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WHY PAXTON FROM NEVER HAVE I EVER IS AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


I don’t want the discussion of ‘Never Have I Ever’ to end because there’s so much more to discuss and touch base on. It wasn’t just Devi and her family and friends, and even boyfriends, that made the show what it was. Even the minor characters who appeared in a total of one or two episodes such as Ben’s non-existent parents showed that they had some depth to them. One minor character that stood out, at least for me, was Paxton’s sister, Becky. She was introduced as Paxton’s adoptive sister who has Down Syndrome.

When he’s first introduced, Paxtoms like your typical f*ckboy. But as you see more and more of him and get to know him as a person rather than just for his looks and his high school persona, you see that there’s much more to him than you initially thought. Paxton’s home life is introduced in season 1 when Devi comes to his house. His sister sees Devi and confidently introduces herself to her. Devi treats Becky just as she would treat anyone else. It was something I immediately noticed about Devi because when an ordinary person first see a disabled person, the ordinary person’s first instinct is to treat the disabled person as though they’re special.

The thing with Devi is that she’s not an ordinary person, and most people don’t see that and don’t think of her to be anything but a nerd who was in a wheelchair for 3 months when they look at her. When Paxton saw Devi having a conversation with Becky while he was away, he freaked out and yelled at Devi. It wasn’t that he was embarrassed of his sister, but rather protecting her. It goes back to my point that ordinary people treat disabled like they’re special. Paxton later goes to Devi’s house to apologize and explain himself.

Throughout the series, we see Paxton’s special bond with Becky. He treats as an equal, and she challenges him to be a better person, specifically when it comes to how he treats Devi. Even though the world sees Becky as disabled, Paxton doesn’t. This is evident when he writes a letter to college admission about having an adoptive sister. He could’ve written about having a disabled sister, or an adoptive disabled sister. Instead, he chose to write about his adoptive sister, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Seeing someone like Becky on screen was remarkable. I wasn’t about the character herself, but rather the people that surround her. I could relate to the mentality that was portrayed through her so much. I’ve previously written how disabled people are seen as a petty party, as well as how I see myself and vs. how society sees me. Both articles are so relevant to Becky’s portrayal on the show. Having Becky on the show wasn’t about Becky herself, though. Instead, it was a way to show viewers that there was more to Paxton than just being the school hottie. It was about his character development and his character growth.

He was family man who loved and protected his sister at all costs because he was a good person. He was also the first person to come up with a plan to help his sister in her time of need. This is evident when Paxton calls Devi to get her to model Becky’s self-made clothes for a photo shoot when no one showed up. Having not a single person show up to an important event hosted by a disabled person is really no surprise. It happened to me once too as a child. I’m sure that if it were something that Paxton planned, there would be a huge lineup of girls at the door.

I’m an only child, so I never had someone protect me from the world the way Paxton protected Becky. But I’d witenessed friends who had siblings protecting them from the world, disabled AND not disabled. Seeing this type of love and connection to someone else is a beautiful thing to see, and at times, I wish I could’ve gotten to experience myself. Back in my teen years, I was friends with a disabled girl. She was, still to this day, in a wheelchair. She has the same disability as I do, cerebral palsy, but a different form of it.

She had two older brothers who were both able-bodied. Paxton’s love for his sister reminded me of my friend’s relationship with her two brothers and how both were always there for her even though they weren’t obligated to. They’d drop whatever they were doing just to help my friend even though they already had lives of their own, with schooling, jobs, friends and girlfriends. Now that her brothers have children of their own, they still maintain that close bond. Nothing’s changed.

The world can be a very scary, ugly place for a person with a disability. The world is not in our favour. People around us that could define our future success are not in our favour. People mostly see disability first, person last. Other times, they see disability only. The world doesn’t want us to succeed. That’s why it’s so important for a disabled person to have people that love them on their side. Not all is lost for us and not everyone is against us. That’s what we need to see. We’ll adapt to the rest. That’s exactly what Paxton from ‘Never Have I Ever’ represented through his relationship with his sister, Becky.



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One thought on “WHY PAXTON FROM NEVER HAVE I EVER IS AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

  1. I think it is great that you wrote about this! I enjoy the show and really like the relationship with Paxton and his sister. Plus, Devi’s ability to treat her like anyone else is perfect. In a world like this you are right when you talk about how that doesn’t really happen often. It really should. Thanks for sharing!

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