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'Love, Victor' Cast and Creators Reflect on Their Rom-Com Ending and Legacy for Representation

'We want to be part of the family that begets more gay content,' says executive producer Brian Tanen.
by Amy Amatangelo — 
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From left to right: George Sear and Michael Cimino in 'Love, Victor'

Hulu

Warning: This story contains spoilers for the final season of Love, Victor, . Read at your own risk!


After three seasons comprised of 28 episodes, Love, Victor has taken its final Ferris Wheel ride. The Hulu series followed high school student Victor (Michael Cimino) as he came out to his family and fell in love with Benji (George Sear). His parents Isabel (Ana Ortiz) and Armando (James Martinez) were at first shocked by Victor's announcement but became his biggest champions. 

Executive producer Elizabeth Berger admits it was challenging to say goodbye to the Love, Victor world. "It was really difficult from emotional standpoint because I think we all really love these characters and are attached to them and it was hard to imagine them having endings at all," she tells Metacritic.

But Berger, who along with executive producer Isaac Aptaker also saw their NBC series This is Us come to a close this year, knows how special it was to be able to say goodbye to the series on their own terms. 

"We felt really lucky, honestly, that we got to plot out the endings really thoughtfully and intentionally," she says. "It's not something you're always afforded the opportunity to do but we went into this season knowing it was our final."

The lead time gave Berger, Aptaker, and fellow executive producer Brian Tanen the chance to do something they knew they wanted to do: give Victor and Benji a happy (and romantic!) ending. 

"We put him through it for these three years and we think he deserves a win," Aptaker says.

But first, Victor and Benji break up and spend much of the third and final season apart. Victor's best friend Felix (Anthony Turpel) even calls Victor an "agent of chaos" since trouble seems to always follow him, and Victor even tries casually hooking up with someone new for awhile. Despite all of that, Cimino was never that worried that Victor wouldn't get his happy ending. "Because of the tone of the show I always assumed," he says. "This show is about love and it's about the giddiness of being a teenager, discovering who you are and discovering who your first love is. It needed to end like that."

Given all that Benji endures in the third season, including another trip to rehab to address his drinking problem, Sears wasn't as sure about which way things would go for Benji and Victor. "They do go through so much so it's really nice to see them together and happy at the end," he says. "I think this season really matures with the characters. You get to know them all so well and it also ties up a lot of things nicely in this lovely full circle moment."

The final season also sees the surprise romance between Victor's sister Pilar (Isabella Ferreira) and Felix. "Pilar blossomed into this young woman who has somewhat discovered herself and what she wants," Ferreira says. "So I was very excited for viewers to see that as well."

During the second season, viewers met Felix's mother Dawn (Betsy Brandt) who is bipolar and struggles to care for herself and her son. Felix hides his difficult home life from his friends until his then girlfriend Lake (Bebe Wood) goes to her own mother (Leslie Grossman) for help. This season viewers got to see a healthy Dawn who is able to be a parent to Felix. 

"That was a really important storyline for me specifically to be able to represent that struggle that a lot of kids have today," Turpel says.  

Over the course of the show, he heard from many teenagers who were in situations similar to Felix's: "I know a lot of people have really related to it and been able to identify with it. I definitely think the show is going to stick with people for a long time."

The Love, Victor world began when Berger and Aptaker wrote the 2018 movie Love, Simon, which followed high school student Simon (Nick Robinson) as he came out to his family and friends. Robinson is an executive producer on Love, Victor, and Victor sought out advice from Simon during the course of the series (Robinson was both seen and heard in the first two seasons). 

"We loved living in this world since the movie," Aptaker says. "When we did Love, Simon there had never been a major studio movie that centered on a LGBTQ+ character before. And now it feels like there's show after show that are living in this space, so to have been any small part of proving that these type of stories can be commercially successful is really special."

Love, Victor is now also streaming on Disney+, which shares a parent company with Hulu. Outside of this franchise, Tanen cites Netflix's recent hit Heartstopper as an example of the "expansion of gay storylines we are seeing now, but there are also such films as Hulu's Fire Island and Billy Eichner's upcoming Bros, the latter of which is the first major studio film to be written by and star an openly gay man.

"We want to be part of the family that begets more gay content, and we are seeing great shows coming out and just being really joyful and romantic and feeling like we're part of that is really exciting," he says.

Certainly the Love... franchise is a big part of that family already, and its titles will live on in streaming, likely finding new audiences and seeing original audiences return for a bit of comfort viewing. Whether the franchise will be furthered in the future remains to be seen, as Aptaker says "never say never."

"There's so many types of young adults that are underrepresented on film and TV," he explains.

Although Cimino has already gone onto other such projects as Senior Year and Hamster & Gretel, he shares that he would welcome the opportunity to revisit his eponymous character. 

"There's something beautiful about having a show that means something to people. That doesn't always happen," he says. "We get messages like, 'This show has changed my life' [and] 'I wish I had a show like this when I was growing up.' That means so much more than you could possibly know. We are actually changing people's lives with art and that's the whole goal."