Hulu is offering viewers a peek at its hotly anticipated gay teen series, “Love, Victor,” with a clip of a coffeeshop meet-cute.
The footage, unveiled Monday, follows Victor (played by Michael Cimino) as he fumbles his way through an interview for a barista gig. Turns out the shop’s manager happens to be the titular character’s secret crush, Benji (George Sear). Cue the endearing awkwardness as the flirty tension between the two reaches a boiling point, leading to a steamed milk mishap.
“Love, Victor,” due out June 19, is a TV spinoff of the 2018 film “Love, Simon.” Much like its big-screen counterpart, the series follows a high school student on a “journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city, and struggling with his sexual orientation,” according to press notes.
“Love, Simon,” which stars Nick Robinson, was Hollywood’s first mainstream coming-of-age comedy to center on a gay teen, and it was hailed as a cinematic milestone. Its success spurred plans for a series to air on Disney Plus, featuring Robinson as a narrator.
But the promotional cycle for “Love, Victor” got off to a shaky start in February, when it was announced the series would instead premiere on Hulu in June to mark LGBTQ Pride Month. According to multiple reports, Disney Plus execs felt the show included subject matter, such as alcohol use and sexual exploration, that didn’t gel with the family-focused vibe of the streaming service.
Though Hulu is also owned by Disney, news of the swap sparked criticism online. Some speculated that the show had been removed from Disney Plus for being “too gay,” even though “Love, Simon” had been relatively chaste.
Becky Albertalli, whose 2015 young adult novel, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” was the basis for the original “Love, Simon” film, responded to the backlash by defending the decision in a series of tweets.
“Disney knew what it was when they got it,” the author wrote. “That said, I completely get why many of us are wary of phrases like ‘mature content’ and ‘adult themes.’ They’re so often used as homophobic dog whistles, and these concerns are so valid.”
“But in this case, I do hope you’ll give Disney the benefit of the doubt,” she added.