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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Love, Victor is a series that's set in the same world as the movie Love, Simon. Like Simon in the original movie, Victor (Michael Cimino) is a high school student who's pretty sure he's not strictly heterosexual and struggles with accepting his own sexuality and coming out to family and friends. Mature content is on the light side, with a few exceptions, including an episode in which teens play a drinking game and one gets drunk. Expect storylines about LGBTQ issues and both same- and opposite-sex kissing, dating, and romance, as well as references to (off-screen) sex, including an episode in which teens attend a party organized around hooking up. Characters vary in their sexual identity, gender identity and presentation, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Victor's family is Latinx and frequently speaks Spanish at home; they also have conservative viewpoints and struggle with financial security. Language is infrequent, but "hell," "ass," and "s--t," are all heard, and characters use the word "gay" as an insult. Themes revolve around accepting yourself and others, and characters demonstrate significant courage and integrity in finding ways to live authentically yet still maintain bonds with family and friends.
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What's the story?
Set in the same universe as the 2018 hit movie Love, Simon, LOVE, VICTOR is about a high school sophomore named Victor (Michael Cimino) who moves from Texas to Simon's old home town, and attends the same high school, where Simon's romantic legacy is remembered by all. Like Simon, Victor is interested in his male classmates; unlike him, he comes from a conservative, religious Latin family in which his sister Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) is supposed to be the rebellious one, while Victor's mom (Ana Ortiz) calls her oldest son her "rock." Things are indeed pretty rocky for Victor at his new school, for despite the friendly presence of his new neighbor and friend Felix (Anthony Turpel), Victor immediately develops a rivalry with cocky basketball player Andrew (Mason Gooding), a confused flirtation with classmate Mia (Rachel Hilson), and a monster crush on openly gay Benji (George Sear).
Is it any good?
Deeply loved by lots of cinemagoers, Love, Simon has nonetheless been criticized for its privileged, white point of view, which this sweet spin-off series seems determined to subvert from the very first scenes. As the camera pans over boxes filled with trophies, a drawing of the state of Texas, and a Puerto Rican flag, we understand that Victor comes from a different background than Simon's polished upper-middle-class origins; the subsequent scene of Victor's mom trying to find the right place for the family's crucifix points out a few more wrinkles in Victor's story. Victor is different from Simon, whom he (improbably) knows all about, to the extent that he begins the show by shooting a DM to his predecessor: "Dear Simon: Screw you."
Of course, viewers will note that Victor, like Simon, is also a handsome guy who can easily pass for straight, who has a loving (if more fraught) relationship with his parents, and who quickly develops a cadre of supportive friends. Gritty TV this is not. But Love, Victor does amp up the interesting complications a bit by having Victor develop a halting relationship with a girl that seems to be less about Victor hiding his sexuality and more about exploring fluidity and introducing LGBTQ characters who vary a bit on the heteronormative scale yet are still whole, realistic people with nuance and agency. As a teen series in an era when LGBTQ representation is blooming, Love, Victor isn't as groundbreaking as it might have been at another time. But it's charming and easy to love, just like Victor himself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Love, Victor depicts teens. Are the characters and their decisions realistic? What about the consequences of those decisions? Do these characters seem like people you might know? Why or why not?
How does Love, Victor depict bullying? What should teens do if that happens to them? What should they do if they see it happening to someone else? How does Victor handle it? Positively or not?
The actors playing teenaged main characters in Love, Victor range from 18 to 24 years old. Does that surprise you? Why do you think adults often portray teens in movies and TV shows?
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