Pose (TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||45–78 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||5.1 surround|
|Original release||June 3, 2018– present|
Pose is an American drama television series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals that premiered on June 3, 2018, on FX. The series is executive produced by Murphy, Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Sherry Marsh.
The first season was met with critical acclaim upon its premiere and included the largest cast of transgender actors for a narrative television series, with over 50 transgender characters. On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere in 2019.
Pose is set in 1987–88 and looks at "the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York": the African-American and Latino ball culture world, the downtown social and literary scene, and the rise of the yuppie Trump milieu.
Cast and characters
- Evan Peters as Stan Bowes, Patty's husband who works in Trump Tower. He becomes Angel's lover.
- Kate Mara as Patty Bowes, Stan's wife, mother of their children.
- James Van Der Beek as Matt Bromley, Stan's kingpin boss.
- Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, the founder and mother of the House of Evangelista. Blanca is an HIV-positive trans woman and former member of the House of Abundance.
- Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance, mother of the House of Abundance.
- Indya Moore as Angel Evangelista, a trans woman sex worker, one of the first members of the House of Evangelista, who leaves the House of Abundance with Blanca. She meets Stan while working at the piers, and becomes his mistress.
- Billy Porter as Pray Tell, an emcee of balls in New York.
- Ryan Jamaal Swain as Damon Richards-Evangelista, a homeless, talented dancer who becomes the first member to be recruited by Blanca into the House of Evangelista.
- Charlayne Woodard as Helena St. Rogers, a modern dance teacher at the New School for Dance.
- Dyllón Burnside as Ricky Evangelista, Damon's boyfriend and a member of the House of Evangelista.
- Hailie Sahar as Lulu Abundance, she is second in command to Elektra and later forms the House of Ferocity with Candy.
- Angelica Ross as Candy Abundance, she later forms the House of Ferocity with Lulu.
- Angel Bismark Curiel as Martinez 'Lil Papi' Evangelista, another member of the House of Evangelista. He later joins the House of Ferocity, before returning to the House of Evangelista.
- Sandra Bernhard as Nurse Judy (season 2; guest season 1), a nurse that works with HIV/AIDS patients.
- Jeremy McClain as Cubby Evangelista, a former member of the House of Abundance, who leaves to join the House of Ferocity, and then later joins the House of Evangelista.
- Jason A. Rodriguez as Lemar Evangelista, a former member of the House of Abundance, who leaves to join the House of Ferocity, and then later joins the House of Evangelista.
- Samantha Grace Blumm as Amanda Bowes, Stan and Patty's daughter.
- Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza as himself, Judge and Founder of House of Xtravaganza
- Sol Williams Pendavis as himself, Judge and Founder of House of Pendavis
- Kathryn Erbe as Dr. Gottfried
- Johnny Sibilly as Costas, Pray Tell's boyfriend who is dying of AIDS.
- Tamara M. Williams as Summer
- Christopher Meloni as Dick Ford, Elektra's wealthy boyfriend and financier.
- Alexia Garcia as Aphrodite, a trans woman and member of House of Xtravaganza who later joins House of Ferocity.
- Bianca Castro as Veronica, a thrift store cashier who joins the House of Ferocity.
