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Love, Victor Is the Cute, Queer Coming-of-Age Show We Need Right Now

'Love, Victor' Is the Cute, Queer Coming-of-Age Show We Need Right Now

'Love, Victor' Is the Cute, Queer Coming-of-Age Show We Need Right Now

The sequel TV series to 2018's Love, Simon is filled with cuteness, teen angst, and emotional, heartfelt moments that remind us coming out is never easy.

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From the creators of Love, Simon, Hulu is bringing us Love, Victor to save Pride Month and to provide the world some much-needed serotonin to get us all through quarantine.

Similar in background to Love, Simon, the 10-episode first season of the series is offers viewers something familiar: a closeted teenager is trying to understand who he is and what he wants. But Victor Salazar, the show's lead character (played by Michael Cimino), has it a little different compared to Nick Robinson's Simon Spier. See, unlike the Spiers, am established, progressive, upper-class, suburban white family, the Salazars are a religious, working-class Latinx family who just moved to Atlanta from Texas for a fresh start.

Warning! Season 1 Love, Victor spoilers ahead!

From the get-go, Victor tries his best to fit in like any other regular teenage boy. Upon arriving at school on his first day at Creekwood High, the vice-principal gushes about Simon Spier and his huge "declaration of love" to his boyfriend Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale) at the Winter Festival. Coming from a conservative state like Texas, Victor didn’t think people would be "cool" with that kind of stuff—but to his shock, they are.

While Victor spends the entirety of the season in a relationship with Mia (Rachel Hilson), one of the most popular girls at Creekwood, he is still very unsure what he likes, or if he’s ready, but this is normal to experience and he is struggling to come to terms with that. This leads Victor to spend a good chunk of the show struggling to figure things out, doing what every other curious teenager would do: Googling it. He reads up on different types of sexualities to figure out what he would label himself.

He then turns to the famous Simon Spier (who narrates a good portion of the series), writing to him (via direct messages) in spurts of anger and hurt, hoping for some guidance. "Screw you for having the world's most perfect, accepting parents and the world's most supportive friends, because for some of us, it's not that easy," Victor writes at one point to his new virtual pen pal.

And Victor does have it very different from Simon. With a religious family (who is nothing like Mrs. Spier from Love, Simon), there's one instance where Victor’s dad worries that his little brother will grow up to be masculine enough, and that worry only amplifies when his grandparents come over to celebrate Victor’s 16th birthday. 

These everyday struggles only get more difficult when Benji, Victor's cute coworker, classmate, and crush (played by George Sear), comes into the picture. When Victor starts working at the same local coffee shop as Benji, the two immediately click, hanging out, talking about their lives and relationships, and even dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe." Fast forward to the coffee shop’s battle of the bands night where Benji sings to serenades the audience with a slowed-down cover of "Call Me Maybe," and Victor immediately feels like he's the only person in the room. 

But it wouldn’t be a coming-of-age TV show without some proper angst, right?

It's later revealed that Benji already has a boyfriend, and since Victor (who isn't sure if he's relieved or hurt) is still figuring things with his sexuality out, sees this as a sign and opportunity to keep his focus on Mia.

But we all know this isn’t the right way to go about the situation. Things get a little more interesting when Benji and Victor have to go out of town to get an espresso machine fixed for their boss. While the machine is getting fixed, the two spend the day together helping Victor pick an outfit for a fancy dinner party with Mia’s family and friends. In the midst of another wholesome dance number, the repairman calls Victor and to tell him the espresso machine is ready to be picked up, but since Victor wants to spend more time with Benji (and he's thirsty AF), he decides to keep that information to himself so he and Benji have to crash together at a motel. Victor ends up missing Mia’s dinner, and he and Benji end up...sharing a bed.

After an awkward attempt by Victor to kiss Benji goes incredibly wrong, Victor ends up emotionally breaking down in the hallway, and the two drive back home in silence, much to Victor’s dismay.

After that epic fail, towards the end of the season (episode eight, "Boy’s Trip"), Victor makes a spontaneous trip to New York City to visit his pen pal turned mentor Simon, hoping he can maybe get some answers about the way that he’s feeling. Simon, however, is unfortunately out of town, so his boyfriend Bram is there to help. Bram takes Victor to play a few rounds of basketball with some of Bram’s friends, and much to Victor’s surprise, finds out that they are all queer. Victor (bless his heart) had this pre-conceived notion of what gay people looked and acted like, but after playing basketball, Bram introduced Victor to a whole, diverse community of LGBTQ+ people, including he and Simon’s roommates.

Later that night, while hanging out with his new friends at a drag show, Victor finds out that Simon has been sharing Victor’s messages with Bram and the roommates. After storming out, Victor runs into Simon himself (yup, Nick Robinson makes a cameo appearance in Love, Victor!) and the two have this incredibly heartfelt and vulnerable moment where Simon says that he was once scared like Victor was too. Even if he has a girlfriend now, it’s totally okay to be confused—especially when he is still figuring out his sexuality.

Simon encourages Victor to tell his friends, especially Mia, the truth that he’s gay. It’s painful, and the viewer’s heart shatters with Mia when the truth is finally revealed, but the creators of the show amplify this message time and time again: you can’t control how people react.

The cast shines in their roles, and it was refreshing to see a good amount of new faces on the screen. Michael Cimino stuns in his breakout role as Victor, and his on-screen sister Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) is all sorts of sassy and strong-headed. Felix (Anthony Turpel), Victor's happy-go-lucky best friend and upstairs neighbor who found a way to slide into the Salazar family's life, is also a stand-out, and Rachel Hilson (This Is Us, The Good Wife) was great as the ever so lovely Mia and (unknowingly experimental) love-interest for Victor.

I wish there was a show like this when I was in high school, especially since coming from a traditional family like Victor's, sexuality is almost like a taboo. The creators of Love, Victor invite us into Victor Salazar’s life and show us the harsh realities of angst and wholesomeness of high school romance and sexuality—something TV definitely needs more of.

Love, Victor is now streaming on Hulu

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Sara Salamat

I long to live in my favorite TV sitcoms and always happen to have a cup of iced coffee in my hand.

I long to live in my favorite TV sitcoms and always happen to have a cup of iced coffee in my hand.