Why Dev might be hard to identify with:
- He’s not hard working, because he’s coasting off a commercial he recorded a few years before, so he’s just focused on sex, food, and self-doubts. Ultimately, he ends the episode choosing to have a gourmet sandwich even though he knows it will hurt two kids’ feelings (because they made their own sandwiches for him.)
- We start off with a pre-cum discussion, which we’ve never heard before on TV.
- He apologizes to his sex partner for using “Uber X”. “I just didn’t want you think I was being stingy with the Ubers.”
- He realizes that his life is kind of empty without kids. He hears about a wonderful moment a father had with his son and replies, “Fuck, the highlight of my year was when I crashed Zachary Quinto’s Halloween party.”
- He’s certainly responsible in the bedroom.
- We see that he’s good at pitching products, for what that’s worth.
- We love watching adults treating kids like adults. He pretends that the boy is beating him in arm wrestling. We see that he probably could be a great dad, if he didn’t choose his life of sandwiches instead.
- Eat: He’s eating in a restaurant with his friends.
- Exercise: Never.
- Economic Activity: We find out he acts in commercials, but economic activity is certainly not a big part of his life.
- Enjoy: He loves pasta, sex, and bounce houses.
- Emulate: He pictures how happy he might be with kids.
- He makes kids feel great.
It's been a long time since I've seen this, but Dev choosing the gourmet sandwich at the end seemed like a "Rise Above" in its own way--that is, choosing his own desires over being falsely nice or obsequious to the kids. If I recall correctly, he was playing along with the kids in an honest way for the other parts of the episode, so this doesn't feel excessively callous. And many of us have had to sacrifice our personal desires to play along with kids or to not look like a jerk to our peers, so we relate to Dev here.
Thinking about it more, perhaps Dev choosing the gourmet sandwich over the kids' sandwiches is more of a reversable behavior type character moment, or a grand spiritual choice thingy at the end of a narrative. Whereas "Rise Above" might be more intended for smaller, sometimes subtle behaviors that indicate some moral position or a mild awakening (often near the beginning of a narrative?). Lots of buzzwords in this comment.... This is all terminology that creates an abstraction of the original story anyway, I guess.
I've just been using "Rise Above" in the limited sense of "Put something above economic concerns," but I could try to find other ways to use it. In this episode, he's been doubting his decision to remain single and childless, and then realizes at the end that he's ready to firmly recommit to his original course, valuing pleasure over reproduction.
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