Review by Sean Boelman
The Love, Simon spinoff Love, Victor had its path changed when it was moved from being in development at family-friendly streaming service Disney+ to being released on Hulu, and with season 2, the series can embrace the more mature content allowed to it by its less restrictive home. Taking the story in an intriguing new direction, the series offers plenty more enjoyable teen melodrama.
Whereas the first season of Love, Simon served mostly as an expanded redo of the coming out storyline of Love, Victor, this new season follows Victor as he finds his place as a gay teen in his family and community. It can get very maudlin at times, perhaps even more so than last year’s episodes, but it has a way to charm its way into the hearts of young audiences.
The significant improvement that this season does make over the last is that it no longer seems burdened by the image of Love, Simon. Although Nick Robinson still makes a cameo, his seemingly omnipresent role as a narrator is no longer in play, and as a result, the series is finally allowed to do its own thing.
For example, this season goes more into depth regarding the Latino heritage of the protagonist and his family and how it affected his coming out. Subplots exploring how Victor’s parents learn to accept their son’s sexuality are handled in a surprisingly sensitive and earnest way, a rarity for LGBTQ teen movies.
Subplots involving Victor’s friends are also expanded, but Victor and his family’s portions are far more interesting. Last season’s love interest Mia (Rachel Hilson) gets her own storyline, but it feels like anything else we’ve seen in a high school romance. We also get to see more of Felix (Anthony Turpel) and Lake (Bebe Wood), although the series takes this in a disappointingly predictable direction.
Michael Cimino again does a great job as the protagonist, although he doesn’t really break much new ground with his performance despite the series’s new direction. James Martinez is probably this season’s MVP as Victor’s father, serving as the main source of emotional grounding for the show.
That said, the execution of the show does feel rushed. Whereas Love, Simon had some moments that were genuinely inspired and creative, this is shot like any other teen soap on television or streaming. A bit of extra creativity would have been nice to see. And the title sequence is still one of the worst-fitting in any show.
This new season of Love, Victor is a nice continuation of the story that we saw. It manages to fix a lot of the issues that there were with the first season while creating a few new problems that need to be addressed.
Love, Victor streams on Hulu beginning June 11. All ten episodes reviewed.
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