'Love, Victor': 7 Inspiring Life Lessons We Learned From Simon
By Paige Gawley
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This story contains spoilers for all 10 episodes of Love, Victor, which is now streaming on Hulu.
Simon Spier is full of words of wisdom for Victor Salazar. In Love, Victor, the spinoff series of the 2018 flick Love, Simon, fans meet Victor (Michael Cimino), a student at the same high school where Simon (Nick Robinson) once had his own coming out story.
When Victor's family moves to town, the teen is eager to be himself, but discovers that's harder than he thought. Victor soon decides to slide into Simon's DMs, at first to express his frustration at Simon's seemingly easy experience, and later to turn to him for advice about high school, love, family and being authentically himself.
What follows is a sweet online -- and eventually in-person -- friendship between the guys, where Simon tries his best to be Victor's gay guru, and Victor gains the confidence to share himself with those around him.
When ET's Leanne Aguilera spoke with Cimino, he said that he hopes fans take away lessons from the show, just as Victor did from Simon.
"I can't wait to see how much this show affects people's lives," he said. "I know it's changed my life so much and I hope it has that kind of effect on other people."
Keep reading for the best life lessons Simon imparted throughout Love, Victor.
Everyone deserves love
In the first episode, Victor struggles with his mind wanting him to be with a girl like Mia (Rachel Hilson), and his heart leading him to a guy like Benji (George Sear). Though Victor isn't yet sure where he'll end up, Simon assures him that love is both something he deserves and something that'll happen for him.
"I'm sorry you don't have anyone in your life that you can open up to. ... For me, figuring out who I was and declaring it to the world was the scariest thing I ever had to do," Simon says. "A few years ago I told my now-boyfriend, Graham, that he deserves a great love story, that I deserve a great love story, and you deserve one too, Victor."
When something is right, you'll know
As Victor's relationship with Mia progresses, the teen excitedly writes to his pen pal, informing Simon that he quite enjoyed kissing Mia and even got butterflies during their smooches. Simon, though, doesn't seem so optimistic about Victor and Mia's future, explaining to him that a great kiss makes him feel more than a few flutters.
"Kissing is pretty great, but for me, it's more than just butterflies," Simon says. "It's like those jet fighters that fly over the Super Bowl. Or like getting hit by a huge wave."
Simon turns out to be right, as Victor has a kiss just like that with Benji in the season finale.
Self-care is important
In addition to his sexuality questions throughout the series, Victor is also in the midst of some family drama, thanks to his parents, sister and conservative grandpa. While Victor's instinct is to take care of those around him at the expense of his own needs, Simon encourages him to fix his own problems first sometimes.
"Your messages have all been about things going smoothly for your family and not for you, but you're dealing with a lot, Victor. Your conservative grandfather, Mia meeting your parents, Benji in your house with his boyfriend," Simon says of Victor's stressful 16th birthday party. "I guess what I'm saying is sometimes it's easier to focus on fixing other people than on your own stuff."
Be yourself, even when it's hard
Self-identity and discovery is at the heart of the series, with Simon urging Victor not to be "so desperate to fit in that you betray yourself or the people you care about."
As Victor discovers that he is in fact gay, Simon suggests that he should tell Mia soon to save her pain and to be able to live authentically as himself.
"I know that you really like Mia and you've been trying to figure out if you're attracted to her. It sounds like tonight you realized that you're not. And that's OK. But maybe it's time to really figure out what you want, before someone gets hurt," Simon advises. "... I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Telling Mia is going to be really, really hard. You just gotta rip the gay Band-Aid off and hope that eventually she forgives you."
You can't control other people
While advocating for Victor to be himself, Simon also tells him that some people may not be OK with him being gay, even Mia. Despite that, Simon urges Victor to be strong enough in his self-esteem that a bad reaction won't break him.
"Here's the thing about the truth: you can't control how people will react to it. All you can do is be honest with the people that you love. The rest is up to them," Simon says. "Whatever happens, you'll always have me."
It gets better
Throughout the show, Simon assures Victor that there is a life after high school and away from all the hurt. That specifically comes after Victor kisses Benji and it doesn't go well, leading Victor to express disgust in himself.
"It breaks my heart to hear you talk about yourself like that. You're perfect. And that part you wish you could cut out, that's the part that makes you, you," Simon says. "If you could only see what my life is like in New York, you'd see that there's a world beyond high school, beyond your family."
Help can come from anywhere
Simon gushing over his life in New York eventually leads Victor to visit him there. After boarding a bus to the Big Apple without telling Simon to expect him, Victor is instead taken in by Simon's friends for the weekend. Victor soon discovers that all of Simon's friends know about his situation, leading him to yell at Simon when he eventually shows up. Simon, though, explains why he told his friends and, in doing so, opens up a whole new world for Victor.
"I know you want me to be this guru who has all the answers, but the truth is I don't. And I didn't want to push you too hard or tell you the wrong thing or make your life any harder than it already was," Simon says. "Every one of my friends had a little bit to offer, a little piece of the puzzle. They weren't sitting around laughing about your life. They were in your corner, listening, and helping, and cheering you on."
"You're one of us. To me, that's the best part about all of this, having a community. A group of friends that gave up an entire weekend to help a kid that they've never met just because they know, on some level, we've all been through the same thing," he adds. "Because we're family."
All 10 episodes of Love, Victor are now streaming on Hulu.