to make the right decisions.”

Paxton may have graduated at the end of Season 3 – although Fisher says we haven’t seen the last – but “Never Have I” fans can take pleasure in knowing that Trent failed 12th grade and had to repeat it, giving Elinor, her friends, and the audience Precious extra time with Trent. Season 4 has yet to begin filming, but Norris is more willing than ever to dive in and keep peeling in the Trent Onions.

“No matter what the book writes on paper, I have to make sure that Trent believes what he says,” Norris said. “It’s not ridiculous for him, it’s the truth for him. As actors we just want to tell the truth. This will help the audience accept everything that happens on screen, and that was one of the coolest parts about Trent: you never know what’s going to be in the next script, and whatever It was, you’re going to have to make sure Trent believes 150 percent.”

Seasons 1-3 of “Never Have I Ever” is now streaming on Netflix.

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