Dec 23, 2021

"With Love": Hispanic Comedy Romcom with Gay, Bisexual and Nonbinary Characters


With Love on Amazon Prime. Dumb title for a Christmas romcom, but I thought I saw two guys hugging on the icon, so we'll give it a try.

Scene 1: Establishing shot of Portland, Oregon. Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) Mass en EspaƱol. Lily covers for her brother Jorge, who missed the service, so Abuela doesn't freak out.  Jorge is played by a grown-up Mark Indelicato (below), the gay kid on Ugly Betty.

Scene 2: Preparing the Nochebuena dinner.  Wait -- don't Catholics have Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve?  It's got to be 2:00 am!  Abuela tells her daughters that Grandpa tried to have sex with her in the shower earlier.  Horny Aunt Gladys tells her sister, Lily's Mom, that it's obvious she's not getting any, and would she like a vibrator?  This is not your grandmother's romcom.

Scene 3: 
 At the liquor store. Santiago (Rome Flynn, top photo) is shopping for a "2010 or 2012 Left Bank Bourdeaux."  Clerk Henry helps him, and tries to flirt.  Santiago puts his hand on his shoulder, but otherwise rejects him: "We don't have to talk." Henry is played by Vincent Rodriguez III, who had a heterosexual character on My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but is gay in real life.

Scene 4: Lily going on a wine run.  She's upset because she just broke up with her boyfriend, but excited because Jorgito is finally going to introduce them to his boyfriend!  Ten to one it's Henry from the Liquor Store.

She tries to meet-cute Santiago coming out of the store, but he rejects her and moves on. Psych!  Next she flirts her butt off with Henry.  They were both recently dumped.  She asks him to be her date for Nochebuena Dinner, but he refuses (duh, he's working).  Well, what about next week?  She hands him her phone number. Um....

Scene 5:
Jorge's apartment.  Hot Roommate (Desmond Chiam) walking around shirtless (sigh...).  He offers to become Lily's new boyfriend, but she refuses.  Apparently they've been friends for 10 years, and she always refuses.  I'd give him a tumble

Jorge is freaking out about bringing his boyfriend to Nochebuena Dinner, where 3,000 relatives will judge him.  Lily consoles him: "Don't worry -- everyone will love Henry."  Henry!!!! The plot thickens. Then why did he say he was recently dumped?  And why did he accept Lily's phone number?

Knock on the door.  It's Henry!  He pretends not to know Lily.  Why not say "We met earlier at the liquor store?"  What is he trying to hide?

Scene 6: Walking to the dinner, they go over their strategies for pretending that they were at Mass earlier, and just missed Abuela.  Henry feels bad about lying to their grandmother.  Jorge explains: they're fine with him being gay, but not going to church is a mortal sin.  Mom, who knows their dirty secret, even greets them as "My favorite sinners!"

They greet  Mom, Dad (Benito Martinez), and Sol, who presents as female and uses they/them pronouns.  Sol chastises Jorge for not going to church:

Jorge: God doesn't like people like us.

Sol: Some people don't like people like us.  God is all about love.

The big scandal is apparently Lily being boyfriend-less, alone and lonely at her age!  Innumerable tias complain, offer advice, and try to fix her up with various nerds and grandpas ("he's 62!  You'll be an abuela!").

Scene 7: Lily sitting on the toilet.  When Sol comes in to change clothes, she reveals the biggest scandal: the boyfriend didn't dump her, she dumped him!  But why?  He's a lawyer who owns his own house -- the perfect man!  Sol suggests that she win him back with a big romantic gesture.

Scene 8:
Sol had to skip dinner to go to work at the hospital.  They brought some empanadas.  Hot Doctor (Todd Grinnell) flirts with them.  

They stop into a hospital room, and -- wait for it -- Santiago from the liquor store is there!  He gives them the bottle of wine he bought, as a thanks for taking care of his dying mother (they're pulling the plug tonight, on Nochebuena because it was her favorite holiday).

