Love Victor is showing now on Disney + (Star)
It seems like an eternity ago that I reported on the arrival of the much anticipated Love Victor on Hulu in America. At the time, I had more than expected Love Victor to make a quick transition to British TV screens; however, it took a lot longer in reality. But, fear not, as the time has come, and Love Victor arrived on Disney + (Star) this week. The first two episodes available immediately, followed by a weekly schedule of releases.
It’s fair to say I was a big fan of Love Simon on its release in 2018. Its 12a certificate a welcome leap forward in the visibility of gay teenage romantic comedy. I, therefore, cannot begin to express my disappointment when Love Victor found itself ousted from a potential Disney + debut internationally. And while being reassured by Disney that this was not a result of its gay love story. I still find myself uncomfortable with the decision made. After all, High School Musical, the Musical, the TV Series had no such scrutiny, despite also covering teen relationships. But, questions regarding Disney and its ‘family-friendly’ ethos could cover an entire article. So Back to Love Victor.
It’s important to state at this point that I have no intention of ruining Love Victor with a spoiler-filled review. And will, therefore, offer a simple overview rather than an in-depth analysis of the story. In essence, Love Victor follows a similar style and delivery to its big-screen cousin; however, here, many of the critical weaknesses found in Love Simon find a corrective if occasionally uncertain voice. For example, Victor is new to Creekwood; his family not carrying the same wealth and privilege on display in the Spier household. His Puerto Rican and Colombian-American background providing us with nuanced discussions on the interface between sexuality, culture and religion. Meanwhile, conversations on sexual orientation and identity find a distinctly different voice. His communication over Instagram with Simon Spier only highlighting the differing journies of both boys.
Love Victor also dispenses with the secret and anonymous gay romance, instead opting to explore the decisions, choices and hidden feelings that haunt our journey to self-acceptance. However, while commendable in its vision, Love Victor also keeps to a tried and tested format. The bravery of the subjects raised occasionally lost in its episodic structure. But, despite this, Love Victor excels in the performances of its young cast; Victor (Michael Cimino), Mia (Rachel Naomi Hilson), Benji (George Sear) and Felix (Anthony Turpel), all glowing throughout. The strength of the show held in its ability to reflect the coming out process from a new angle. While at the same time acknowledging that the journey toward acceptance in school is still far from complete following Simon’s experience.
The result is a delightful and engaging, if occasionally cautious, series that finds its own unique voice in expanding Becky Albertalli’s universe. And while it may not quite reach the heights of its predecessor, it continues the mission of bringing LGBTQ+ storytelling to teen drama.
I will always applaud any show that increases visibility and supports the journey of LGBTQ+ equality; it’s just a pity that it sits behind a more adult orientated platform on Disney +. The discussions over its move from Disney to Hulu still haunting its premiere. While at the same time raising questions on just how ready Disney is in further embracing LGBTQ+ characters and storytelling. Let’s hope that with season two on the way, Love Victor not only continues to break down the barriers of visibility started by its predecessor but finds love in the arms of Disney in the process.