The interpreter during the first date was both a point of comic relief and served as a point to reinforce the themes of the control over Ariana’s life. The interpreter acted as a surrogate for Ariana’s mother, criticizing Danny’s occupation, decision to order wine, and discussing the direction of his and Ariana’s relationships in sexual terms. The awkwardness of the scene was funny because it was an example of a “third wheel,” and the interpreter also gave a somewhat comic face and personality to a life that Ariana wanted to reject. When she left the dinner with Danny against the advice of the interpreter, it showed that she was looking for her own independence. The scene was also meant to show Danny’s value as a partner in a relationship so he is charming and can pay for the fancy dinner as well as help Ariana find a “voice” to tell her overbearing interpreter that she is not wanted. The interpreter was both overprotective and somewhat over-the-top, adding comedy to scene as well as helping frame and develop the relationship between Danny and Ariana.
The significance of celebrating Ariana’s birthday has two parts. First, Danny taking Ariana out shows that he is a symbol and path for Ariana’s independence and freedom. He represents the unsheltered world that Ariana has been denied because of her overbearing, tiger-parent, mother. When the interpreter likens drinking to losing her virginity, Danny counters that Ariana needs to express her human freedom and live her life. The party was a “coming of age” for Ariana who was experiencing her first significant relationship and experiencing the world away from her mother. The bar where Ariana and Danny go immediately accepts Ariana, showing that her disability is in many situations superficial. Though Ariana did not handle herself realistically as someone who was getting “wasted” for the first time, the scene was endearing because it also gave Danny an opportunity to show that he had her best interests—her truly experiencing the world—at heart.