Love, Victor: Season 2–How Parents Deal with Son’s Sexuality

Love, Victor is an American teen comedy-drama streaming TV series created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, inspired by and set in the same world as the 2018 film Love, Simon.

Premiering on June 17, 2020, on Hulu, the series is produced by 20th Television, with Aptaker and Berger as showrunners.

Michael Cimino stars as Victor, a teen from a half Puerto Rican, half Colombian-American family living in Atlanta.

Nick Robinson, who starred as the titular Simon in the original film, produces and narrates the series.

In August 2020, the series was renewed for season 2, which premiered yesterday, June 11, 2021

Love, Victor
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Love, Victor Season2: The Struggle of One Family to Accept their Son is Gay

Love, Victor -- Sincerely, Rahim” -
HULUSeason 2 of “Love, Victor,” streaming now on Hulu.

Season 2 of Love, Victor, the spinoff series of the groundbreaking 2018 coming out feature Love, Simon, begins where the first left off, with teenager Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) telling his parents he’s gay.

Audiences finally get to see how the parents, Armando (James Martinez) and Isabel (Ana Ortiz), react to their son’s coming out.

At first, neither parent embraces Victor’s sexual identity. Armando engages, if awkwardly, asking about his girlfriend and wondering when he decided he was gay.

Isabel, however, remains silent. When Victor finally asks her to say something, she says, “We should get some rest, and we can talk about it tomorrow.”

When the episode cuts to 10 weeks later, Victor and Isabel still haven’t discussed it.  While Armando does the work to understand his son by attending meetings of the local chapter of LGBTQIA+ support group, led by Simon’s father Jack (Josh Duhamel), Isabel struggles to accept Victor’s gayness.

“It would be dishonest for him to come out and for everything to be just fine in his household,” says co-showrunner Brian Tanen. “In 2021, you really just want to see parents hug their kids and tell them everything’s going to be OK. But part of our job on this show was to tell a different coming out story than, say, Simon had in the film,” in which Simon’s parents immediately understand and accept him.

“Love, Victor” charts a more complicated course. As Victor begins his first same-sex relationship with his boyfriend Benji (George Sear), Isabel flounders, avoiding spending time with Benji.

“This is going to sound slightly odd, but I was actually excited when they told me,” says Ortiz about Isabel’s arc in Season 2. “It was really different.”

Usually in coming out stories, the mother is the one who is understanding and devoted to her LGBTQIA+ child. Ortiz even played that role to perfection on ABC’s beloved telenovela Ugly Betty as Hilda Suarez, who protected her young gay son Justin (Mark Indelicato). So she relished the reversal.

“I thought about it constantly,” says Ortiz of the differences between Hilda and Isabel. “They are two sides of a coin. Hilda really would would fight anyone to the death if they looked at Justin cross-eyed. Whereas, Isabel is so hung up on what people think of her family and of her as a mother. Like, ‘How could you raise a gay son? If it was me, I wouldn’t let them be gay.’ I’ve heard that from people in my community: ‘Well, just tell him he can’t be gay. Tell her she can’t do that.’”

Ortiz saw this dynamic within her own family. She relays how her late cousin Freddy was devoted to her paternal grandmother Ramona, despite the fact that for a long time Ramona could not accept Freddy was gay. That helped inform Ortiz’s understanding of why Isabel would take so long to support Victor.

“She’s not a monster,” Ortiz says. “She loves her son, she loves her family. I was just thinking about Freddy and Ramona and how much we all loved her, despite those flaws — how human she was. She was still there for Freddy, and yet, there was always that little thing — until there wasn’t. Until that light switched.”

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Ana Ortiz, as Victor’s mother Isabel, and George Sear, as Victor’s boyfriend Benji, in “Love, Victor.”Michael Desmond/Courtesy of Hulu

The writers of “Love, Victor” also drew on their own personal experiences with coming out to their parents when crafting Isabel’s journey. Isabel’s initial reaction to keep postponing the hard conversation with Victor to another day.

“For those whose parents didn’t immediately embrace the idea of coming out, this idea of a non-answer was something we heard about over and over again,” says Tanen. “This idea of a parent just holding back and not really wanting to say one way or the other because they’re in a little bit of shock, and don’t want to say negative things, but aren’t there on their journey.”

Isabel also refuses to allow Victor to tell his little brother Adrian (Mateo Fernandez) that he’s gay, a development that grew out of the controversy when “Love, Victor” moved from its home on Disney Plus to Hulu before Season 1.

The move only ended up benefitting the show — allowing for an uncommonly frank depiction of Victor and Benji’s sex life in Season 2 — the decision that “Love, Victor” couldn’t be on the more “family friendly” Disney Plus “spurred interesting conversation in our writers’ room about whether LGBT issues are inherently more adult.”

“Sexuality is a more of an adult topic,” he continues. “We wanted Isabel to grapple with whether it’s OK to have these conversations with kids. These are conversations about who people are.”

Once Adrian does learn that Victor is gay, he accepts it without a second thought, which spurs Isabel to confront the biggest impediment: her lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church. In Season 2, Isabel consults her priest about Victor, and he advises to help her son find his way back to Jesus–to stop being gay.

“When he’s agreeing with her reluctance about Victor’s coming out, she doesn’t want to hear it,” says Tanen. “You can see on her face she wants the priest to turn her around on this. Her heart and mind are in different places.”

When Adrian tells Isabel their priest insinuated that Victor’s soul was in danger, she has the same light switch moment that Ortiz’s grandmother had with Ortiz’s cousin Freddy, and she tells off the priest.

“I have been raised to believe a lot of ugly things, Father,” she says. “Things that it’s probably going to take the rest of my life to unlearn, but I will unlearn them.”

Ortiz loved the scene, but the director kept reminding her to dial back her reaction. “My instinct is to be like, ‘Let me loose!’” she says. “But that’s just not Isabel. She still is so much more subdued about it.”

Tanen wrote the penultimate episode of the season, in which Isabel finally tells Victor what he’s been desperate to hear: “I accept you, Victor. I love every single part of you.”

That kind of happy ending isn’t reflective of every parent’s reaction to their child’s sexuality, but it is in keeping with the larger mandate for “Love, Victor” to eschew dwelling on the trauma of coming out.

“We want the show to feel inspirational and uplifting,” he says. “It can become emotional in our writers’ room as as people recount the journeys they’ve been on, but it can also be incredibly cathartic. An opportunity to have a bit of wish fulfillment, to rewrite history in a way, even when it isn’t perfect, to show LGBT audiences, ‘This is a way that this can go.’”

“It’s a little bit easier for me now to dialogue with someone in my family who has homophobic views,” she says. “Before I would just get into a screaming argument over dinner. Now, maybe I can have conversation with them and try to look at it a bit more from their side.”

“Having those conversations is important,” she elaborates. “Right now, everybody’s so pissed, and rightly so. The world is upside down. But when it’s your family, when it’s people you love, I’m more able to have these conversations calmly.”

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