Is Love, Victor Finally Giving Us A Bisexual Character?

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
Spoilers for Love, Victor season 2 are ahead. "This is not what I signed up for," I messaged my friend midway into Love, Victor season 1. I'd just realized it wasn't the bisexual love story the trailer had baited me into thinking it was. Fortunately, the end of Love, Victor season 2 helped redeem things a little with the promise of a bisexual storyline between Lake (Bebe Wood) and Lucy (Ava Capri). It seems to be happening, finally, but it took 20 entire episodes to start the process.
As most fans know, Love, Victor is a spinoff of the movie Love, Simon, about teenager Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) coming out to his family and friends. But the show seemed poised to tell a fresher, newer story than the same old coming out tale fans had already seen on the big screen. In some ways Love, Victor is different — main character Victor (Michael Cimino) is Latinx instead of white and comes from a strict, religious (and thus potentially less accepting) family. But I expected even bigger changes when I first watched the trailer, which seemed to hint that Victor might be bisexual. "Some guys like guys, some guys like girls, some guys like both," he said in the original Love, Victor trailer, as scenes of him eyeing up a guy and going on a date with a girl flashed. 
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Once Love, Victor actually came out, it appeared to be delivering on that promise of bisexual identity. Although Victor was sure that he was interested in guys, he also formed a connection with Mia (Rachel Hilson) at his new school and seemed to be genuinely interested in her as well. "Did you ever feel super connected to a girl and think, 'I don't know, maybe this could work?'" Victor asked Simon. Victor later added, "I really like her, which is confusing." In the third episode, Victor spent time googling terms like pansexuality and bisexuality to try to figure his own feelings out. "Sexuality's a spectrum," he told Simon. "So I think I'm gonna give things with Mia a chance."
Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
However, in the end, Victor's relationship with Mia wasn't as real as it was made out to be in the series' promotional materials. He didn't initially intentionally lead her on, but once he realized the true scope of his feelings for his coworker Benji (George Sear), Mia's storyline became about Victor realizing he was gay, not bi. He didn't tell Mia that, though. She only found out the truth in the finale when she stumbled upon Victor and Benji kissing. And she was hardly allowed a scene to be upset, because the series quickly recentered the storyline on Victor coming out to his parents.
It's valid that Victor needed time to figure out his sexuality, but where the show went wrong was presenting the Mia relationship as so genuine only to cast it (and her) aside as soon as it finished setting up Victor's realization. Season 1's end point, which sees two young men finally getting together, isn't all that different from what happened in Love, Simon. Writing Victor as a bisexual character, who still chooses to date Benji over Mia, would have make Love, Victor stand on its own. But that's not the direction the show went with, much to my (and many viewers') frustration.
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Bisexual representation is already so slim on television, especially on teen shows. It's harmful and invalidating to continue reinforcing the stereotype that there aren't bisexual people, there are just people still deciding or in denial. As a bisexual person myself, I've never forgotten when Kurt (Chris Colfer) told Blaine (Darren Criss) on Glee in 2011, "Bisexual's a term that gay guys in high school use when they wanna hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change." Love, Victor's bi-erasure wasn't as harmful as that sentence, since Victor did actually acknowledge that bisexuality is real. But Love, Victor certainly didn't move the needle forward on bi representation — despite having every opportunity to do so.
Thankfully, when season 2 ended with the promise of a bisexual storyline between two women, I finally felt a little less betrayed. In the finale, Lake gets dumped by her boyfriend Felix (Anthony Turpel) and runs into her classmate Lucy, who tries to console Lake. "For what it's worth, I never really saw you with him anyway," Lucy says. "Who'd you see me with?" Lake asks. With a soft smile, Lucy replies, "Someone totally different." Then she grabs a bottle of champagne and invites Lake to hang out. We don't hear Lake's answer, but she smiles and looks a little giddy and flattered. The writers are certainly opening up the possibility that Lake could be bisexual and into Lucy, just as Lucy's into her. So there's a chance, here, to right another of the movie's wrongs.
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In the Love, Simon novel universe, the book Leah on the Offbeat is centered around Simon's friend Leah, who is bisexual. However, the Love, Simon movie didn't explore this for the character (played by Katherine Langford), so some fans' dismay. I can only hope that the novel's storylines will get put to good use now for Lucy and Lake. 
While Victor's own journey is undeniably important, the show itself hasn't, until this point, explored the sexuality spectrum he researched in season 2. Adding a love story between two women, at least one of whom is bisexual, will help make more fans like me feel represented. And as wonderful as the possibility is, it's frustrating that it took two full seasons to get there, and that it was tagged on as a tease at the end of the last season 2 episode — especially since Love, Victor hasn't been renewed for season 3 yet. There's a large possibility the show could get cancelled and never get a chance to tell this story between Lake and Lucy at all. And if the series does go onto season 3, it's going to have to give Lake and Lucy a real, rich storyline to make up for all its previous teases. 
Still, I'm hopeful that the show will finally do this bisexual storyline justice, especially after seeing some of the other storylines in season 2. As TV Line reported, the season 2 scripts were written knowing that the show had a home on Hulu, whereas the first season was produced for Disney+ before the series got switched to Hulu at the last minute. The new batch of episodes didn't just feature the possibility of a bisexual romance, they also delved into sex between its teen characters — going as far as to feature a bottle of lube and show Victor discussing "who's supposed to do what" when he and Benji hook up. In episode 7, they were even caught in the act by Victor's mom.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hulu.
"For me, it’s a gigantic win that we are on Hulu moving forward. It opens our ability to tell more adult stories," co-showrunner Brian Tanen told TV Line ahead of the season 2 release. "One of the biggest critiques of representation of gay people in media is that we are sometimes neutered, which is to say we can be the funny sidekick, we can be a sassy best friend, but you rarely see a drama centered on a gay protagonist who has sexual feelings and experiences and gets to be the romantic lead. And here we have that opportunity, and we’d love to tell sexier stories."
Now, Lake and Lucy's story just needs to be one of them. 

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