Love, Victor

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

When Simon Spier “came out” a few years ago, his parents were accepting, his friends were supportive, and his classmates even cheered when he shared a kiss with another gay student at the top of the Ferris wheel at the winter carnival.

But it’s not that easy for other kids.

Victor Salazar is gay (or at least he thinks he is—he’s still figuring that part out). He recently started school at Creekwood, Simon’s alma mater, and he’s hoping that a fresh start will allow him to be his “true self”—whoever that might be.

Of course, there are just a few problems with that (for Victor, at least). The student body of Creekside might have been cool with Simon’s sexuality, but Victor fears Simon might’ve been the exception. And unlike Simon’s progressive family, Victor’s parents are very conservative. Their faith, they say, is important to them. They look down on anyone who appears to be “flojito” and subtly indicate exactly how they feel about alternative lifestyles.

And that’s not all that’s going on in Victor’s family.

Family Matters

The Salazars aren’t necessarily poor, but they do live in a lower income apartment complex. And their recent move from Texas to Georgia didn’t exactly help.

And then there’s the reason why they had to move. Victor’s parents might be “religious,” but that didn’t stop his mom from having an affair. (There’s also hints that Victor’s dad did something bad, as well.) She and her husband still love each other, so they’re trying to work through it, but all that familial tension also makes it even harder for Victor to tell his parents his own secret.

With so much already on their shoulders, Victor feels guilty adding more to the load.

Love Is Love?

Love, Victor was created as a sequel series of sorts to the 2018 film Love, Simon. Simon even makes an appearance as Victor’s mentor and confidant, much like “Blue” did for him. And like its predecessor, Love, Victor’s narrative focus on teen homosexuality will be an automatic nonstarter for some viewers.

The show also clearly has an agenda, but much like the film, its “inherent likeability cuts both ways.”

Plugged In’s Paul Asay wrote that “Love, Simon aims to influence. Lots of mainstream critics are hailing the way it normalizes teen homosexuality. And even though I might appreciate, on some levels, the film’s authenticity, that very quality also makes the movie’s quiet advocacy for homosexuality that much more problematic for families trying to raise their kids by truths rooted in Scripture. This movie reinforces messages that are all but ubiquitous in the culture today, but does so with a warm smile and a friendly hug. We like Simon. We want him to be happy. And impressionable teens—who might very well know a Simon or two in their own lives—might root for him to find that happiness on his own terms. Not (as we’re all asked to do) on God’s.”

The same can be said of Love, Victor—perhaps even more so since the determining factor holding Victor back from “coming out” is the fact that he’s scared how his Christian parents will react.

But again, despite Victor’s insistence that his story is nothing like Simon’s, the show really isn’t much different from the movie. The language is harsh. We hear several uses of the s-word and other milder profanities. And the sexuality is pervasive. And although nothing progresses past kissing on-screen, kids are having sex and there is a wider discussion surrounding Victor’s choice to wait.

But it still gets one thing right. Victor’s parents love their kids. And their kids love them right back.

Episode Reviews

June 17, 2020: “Welcome to Creekwood”

Victor and his family adjust to their new lives in a big city after moving from a small, conservative town in Texas.

Flashes from the movie Love, Simon show Simon kissing another male student. Several teenage girls wear tight-fitting clothes, cropped tops and short skirts. A slow-motion camera fixates on a gay teenage boy to show Victor’s interest in him. Some male students talk about sex. A teacher tells a male student to pull his pants up. She also says her first kiss was with a gay guy. People make several negatively-charged comments about homosexuality. Simon’s dad suspects a well-dressed man at church may be gay.

Victor confronts another student after the guy mocked him for being poor. The guy shoves him, and Victor drops his lunch. Victor yells at his friend in anger but later apologizes for his rudeness. We learn that Pilar shoved a girl at school for calling her a name. Her dad defends Pilar, saying the girl deserved it, but her mom is appalled. Victor asks his mom if their marriage is OK since they didn’t use to fight so much.

A woman says she prays for her family and thanks Jesus for her son, who is her rock. When Victor’s mom asks where she should hang a crucifix, Pilar says Jesus would probably prefer not to be hanging from a cross. Someone talks about believing in destiny.

A student says that people call him “Lone Stone” because of a rumor that he lost one of his testicles after getting hit in the crotch with a baseball. Someone says Pilar looks like Dora the Explorer “if Dora was exploring a thrift store.” Someone says two girls will get pregnant and drop out of school. A boy talks about vomiting on a ride. Victor’s friend worries if asking him to get churros is racist since Victor is Latino.

We hear the s-word, “a–,” “h—” and “d–k,” as well as a few misuses of God’s name.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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