It feels just like the showrunners of “Love, Victor” learn a nasty assessment of “Love, Simon” and determined the answer to a boring film a few white, rich, homosexual man was a boring TV present a few nonwhite, working class, maybe-gay man.
The low-stakes mediocrity can be stunning, however it’s the direct-to-Hulu sequel of a low-stakes, mediocre film. It superficially overcorrects the faults and missteps of its 2018 predecessor, “Love, Simon,” with out truly addressing the movie’s actual points.
“Love, Simon” had all of the elements of a superb film — it’s a homosexual coming-of-age rom-com story with Jennifer Garner — nevertheless it doesn’t use them to construct a superb film. It feels gay-adjacent, right down to the casting of Simon — Nick Robinson, a straight actor, as Simon comes throughout as straight, and is generally there to attraction to straight feminine audiences.
The titular character in “Love, Simon” is a closeted teenager in a liberal family in Creekwood, a rich suburb of Atlanta. When one other homosexual scholar posts anonymously on the highschool’s unregulated gossip weblog, Simon begins emailing him, and the movie turns into a Hallmark knockoff of “You’ve Received Mail,” till one other scholar finds Simon’s emails and threatens him with them.
Blackmail isn’t an awesome look, however threatening to out a closeted homosexual child takes it to a complete new degree of iffy-icky badness. The principle rigidity is manufactured by means of this basic, tremendous problematic ’80s trope, however “Love, Simon” by no means creates plausible battle or decision. As an alternative, it leans into the mediocrity of the worst highschool motion pictures and ignores the issues that might make it nice.
“Love, Victor” is certainly the sequel to “Love, Simon.” It corrects the reliable criticisms of its predecessor — that it ignores problems with race and sophistication — in a method that doesn’t transcend the floor. It makes Victor Latinx and dealing class, however doesn’t meaningfully tackle how these identities affect his popping out.
Victor is a brand new scholar at Creekwood Excessive, determining how to slot in and navigate his attraction to each female and male friends. Nearly instantly, somebody posts about him on the college gossip weblog, which turns into an enormous deal for half of an episode. Then it isn’t, and he turns into a basketball star who’s effectively on his approach to locking down a relationship with one other well-liked scholar.
Even the notice of Victor’s class identification lasts one episode, lengthy sufficient to level it out, however superficial sufficient that Victor’s condominium seems like a HomeGoods advert in each episode after. As an alternative of authentically addressing Victor’s identification, the present creates low-cost, low-stakes and really predictable highschool drama.
Nothing about “Love, Victor” feels unique, and even like a brand new spin on previous tropes. The most effective a part of the present is the satisfaction of predicting the beats of each episode earlier than they play out. I gained’t spoil it for anybody who’s nonetheless inclined to observe, however the surprises aren’t precisely stunning.
The overused tropes are a holdover of “Love, Simon,” together with the unaware dad and mom and dangerous lecturers. A number of lecturers name a scholar “lone stone,” in reference to a rumor that he has one testicle. Directors speaking a few scholar’s genitals is cringey for a present made this yr — it feels straight out of “Glee,” which was cringey in 2009.
Past the creepy directors, Creekwood Excessive Faculty isn’t that attention-grabbing. There may be “Creek Secrets and techniques” — a holdover from “Love, Simon” that appears like a Gen Z try at “Gossip Lady.” What sort of highschool has an unregulated, crowdsourced gossip weblog that harasses and outs different college students? That looks like one thing any half-decent principal would shut down, however Creekwood Excessive is a joke.
“Love, Victor” doesn’t put effort into making the manufactured conflicts or their too-easy options plausible. Throughout a pivotal scene between the primary character and certainly one of his love pursuits, all I might assume was, “How did they hire a resort room, they’re 16?” And critically, who rented a room to 2 highschool sophomores?
The present will get closest to one thing resembling genuine queer identification within the eighth episode, when Victor pulls a Ferris Bueller and spends the weekend in New York with Simon’s roommates, determining what it means to be homosexual. The episode isn’t good — it feels handy that the opposite characters purchase his horrible excuse to go to New York — however it’s a microcosm of what the present coulda-woulda-shoulda executed to characterize homosexual teenagers and younger adults authentically.
They take 16-year-old Victor to a nightclub, which is tremendous sketchy, nevertheless it expands an identification that he didn’t have entry to at residence. He performs basketball with a homosexual league, he talks to different individuals who perceive his experiences and he truly will get to see what it might seem like to be out on this planet.
If the present runners had spent the primary eight episodes doing what it does — imperfectly, however with effort — on this episode, “Love, Victor” can be a totally completely different present — one I might need to watch.
Principally, “Love, Victor” made me need to rewatch “Intercourse Schooling,” which had extra — and higher — queer illustration. “Intercourse Schooling” has difficult and plausible youngsters, who look, act and kiss like youngsters. They’re awkward, and their dialogue isn’t an infinite volley of quippy one-liners and references to popular culture that can make the present really feel dated 10 years from now.
“Love, Victor” suffers from the “Gilmore Ladies” impact, the place writers make up for weak character improvement with a barrage of fast intelligent commentary. It leans so closely on the overused tropes of straight TV that it doesn’t go away an impression — if the purpose is sweet illustration for queer teenagers, it fails.
For those who’re homosexual, searching for greater than “Love, Simon” or “Love, Victor,” can I level you actually wherever else? Critically, strive “The Half of It” on Netflix. It’s is an intimate portrait of being closeted, nonwhite and dealing class, and it feels genuine — an earned expression of queer pleasure. The complete film feels lived in, like a well-loved sweater or a favourite guide.
Nonetheless, in case your solely standards for what to observe subsequent is that it has some homosexual illustration, strive “Love, Victor.” It positively has some, though it could’t supply a lot else.