Not to sound dramatic – we'll leave the theatrics to Eleanor – but we might need our own therapy appointment with Dr. Jamie Ryan. In Season 3 of Netflix's high school dramedy "Never Have I Ever," pretty, popular and now pensive Paxton Hall-Yoshida decides to go to college at Arizona State University, far from the series' backdrop of Sherman Oaks, California.
What does that mean for fans of Paxton and Darren Barnet, the actor who plays him? Will Paxton be around for the show's fourth and final season? Are he and Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) done for good?
"I have a good feeling Paxton may make an appearance in Season 4," says Barnet, 31. "I feel like I've added enough value to the show with three seasons that they wouldn't just write me out. Also, I haven't been a diva."
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Just ask series co-creator Lang Fisher. "He is a delight to work with, and he's a really good actor, and he's also a beloved part of our show," Fisher says. "We felt it was time to let (Paxton) graduate because Season 4 is going to be basically Devi’s senior year. Since we set him up as the character who is a year older, we have to move everyone along."
Barnet reveals whether he thinks Paxton and Devi are really through, who he's rooting for in Devi's love life, and what it was like working with Deacon Phillippe, who plays a troubled teen on a rival debate team.
(Edited for length and clarity.)
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Question: What was going through your mind when you learned that Paxton would be going to college out of state?
Darren Barnet: I was very excited about it. I was wondering, "Am I going to be in college the entire time? Is this going to be an entirely different set? How are they going bring me back and keep me relevant as a character in the show?"
Q: How do you compare to Paxton?
Barnet: I've (experienced) being a book judged by my cover. A lot of people have said to me, “I thought you were going to be mean," "I thought you were going to be dumb.” It's very interesting. I've dealt with that a lot in my life. Haven’t let it hold me down. It's a backhanded compliment, I guess. So I take it in stride, and I definitely have a lot of my own insecurities that some people may not expect.
Q: What are those insecurities?
Barnet: I'm playing a very much younger character. I've never been so critical (of myself). Sometimes when I get to makeup, I'm like, “Did I shave close enough? Am I taking care of my skin enough to make this believable? Am I in shape enough?”
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Q: How do you think Devi and Paxton left things? Is there still a possibility that they end up together?
Barnet: Anything is possible in life. I have reconnected with people after 10, 12 years that I haven't spoken to and hit it off just how it was and sometimes end up dating. You never know. But I do think regardless, they’re lifelong friends. I can see that for sure and potentially dating. Who knows?
Q: Is there someone you think Devi should be with? What team are you on?
Barnet: I honestly think Devi needs to handle things within herself before she can even entertain that. So I'll say Team Devi.
Q: Deacon Phillippe makes his acting debut this season. Your characters didn't really have scenes together, but did you hang out on the set?
Barnet: We were in the same holding room and we were all chatting. Really, really charming guy and really played the part well. He was an absolute pleasure to be around. I didn't even know that was his first (role). So kudos to you, Deacon.
Q: People are also interested in your off-screen love life and Googling if you have a girlfriend. Are you single?
Barnet: I do not have a girlfriend.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Never Have I Ever': Is Darren Barnet's Paxton leaving after Season 3?