Warning: The following contains spoilers for the third and final season of Love, Victor.
For Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino), the adorable teenage protagonist of Hulu’s “Love, Victor”, all roads lead back to Creekwood High’s annual winter carnival.
In the series finale of the “Love, Simon” spinoff, Victor accepts the school’s first “valor” award and pays tribute to the colleague who has become an invaluable part of his coming-out journey: his neighbor-turned-best-friend , Felix (Anthony Turpel); his ex-girlfriend Mia (Rachel Hilson); and his first love, Benji (George Sear), who later that night shows up unannounced at the carnival to explain that he wants to give their relationship another chance.
The ending – which is reminiscent of both “Love, Simon” and the “Love, Victor” pilot, in which a newly transplanted Victor couldn’t muster the courage to ask Benji to ride the Ferris wheel with him – made the best of it Sense for co-creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who decided to call it quits after three seasons of the hit teen dramedy.
“It really feels like a high school show to us, and that’s basically what it was always built for,” Berger told The Times. Following the characters throughout the age “when you find yourself and in such a phase of discovery felt so specific about what the show should be tackling.”
A love triangle, solved
At the end of last season, Victor unknowingly found himself at the center of a love triangle between Benji and Rahim (Anthony Keyvan), a stylish, sharp-witted student who confided in him that he would come out to his Muslim parents. Ultimately, Victor chose Benji — and continued to choose him even though he had a connection with Rahim and was recovering with Nick (Nico Greetham) — because as complicated as things got, Victor wasn’t ready to walk away, says Berger. So many of her difficulties, stemming from her own family and Benji’s sobriety, “seemed like things she could overcome. And at the end of the day, he just stayed madly in love with him.”
“I think Victor’s ending is very poetic,” says Cimino. “Life isn’t just about being in love and being in relationships. Sometimes it’s about just being alone and figuring things out, and Victor finally did it. He learned to find himself, and by finding himself he was able to find Benji again and let him back into his life.”
While Victor decides that he and Rahim are better off as friends, Berger believes that “your close friends in high school are arguably just as important as the person you’re in love with,” and hopes viewers will, inevitably are divided, will comfort themselves with the knowledge that “there will still be intense love there — even if it’s not romantic love — and that these two will be on each other’s journeys as they live their lives.” continue.”
After overcoming his disappointment, Rahim comes to himself and begins a series of important conversations with his mother about his personal life and how damaging it feels to be pushed back into the closet in the presence of his conservative relatives from Iran. “The way he can say, ‘This is what I need’ and ‘Don’t ever do that again’ — he really holds his own,” Aptaker says, adding that Rahim does In the end, find your happiness with Connor, a student from another school.
“She chose her son”
Victor’s parents, Isabel (Ana Ortiz) and Armando (James Martinez), were on the verge of divorce during the first two seasons. But the fact that they handled Victor’s coming out in different ways “forces them both to turn their own communication skills inwards,” explains Berger. The process of trying to reconnect with her gay son “makes them better partners for each other,” leading to their decision to start a family business together in the finale.
For Ortiz, who played the fiercely protective mother of a gay son and was raised Catholic in a progressive part of New York City on ABC’s Ugly Betty, she played Isabel, a devout woman who must grow into an acceptance of her son’s sexuality. was an unexpected gift.
To this day, being gay is “stigmatized” because of the machismo in Latino communities, Ortiz says. “I got so much affection from people who said, ‘This really opened the door for me, and I can sit down with my mom, my aunt, my cousins, or my grandparents.’ Too bad it took so long [but] It feels so great to be able to have this conversation.”
In Isabel’s case, “she really needs to divide up” and prioritize her own family by following religious teachings that promote love and acceptance, Ortiz says. “I don’t know that there is a full reconciliation [between] her Catholicism [and] her gay son, but I know she chose her son.”
Cimino, who has spoken about the messages he received for his portrayal of Victor, hopes the show will have staying power. The fact that people of different generations have felt, and continue to feel, empowered enough because of this show is “really all we can ask for” and “crazy to think about,” he says.
Being brave means embracing the uncanny
When Victor and his family moved to Atlanta from rural Texas, he was still coming to terms with his sexuality. But a year — or three seasons — later, he’s giving a school-wide speech “about the importance of explaining who you are and accepting how scary that is,” and his story is the driving force that inspires his family and forcing friends to “make the right decisions for them,” Aptaker says.
After the events of last season, Felix begins dating Victor’s sister, Pilar (Isabella Ferreira). But after getting caught by her parents, Pilar realizes that her feelings for Felix are “always complicated by how he fits in with the rest of their family. He really was like another son; he was adopted into her family,” explains Aptaker. While it wasn’t Felix’s fault, those circumstances “meant he would never be able to be she human first.”
And while Felix briefly considers the possibility of rekindling his romance with Lake (Bebe Wood), the two ex-boyfriends agree that it’s best not to rehash the past because it’s too fundamentally different people became. Not only does Lake discover that she is bisexual and in love with Lucy (Ava Capri), but she is able to make peace with her mother, who has projected her own insecurities in the past. Mia, Lake’s best friend, comes to a similar acceptance of her career-oriented father and eventually decides to move to Palo Alto to live with him, her stepmother and her new half-brother – while staying with her loyal boyfriend Andrew (Mason Gooding). . .
“It was very important to us that all of our adult/parent characters had flaws, but also that they were naturally good and dedicated,” says Berger. “I think that this season, our young characters seeing their parents more clearly and coming to terms with those flaws was something that really interested us.”
“The future looks bright for us”
The final scenes of “Love, Victor,” filmed at Malibu’s Calamigos Ranch, served as the perfect bookend for a life-changing time for the actors who “fell in love offscreen,” says Aptaker. “This was the end of that three-year chapter of their lives that really put a lot of them on the map.”
Cimino admitted that the memory of that last night still makes him emotional. “I said that in my speech when we were done – I feel like I deserve so much more now because of this show. And for so long, as an actor and as any other artist, you feel like you don’t deserve the blessings you’re receiving, and this show really made me realize that I deserved everything that happened.”
Ortiz, who was impressed by her younger co-stars’ creative ambitions, has “really high hopes for this group of young people” as they share more stories. In particular, starring in a Latino-led show “helped these kids understand that anything is possible,” she says. “I really think the future is looking bright for us because there are a lot of kids on the way up who are ready for their moment.”
Although this chapter of Victor’s story is closed, Berger and Aptaker, who have their own theories about what might happen to their characters in adulthood, wouldn’t rule out a return to Creekwood or a reunion special in the future. Cimino says that if approached, he would “definitely have the idea” of reprising his breakthrough role one day.
“When you love something and have so much fun doing it – and we truly believe this franchise has been important to a lot of people and touched their lives – you never turn down the chance to continue it,” says Aptaker. “Anytime there is commercial success about underrepresented communities, it just paves the way for more of those stories to be told, because at the end of the day, this is a business. Whenever you can prove that telling those stories is attracting an audience and making a profit, it just opens more doors.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-06-14/love-victor-season-3-love-simon-michael-cimino-hulu-disney ‘Love, Victor’ Season 3: That ‘very poetic’ ending explained