Can you imagine how difficult for Josh all of his interactions with Maya are. Like he knows logically that he shouldn’t like her. She is his niece’s best friend. She is too young for him. She is completely off limits for him. He knows this, but he still likes her. He’s probably always liked her. He’s tried to ignore his feelings for her, but they haven’t gone away. When he finally said how he felt, you could tell he didn’t want to. But he also knew how it feels to be rejected, and he didn’t want to do it again. Especially given that he did have those feelings for her. He also knew that he couldn’t do anything about them, which is why he’s playing the long game. Because that’s when they can finally be together. God this show gives me the feels.
So there's a lot of arguing about Joshaya happening in the fandom right now (yikes!). I always trust you to be unbiased so I was wondering if you would share your opinion on Joshaya?
Anon you are right, I have noticed that!
I think that although it personally does not bother me that much, it’s understandable that it makes people uncomfortable. But my approach to the situation would be little different than a lot of others. I believe it’s more useful to examine why a character is the way they are and why they may do something, rather than just bashing that character for their actions. Understanding a characters motivations is a big part of it for me.
When it comes to Josh, I think it’’s important to remember that Josh is not only the youngest of four kids, he is significantly younger than all of them, even Morgan. So you can assume, he was probably babied by Amy and Alan a little bit. Not to mention, let’s not forget the boy almost died when he was first born- that’s got to have some serious effects on how your parent’s handle you and how much coddling they give out.
It’s been mentioned multiple times by Josh that he is extremely aware of this age difference. They talk about it in Home for the Holidays and they talk about it in Ski Lodge 2. In HFTH, he vehnemently argues that “he gets his parent’s at their best” and in SL2, he talks about how closely he “watches all his older siblings”. I think seeing them grow up together, there’s definitely some envy there. He definitely probably wants everything that Cory has, I mean look at how hard pressed he is to be just like Shawn (or as “cool” as Shawn, as he puts it).
But then think how it must have been for him growing up, especially feeling that way. He was probably thrown in with Riley at a lot family functions because they are so close in age. So when all his siblings were at the grown up table, he’s stuck over at the kiddie table with Riley, Auggie and all their friends. Things like that have prominent effect on kids. It’s extremely hard for a child to intellectually know they are at a “different stage in life” than their niece when the neice is only three years younger and they probably grew up playing together. Age, and life, is such a blurry thing. When someone is 7 and someone is 10, things don’t seem so different. But then when someone is 15 and someone is 18, they are supposed to be? Then once you hit 21 and 24 things are back to being the same again? It’s all very subjective and I’m sure confusing for Josh. That mixed with the stark age gap to his siblings, probably caused him to feel like much more of a peer, or a cousin to Riley, than an actual Uncle.The lines for Josh are particularly blurred due to his innate surroundings.
It really all boils down to a bunch of mixed signals, which is why it’s not really surprising he has the ability to feel a connection to a younger girl. He is so desperate to come off mature and older to his family, but at the end of the day, he still feels like “one of the kids.” Not to mention, Maya is pretty much the opposite of Josh, being forced to grow up and act a lot older than her age, so I think that’s kind of where Josh sees them “meeting in the middle.”
And regardless of all this, I still believe that Josh honestly likes Maya and she honestly likes him, and they are for genuine and good reasons. He sees what a wonderful person she is and wants that in his life, no matter what capacity that may be in. Friends for now, maybe more for later. And the best part about it is, that at the end of the day, Josh actually IS mature enough to tell Maya, to her face, how great he thinks she is. Halle-freaking-lujah that someone finally has, because that is exactly what that girl needs and deserves. Josh seems to “understand” her in a way that (canonically) Lucas really doesn’t, or at least doesn’t want to at this point (because he doesn’t want to go back to Texas Lucas) and that must be refreshing to Maya.
Josh is meant to be a real, dynamic, human person. I think his personal circumstances should be considered as a valid reason for him acting the way he does, just like we do for any of the other characters who have made mistakes or struggled.