‘With Love’ Tells the Proposal Story Queer People of Color Deserve to See

Kevin Estrada/Prime Video
Kevin Estrada/Prime Video

Prime Video’s With Love follows the adventures of the Diaz family—particularly Lily (Emeraude Toubia), her brother Jorge (Mark Indelicato), their cousin Sol (Isis King), and their prospective partners. One of the three budding couples With Love follows has a solid claim to being television's sexiest couple: Jorge and Henry (Vincent Rodriguez III). (OK, everyone on this show is smoking hot, but this is a gay couple, so they get bonus points. Sorry; I don’t make the rules.)

A tonic for our ever-trying times, the Season 2 opener has some (not-so) serious drama: Which of Marta’s (Renee Victor) grandchildren is getting engaged at the family Christmas party? While With Love doesn’t shy away from more serious issues—one of these couples breaks up in the same episode—it also makes sure to deliver big emotional, light-hearted moments. And it does so with such panache that it makes those bigger problems seem smaller and more bearable.

Case in point: the magnificent season-premiere proposal scene, featuring Henry and Jorge.

There aren’t enough roles or opportunities for people of color on television, let alone queer people of color. And if those queer folks of color ever try to come out, they’re often met with less-than-desirable responses. One of the most high-profile coming-out stories on TV was in Glee, when Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) came out to her abuela, only to be kicked out of her house. More recently, Love, Victor found Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) facing a difficult reaction from his mother, who took more than a full season to finally come around.

It’s not all bad. Ugly Betty had one of the sweetest coming-out plotlines imaginable for Justin (also Mark Indelicato, much younger), whose family nearly held a coming-out party for him, before realizing the best course of action was to let him come out on his own terms. There’s also Elena (Isabella Gomez) on One Day at a Time (helmed by With Love’s creator, Gloria Calderón Kellett), who shares a sweet and tender moment with her mother. But the message is clear: It’s not easy being Latinx and queer, especially on TV.

With Love, unlike most stories on TV, doesn’t just offer a ray of hope for queer people of color. It also presents them with a veritable rainbow, complete with a pot of gold at the end of it. The show proudly examines the lives of a Latinx person positively bursting at the seams with love. This is a show that doesn’t just feature “Love” in its title—it radiates throughout every scene. With cynicism at an all-time high, stories like these are all too rare.

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Never is that clearer than in the season premiere’s truly magical proposal scene. Queer proposals on TV often happen in more intimate settings—Brothers and Sisters, Sense8, How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, and even Schitt’s Creek feature proposals with not another soul around. Even rarer do these proposals happen around family members; something quite commonplace in hetero romances. We are all too often pushed to create our own chosen families, if and when our relatives reject us for being who we are. That’s a big reason why what With Love shows us feels so powerful. Henry proposes to Jorge on Christmas Eve, in front of Jorge’s entire family—not just his immediate family, but with every imaginable relative in the room too.

Henry remarks upon how being around Jorge’s very “extra” family has encouraged him to more confidently put himself out there. What Henry is experiencing is an amazing thing: that being around family can make you feel comfortable enough to be more authentically yourself—especially as a queer person. That acceptance is exactly what Jorge and the rest of the Diaz family have given him.

Better yet, Henry’s proposal actually includes members of Jorge’s family. To begin the proposal, someone dims the lights, and Henry performs a choreographed rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “You’re All I Need To Get By,” flanked by his best friend and members of Jorge’s family. Rodriguez III has a gorgeous voice (which we heard plenty of in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and he does the song justice. Shots of Jorge’s family looking on in palpable joy are infectious, and Jorge, seated directly in front of the performance, is smiling ear-to-ear.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Kevin Estrada/Prime Video</div>
Kevin Estrada/Prime Video

Henry then gets down on one knee and pops the question. Jorge accepts without hesitation, and the two embrace, to the sounds of jubilant whoops and applause from the entire family. There’s not a dry eye in the room, and it’s both elegantly framed and brilliantly performed by Rodriguez III and Indelicato. This is, in sum, television perfection.

At a time when queer lives are under attack from every angle, With Love feels like a desperately needed tonic. Its Pride Month release timing couldn’t have been better, as this euphoric queer proposal is at the core of what makes the whole show so irresistible. With Love often feels like a throwback to classic, easy-going, rom-com TV but it’s a shining example of how old-school stories and genres can be invigorated with a fresh, diverse outlook. We all need a little love.

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