I was in the mood for something new this holiday season and went with Amazon Prime Video’s new series With Love. This beautiful show is full of life and the magic of love throughout the year. While the first episode starts on Nochebuena, we follow the Diaz family on important holidays. Diving into Latinx family dynamics, this show explores how our relationship with family influences our relationships outside of that loyal bubble.
Holidays are a big deal in our Latinx families. Tensions are high and traditions are passed down (or stuffed down – our throats), making these yearly milestone moments an opportunity to highlight some of our triggers and traumas throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, With Love is a lovely show. It made me cry, laugh, and miss my family, but it also provided a stage for looking at very familiar Latinx family dynamics. It made me realize some of the blind traits we carry into our new relationships, bringing our entire families (and traumas) with us.
Whether it’s the nerves of introducing your new plus one to everyone on Christmas Eve or spying on your sister’s solo trip to wine country on Valentine’s Day, With Love does an amazing job of showing how the people we invite into our lives can help take off the rose-colored glasses and focus on some of the toxic, no-boundary traits our family has taught us.
Episode 1: Nochebuena
The holiday with the most questions surrounding your singleness in any Latinx family would be Nochebuena. Followed by the all too familiar dating setup if you’re the single cousin on Christmas. Family gossip runs high on Nochebuena, even for the Diaz family. While Lily is trying to hide the reason for her break-up, her brother Jorge is nervous about introducing his family to his bisexual boyfriend. Leading up to my favorite scene where Henry explains to Jorge’s extended family what it means to be bi.
As much as I loved Lily’s character, I wish I would have seen more of her career goals or life aspirations outside of love. Our accomplishments are more than just our relationships. As the eldest daughter, I still saw myself in Lily. Holding it together so that everyone can enjoy the holiday season. She tends to keep everything a secret so that no one has to worry about the strong one in the family. That’s a lot of pressure! And it ultimately affects our ability to be vulnerable with those we invite into our loyal bubbles.
Episode 2: New Year’s Eve
How do you get inside our loyal bubbles? Well, standing up for our younger siblings gives you a guaranteed spot. As Lily makes her rounds playing wing-woman for a family friend, we get our magical moment on New Year’s Eve in a meet-cute that would have any eldest sibling’s heart-pounding, especially when you don’t have to be the only mama bear in the room. Queue the hot guy from the bar who ends up punching a douchebag for using a homophobic slur on your brother (making him a hundred percent hotter). Like Lily, the eldest siblings are looking for allies. Someone to meet them at the level of protection they carry for their own families. The burden suddenly becomes a shared love for family.
Episode 3: Valentine’s Day
Henry might be my favorite character outside of the Diaz family. He loves Jorge in the most compassionate, understanding way. Gently approaching the idea of dating his entire family instead of him, Henry helps Jorge establish boundaries and live his own life. The blind notion of not having any boundaries is extremely high on Valentine’s Day for these siblings. Especially when Jorge decides to ditch Henry’s hiking date idea for a spontaneous spy session on his sister Lily. Lily’s lack of communication and Jorge’s desire to check on her sister, should have affected his relationship with Henry more. Alas, Henry is just too amazing. As events unfold, new boundaries are set and lessons are learned.
Episode 4: Independence Day
While With Love might focus on sibling relationships, it doesn’t forget about los papás. It was refreshing to see an older Latinx couple in therapy. Especially at a time in a marriage where things seem like the magic is gone and love feels more like a roommate than a partner. It was the first time I saw how deep the family loyalty bubble goes on screen. When Beatriz and Jorge Sr. promise to focus on their marriage for one day, they quickly break that boundary when their oldest daughter Lily calls for help. It shows how a lot of parents do not prioritize their own relationship because their entire lives revolve around their children, no matter how old they are. It’s a family dynamic I want to see explored more and With Love knocked it out of the park.
Episode 5: Día De Los Muertos
In the last episode from season one, we witness Lily recognizing her own growth after running into her ex. After embarking on a new relationship, ten months later she’s able to recognize the lessons she learned while dating someone new. Helping her realize that love isn’t as perfect as she once thought it should be. But the best part about the last episode centers around Sol Perez, cousin to Jorge and Lily. While entertaining the idea of a new relationship with a work colleague, Sol learns how to break down their protective wall. While preparing their ofrenda for Día de Los Muertos, a private ritual they have held for themselves, Sol finally lets their new family in, allowing for healing surrounding their transgender journey.
By the end of the year, the Diaz family has grown closer and established more boundaries. Love is now defined by choice and still seen as a miracle. It’s a wonderful, big family love affair and shows we can be vulnerable with our families, heal our triggers by confronting generational trauma, and at the end of the day, still believe that love is possible for everyone. Crossing my fingers for season two because I can’t wait to see the Diaz family continue to unravel and heal through love.