- Clark Jackson as Damon's Father
- Roslyn Ruff as Damon's Mother
- Deidre Goodwin as Wanda Green
- Matt McGrath as Boy Lounge Manager
- Christine Ebersole as Bobbi, Patty's mother
- Flor de Liz Perez as Carmen, Blanca's sister
- Trace Lysette
- Our Lady J as Sherilyn
- Leiomy Maldonado as Florida
- Blake Morris as Keenan
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Ryan Murphy||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven Canals||June 3, 2018||1WBF01||0.688|
|After being diagnosed as HIV-positive, Blanca decides to leave the House of Abundance and start the House of Evangelista. A young dancer, Damon, is kicked out of his parents' home after they discover he is gay. Blanca invites Damon to join the House of Evangelista. Angel is picked up by Stan, a married man who has just begun working at Trump Tower. The two kiss and talk but do not have sex. Abundance and Evangelista face off at a ball and Abundance is victorious. Damon auditions for the New School for Dance and is accepted.|
|2||"Access"||Ryan Murphy||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven Canals||June 10, 2018||1WBF02||0.548|
|Blanca is denied entry to a gay bar and sets out to gain access through a solo sit-in. Stan asks for a raise at work so that he may give Angel her own apartment. Damon meets a dancer named Ricky and is enamored, but resists Ricky's seduction, as he's not ready to have sex. Blanca offers Damon guidance regarding love and relationships and encourages him to practice safe sex. Damon misses his first date with Ricky to attend the ballet. The two make amends and attend the ballet together. Despite being kicked out of the bar multiple times and even being arrested, Blanca keeps returning to the bar in protest.|
|3||"Giving and Receiving"||Nelson Cragg||Janet Mock & Our Lady J||June 17, 2018||1WBF03||0.561|
|Pray Tell pays a visit to his lover, Costas, who is dying of AIDS. Elektra enlists two of her children, Lulu and Candy, to help her steal from a Salvation Army donation bucket. She uses the money for a down payment on her gender confirmation surgery. Stan welcomes Angel to her new studio apartment. She makes him promise to be with her for just an hour on Christmas. Stan’s boss, Matt, arrives to Stan’s home bearing gifts and makes a pass at Stan’s wife, Patty, who is home alone. Patty rebuffs Matt’s advances. Matt is angry and subtly implies that Stan has a mistress. Stan is unable to visit Angel on Christmas after Patty questions him. The House of Evangelista have Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Pray Tell.|
|4||"The Fever"||Gwyneth Horder-Payton||Janet Mock||June 24, 2018||1WBF04||0.719|
|Damon is sick with a high fever and Blanca fears that he may have contracted HIV after he tells her that he and Ricky haven't always been practising safe-sex. Pray Tell takes Damon, Ricky, Lil Papi, and himself to get tested and everyone's results are negative except for Pray Tell, who chooses not to tell anyone except Blanca. Candy resorts to getting cheap, amateur silicone injections after getting ridiculed at a ball for her frame which has a negative impact on her health. Angel also considers plastic surgery after an incident with Stan leaves her feeling insecure. Meanwhile, Elektra undergoes gender confirmation surgery, despite the objections and disapproval of her sugar daddy.|
|5||"Mother's Day"||Silas Howard||Steven Canals||July 1, 2018||1WBF05||0.582|
|A flashback shows Blanca's attending her first ball and fails to impress, however Elektra takes her into the House of Abundance. In the present day, Blanca receives the news that her biological mother has died, and attends her funeral and wake, much to the distaste of her biological family. Blanca visits Elektra in the hospital where she is recovering from her gender confirmation surgery. Meanwhile, Stan gets a promotion at work which angers Matt, and he seeks revenge by telling Patty about Stan's ongoing affair with Angel. Matt provides Angel's whereabouts to Patty who shows up at the home of the House of Evangelista, and Lil' Papi takes Patty to the ball where she confronts Angel.|
|6||"Love Is the Message"||Janet Mock||Ryan Murphy & Janet Mock||July 8, 2018||1WBF06||0.594|
|Patty and Angel have a long conversation in a nearby diner about Angel's relationship with Stan, and Patty is shocked to learn that she is transgender. Later, Patty takes Stan to couples therapy, and after a lengthy session tells Stan that she wants some time apart and kicks Stan out of the family home. Stan retaliates by physically confronting Matt at the office, in which Matt comes out on top. Pray Tell hosts a cabaret at the AIDS ward where his boyfriend Costas is staying; subsequently Costas dies from complications from HIV. Although initially angry, Pray Tell is consoled and comforted by Blanca and her children.|
|7||"Pink Slip"||Tina Mabry||Steven Canals & Our Lady J||July 15, 2018||1WBF07||0.689|
|Stan and Angel are now living together as a couple, however this is short lived when Angel takes Stan to a ball. He is overwhelmed by the atmosphere and culture, and realises this life isn't for him and leaves Angel. Meanwhile, Elektra finds herself out on the street when her sugar daddy, and others like him, reject her due to her gender confirmation surgery and resorts to stripping to keep herself afloat after being evicted from her apartment. Elsewhere, Lulu and Candy, tired of living in Elektra's shadow and under her rule, leave and form their own house called the House of Ferocity. Blanca finds out that Lil' Papi is dealing drugs and evicts him from the house. He later joins the House of Ferocity, and during a confrontation with Blanca at a ball, tells her they are determined to take her down.|
