Relationship: Victor Salazar and Benji Campbell (a.k.a. Venji)
Fandom: Love, Victor (TV series, 2020- )
Where to Watch: Hulu
Time Investment: 10 (half-hour) episodes thus far
Recommended for: Disciples of Simon/Graham in the film Love, Simon and the many delightful couples in Netflix’s Sex Education
Spoiler warning: I will use any means necessary to convince you to watch this show, including but not limited to teasing some of Love, Victor’s more delicious season 1 plot points before you. If you cannot stand any spoilers whatsoever, turn back now.
Love, Simon was easily one of my favorite movies of 2016. Pure joy from beginning to end, it made a big enough impression that I made time to see it again in theaters just so that I could introduce a new batch of friends to its bubbly charm and optimistic worldview. (Ah, theaters. Remember those??) When I heard that a spinoff TV series called Love, Victor was in the works, I was skeptical. How could it possibly live up to the original? These things never do. Yet here we are, because against all odds, it DOES!
No longer constrained by a feature film’s finite run time, the Hulu adaptation doubles down on irresistible tropes (a.k.a. shipper bait) for its main couple and gives the supporting characters the development they deserve. In fact, I may just be more attached to it than to the original movie now. All of which is to say: We need to talk about Love, Victor! More specifically, we need to talk about the relationships in Love, Victor! Because they are good. Strong friendships, solid sibling bonds, and—best of all, my bread and butter—swoony romances abound in this wonderful little 10-episode YA romance.
Soon after pressing “play,” the need to know whether our hero Victor Salazar would ever get the chance to kiss his crush, our other hero, Benji Campbell, was impossible to ignore. So…I didn’t! I devoured the whole season in, oh, about two days. That’s how I know there’s not nearly enough buzz about this lovely show. I want to yell about it from the rooftops. Or, better yet, convince everyone I know (and maybe even some strangers on the internet? hi?!) to give this show a shot by dangling before them the splendor of Victor/Benj! (And if I can promise at least other cute romances along the way? Well, that’s just a bonus!)
Still with me? All right, come on, let’s dive into the 4 Victor/Benji-related reasons that you really, really need to watch Love, Victor:
#1: You’ll never look at brewing coffee the same way again.
I knew I was well and truly hooked on this show halfway through the second episode, when sophomore Victor—the new kid at Simon Spier’s alma mater, Creekwood High—interviews for a part-time barista job. Caught off guard by the fact that he has inadvertently applied to work at the same local coffee shop as the cute gay guy he just met at school, Victor’s flustered throughout their conversation. It’s adorable.
Then Benji suggests a little hands-on latte tutorial and, well. “Am I really seeing this?” you may wonder as you gleefully intrude on their very private moment, you know, MAKING COFFEE. FOR WORK. IN A PUBLIC PLACE. Let’s just say that my bleary-eyed trek to the Keurig has become a daily letdown by comparison.
So yeah, their chemistry’s legit and Victor’s weakness for the thoughtful, laid-back Benji (he of the “tight t-shirts and dumb smile”) is evident from very early on. If you’re not likewise mesmerized by their ensuing will-they-or-won’t-they dance, you don’t have a pulse.
#2: Victor and Benji are #FriendshipGoals with a chance of #RelationshipGoals.
Whereas Simon has already privately acknowledged to himself that he’s gay by the beginning of Love, Simon, Victor is still unsure of his sexuality. He’s undoubtedly attracted to Benji at first sight, but afraid of what it means. Consequently, he throws himself into a relationship with a beautiful and sweet classmate, Mia. No big deal; Benji’s unavailable anyway, ’cause he’s happily dating a guy named Derek. It’s all for the best, because it allows Victor and Benji the time and space to become close friends first. (Hello, my cherished friends-to-lovers trope!)
Over the course of the first season, Victor and Benji prove they can show up and stand up for each other. They trade heartfelt gifts and impart selfless (if also revealing) relationship advice. They dance around like a couple of adorable goofballs to “Call Me, Maybe.” And they become so attuned to one another that they don’t even need words to communicate. In fact, there comes a point where Benji can read Victor’s mood from a mere glance at his “uncomfortable scrunch face.” Reader, I screeched. Then promptly rewound to watch that scene again. My money’s on you doing the same.
#3: Three words for you: Just. One. Bed.
What, you’re still reading this when you could be watching the show? Well, clearly I haven’t done my job, so it’s time to pull the ace out of my sleeve: bed-sharing! Yes, I can confirm the existence of a “there’s only one bed” scenario. Better yet, it all starts with a Victor-and-Benji ROAD TRIP! That leads to a SHOPPING MONTAGE. I have absolutely zero doubt that the writers room for this show is populated by fanfic readers/writers and I am ever so grateful.
#4: Did someone order a side of angst?
We’re all shippers here, which is how I know that some of you will skim right past all my promises of fluffy goodness because all you really need to know is whether there’s a li’l sweet misery in store too. Rest assured, my little angst bunnies, the answer is an emphatic OH YEAH. Like any teen drama worth its salt, Love, Victor weaves quite the tangled web around its main characters. No, wait, you know what? Scratch that understatement. Let me try that again: These kids are MESSY AS HELL, guys.
Victor, in working through his feelings for Mia versus Benji, maneuvers himself right into a love triangle. (Or possibly a quadrangle, since Benji’s dating Derek? Idk, geometry’s hard!) As if that weren’t complicated enough, Victor’s neighbor Felix dreams of being noticed by Mia’s friend Lake, who has a thing for Andrew, who only has eyes for Mia. Yes, we’re talking Shakespearean Comedy levels of complicated, meaning hearts are destined to be broken. Be on the lookout for pining, big misunderstandings, AND unrequited crushes that may or may not be requited after all.
Of course, the biggest obstacle to Victor’s happiness is…himself. He has a lot of soul-searching to do to figure out what will make him happy, and how to share his findings with his family and friends. Luckily, we viewers can take comfort in the knowledge that—since this is a companion to the warm’n’fuzzy Love, Simon—Victor will do exactly that, and then his loved ones will ultimately prove they accept him unconditionally.
Angst with a happy ending? Yep, that’s what I’m saying. And if your response is “INJECT IT INTO MY VEINS,” you are correct.
I’m telling ya: Love, Victor has it all. Check it out!
P.S. If I couldn’t convince you, maybe these vids and tumblrs will. (But beware: Lots of spoilers for S1!)
- “love me | victor x benji” by katie
- “Victor + Benji | Call me maybe” by TheVickylove90
- “Victor & Benji | Teenage Dream” by littlewonders.
Tumblr blogs & tags to follow
- #love victor
- #victor x benji
P.P.S. Did I mention that Love, Victor is a 3-for-1 deal?! Not only will you be satisfied by the Victor/Benji storyline, but you’ll be intrigued by the potential of two other pairings, Mia/Andrew and Lake/Felix. Just…trust me!
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