After a largely successful release of the movie “Love, Simon,” two years ago, Hulu released a spinoff called “Love, Victor” on June 17, 2020. The series follows high school student Victor Salazar, who is in the same situation that Simon Spier was, except for the fact that he just moved to Atlanta, and that his family is religious and not accepting of homosexuality. The series follows the previous movie by having Victor talk to Simon and get advice via Instagram messages. Nick Robinson reprises his role as Simon and the series allows him to guide Victor’s character through the upheaval of moving halfway across the country while figuring out his sexuality.
Personally, I really enjoyed the series and I think that it is a great follow-up to “Love, Simon.” I watched the movie on a lengthy plane ride back from Europe in January, and even agitated and tired, nursing a broken tailbone, I loved it. Beginning “Love, Victor,” the transition from Simon’s to Victor’s story was seamless, continuing and transferring the story over to another character and family while still incorporating the original main character, Simon. The series also addressed Simon’s life in the interim between the movie and the series.
While in a similar dynamic as Simon, Victor is faced with different internal conflicts, such as a female romantic relationship. He also has an intolerant family, a situation that many LGBTQ+ people sadly face. In a way, I feel that the show is almost a critique of the movie, because the latter did not show much about the struggles, external and internal, that most people face while trying to come to terms with their sexuality. A good example of this was when Victor called out Simon and let him know how lucky and privileged he is to have parents who love and support him, unconditionally. Victor was never sure of that with his family, who continually called him their “rock,” but were still homophobic and made comments that unintentionally make Victor feel bad, like when his dad said “At least we know we have one son who will give us grandchildren,” directed towards him after he talked about Mia, his girlfriend. A lot of people aren’t able to have what Simon was able to have while coming to terms with himself and I found that “Love, Victor” shows the audience a raw, unfiltered version of the main character’s story.
As I watched the series, I realized that if I were in Victor’s position, I probably would have done some things differently, but being able to follow along and see how he chooses to make decisions during his journey is one of the things that make the show compelling to watch. Each episode, including the last of the season, pretty much ended on a cliffhanger, which made watching it almost addictive; I found it hard to find a stopping place and put down my laptop.
“Love, Victor” was packed with twists, and had a riveting storyline. Life, in general, is eventful and sometimes film doesn’t accurately portray the craziness. Personally, I liked how the audience was thrown into the series of obstacles that Victor encountered, and it allowed us to feel closer to him and made us feel like we were experiencing his journey alongside him. We got an inside look at his struggles with his sexuality and his life, while seeing the surprising side-stories of his rebellious sister, his friends, and his parents.
Instead of showing us Victor for all 4.5 hours of the series, we also get to see what plays out with his parents, his sister, and his friends. This made the show even more enthralling because of how realistic they made the situations that Victor and the people surrounding him were facing. Victor hated himself for not being “normal,” and by showing his internal conflicts, they showed us a crude rendition of what he was going through.
Viewers have noted that in the last few seconds of the last episode, Victor audibly exhales after saying, “Mom, Dad… I’m gay.” This is a reference to “Love, Simon,” when Simon’s mother tells him, “You get to exhale now.” Victor exhaling immediately after speaking the words he dreaded saying to his family gave the audience a feeling of relief and triumph after feeling the tension of “Victor vs the world” the whole series. After a number of viewers asking why we didn’t get to see Victor’s family’s reaction to him coming out, co-showrunner Brian Tanen commented, “His journey has largely been within himself, so it felt like the right ending to let that final moment be about him and not the reaction of other people.”
The streaming service hasn’t formally announced if the series is being renewed for a second season, but hopefully we will get to see how everything plays out soon. By showing us all the raw thoughts that Victor had, and choosing not to sugarcoat his struggles, Hulu was able to make “Love, Victor” a thrilling spinoff that breaks your heart and then puts it all back together again.
By: Allison Caskey, Feature Writer