Where There’s Love (Television Thoughts: Love Victor, Season Two)

I just finished watching the rest of the second season of ‘Love Victor,’ and I, of course, have thoughts. All in all, I still love the show, and there were various moments in the show where I tore up. I thought it was wise to have the show deal with life after coming out. At times, as in real life, things don’t necessarily improve – you have to deal with the ‘fallout’ from it. In Victor’s case, his mom is at first reticent to his coming out: she is a devout Catholic, after all, and has all those ‘values’ behind her. Speaking of which, the Catholic church does not come off well in the show – their bigotry and hypocrisy is shown here, and frankly, it’s not a good look. I like the fact that the show did not shy away from that issue.

There is a little bit of lazy storytelling, though. The main conflict between Victor and Benji could have been more imaginative. Sure, any relationship can go through rocky times, but what happens between them is very similar to what happens in another relationship in their group. Maybe they are trying to do parallels (and showing how similar all relationships are) but it just felt too familiar. And I liked the addition of Rahim (Anthony Kevyan) and he is a breath of fresh air, but I felt things happened too quickly for him just to have some kind of cliffhanger dilemma for Victor. That situation felt rushed. I do like that the show tackled sex issues head on. I wasn’t expecting it to be ground breaking and edgy (I’ll leave that to ‘Euphoria’) but this is real enough,a nd not as white-washed as I thought it would be. All in all, quite an enjoyable watch for me, and I am game – very game – for Season Three.

The Things We Did Last Summer (Series Thoughts: Love Victor, S02 E01)

I had been so looking forward to the second season of Love, Victor. I devoured the first season and it was one of my favorite shows from last year – a welcome treat during the pandemic. And the second episode starts exactly where it ended, with Victor finally coming out to his parents the night of the prom. They are shocked of course. In a lot of these cases, parents can be in denial and they blame themselves even though more often than not, the signs have been there all along.

And then the summer of love comes. Victor and Benji are together – they are calling each other boyfriends now. Wew get back to the action a week before school starts. The summer is almost over, and our characters are faced with different dilemmas. Victor’s mom is having the toughest time with hsi coming out – she just can’t accept it and is avoiding the topic altogether. The father is a little more understanding, but on top of their separation it’s all a bit too much (Victor can’t even mention it to his younger brother)

Mia comes back from camp with mixed emotions. She has a little bit of inkling for Andrew, but then finds out he has started dating someone else since she left for the summer. Lark and Felix are going strong as well, but Lark is caught between Mia and the lovebirds, and Felix is dealing with landlord issues. There’s a lot of things to ponder for the new season, and I will try my hardest to not try to watch it all too fast. I wanna savour this.

The Man (Television Thoughts: A Teacher S01 E04, Hulu)

Episode Four of ‘A Teacher’ brings us deeper into Claire and Eric’s relationship. Or affair. And all I can say is, you are in danger, boy. In the beginning of the episode, we see Claire trying to establish ground rules. But we see that she is the first one to break it, to extend its parameters, just to suit her whims. Why? Is she a bored housewife who just wants some ‘spice’ in their life, and that could be understandable because she seems to be quite unhappy with her marriage. In her dalliance with Eric, we can see that she is in control, and perhaps that is what she is looking for. In the beginning, the audience is a little bit complicit with the affair – dare I say that I was rooting for it to happen because I thought it would make the characters happier. I don’t know if I feel that way after this episode. I don’t see an upside for Eric – he is madly in love with Claire, and you and I know that this will end in disastrous tears. He can exclaim to himself ‘I am the mf man,’ but I think we can all see he is on the losing end here    

You’re An Education (Series Thoughts: A Teacher, Hulu, E01-03)

‘A Teacher’ is an uncomfortable watch – that’s my reaction as I finish watching the third season. It stars Kate Mara and Nick Robinson as a high school teacher and student, respectively. She has just started at an Austin area high school, he is the star soccer player. She is a bored housewife trying to have a baby, he has a sensitive demeanor unlike his other classmates. I can see where the attraction from both sides coem from. And of couirse, by the end of the third episode, the inevitable happens – they have sex.

yes, it’s a jarring concept, but the show makes you a little complicit with the affair. The two make such an attractive couple, and they are both great actors that I have to admit I was kind of rooting for the two of them to get together. And then I realize, yikes, she is his teacher, and we are reminded of the warning title in the beginning of the show that scenes of grooming can be uncomfortable to watch. The narrative is just starting, and yes, I am already hooked into finding out what happens next – the consequences, the heartbreak, the legal trouble they both get themselves into.

Action Jackson (Film Thoughts: Shirley)

large_shirley-posterJosephine Deckler’s 2018 film ‘Madeleine Madeleine’ was critically lauded, but for me it was total dreck. Or maybe I just don’t ‘get’ her art? This is the reason why I have dragged my feet into seeing her new film ‘Shirley,’ even though, again, the film has gotten numerous raves. But I finally gave in, and you know what? I kind of get Decker’s work a little bit more. Do I like it? Not as much as others, but it is certainly better for me than ‘MM.’

Maybe because this has a formidable dream cast, led by Elizabeth Moss, who is fantastic as Shirley Jackson. Matching her scene for scene is Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays her husband Stnley Hyman. This eccentric couple, and that is putting it mildly, has started to host a young couple in their house, and the film veer towards something akin to Jackson’s gothic stories. It is sometimes baffling, and I gotta admit at times hard to take, but it is definitely interesting, And the authentic performances will certainly make you believe everything. The added extra for me is seeing Logan Lerman, who is one of my favorite actors, though he doesn’t really have much to do here. Visually the film is a treat, and Decker infuses it with a lot of style. All in all it’s more an interesting watch for me than one that emotionally touched me, but that’s probably more my taste than anything else. I admire it, though.

