The fact that this is up a couple days after Pride Month genuinely is a coincidence but it may be on theme with this review. That being said, Happy Belated Pride Month to the LGBTQ+ community! It seems we have quite the mess to talk about when it comes to this season of ‘Love, Victor’, a season that really reinvents the show’s values and priorities and in return turns into something unfamiliar.
While the first season focused on Victor’s journey to realizing that he’s gay, the second season focuses more on the queer experience. The difference between Simon and Victor is that Simon already knew he was gay. Victor is discovering a whole new facet of his life and he’s having a tough time navigating it. Apparently, however, if you come out as gay in Creekwood, chances are you’ll get a gay guru for a boyfriend! The problems that lie within this season have to do with the fact that the show’s perception of the queer experience is limited to just romance. Victor’s gay experiences shouldn’t be restricted to just his romantic relationships. This seems to be a huge problem for most queer media. Your queer rep shouldn’t have to be in a relationship for them to be valid representation.
Victor has been going back and forth between relationships since the first season. This unnecessary yet constant need for him to have a love interest doesn’t really drive his character forward. The strongest Victor has ever been as a character is when he is navigating relatable queer experiences that anyone in the community can relate to. Everyone in this community has had at least one experience where they didn’t either feel gay enough or they were too gay for some people. This is what I want to see more of from this show. Scenes that make me feel seen and understood, I personally couldn’t care less about Victor’s love life. In fact, I honestly, genuinely think that Victor should be single. I want him to find his own version of queerness not what Benji or Rahim push or tell him to be. I just don’t think it makes sense for him I remember when the first season aired there were complaints because Victor fell in love with the first gay guy he encountered. I didn’t think much of it then but now having seen the second season, I can totally understand. For a show which is supposed to represent the LGBTQ+ community, it’s definitely weird that they removed the community part and made Rahim a love interest instead of a friend whom Victor can confide in. Victor himself questioned Rahim by asking that just because he’s close to another gay guy that they can’t be friends. It was painfully self-aware and it honestly shouldn’t happen. They are tarnishing friendships for the sake of drama and I’m honestly sick of it now. My favourite episode of the show is still Season 1 Episode 8: ‘Boys’ Trip’. It was such a beautiful representation of a community that cares deeply for one another on the basis that on some level, they all went through the same thing. The second season throws that concept out of the window in favour of turning Benji into an unlikeable asshole and making Rahim a love-interest in what is the world’s most unnecessary love-triangle.
It was also very weird that this show seems to think that just because you’re gay you can get away by being a hormonal teenager. Victor and Benji getting upset by Isabel’s reactions is perfectly fine and understandable, HOWEVER, she is still the mother of a teenager. Getting upset because your child wants to go to a cabin with their boyfriend is normal. The show seems to forget that the main cast is around sixteen years of age. Being gay doesn’t give you a free pass to going on trips clearly meant for having sex. Even when they get caught having sex in Victor’s house by his own mother, Benji has the audacity to say that she would’ve had a different reaction had Victor bought a girl over. It’s honestly insane that that sentence came out of Benji’s mouth or the writer’s mind. Your mother walking in on you having sex is traumatizing to all three people, no matter the sexual orientation. Victor is gay but he is still a teenager therefore teenage rules apply to him just like they would to a straight teen. It’s the only time I felt Isabel had a point in getting upset. The rest of the stuff, however… hurt.
The fact that Victor’s mother isn’t immediately approving and caring and takes literal months to finally accept her son is sadly realistic. Not every parent has the ideal reaction. I have to say in terms of representation and relatability, Victor and Isabel’s entire dynamic was easily the highlight of the season. I’ve never been so genuinely hurt watching a piece of media because I understand this franchise on a personal level. I have felt what Victor is feeling, I have seen his situations play out in my own life, not to the same dramatic extent but similar enough. That being said it was very refreshing to see Armando, his father, actually play the role of a supportive father when it’s usually the other way around. Speaking of fathers, I thought it was a fantastic surprise that Josh Duhamel reprised his role as Simon’s father and now the leader of the P-Flag meetings Armando is attending. It is however odd that out of Simon’s parents, it’s his father in this role, his mother felt like a much better fit but I guess Jennifer Garner was busy. It was still lovely seeing Duhamel though, the growth of his character was very apparent here and was greatly appreciated.
The new addition to the cast, Rahim played by Anthony Keyvan is truly such a fantastic character. However, just like most characters this season, he deserved better. They introduce him as a new Victor in the sense that he got inspired to come out by Victor the same way Victor was inspired by Simon. That’s fine and dandy but what I didn’t like is how quick they turned him from a compelling character with meaningful potential to a typical love-interest. Victor finally has someone who understands his struggles as both a person of colour and religion factoring into their at-home situation. They turned Rahim’s “coming out scene” from what could’ve been a scene many fans could’ve felt seen by into a throwaway line about internet search history and Tom Holland. It felt like such a betrayal from the show because it had been teasing the moment ever since he got introduced but then they never did. We could’ve seen a scene with Muslim parents accepting their son for who he is and we never got to see it, at all. We never even see Rahim’s parents or home life. It genuinely feels like a waste of potential, much like this entire season.
Unfortunately, I would go so far as to say that this season took every single character in the worst possible direction. They really butchered these characters for the sake of new relationships and drama and it honestly made me furious at the end. It felt like a completely new show by the finale. They retcon the first season in almost every single way. Victor’s parents get back together despite them not agreeing on the most basic of human decency all season long. Lake and Felix break up and Felix goes after Pilar whom the show forced onto him because apparently a great friendship between a guy and a girl just doesn’t exist in this show. Benji is turned into his ex-boyfriend Derek, so an insufferable jerk who doesn’t try to empathize or understand his boyfriend’s situation. Mia gets shat on constantly this season, it’s honestly questionable at times how she’s the one suffering the most in this cast. Victor literally cannot live as a character unless he has a love-interest. Literally, everything this season revolved around was relationships and romance, one love-triangle after another. They didn’t even have the guts to keep Victor’s parents separated. This season made it crystal clear that they don’t match well together anymore but they still insisted on getting them back together. It felt like such a betrayal of everything the show had built up to this season.
Overall as a fan of ‘Love, Simon’ movie and the first season of ‘Love, Victor’, this season genuinely felt like a progressive disappointment. I’m not even sure I even want a third season at this point which might be an unpopular opinion but considering I’m the target audience, I think it’s saying something. While the cast was great, the writing depended too much on drama and romance to give a damn about what counts as good representation or good writing in general. If the first season made me want to come out, this season made me want to go back in the closet.