Recall the last episode? The one when Devi met Des, a really handsome Indian man with amazing eyebrows, and they danced and flirted and he asked if he could contact her and we all swooned because this may be the beginning of something wonderful? Recall the anticipation and optimism we felt? Back then, we were so innocent!
What has changed, you inquire? There is so much and yet nothing. Devi, our girl, has been abandoned. Play “I Dreamed a Dream” on Siri.
Devi makes an effort to see the silver lining: at least she resumed flirting after spending an eternity on the bench. Eleanor speculates that this could be the issue since others can sense Devi’s rusty sexual feelings. The remedy? She needs to make out with someone immediately. And what better venue to do it that night than the coffee shop run by the theatre club? Everyone is going to be there! (Even Paxton will volunteer in an effort to bolster his college application.)
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Devi fails at her first try at flirting in the coffee shop as Ben starts making fun of her. When she answers honestly to his question about what she is doing, he makes fun of her. They start having their typical argument, which prompts Devi to wager that she will have a kiss that night while he won’t. Ben accepts the task with gusto. (Note: Earlier in the episode, Ben is seen overhearing Devi plot to tongue-duke someone at the coffee shop, and he just so happens to be there.) Weird. Ben, don’t you have any homework to do?
Devi is looking for potential pouts, but every man she considers ends up being homosexual, already in a relationship, or both. Only Alejandro, a dweeb who had his sweater on backwards, is a legitimate option for her. Ben just has to seem tormented in his hoodie to get the attention of hot, corseted theatrical ladies.
Alejandro is missing his hoodie. Devi can’t help but stare at him as she glances up and sees him singing in Spanish while playing a guitar on stage. The Ed Sheeran effect, which is the phenomenon “when an unimpressive geek is handed a guitar and instantly becomes the sexiest guy in the world,” has already had an adverse impact on her. (The show jokes that there is no recognised treatment, but I believe dating a musician can help you get over it.)
Devi swoops in, twirls her hair flirtatiously, and complements Alejandro’s abilities as a fellow string instrumentalist while he is encircled by a group of females. And much to Ben’s dismay, he’s enjoying the attention. He extends an invitation to Stella, a goth-lite Christina Ricci lookalike who previously approached him, to go for a stroll because he doesn’t want to be outdone or maybe because he simply doesn’t want to watch Devi with someone else.
Aneesa attempts to explain when he sees Ben being kissed (and bit) by Stella. Aneesa, though, dismisses it with a smile, saying, “No judgement here. You are you. Ben takes the opportunity to apologise, adding that Fabiola had previously warned him he was a douchebag. When Aneesa’s name is mentioned, her ears perk up: “Fabiola said that to you?” Ben cautions Aneesa against falling in love with a friend when she acknowledges that she could be. “You are simply setting yourself up to be unhappy, even if it seems like a wonderful plan at the moment.” He steals a glimpse at Devi, but Aneesa notices and tells him that he is not qualified to advise Devi on anything romantic; he has simply showed her what not to do. Aneesa continues to tutor Ben while maintaining an air of casual coolness. We are not deserving.
Aneesa rejects the advise, but Fabiola takes it to heart. Paxton hears Fab talking to Aneesa while “volunteering” in the kitchen with her and observes that they look attracted to one another. Fabiola strongly denies it at first before admitting that they did kiss once, but not since. Paxton offers his advice when she confesses she doesn’t know how to make the initial move and claims she doesn’t want to expose Aneesa. The tutor is now the student! He tells Fabiola that it’s not what she says to Aneesa that matters, but rather how she says it. He mimics Fabiola’s clumsy practise, for instance, stressing eye contact while sporadically staring at her lips, leaning in, stroking her face, etc., all the while exuding sex appeal. God, oh God. I don’t even like males, and that’s what made it work for me,” a perplexed Fab explains.
Whatever Alejandro is doing elsewhere (Breathing? Devi is also benefiting from having a pulse. Alejandro and Devi eventually start kissing, but the principal turns on the lights, allowing Devi to see properly once again (allowing her to fully appreciate Alejandro’s retainer and transition-lens glasses). Devi persuades him it’s better to enjoy that commitment-free night for the experience that it was when he asks if she wants to be his non-monogamous girlfriend and she agrees. Young hearts are unbridled.
As the evening comes to a close, Paxton rushes into Devi after seeing Aneesa and Fabiola departing together. And, yes, I realise that their relationship is done, but I’ll still insist that they have adorable chemistry and funny banter. She constantly seems to be with a new man, so he wonders whether she’s a player now. She also inquires as to his concern that she may overshadow him. He regrets expecting she would be upset about his dating Phoebe since it is obvious she has moved on. When he waves farewell and says, “See you around, heartbreaker,” Devi is sure that her vibrations have returned to the proper place.
Aneesa interrupts Fabiola as she prepares to execute her Paxton movements in the parking lot: “Should we, like, date? We seem to get along well, don’t you think? They clasp hands when Fabiola indicates that she is game for it. It’s so cute. In the meanwhile, Ben and Devi discuss their respective progress reports and both reveal they had a kiss that night. They both also exhibit a hint of jealousy. They almost seem to have been better off just kissing one other!
Extra Credit • In the life of a young girl, there is no greater misery than waiting for a male to contact you, according to this episode’s introductory voiceover, which is contemporary and YA Austenesque.
• Paxton’s suggestion for a charitable endeavour (encouraging stupid people to flirt) seems more deserving of support than the bizarre improv/climate change project that the theatre club is trying to fund. He’s Hitch 2.0, the master of information transfer!
• Paxton confides in Fabiola that his connection with Phoebe is less built on conversation and more based on… other things. He says that she makes things easier than Devi did, and he makes the unconvincing assertion that Phoebe is the person he’s been seeking for.
• Although it would appear that I support Team Paxton far more than Team Ben, it isn’t exactly the case. Ben never stops uttering the WORST things I’ve ever heard someone say (like his statement about pancakes!). Filterless Ben speaks approximately 5000% more than Paxton, therefore there is certainly more to pick apart, in his defence.
• Kamala and Nalini attempt to have Kamala break her contract but she would have to pay a sizable deposit when they hear that her new apartment complex is full of kid performers, their scrooge parents, and porn stars. Nirmala may have a point in questioning Kamala’s evaluation of Manish given that Kamala questions her ability to make decisions. Nalini, though, soothes her, affirms Kamala’s right to freedom, and tells her she may always stop over for supper. beginning right now.
I laughed at Nalini’s “Okayyyy, youngsters” Trent and Nirmala have previously been mentioned as this season’s star comedians, but Nalini continues to have impeccable timing. Excellent Poorna Jagannathan.
• “To me, that coupling makes sense.”
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