Nine Percent Chance (Series Thoughts: High Fiedlity S01, Hulu)

13f9a8be06d47093a38439c6e5132a09_500x735I finished the first season of ‘High Fidelity’ on Hulu, and I got so hooked on it. I practically watched the last couple of episodes non-stop because I wanted to see how it ends.

First off, I know this is Rob (Zoie Kravitz) and her story, but I also liked that the supporting characters were not short–changed. I loved Simon (David Holmes) and the fact that he also had his own episode, and of course, it was about what he thought was his one great love. I think it would have been better had he gone back to that toxic relationship, but sure, why don’t we make him responsible. And DaVine Joy Randolph as Cherise is priceless, and I wish we knew what happened to her at the end – has she started performing, really – but let’s hope that’s reason enough for a second season. As for Rob, I am mixed. She is a bit of a spoiled brat – pouting when she doesn’t get her way – but that makes her character more real to me. I mean, even if we are friends with someone, we can disagree with her actions, right? I was kind of rooting for Clyde, but then again I always root for the nice guy always. She treated him like crap and I liked that he stood his ground at her towards the end. And who knows, people can over come nine percent. chance, right? They do, all the time.

The Love Soundtrack (Television Thoughts: High Fidelity, Hulu)

hfI feel so old now, because I remember when Zoe Kravitz was born, and now here she is starring in her own show on Hulu, ‘High Fidelity.’ It is supposed to be based on Nick Hornsby’s novel, and for the life of me I cannot recall if I read the book, or if I saw the movie, or even the Broadway show. I know I should have an affinity for the material, because the main character is a music collector, and once upon a time before everything was available to streaming, I was one of those. I know all the cool kids nowadays collect and listen to vinyl, but I was a CD guy. And now I have no more desire to ‘collect,’ so I don ‘t know if I can still relate.

But I can certainly relate to Rob, Kravitz character on the show. Her love life is a mess, and see her enumerating all her heartbreaks in the first episode – telling us the stories of partners who she is still emoting for. It’s cute, and I know some people are not able to relate, but I can. I like the little touch of her still pining for the guy who broke her heart last, and seeing him just as she is on her way to a date, screwing up her psyche altogether. At about twenty minutes or so per episode, I think i will try to savour episodes instead of bingeing.

Perfect Mothers (Television Thoughts: Little Fires Everywhere, Finale, HULU)

Little-Fires-Everywhere-2478583I have finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ and I have some thoughts:

1 – The ending. I don’t know if I liked it, as the last episode felt a little rushed. The buildup was there, for sure, and the excitement was palpable for sure, but it may be too much at one time? I read that the book had a different ending regarding the fire – Izzy started the fire on print – and while I do like the metaphor in having the three other kids do it, my initial reaction was also: these kids are much too self-centered and selfish to do something like that. They would value their material things over that. I don’t think the realization would come all at once, and at the same time for all three of them. I have to admit that as a writing ploy, it is kind of brilliant. And really, Mia and Pearl was able to pack everything they own in hours ? I don’t know about that.

2 – Washington is really fantastic, and her role is much better than Witherspoon’s that’s why she is getting more attention. Witherspoon’s final scenes were on the shrill side, but her character was also not as well-written. While watching the episodes, I liked the fact that while you may agree or disagree with Elena or Mia, you understand both. In the final episodes, Elena felt like a different person altogether. The kids were all uniformly good, but Gavin Lewis (as Moody) was the best for me – he has the most expressive eyes. Gold Derby is predicting Emmy nominations for Witherspoon and Washington – the latter has a chance of winning.


There She Is (Television Thoughts: Phyllis, Mrs America S01 E01, Hulu)

mrs-america-movie-posterPhyllis Schalfly is one of the most despicable figures in the Republican party, and that’s a group chockful of deplorables. I wondered if I would like a show featuring and about her. But who can resist Cate Blanchett? Blanchett plays Schlafly as a deliciously evil as she can, and you gotta love her. Schafly is that kind of woman with a place reserved in hell – she doesn’t support other women and goes against her own interest. After her failed congressional run, she tries to go to a think thank meeting in Washington DC and there she is treated like dirt, but still she perseveres and joins the group, offering her services. By the end of the episode, we see her rallying against the ERA (Equal Rights Ammendment) owning ‘libbers.’ I know that she has a great dislike of gay people so I would be curious if the series will cover that part, and of course I will be watching the rest of the season.

Victor’s Unraveling (Television Thoughts: Love Victor S01 E 05 06 07 08 09 10, Hulu)

love-victor-movie-posterI was right. The latter five episodes of Hulu’s ‘Love Victor’ was much better. In a way, the first set is a set up, as after it, Victor has realized more and more that he is gay, and that he is attracted to Benjie. I think George Sears is adorable as Benjie, and I am even using his poster for this post. I think one of the best episodes is when Victor goes to New York City to meet Simon, and is welcomed by a diverse and loving gay family there. It tore me up, because it is true, When you are gay, your friends become your family, and sometimes not-blood family is more precious than the bloodlined ones. I appreciated Nick Robinson’s cameo as Simon, tying everything up together. When he gets back to Atlanta, the show all of a sudden became deeper, and the relationships he has with all these people got more textured. I loved the scene when he comes out to Felix, and want to believe it is a better world out there with young people that this sort of thing is no longer a big issue. And the scenes leading to the dance is heartbreaking – I can relate top what Victor was going through, keeping a secret that is slowly unraveling before his eyes. I hope there is a second season.