Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon which was based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” by Becky Albertalli is now brought to us in long form, in a television version series created by the movie’s screenwriters Isaac Aptaker (This Is Us), and Elizabeth Berger (About a Boy). The half hour romantic comedy stars Michael Cimino, George Sear (Alex Rider), Rachel Hilson (Rise), Anthony Turpel (The Bold and the Beautiful), Mason Gooding (Booksmart), Bebe Wood (The Real O’Neals), Mateo Fernandez, James Martinez, and Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty).
Premise: Victor is a new student at Creekwood High School on his own journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city, and struggling with his sexual orientation. He reaches out to Simon when it seems too difficult for him to navigate through high school.
Review: Right off the bat it’s a much more nuanced and grounded version of Simon’s story. The rose tainted glasses are off, or at the very least pull down the nose so we can see clearly above them. The family dynamic is a little more complicated, and all of it amps up the drama and the hearty feel of the series.
There is very little fat in the story or cast. The second half of the season even seemed trimmer than the first half. Each character on the show has a purpose and a story. The most stereotypical among them are given some depth.
Victor is just briliantly written, the angst, the fear, the denial…the whole array of emotions is there. It’s sublimed by Cimino’s excellent job in the role. Felix is the heart of the show, iconic really; Mia is so refreshingly mature but still a teenager; Lake and Pilar add the bite and some of the comedy and vulnerability to the show; Adrian is pure comic relief ; Benji, like Simon, permeates the series, his presence is felt even when he’s not there. But what they did with him is so smart because it allows for Victor’s self-discovery and interesting situations that involves him; and Andrew is prime for a deeper development next season – I wholeheartedly believe there should be one – his personality is seeping through. They cast very good.
The parents, who often are an afterthought in this kind of fare, have some juicy things going on. I wasn’t expecting them to have that level of drama but at least it gives them even more substance than just being the people who’ll be reacting to their son’s queerness.
The comedic moments peppered throughout are gold and witty; they come in very organically. It’s effortless and make sense, whether it’s a piece of dialogue or a situation, those moments and details makes you appreciate the show even more.
It’s a small detail – and not really a spoiler since it’s in the trailer – but I’m so glad that Victor applied for the job before ever knowing that Benji worked there. By the way, that scene alone is a legit reason why this is not on Disney+. Also, the simple fact that Felix can see him and Mia blush but completely overlooks Victor doing the same for Benji is hilarious. Or the sad but true moment when he’s so in denial that he can’t admit to other queers – that he’ll probably never see again in his life – that he’s queer himself or at least questioning himself.
Just when I thought that it was a lighthearted fluffy show, they just went in, straight for the hard uncomfortable stuff. The show doesn’t totally shy away from deeper issues or difficult conversations.
I know that it’s more dramatic that way but I would have loved a softer ending. Listen, the second Victor started on his journey of self discovery someone was about to get hurt. But it could have been done differently.
Love, Victor is a must see, binge worthy show that’ll open some eyes and entertain.