Which 'Never Have I Ever' Boy Should Devi Choose After the Big Cliffhanger of Season 1?
Paxton Hall-Yoshida or Ben Gross: Which team are you?
There are two major, like, squeal-worthy kisses in cars in Mindy Kaling's delightful new teen show, Never Have I Ever. In the first, our heroine Devi gets tenderly smooched by her longtime crush, the dreamy Paxton Hall-Yoshida, after he drives her home from a dramatic party where she falls into a pool. In the second, the season-ending smackeroo, Devi makes out with Ben Gross, her longtime nemesis. But who, ultimately, should she be with? Paxton? Or Ben? This is the main question that new fans of the series have after finishing their binges, and the subject of intense debate.
The high school love triangle is a classic trope. Should Bella Swan get with Edward or Jacob? Should Buffy hook up with Spike or Angel? (It's not just vampires, we swear.) And now: should Devi be with Paxton Hall-Yoshida or Ben Gross? No, Season 2 hasn't been announced yet, but it feels like only a matter of time until it's confirmed. While we wait, let's examine the case for both boys.
The Case for Paxton Hall-YoshidaUh, he's Paxton Hall-Yoshida. Duh. Obviously, he has a lot going for him in the looks department. Played by (the actually 29-year-old) Darren Barnet, Paxton flaunts six-pack abs and has cheekbones that could cut a steak. Devi is initially drawn to Paxton for this reason and this reason only. But, naturally, there's more to him than just being hot. After brazenly asking if he'll have sex with her in the pilot and then backing out last minute, Devi develops a friendly-flirty rapport with him that's hard to interpret. He picks her to be on a team for a class project, but then reveals it's mainly because he knows she'll help him get a good grade. He comes to her rescue after a drunken incident with a coyote, and even posts an Instagram with her to his main(!) feed(!), but still seems to keep her mainly in pal territory. Still, he doesn't seem to hold it against her all that much when she lies to the whole school about sleeping with him, so that's a pro.
Really, is there anything wrong with Paxton? Well, he's certainly not the brightest bulb around, and his insecurity about his smarts, especially compared with Devi's, emerges when her mom insults him to his face. He is justified in being pissed off that she basically calls him dumb, but he holds that against Devi, which doesn't speak too highly of him.
The Case for Ben GrossBen is definitely the more complicated case to make. For one, he's a huge jerk at the outset of the show! I mean, he's responsible for branding Devi and her friend Eleanor and Fabiola the "UN," which stands for "unfuckable nerds." He can't stop bragging about his dad's famous clients. Rude beyond belief. But Kaling is a master at proving that even assholes can be lovable. (See: Danny on The Mindy Project and Ryan on The Office.)
While Paxton mostly remains the hunky ideal throughout the whole show, our opinion of Ben slowly changes. It starts at first during the episode "...started a nuclear war," when Devi crashes his model UN tournament to avoid punishment from her mother. There's clearly a begrudging mutual respect that flourishes when they steal alcohol and throw a hotel room party. That's followed by the standalone installment, "...been the loneliest boy in the world," which further puts the audience in Ben's camp, and shows where the writers' affections truly are. We get a glimpse into Ben's sad, depressing life. Sure, he's rich, but he's alone all the time, ignored by his parents and his girlfriend and debating Rick & Morty on Reddit. After Devi's mom takes pity on him and invites him over for dinner, his and Devi's antagonism begins to shift into something resembling friendship, so much so that she turns to him when she runs away from home, and shacks up in the Doobie Brothers-themed guest room in his awesome mansion.
Ben's the person who reunites Devi with her best friends and her family when she's at her lowest point. He even waits in the car while she spreads her dad's ashes. And then she initiates a big ol' kiss! All while ignoring Paxton's calls! While they'd probably never admit it, I'd guess that Kaling and co-creator Lang Fisher are very much Team Ben. He gets the bigger arc in the season and the richer internal life. But can we just fully discount that Ben has been a dick to Devi for many years? And let's not forget: He has a girlfriend! That's one of the reasons Devi rejects him the first time he tries to kiss her at his birthday party.
The Case for NeitherDevi's therapist, played by Niecy Nash, is right! Devi doesn't need a boy messing with her head right now. She's got a lot to work out all on her own. She still needs to truly grapple with the death of her father, and repair her relationships with her friends and her mom. And what about getting into Princeton? Leave these guys behind, Devi!
Will there be a Season 2?Netflix hasn't announced one yet, but signs look good. The show is a critical hit and has generated a lot of love from viewers. Plus, you can't just give us a cliffhanger like that and then cut things short. We'll keep you updated when we hear more.
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