We Need to Talk About Hulu's Love, Victor
We’ll start with the original book, the OG, the one that started it all: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. And when it comes to the movie—I’m just gonna say it, I’m gonna be that person—the book was better. The book found and played out such nuanced character dynamics between friends, family, rivals, all that high school mumbo-jumbo; then the movie came in and said, “Okay, but what if Leah wants to f*** Simon? Eh? Eh?!?!”
And, I’m sorry, I just wasn’t having it.
But the book was not without its flaws. It portrayed a very basic (to say the least) coming out story. Which, to its defense as my boyfriend always points out to me, it’s kind of targeted towards the straights. For all its LGBTQ+ representation, it keeps it simple and easy to understand. He’s just like you (straight person watching this move), he’s just got a crush on a boy and here’s why that’s okay. Simon spends most of the book secretly flirting with his sexuality, and then it comes out, and then everyone’s pretty cool with it, and yay happy ending.
This same issue carried over into the movie. And I get it, it was necessary. Cool. While it was groundbreaking for the LGBTQ+ community—just being heavy gay rep in a big-budget movie—it wasn’t really groundbreaking to an LGBTQ+ audience.
Now, let’s talk about Love, Victor. Because EVERY. SINGLE. COMPLAINT. I had about Love, Simon has been heard, answered, and then some.
First off, the story is far more complicated, with many layers, twists, and compelling circumstances (such as Victor’s struggling home-life dynamic) acting as influences to the main focus of Victor’s sexuality and his navigation of the world. While, of course, moving into a series format allows more space to include that, the point stands. While Love, Simon gave a glimpse, Love, Victor took a good long stare at LGBTQ+ youth.
It’s also definitely worth noting that Love, Victor is a majority not-white cast. With Latinx and Black leads, it gives the story a bit more authenticity to me. The LGBTQ+ community is extremely diverse in every sense. And everyone in the community is kind of tired of every single popular LGBTQ+ story being about a middle-class white kid who’s kind of shy falling in love with the white jock. So, Love, Victor, with Michael Cimino as the titular character, is a welcomed fresh perspective.
Something else Love, Victor managed to make me do is kind of root for the girl in Victor’s life. Usually—like in the case of Love, Simon, Call Me By Your Name, [Name another gay book/movie, it probably falls under this trope]—the girls whom the gay boys date or have some sort of romance with are portrayed more as stepping stones than any kind of actual character with feelings. Or, a character that the boy actually has feelings for.
Victor has actual feelings for Mia—misunderstood feelings, yes, but the narrative does a great job of putting the audience into Victor’s mind-state. Right off the bat, I liked Victor with Mia a lot more than I liked Victor with Benji. Mia was perfect, she was beautiful, she was the total package. So much so, that I genuinely thought this was going to be a story about Victor being bisexual. And, to be honest, I still think that could be in the cards for season 2.
Also, Benji is an underwritten character. Just gonna say that. He’s cute and romantic, but what else will he bring for season 2? I hope a bit more.
And, you know what, just for sticks and giggles, let’s talk about Felix and Lake. They’re the comic relief, and Oh. My. God. these two characters are television GOLD. Felix is geeky funny with soft-boy charm and a wit that could kill. Lake is the blonde popular girl with killer fashion and just natural, smart comedy delivered perfected in every scene. Yeah, you’ve seen this relationship before, but the dynamic works so well for these two characters, and these two actors make it something special I can’t wait to see more of.
Okay, so if this was a review, I’d give it like a rating or something, but it’s not a review, it’s just me ranting. So, I’m just going to highly suggest you watch Love, Victor. It’s all available right now on Hulu, and the half-hour episodes make it an easy, satisfying binge.
Here’s to a speedy season 2 announcement. Love, Matthew.