Love, Victor is the queer and cheesy teen series we’ve been waiting for

Announced a long time ago by Disney + before replacing broadcasters, the series comes from film Love, Simon (based on the novel itself Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda written by Becky Albertalli) was finally released on Hulu on June 17th. Love, Victor is the continuation of Greg Berlanti’s feature film, released in 2018 and which depicts the adventures of Simon Spier, a high school student in the closet, whose epistolary relationship via email with a Blue than helps him get out to his family and friends. Even to live a great love story. This first gay teen romance backed by a major Hollywood studio (20th Century Fox) was a truly critical and public success, the film valued at 10 million dollars for gross receipts reaching and $ 66 million. Society is finally ready for a romantic comedy strange, praised for its inclusiveness and important message about accepting one’s sexual orientation. So it’s no surprise that a serial project has been started, especially since its director, Greg Berlanti, himself is gay, from the world of series and works primarily on Dawson.

Presented by the film’s screenwriters, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the series was chosen after the film’s events, in the same suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Simon left and now lives in New York: he started exchanging via Instagram with a new high school student, Victor Salazar, who clearly needed his advice. From Texas, our new hero has recently moved in with his family-parents who are always arguing, a teenage girl at the end of her life and a beautiful little sister. He began his education at Creekwood High School, and found himself divided between a family of relatively conservative and religious Latinx backgrounds, a quick crush on a young high school student who met in a café, a desperate desire to be included in his new universe, and a questioning of his sexual orientation. Is he gay, bi, pansexual?

While placing itself in the same universe as the film and keeping its essence (open-mindedness, a warm filter, a little cheesy but very comforting), Love, Victor immediately distinguishes itself from its model by choosing to focus on a racialized behavior, for whom it is more difficult to get out of the closet. If Simon is afraid of his parents ’reaction, just think of Victor, whose father constantly comments homophobic without ever knowing it. But the message is clear for the young man: in his family, if homosexuality is finally accepted, it is among others. Add to that a need to participate in high school, a normal feeling for a teenager, but can be obsessive for someone racialized and potential. strange (who is made to realize in a thousand different ways that he is not normal) and you get a young man whose constant smile and seemingly even in anger masks everything he feels, becomes a expert in the art of controlling emotions.

Thus, the series approached the issue of sexual orientation in a slightly different way from the film. Victor wants to be so normal that he convinces himself for a good part of the time of a potential bisexuality, starting a relationship with a young woman, Mia (Rachel Naomi Hilson), who fell under his spell. It’s impossible not to think about Joey and Jack’s relationship in season 2 of Dawson’s Creek River in the United States. In both cases, Jack and Victor are dealing with a sensitive girl, who they feel good about, but realize they have no physical attraction for her. And our two young men find themselves also going through the bisexuality box before realizing they are gay. It’s a path that doesn’t advance the case of two people, but is nonetheless a reflection on the side of truth. Many young men go through this less frightening event, before fully acquiring their sexual orientation. To avoid the invalidity of bisexuality, one scene shows Victor researching and realizing that. “Sexuality is a spectrum”.

Sexuality can be a spectrum, but in the Creekwood suburb, we are obviously gay or straight. And that’s probably to blame for the series, which is located in the middle Dawson – this little side feels goodthe accuracy of the emotions, the stages of it formed for a network, this impression that despite all in a cocoon where hearts can never be broken – but can not reach modernity and wonders of one Sex Education. Except for perhaps one of the best episodes of this first season, called “Boys’ Trip ”, where Victor joins Simon, Bram and their strange New York roommates, who discover what life looks like outside the closet (and to us, what season 3 or 4 is on Love, Victor murag murag).

On the other hand, if the series remains shy about the representation of sexuality and doesn’t change the wheel of the teen genre (we see the archetypes of the weirdo friend in love with a seemingly superficial girl, the bully sportsman or the younger sister is intolerable.), on the other hand it has great merit in offering and racialized characters in the main roles, of which most performances by teenagers (danger Riverdale) still continues to make sidekicks or second class protagonists. And that changes the tone of the series and its stakes: we’re developing a Victor’s sneakers, holding on to his lies because his family works the same way. Who is afraid of the idea of ​​coming out in front of a father who reproduces the homophobic nature of the grandfather.

Her digital correspondence with Simon no longer acts, like in the film, in a loving land, but friendly. We are allowed to understand the headaches of our young hero, who is somehow trying to justify his choices (once, somewhat like Simon): that exploring his relationship with Mia, to delay on his coming out, to continue to lie even if it means. hurting their loved ones… Before the end, his inner house of cards collapsed in a pretty cool end to the season and good for the future, the series proving that he didn’t want to play with Victor’s release at many times. Intended primarily for Disney +, this first season remains somewhat formed and predictable, but overall successful for fans of performances by teenagers kind, and we need them! The second season (which we call our aspirations), like a Victor in full self-acceptance, can be less smooth to win full support.

Currently, Love, Victor unfortunately not available in France.

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