(Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched the show)
Somewhere later in the series, an emotional Victor-taking deep breaths in between-tells some empathetic queer folks, “My parents are religious too. I really worry how they would react if I ever told them that I am like you guys.” and that was all I needed to get teary-eyed as well. And that was all I needed as well to accept that Love, Victor was an invaluable addition to the Simonverse.
Love, Victor takes place one year after the events of Love, Simon. By this time, Simon and his gang are away at college which brings the focus of the Simonverse onto Victor Salazar, another confused teenager who is new to the world of Creekwood and who can’t help but feel envious of Simon’s story. And he (as well as I) have some really good reasons for having such feelings.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for Love, Simon and for the conversations it helped to start about the LGBTQ+ community in addition to their representation in mainstream media. But even after watching the movie, a part of me felt alone and alienated because it wasn’t just my reality. I could never come out to my parents like how Simon did and I would have never gotten the same level of acceptance he got from his school community.
That’s when Love, Victor came along like a missing piece of the puzzle and there’s no doubt it fits perfectly into the Simonverse and improves on it.
First off, we get introduced to Victor’s parents who are strictly religious folks and are okay with the LGBTQ+ community as long as their own children aren’t queer. Now that’s a brown parent thing and I am all for it. Their marriage isn’t smooth either; they are trying to rebuild their relationship from the mess that happened due to an affair Victor’s mother had with his father’s former boss. This has repercussions on Victor as well as he has to deal with the stress of the fractured relations between his parents while he tries to make sense of his sexuality. This is important as it throws light on queer mental health, especially the mental health of queer folks who have to deal with a dysfunctional family and it is something that Love, Simon couldn’t show.
Then, we see Victor in a relationship with a girl although he clearly has feelings for his schoolmate and co-worker, Benji, an out-and-proud gay man who is already in a relationship. Even though Victor comes out as gay towards the end of the season, I couldn’t help but read his conflicted feelings for both Benji and Mia as that of a bisexual man who is not sure if he is bisexual. Bisexual representation in pop culture is quite scarce. The dilemma that bisexual folks go through while trying to make sense of their identity is something that is not widely discussed. The emotional conflict Victor goes through is, thus, a breakthrough moment in popular media for bisexual representation.
Another aspect that is remarkable of the show is how it shows that a same-sex relationship is the same as any other relationship. Benji’s relationship with Derek is fraught with insecurities and problems arising due to no clear communication between them … problems that are seen in a heterosexual relationship as well. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns for a same-sex relationship just because it is one and in the midst of a huge burst of TV shows and movies showing happily-ever-afters for LGBTQ+ couples, this was an important message to drive home.
And can I just say how glad I am to see drag queens being represented here as well in all their true sassy glory. What’s an LGBTQ+ series good for if it can’t make you go “Yaass queen!” with moments like these?
All the more reasons why I am wishing season 2 was already here.