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Love, Victor’s Bebe Wood on Lake’s Season Two Ups and Downs

Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

There’s a lot to love about the second season of Hulu’s Love, Victor, which follow’s the titular Victor Salazar in the aftermath of coming out to his parents. Beyond a no-punches-held storyline that peels back the layers of a religious mother’s hesitance to embrace her son’s sexuality, there’s a bottle episode about virginity (and the loss thereof), talk of lube, sobering discussions about breaking up (for more than one couple), the ongoing “femme vs. masc” struggle in the queer community, and much more than the show’s first season — originally intended for Disney+ — even came close to tackling.

Throughout it all, Bebe Wood remains Love, Victor’s emotionally grounded, one-liner queen as the wisecracking, older-than-her-16-years Lake Meriwether, one of Victor’s classmates and friends. Throughout season two’s ten episodes, Lake’s journey becomes one of the show’s most profound: While dating Victor’s best friend, Felix, she realizes that her boyfriend’s mother (played by Betsy Brandt, of Breaking Bad fame) is struggling with mental illness, causing her to lose her job and leaving the teenaged Felix fending for the family on his own. What follows is a rocky road that touches on broken trust, seeking help, blinding pride, and [spoiler alert] a breakup that hurts more than you might expect.

Days after Love, Victor’s second season hit Hulu, Wood — whose debut single, “Don’t Call Me Flower,” drops on June 25 — hopped on Zoom from Los Angeles to take Vulture through Lake’s ups and downs, pointing out not-so-subtle clues that’ve been there since the show’s early episodes that suggest where the character might go in seasons to come.

What do you make of Lake’s journey from season one to season two? Not only did the show grow and mature, but it feels like your character specifically has so much more to do this season.
Well, at the end of season one, obviously she’s reckoned with the fact that she should not care as much about what people think about her. Season two, the show picks up right where we left off: Victor is coming out to his family, but then there’s a ten-week gap. We skip [over] what we refer to as “the perfect summer bubble”; we only see the tail end of that. I think that that was probably a huge adjustment time for Lake. I think she probably learned a lot within her perfect summer bubble — and I’m sure it helped that she wasn’t at school while she was able to do all of this self-discovery. That’s not something we necessarily see, but we do see the aftereffects of that.

That’s something that I tried to think about a lot when we were filming the second season, was: What happened in this summer? She’s grown up a lot. One of my favorite parts about her journey is how she does some really brave stuff even though she very well knows that her actions might have consequences. She still makes pretty tough decisions for the wellbeing of others and her heart’s always in a good place. I know when we were filming some of those episodes where Felix was upset with Lake, I hadn’t received the script in which Betsy [Brandt], who plays Felix’s mother, says Lake did something right [by asking her mother for help].

Because I hadn’t received that script yet, when we were filming a lot of the second season, I felt like I was right there with Lake, because I was like, “What the fuck, Felix?” I wasn’t as understanding of Felix as I think Lake was. I think Lake was very, very patient — like, “God, I did something wrong, let me try and fix it,” when in actuality, I think that she was in a tough spot and did the right thing.

That storyline between Lake, Felix, and Felix’s mom is just one of several plots that show how sweeping a change Love, Victor has made this season. Was that change noticeable, or freeing, as a performer?
Oh, absolutely. That was definitely something the writers were really excited about because they had so much space in the writers’ room to explore certain things. Something that resonates with me that we were able to delve into way more in season two is these insane pressures that we put on first- and second-gen Americans. I’m the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants. So seeing that I was like, “Hell yeah, let’s dive into this more.” And I think we certainly did. James [Martinez] and Ana [Ortiz] do such a good job this season. They are incredible performers.

Theirs was one of my favorite storylines because it illustrated how complicated coming out can be; this season didn’t sanitize that process. I have to imagine that opened up a lot of space for you and your fellow cast members to play, versus delivering the tried and true coming out stories we’ve gotten accustomed to.
There was a lot of room to play. I think I had only one or two scenes with Betsy, but it’s such an honor to work with some really seasoned actors. That is when, as a performer, I felt the most excitement toward just playing — because the scenes that I do have with her, one of them is very joyful and the other is just … not.

When she breaks the plates, there was nothing in the script about Lake getting emotional in that moment. But her performance was just so good I couldn’t help but get really sad and emotional. I think they chose one of the takes where Lake is a little bit more emotional because just watching her performance was utterly heartbreaking in every way. That was really fun; being able to play with characters that weren’t around in the first season was super exciting.

I want to talk about Lake’s choice to “defy” Felix, who asks her to keep the state of his mother’s mental health a secret, and ask her mother for help. How do you think that speaks to her character?
I think that Lake was always really strong-willed, even in the first season when it comes to her friendship with Mia. She’s always there, always ready to stand up for other people. Even in the first season, when she’s less confident, she’s willing to do that. In season two, she’s more confident in herself, and thus able to exercise these skills of standing up for other people more. In a way, that’s what she’s doing with Felix.

I’ve seen a lot of mixed opinions [about her choice] on Twitter, which is fascinating, but a lot of us in the cast are in our twenties. I forget sometimes that I’m watching a show about 16-year-olds; Lake, as a minor, what else is she going to do? She’s going to tell her mom, you know what I mean? Telling her mother something is not a violation of anyone’s trust, I don’t think, especially as a minor, and given the situation that her boyfriend, who she loves, is in. Felix is her first love, so she’s protective; she cares. And the aftermath of telling her mom was, I’m sure, a little different to what Lake imagined. It was hard for everyone, but ultimately it all worked out.

I am constantly in awe at the lines the writers give you, like the very specific Ford v Ferrari joke she makes this season. You mentioned getting some input on Lake as a character; do you get involved in advising about specific lines she would or wouldn’t say?
Marcos [Luevanos, one of our executive producers] has said to me he puts a lot of himself in Lake and I love that. Marcos and I are really good friends now, so we’re able to talk about certain things that I would like to happen. But in terms of the comedic loveliness that is Lake, a lot of that is Marcos’s wonderful talent. I don’t know if it was cut, but there was this moment where Felix references that he’s been watching me on Instagram sing or lip-sync to ABBA, and Marcos put that in because I think I put on my “close friends” stories on Instagram this crazy lip sync extravaganza to ABBA. He put that in.

What’s funny is, Lake and I fundamentally are very different people. She thinks about certain things that I don’t think about, and vice versa. She is very much, I think, a kid of the 2010s, and I’m not. But in terms of whatever righteousness Lake has, I think we share that; whatever love of pop culture Lake has, I also have that as well. So I love getting those jokes and stuff because not only do they feel like something that I would say with my friends, but they feel like what Marcos would say and what a lot of my friends would say.

There’s this wink that we get in the finale, that there may be some romance blossoming between you and a female-presenting character. If the show gets picked up for a third season, now that you’ve spent two full seasons playing her, where would you be interested in seeing Lake go?
Here’s the thing: It’s always been there. In season one, Lake makes several comments about Mia and her attractiveness, joking about how if Victor doesn’t want to sleep with her, she would. So it’s always been there! I don’t even think Lake is necessarily … I don’t think it’s something she’s even questioning. [A long pause.] I think Lake and I share the same outlook, which is: If it’s hot, it’s hot, and if someone is intriguing you, go for it. I really hope that we get to delve into that for season three. I really want to, and I’ve seen that a lot of people on Twitter also agree.

Even if it was something that she recently discovered about herself, I don’t think she would need time to process that. I think if she feels chemistry with someone, she wants to run after it. I already personally think she’s processed whatever she has to process. I hope that’s the case.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Love, Victor’s Bebe Wood on Lake’s Season Two Ups and Downs