The Reel Review
This original Hulu TV series is the spinoff of 2018’s uber-charming, gay romantic drama Love, Simon. It is set a year later at the same Atlanta high school where one of Simon’s pen pals has enrolled and is questioning his own sexuality. While Love, Simon featured a picture perfect group of supportive family and friends, this series is centered around a conservative, blue collar Hispanic family. It shows a more uncomfortable – and for most LGBTQ kids – more realistic coming out experience, with some pretty awkward moments – including those where loved ones make unintentionally homophobic comments that leave lifelong emotional scars. Nick Robinson reprises his role from Love, Simon (mostly via voiceover).
Michael Cimino (Annabelle Comes Home) is sickeningly adorable as the star of the series, which, after a couple of awkward episodes of clumsy dialogue, finally finds its footing. As the characters’ personalities start to gel, the love triangles and drama associated with being untrue to oneself unfolds. The ensemble cast shines – standouts includes Victor’s mom (Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz), his sassy sister Pilar (Orange is the New Black’s Isabella Ferreira), the two objects of his affection – Mia (This is Us’ Rachel Hilson) and Benji (George Sear), and Victor and Mia’s best friends Felix (Anthony Turpel) and Lake (Bebe Wood), who have one of the show’s most vulnerable moments in Episode 9.
What made Love, Simon so groundbreaking was that it was the first big-budget romantic drama about a gay teenager. Similar to their film, show creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger still lay on a heavy dose of schmaltz in the ten half-hour episodes, but they also include more LGBTQ diversity and some unexpectedly authentic, poignant moments, tackling topics such as bullying, infidelity and depression. The culmination is an encouraging step forward in providing a much-needed representation for LGBTQ teens.
• Love, Victor originally was supposed to air on Disney+, which decided in February 2020 to pass it to Hulu for a release for LGBTQ Pride month.
• Michael Cimino, 20, got his big break when he appeared in 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home. Although straight, Cimino says he was drawn to the role in Love, Victor to give a voice to his gay cousin and queer kids he met in school who couldn’t be themselves.
• Felix’s fist pump in Episode 8 is an homage to the Judd Nelson finale of 1985’s The Breakfast Club.