Love, Victor is a spin-off television series from the movie Love, Simon based off the Simonverse books written by Becky Albertalli. The show is brought to us by the same people who worked on the movie, Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker. This time we follow Victor Salazar and his family who just moved to Creekwood. While this is happening, Victor is still exploring his sexuality while trying to fit in. The show stars Michael Cimino, Rachel Naomi Hilson, Anthony Turpel, Bebe Wood, Mason Gooding and George Sear.
If you don’t know by now, I am a massive fan of this franchise, I have read the book, the movie is one of my all-time favourites, I even own the Vinyl soundtrack. I was ecstatic when I found out there was going to be a series. I have a personal attachment to this franchise because it was the first time I ever saw my sexuality being portrayed in that way. In a relatable yet wholesome and loving way. Believe it or not, Simon and Bram’s kiss at the end of the movie was the first LGBTQ+ kiss I ever saw in a theatre. I remember my heart actually beating loudly while buying the ticket and funnily enough I was the only one there. Watching Love, Victor at this moment in time feels like an extension of that. I have been having some rough couple of days this week and the only thing that truly made me smile and evoke some form of happiness was this show.
Love, Victor is a perfect continuation of the world Love, Simon built. It is the true successor to the movie in every single way. It carries the same modern, loving atmosphere of the movie and it uses the movie’s iconic moments and transforms them for this story. We get to see the ferris wheel, we get to see THE jacket and we even get a fun twist on the email bit with Victor and Simon. That being said Love, Victor is very much it’s own thing, it doesn’t copy the movie but it honours it and pays homage to it. The one area where it could even succeed the movie is it’s relatability, not only from Victor’s story but also his parents who are not at their highest in their relationship. There are scenes from the show which feel stripped out of my life, the uncomfortable parents clashing ones, the cute high school ones and the ones which play into that teen innocence when it comes to romance and crushes.
With Love, Victor, Never Have I Ever and Euphoria, we are entering a new phase of representation for teens in entertainment. These shows are not only diverse in character but even in story. Teens have been represented as complex people for a very long time with movies like Rebel Without A Cause (1955), The Breakfast Club (1985) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). While those movies represented important teen problems too, these modern shows and movies are finally representing more diverse and modern situations. Love, Victor deals with sexuality, experimentation, separation and doing so not with a white lead but a Latin-American lead. Victor and his family shed some light on being gay in a semi-religious family. There is the discussion of past versus present and how far society has changed. Love, Simon tells a coming out story not only from the eyes of a white lead but it does so intimately with the ongoing emails him and Bram write. It’s more of a romance, if that makes sense. Love, Victor leans more towards exploring sexuality, and with the way Victor interacts with Simon, it helps the show look at gay people through a much wider lens.
Just like the cast and characters of Love, Simon, the cast and characters here are immensely lovable. Michael Cimino is fantastic as Victor, he has the same charming and polite charisma that Nick Robinson had as Simon. Rachel Naomi Hilson gives a very detailed and mature performance, I liked Mia a ton. Anthony Turpel is so goddamn electric as Felix. He is the best friend everyone wants and needs. In fact. can I get me a Felix? Seriously. Bebe Wood gives a good performance but it’s more her character which kept me going back and forth. At first I thought she was a basic white gurl and I got nervous real quick but then they give her layers but after that she does something basic again. She did win me over though. The rest of the cast is great but two other standouts are Victor’s parents, played by James Martinez and Ana Ortiz. Usually I don’t care for the adult sub-plot in teen shows but considering I somewhat lived their story, it was just as engaging as the rest of the show. It was done realistically and I appreciated the fact that they broke the stereotypes associated with their story.
The fact that Love, Victor came out during Pride Month is no coincidence, this show is all about celebrating all types of love, whether it comes from a family or a community. The eighth episode of this show is so incredibly powerful. Being gay myself I related to Victor and Simon a ton. Coming out to yourself is the hardest part of it all and from then on, it just takes getting used to being in this extravagent community. I really appreciated the fact they took the time to address that gay people are multifaceted. They can be intensely masculine and love sports or feminine and camp. Sexual orientation doesn’t affect your personality and I feel like people don’t realize that enough.
Overall Love, Victor expands on what Love, Simon has built to bring us an original, emotionally-rich story with great characters and a ton of relatability. The cast is amazing and I am begging for a second season and a third and fourth. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that seeing this story done with gay characters and making such a wholesome and encouraging show about it, it makes me feel safe and comforted.