Scene 9: Back at the house, Henry reveals that he's actually bisexual, and had a girlfriend before meeting Jorge.  Everyone is shocked, and peppers him with questions. So gay and nonbinary relatives, no big deal, but bisexuals are weird and exotic?

Scene 10:  Back at the hospital.  Hot Doctor points out that they've been flirting for months; why not go on a date?  But Sol will only date Catholics. I don't believe that for a second.  Are they afraid of physical intimacy?  But Hot Doctor already knows that they are nonbinary -- he must be ok what not knowing what kind of genitals they have.

Scene 11:
Lily's grand romantic gesture to win back her ex-boyfriend (Peter Porte).  It's just standing outside his house in a Santa hat and singing.  But he refuses to take her back: "We liked each other, but we were never in love.  But your True Love is waiting out there."  Why isn't she wearing a coat?  In December in Portland the temperature is in the 20s and 30s.

Scene 12: Santiago standing outside in the dark, being sad over his mother's death.  Sol, not wearing  coat, consoles him.   He suggests that they date the Hot Doctor.  Why not?  He's cute and nice, and "you deserve a little love and happiness."  Hey, Santiago, not everyone wants a romantic partner.  

Scene 13: Dad saw Jorge and Henry kiss.  Now he's fuming in the back yard. Apparently he's not as gay-friendly as he thought.  Jorge comes out to ask why he's been so distant all evening. Psych!  He's got no problem with the kissing.  He feels bad because he wasn't able to teach his son about the "gay love stuff."  He wanted to give Jorge a "facts of life" talk about blow jobs?

Scene 14:  Lily wants to tell Jorge "something important," but she loses her nerve. Not about flirting with Henry at the liquor store.  People flirt -- get over it.

Scene 15: Back at the hospital, it's time for Sol to flip the switch and let Mom die.  Santiago and his Dad cry.

Scene 16: Lily's Mom is wondering if her husband won't have sex with her because she's getting old (remember that subplot?).  But it's time for the talent show. Hot Roommate and Horny Aunt Gladys sing "I Need a Hero."   Henry and Abuela: "I Will Survive."  Jorge and Lily: "A Whole New World." 

Scene 17: At the hospital, Sol decides to take a risk and give Hot Doctor their phone number.

Scene 18:
The party is finally over, gracias a Dios! Lily, Jorge (left), Henry, and Hot Roommate walk home.  They decide to dance in the street while singing "Feliz Navidad."  Santiago and his Dad happens to be driving by.   Santiago: "It's hard to hear that song now."  Dad: "Your mother would be heartbroken if she knew this was making you sad."  Sad about her death? Really? I want people wailing and crying.

Scene 19:  Mom and Dad get ready for bed.  He still refuses sex.  Well, it's 4:00 am and he's been hosting a party for 16 hours.  He might be a little tired.

Scene 20:  At the apartment, Lily is preparing to sleep on the couch. She doesn't live there?  Why doesn't she just go home?  She asks Henry why he didn't reveal their meeting at the liquor store.  He says he felt guilty.  He flirts with customers all the time, to get better tips (wait -- you don't tip sales clerks).  But with Lily it was...sad.  I don't buy that.  He was considering cheating on Jorge.

Hot Roommate comes out in his pajama bottoms. Lily reveals that she didn't say anything at the party because it was Jorge's night, but she's sad.  Because she's never been in love.  They start kissing, and head to the bedroom.  

Beefcake: Hot Roommate.

LGBTQ Characters:  Jorge and Henry and Sol. 

Endless Parties: Future episodes take place on the major holidays of the year: New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July, and the Dia de los Muertos.  I imagine that each will involve an endless party.

Who Ends Up with Whom:  No way to tell.  The main cast appears in every episode.  If Henry dumps Jorge for Lily, I'm leaving.

Will I Keep Watching: Why not?


  1. Noche Buena is celebrated on the 24th before going to Midnight Mass not after.

    1. So, what Mass were they going to in the first scene? A late afternoon Christmas Eve service? Maybe it was a children's service -- I saw kids on the podium.


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