The Unicorn Scale: The House of Flowers

By Kaylee Walker

August 05, 2023



Photo credit: Image/Netflix

There is nothing I love more than some dirty chisme, which is why when I saw the trailer on Netflix for The House of Flowers (2018–2020), I simply could not resist. One perk of this masterpiece is that even if you aren’t a bilingual bisexual, you can still partake in this enticing dramedy since it’s available in both English and Spanish.

A few notes at the outset. House of Flowers is dark, sexual, and intense. It addresses all manner of mature themes that are not recommended for young eyes. This review will also contain some minor spoilers. For those unfamiliar with the Unicorn Scale rating system, please see here.

So… where to begin? The de la Moras are an upper-class family who own a high-end flower shop… and apparently also a cabaret, both called The House of Flowers. We discover the cabaret shortly after we find the body of Roberta hanging lifeless in the House of Flowers (the flower shop). Upon her death, we learn that she was the mistress of Ernesto, the patriarch of the de la Mora clan. Roberta decided to take her life in the center of the flower shop, during Ernesto’s birthday party for extra flair, leaving a letter for his wife detailing her husband’s many secrets.

The contents of the letter become different plot points as the story progresses, but with the death of Roberta, we know that Ernesto had invested in a cabaret using the money from the flower shop and that the cabaret had once financially supported his second family. The final posthumous trap Roberta springs is sending her love child with Ernesto to the de la Mora house to expose just how deep his double life was. His adult children meet Micaela — the love child — causing pandemonium in the household as Virginia, Ernesto’s optics-obsessed wife, refuses to accept her.


So to recap: Dead mistress, secret cabaret, hidden love child, matriarch obsessed with appearances.

Amid all this mayhem, Julián, the youngest de la Mora, decides he wants to move in with his boyfriend. But not just any boyfriend. In true millennial telenovela fashion, it’s a secret boyfriend, Diego, with whom he’s been having an affair for five years. To add an extra layer, Diego is also the financial advisor for the House of Flowers! Julián has a long-term girlfriend he has been seeing the entire time, but is really in love with Diego, who, I might add, is a much older silver-haired fox.


What I Liked:

Episode three is when we really start diving into Julián’s love life and getting the scoop. What’s refreshing about how his character is explored is that we see him parsing together his different attractions and emotions to try to accurately name what he is. We even get a full sit-down discussion with his sister Elena and her fiancé as they connect the dots. We get to glide through his attractions and feelings as he bounces back and forth between what label accurately describes him. First, he states that he is gay, then eventually comes upon the word “bisexual”, and finds that he simply can’t get enough, injecting it into every sentence. Quite a tasty morsel indeed.

His first coming out with his sisters is small, and he constantly corrects them that he is not gay, but bi. But there is another coming out he dreads. Julián tries to prove to Diego that he is committed and ready to move in, but Diego insists he tell his parents first.

Julián goes to the House of Flowers cabaret to get some advice from drag queens, who encourage him to come out through song — advice that he puts into action that very night. Forewarned of Julián’s bisexuality, Virginia tries and fails to deter her son back to an exclusively straight life, and that night she gets dinner and a show as Julián sings his coming out with Diego beside him.


Something I both loved and loathed was the realistic portrayal of how Julián’s sexual orientation was interpreted by others. The two big players we see in the denial game are Virginia and Lucía, Julián’s ex-fiancée. Virginia is adamant that her son is nothing but straight, despite the effeminate and queer-coded things they do together like getting mani-pedis. We see her try to force heterosexuality on him and attempt to disguise his bisexuality throughout the series until she sees that the family’s public image would benefit more from her acceptance rather than denial.

One very important thing to note is that this takes place in Mexico. Being gay or bi is still a hot-button controversy in Mexico. That’s not to say the rest of the world is an LGBT utopia, but Mexico is a religious country with a long record of machismo culture and homophobia. The success of this show speaks volumes about how things are beginning to change. The very fact of its creation alone is worthy of praise.

What I Didn’t Like:

It is very unfortunate that our main bi character was written to embody the biggest stereotype bi people face. While drama is to be expected in this modern-day telenovela, the trope of a cheating and confused bi person is a tad exhausting. Couldn’t he have had an evil twin or murdered someone? Cheating is common for nearly all of the characters in the series, but this was one of the biggest and first that we see.

Especially in the beginning, Julián is depicted as someone with an insatiable libido who only cares about having sex with everyone. Granted, the same could be said about Elena, who is often seen cheating and having sex with every man who pays her attention, but we don’t see this trait in the other characters until later.

I appreciate that we have a bi character, I just slightly wish he could have had a different plot twist.


The Rating:

Oh, baby! This series touches on so many important topics, and how they handle bisexuality is honestly mind-blowing. In episode three, we get a proper definition, and then the entire cast can’t stop saying “bisexual”! I’m also thrilled that they get away from hackneyed bi characters who “don't like labels”. Julián is secure in his sexuality. He stays bi, doesn’t pander to other labels, and doesn’t switch to calling himself gay when he settles down with a male partner.

Also, I enjoy that Julián’s character is an overall sweetie pie. I’m glad we have a character who, while very flawed, is absolutely loveable and cherished by the audience rather than a devious sex villain. We have a bi person with a good heart whose storyline is fully fleshed out with actual struggles and thoughts that actual bi people often face, rather than being a superficial throwaway arc. Bonus points for giving us a bi dude, too! (News flash! Guys can also be bi!)

So yes, I recommend this show and wholeheartedly give it a solid four unicorns.

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