Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for the third season of the Netflix series, I’ve never done.
I never did Devi Vishwakumar (Maitri RamakrishnanShe is both apologetic and apologetic. She is rude, insecure, arrogant, loyal, sympathetic and self-centered all at once, and her often undisciplined behavior is what makes her so attractive to watch. As we watch this teen struggle to establish her identity, deal with her grief, and maybe even get a boyfriend, Davey stands as a playful reflection of our own messy teenage minds, reminding us that we have to be kind to ourselves even when we think we don’t deserve it.
First, to Davey’s credit, her insecurity and impulsiveness aren’t entirely unwarranted. After suddenly losing her father and consequently paralyzed psychologically in her freshman year of high school, she started the series fairly low on the social food chain. Nothing attracts unpleasant attention quite like the death of your young father’s older than life while you were playing the harp solo. And so, when we meet Davey, she’s a confident albeit awkward teen trying to boost her popularity alongside her best friend, Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez), while also maintaining a killer GPA and losing her virginity to a “cold hottie who could rock her all night.”
However, Davy is not a blameless character. This boisterous teenager goes through life with little regard for the consequences, and her short temper and lack of verbal filtering can hurt others’ feelings. We can especially see this when she tells her stern but ultimately loving mother, Nalini (Purna Jaganathan), that she wishes Nalini’s father had died instead of Devi’s father. In her arduous quest to improve her social status, find love, and attend a first-class college, Davy often acts without thinking, and in ways many of us would consider illogical. When worried that her academic rival-turned-crusher Ben (Garen Lewison(May she have eyes for a sweet new girl)Megan Suri), an almost coincidental rumor began that the latter suffers from anorexia. When she thinks her school might lose her debate competition, she throws the opposing team’s research into the trash. In one of her most memorable mistakes, when Davy discovers that both Ben and Herrop Paxton-Hall-Yoshida (Darren BarnettInterested in her, she decided to date both of them at the same time. Even though Davy is having a really rough time during all of this, no one can deny that these acts are unquestionably bad.
However, despite her misdeeds, Davy faces a lot of consequences and always tries to make things right. She has suffered school suspension, many causes, and even a brief rebellion from Eleanor and Fabiola as a result of her inappropriate behavior. She feels deep and sincere remorse and offers sincere apologies, and we can see that she often has good intentions even if she’s faltered by her bizarre execution. Through all these twisted attempts to solve problems, Davy acts as an anti-hero in her story and often the biggest obstacle standing in her way. She is so willing to be judged by others that she hits them hard, blowing her life up before others can do it for her. For example, in Season 3, Davy finally finds herself in a committed relationship with the famous Paxton, which is her dream come true to a large extent. However, she remains insecure about her virginity, her social status compared to Paxton, her identity as an Amerindian teen, and despite all his reassurances, Davy’s fear of inappropriateness eventually led Paxton to break up with her.
With her honesty and willingness to admit her mistakes, we can see that despite her often flawed approach to love and life, Davy is the character who wears her heart on her boldly embellished sleeve. Many of us have grown up watching characters like young prodigy Rory Gilmore, whose slips and awkwardness can be forgotten with a witty remark and a twinkle of sapphire eyes. Devi offers a fine contrast to this metaphor, and Maitri Ramakrishnan plays it with the kind of solemnity that makes you watch through your fingers as she unabashedly – albeit amusingly – marches to the beat of her drums, speaks her mind, and deals with the resulting fallout.
Overall, Devi Vishwakumar is a great character because of all the things that simultaneously make her a complete mess. Her competitive streak is also what makes her an excellent student and creates an artery for communication between her and Ben, and her extreme intensity is what allows her to love her friends and family so deeply. She’s the friend who will punch a guy in the face to break your heart, but he’ll probably accidentally hurt you in the process. Davy acts because she feels a lot and cares deeply, and by allowing her to fail but still making up for those who love her, I never did before It gives us a protagonist who shows us that it’s okay to be different, and the right people will adore you for exactly who you are.