Saturday, August 13, 2022

REVIEW: 'Never Have I Ever' - Devi and Paxton's Relationship Faces the Opinions of Their Classmates in '...been slut-shamed'

Netflix's Never Have I Ever - Episode 3.01 "...been slut-shamed"

At last, Devi is dating her dream guy, but some catty gossip has her worried about taking things slow. Nalini urges Kamala to rethink a decision.

"...been slut-shamed" was written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Maggie Carey

Devi and Paxton are officially dating. They've been together for two weeks. They are publicly acknowledging the relationship as well. Their friends are justifiably worried because they've hurt each other before. However, Devi and Paxton are now good for each other. They want to believe that. They each have the capacity to hurt each other again. They are choosing to believe that won't occur. Their relationship is in a much different place than before. It's built on honesty and a genuine connection. However, Devi still gets anxious over how others perceive her. That has long had a crippling effect on her body. She puts so much pressure on herself. It's up to others to see just how uncomfortable she is. When she's in pain, it's typically dependent on others to know to change their behavior. Devi hasn't exactly been known for reflecting on her choices and learning from her mistakes. Dr. Ryan would love it if her client realized the key to her personal happiness doesn't come from a romantic relationship. Devi refuses to offer her that satisfaction. She always remains an obstacle. One who can cleverly maneuver around any insight that may actually be beneficial to her. She is incredibly smart. She simply has a tendency of overthinking everything. It shouldn't matter what others girls are saying about her in the bathroom. They don't care about her whatsoever. Their opinions get stuck in Devi's mind. She believes she has to have sex with Paxton to keep him interested. Of course, no one understands this relationship better than the people within it. Outsiders have their opinions. They don't know the true reality. Devi shares so many details with her friends. They support her. They will still call her out if she does something bad. She doesn't follow that path quite yet. The potential is always there. The series has shown her destroying the very things she proclaims she wants more than anything. And now, this season starts with her having exactly what she wanted. She's dating her dream boyfriend. Paxton remains interested in her. He wants to spend time with her. He defends her whenever he hears someone having a problem with her. With Trent, it can be easily resolved through a conversation. The friends trust each other. It's all about human decency. They respect where the other person is coming from. They acknowledge the potential danger. That shouldn't disrupt the bond they have. It's very mature. Again, Paxton has grown immensely over the course of the series. Ben is the one who continues to spiral because he can't control everything. He wants to go above perfection. He's already doing well in school. That's not enough. He has to constantly be chasing more. That creates tension in his relationship with Aneesa, as she doesn't burden herself in the same way. They still have plenty of opportunities regardless of what happens at this moment in time. This period in their lives still matters. It's simply better to focus on the people they strive to be and how that lines up with societal expectations.

Having sex is something Devi has long wanted to do. That goal was seen as something she needed to obtain to keep growing. Her evolution as a person doesn't necessarily line up with her sexual development. She should only have sex if she is ready to do so. In the montage of her intimate moments with Paxton, it's all about her stopping things once they get to a certain point. Recognizing and respecting that boundary is important. Devi wants to force herself to go further. Her body locks up and prevents her from providing that to Paxton. It needs to be an ongoing conversation between them. She is ashamed over what she believes he wants. He is willing to go slow. They don't need to be having sex all the time. That's not what determines a healthy relationship. Sex should be something Devi enjoys once it finally happens. When she is trying to convince herself she's ready, it's all about getting it over with as quickly as possible. She tenses up. Paxton listens to what her body is saying. It's not about the words coming out of her mouth. That shows a willingness to know what she's actually feeling in any given moment. Of course, Devi sees it as a disappointment. This decision also isn't about her relationship with Paxton. It's about proving a point to the popular girls. They are mean to her. She has to show that they are wrong about her. Nothing she does is going to change their minds. Dr. Ryan told her it was best to ignore what was being said. Instead, Devi allowed her power to be taken away. She couldn't handle it. She at least has the awareness to do something about it. That too presents as tremendous growth. It's up to these teenagers to know who they are and what they are willing to do. They've been destructive in the past because they kept their emotions bottled up. That made them explode at inopportune times. They still have the luxury of making mistakes. They aren't expected to be perfect right now. It's all about personal agency. Kamala wants to focus on her career. She's not ready to get married to anyone. She breaks that news to Prashant and her family. It wasn't about her having feelings for someone else. She needed to feel fulfilled in her own way before making a commitment like this. That clashes with the cultural expectations laid out for her. It leaves Devi as the good granddaughter. Again, that comparison isn't fair. It's what the two of them have to endure living in the same house with their family. An arranged marriage worked for Nalini and Mohan. They could lean on each other while away from their families. They built a happy life in America. One they are proud of. Even Nalini is exploring something new. That has to be respected as well. All of that can only occur through honest conversations. It's not fair for so much of one's identity to disappear just to prop up something that should make them happy. That's not healthy for anyone - even though it sadly means the end of Fabiola and Eve as a couple.