‘Love, Victor’ changes the way sexuality is portrayed in Teen TV


As their hormones begin to change rapidly, sexuality becomes a natural talking point for teens. The conversation about teenage sexuality and exploring sex in general is nothing new on television. However, television rarely features LGBTQ + characters exploring the what, where, and how of sex. Hulu’s “Love, SimonThe spin-off, “Love, Victor,” makes strides for LGBTQ + representation by being the first teen TV show to be led by gay characters.

Compared to “Love, Simon,” which some say is a straight gay movie, “Love, Victor” takes a big step forward for diversity by making its main character a Puerto Rican and a member of a family of. the middle class. like showing the difficulties he goes through in his day to day life besides struggling with his sexuality – because, shockingly, his sexuality is not his whole personality. It’s refreshing compared to Simon, whose story is still important but carries less risk since his family is upper class, white and liberal.

Victor also faces generational homophobia, demonstrated when his grandfather reacts with disgust and confusion after seeing two teenagers kissing in Season 1. It’s a slap in the face for Victor, who continues to boost his self-confidence. identity, and is a prime example of how the slightest gesture can send someone back into the closet, hiding behind a false identity.

As the series progresses, it’s satisfying to see Victor come to terms with his sexuality. It makes sense that the first season ends on the cliffhanger of coming out to his parents, leaving the door open for Season 2 to explore his established sexuality and the repercussions of coming out.

The most recent season of “Love, Victor” picks up where it left off, with reaction shots of his family: his sister appearing happy and proud, his father surprised but concerned for his son’s well-being and her mother’s expression of complete shock. and disbelief.

One of the things the show does best is juxtaposing parents’ abilities to understand Victor and who he is as he grows up. Victor’s father, Armando, begins attending PFLAG meetings, hoping to understand the changes that occur after your child is released, while his mother, Isabel, confesses to speak with her priest. As the season continues, we see Armando become more at ease as Victor forms a relationship with his boyfriend, Benji. Meanwhile, Isabel can’t even be in the same room as the couple, to the point of self-sabotaging a special homemade meal to which Benji is invited.

LGBTQ + characters have pretty much always been stereotypical on television – the gay best friend, the creepy dyke, the super flamboyant coworker, or the athletic tomboy, to name a few – many of these stereotypes being from horrible one-note characters (looking at you, Kurt Hummel). “Love, Victor” devotes an entire episode to Victor’s homosexual identity crisis, which features a stunning montage that includes him trying on a fedora and a random girl at school asking about his grooming routine skin.

But Victor wears khakis and Old Navy graphic tees and he loves basketball. Frustratedly, Victor says, “I’m too straight for Benji’s friends” after being called Benji’s perfect straight boy fantasy and “I’m too gay for basketball” after his trainer tells him that he will have to take a shower in a separate changing room. . It’s wonderful to see Victor as a “normal” boy caught between the world he has always known and the world he barely explores.

The general theme of the second season is about Victor finding out who Victor is gay, but even the subplots still have more heart and empathy than each episode of “Riverdale” combined. Victor’s neighbor and best friend, Felix, essentially rises because his mother suffers from severe manic depression and hasn’t been able to work since she fell into a low episode.

At a pivotal moment for mental health portrayal, Felix sees a change in his mother after a few weeks on new medications. She showers, dresses, cleans the apartment and even cooks a meal for Felix and his girlfriend, Lake. However, like a falling pin, after Lake rejects her gift of plates, she smashes a dish on the floor. None of this is played for fun or tries to glorify mental illness. The series delves deeper into the fears of a parent separated from their child in a mental hospital and the anger that arises despite the fact that those who love you are just trying to help you.

By far, Victor’s best exploration is that he is losing his virginity. Growing up, I never saw a teen TV show treating LGBTQ + sex like straight sex. I was also shocked that, while owned by Disney, Hulu took the opportunity to be transparent about sex for multiple characters – from the different types of condoms and lubricants to even a healthy discussion of genital grooming, this shows the growth of television since the banning prom episode of “Boy Meets World”.

Victor’s lost virginity parallels Felix’s, and they both naturally express their fears. It doesn’t matter what gender they are having sex with – both guys are afraid of messing up or looking stupid, which is a universal feeling. Felix asks Victor if it’s easier for him, and he tells him no, it’s not, because he has no idea what he’s doing; homosexual intercourse isn’t taught in school and it’s never shown on TV, so it’s really going to be blinding for the first time.

Carol and Susan from “Friends” were the first lesbian couple I have ever seen, but they were born into infidelity and the butt of many jokes to help a sad straight man cope. The characters in “Glee”, although revolutionary, were one-dimensional and super problematic. Naomi and Emily from E4’s “Skins” had the first lesbian sex scene I’ve ever seen and I’ve probably watched it 100 times: What could my future be like.

Victor and Benji only have sex when Victor is ready, and the series discusses in more detail the subtle homophobia Victor’s mother displays when she catches them red-handed, which is depicted with realistic body positions. that I’ve never seen in anything marketed for teens. LGBTQ + sex is still widely viewed as openly adult, so it’s shocking and impressive for Hulu to choreograph precise positions. Even though they’re subtle and tame compared to Netflix’s “sex education”, it’s still a better portrayal than being hidden under a sheet.

Teen sex and sexuality isn’t new, and with the resurgence of teen soap operas like “Riverdale,” “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” and “All American,” there have been plenty of hot and hot sex scenes. heavy on teen television. But LGBTQ + sex scenes are rare, and if a sex scene turns out to be queer, it usually glorifies sex for straight members of the audience with an LGBTQ + – usually lesbian – fantasy. “Love, Victor,” however, stays completely clear of anything negative when exploring Victor’s loss of virginity.

Season 2 of “Love, Victor” ends when we wonder who Victor will pick after the last three episodes establish a love triangle. This grounded, honest and genuine show is one that has the potential to take Victor to college. Her ability to cover topics that required parental advice in 1997 is a long-awaited breath of fresh air in a Hollywood clouded by supersexualized, neon-aesthetic teenage fantasy shows seemingly written on hallucinogens. With no word of a Season 3 renewal for now, I remain hopeful that this diverse queer show won’t be canceled.

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