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HBO "Love, Victor" ("Love,Simon"spin-off)

Discussion in 'Streaming TV' started by Michael Torrance, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Mega Star

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    This last week I watched "Love, Victor" on Hulu. I enjoyed it and recommend it despite one issue I will mention. For those who have seen "Love, Simon" (for the rest: go watch it now!), the spin-off is a very ingenious take. The Simon character is seen as a distant figure casting his shadow over Victor as the movie does on the TV show, and Nick Robinson (the Simon in the original) both produces it and guests as a voice and text presence to whom Victor writes, and eventually even makes a cameo.

    Now, for the clever take: Victor, in the first episode, hears all about Simon and his (eventually) great love story that started with emails and culminated in a kiss on the Ferris wheel at the winter carnival. And about Simon's white upper class, liberal, and open-minded parents (his mother was a psychologist, for heaven's sake) and his welcoming friends, and Victor finds it rather ridiculous. As a POC in a Hispanic, religious, and conservative (lower) middle class family, Simon's story has no resonance for Victor, and it is rather irritating, and his irritation eventually turns into a long venting message to Simon.

    I understood the reasons why "Love, Simon" gave its hero such a cushy context, because it is important to show that even when one would face no judgment from their immediate environment, coming out is still very hard--plus by taking away all the other parameters, it focused more on the sexual identity. But at the same time, I love that the writers (who are the same for the film and the TV show) exposed the limitations of that story for many other gay teens who did not have that idyllic situation.

    The show is really well written, and sometimes funny, while always pleasant. It is not focused on the title character (more on this later) and there are a lot of stories and characters to follow--surprisingly for a 30 minute show.
    The actor who plays Victor. Michael Cimino, is sweet and decent as an actor. But str8 buddy Felix (and this is also a minus), who should be his sidekick, steals the show. Felix is goofy and nerdy and also completely loveable and portrays more depth than Victor. Perhaps that is to be expected, since Felix has his heart on his sleeve and Victor's closet status means he is never really 100% himself with others. But whereas in "Love,Simon" the narration and Robinson's performance made Simon the focus, here he is one of the characters and the stories. That is not necessarily bad, but can be problematic when your show is named "Love,Victor" and seems to want to explore the coming out story and consequences for your protagonist.

    Felix and the girl he likes, Lake, are both more interesting than Victor and the other two gay guys who appear, Benji and Derek. Victor also gets a girlfriend as he wants to explore his sexuality (aka, stay in denial), Mia, and also a sorta antagonist in Andrew. The show is not quite sure what to make of Andrew, who occasionally bullies Victor but on the whole acts more like the typical scoundrel waiting to be reformed by the love of a good woman, and sometimes it did not feel like this was an ensemble show but two shows running parallel: Felix and Lake with Mia and Andrew were in an updated John Hughes movie, and then Victor and Benji were in their gay version of it.

    I am looking forward to the second season, if not for nothing else than to see if Victor will become the kind of warm presence Simon was in the original (who was also in the closet and yet managed to be someone to identify with). I intentionally did not include any plot points not in the first episode (except for the cameo), but I will say that when Nick Robinson appears, production (aka himself) and direction try to make him a decade or more older than Cimino, when in reality he is only 4 years older, which is another way the show tried to take the spotlight away from Simon/Robinson. But really the best option would have been for him not to appear at all. Victor may be the person of colour, but with Simon around, he pales in comparison.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  2. Brian Kinney

    Brian Kinney Soap Chat Active Member

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    I agree with most of your comment, @Michael Torrance and just wanted to add that I've read some reviews I thought were too critical with it. Your critic is the first one that mirrors my impression.
    You are so right about Victor's buddy Felix - he steals the show and I think it's not just his story that reached my heart. He's played by an actor who seems to be more comfortable with his part than some of the others.
    I didn't like the writing for Victor's father. One minute, with the grandfather, he appeared to be homophobe toward Benji and Derek and the next he's applauding his son. That was too fast. But since they had the cliffhanger at the end I'm curious how the parents will react to the reality in their own family. Also I hope that Hulu offers a more relaxed attitude towards scenes that involve more than kissing because I think awareness of HIV is very important to integrate for a younger audience.
    I'm envying young viewers of today to have much more gay related content that I had as a teenager. Then there was only Steven in Dynasty whose sexuality switched in an infuriating way.
     
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  3. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Mega Star

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    I kinda doubt it, but maybe. The show was commissioned by Disney+ and was only switched to Hulu after it was on the way to be aired. So its Disney+ PG rating shows when it comes to sex on all characters, gay and straight alike. Perhaps now that the production knows that it is on Hulu it would change, but I am not holding my breath.
     
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  4. Brian Kinney

    Brian Kinney Soap Chat Active Member

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    I don't mean explicit sex scenes. Rather subtle, indicated. Fade out when the shirts are off, they shouldn't show naked asses of young actors. But there should be talk about condoms or expectations that have to do with too-easy available porn in that age or the exploitations of teens who offer too much of their privacy in social media. Problems that teens in my family struggle with today. Not in a preachy way but with respect to the awkwardness of talking about such topics aside from the common insecurities. I think it would fit into the atmosphere of what we've seen so far in Love, Victor without affecting Disney's policies (since Hulu is majority-owned by Disney).
     
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  5. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    I don't want to read any further than this, but just wanted to butt in to say that I really enjoyed the movie and fancy this series, shame it's only on Hulu. Hopefully, Amazon Prime or Netflix will pick it up. I don't even know if Hulu is available in the UK
     
  6. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Mega Star

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    They do usually show what is produced in unavailable platforms in other countries, so have hope.
     
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