|8||"Mother of the Year"||Gwyneth Horder-Payton||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven Canals||July 22, 2018||1WBF08||0.781|
|Blanca and Elektra reunite after she invites and welcomes Elektra into the House of Evangelista and helps her get a job at an elegant restaurant. Damon and Ricky successfully audition to tour with Al B. Sure! as part of the dance troop, however Damon stays behind to continue his studies while Ricky goes on tour. Before the Princess Ball, Stan shows up and begs Angel to take him back but she rejects him. Elektra manages to recruit two new members into the House of Evangelista, and Lil' Papi also returns to the house. The House of Ferocity challenges the House of Evangelista at the Princess Ball, the latter wins and Blanca is crowned Mother of the Year.|
On March 16, 2017, it was announced that FX had given the production a pilot order. The pilot was written by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals all of whom produce, alongside Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, and Sherry Marsh. Production companies involved with the pilot include FX Productions and Fox21 Television Studios. Leiomy Maldonado and Danielle Polanco will be choreographing the series' ball scenes. It was later announced that Janet Mock and Our Lady J had joined the show's writing staff and were also set to produce the series.
On December 27, 2017, it was announced that FX had given the production a series for a first season consisting of eight episodes. On May 9, 2018, ahead of the series premiere, Murphy announced that he would be donating all his profits from Pose to non-profit charitable organizations that work with LGBTQ+ people, including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Murphy explained this decision saying, "The thing that struck me in talking to so many of them, was how much they’ve struggled, how under attack they feel, how many of them find it difficult getting healthcare, and finding jobs. I just decided I need to do more than just making a show for this community. I want to reach out and help this community." On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.
In March 2017, Ryan Murphy and his team began casting for the series. On October 25, 2017, it was announced that transgender actors Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross and cisgender actors Ryan Jamaal Swain, Billy Porter and Dyllón Burnside had been cast in main roles. The series' production team claimed that they had assembled the largest transgender cast ever for a scripted series. The series was expected to include over 50 transgender characters total. On October 26, 2017, it was announced that Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, and Tatiana Maslany had also joined the main cast.
On December 27, 2017, it was reported that Maslany had exited the series following the redevelopment of her part into that of a 50-year-old African-American woman. The character was then recast with Charlayne Woodard assuming the role. On September 19, 2018, it was announced that Sandra Bernhard would reprise her role of Nurse Judy in season two as a series regular.
Production for the series' pilot began in New York City in October 2017. The following episodes of the first season were expected to begin production in February 2018. Murphy directed the series' first two episodes and Mock directed the sixth, thus making her the first transgender woman of color to write and direct any episode of television.
On April 12, 2018, FX released the first teaser trailer for the series. It was also announced that the series was set to premiere on June 3, 2018. On May 3, 2018, the first official trailer was released.
On July 23, 2018, Dyllón Burnside emceed a benefit concert, duetting with co-stars Billy Porter and Ryan Jamaal Swain to celebrate the season one finale, and raise money for GLSEN. During the event, a conversation was held between Burnside and former Vibe editor-in-chief Emil Wilbekin, where Burnside discussed his coming out story and spoke about the importance of safe spaces for LGBTQ people. Later on in the evening, Porter sang from his 2017 album of Richard Rodgers covers and Mj Rodriguez sang "Waving Through a Window" from Dear Evan Hansen.
While a work of creative fiction, the series is "heavily inspired by" Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning. Several of the houses and characters are based on, or named after, real people, and several people featured in the documentary also make cameos in the series, such as Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza, the inventor of voguing, who plays a judge on the pilot episode, and Sol Pendavis Williams, of the House of Pendavis. Creators and producers of the series such as "Murphy, Canals and writer/producer Janet Mock all consider Paris Is Burning a text that helped inform not only the show, but also their identities when they first saw it."
Pose also expands on one of Paris Is Burning's subtler themes. At various points in the film, Livingston contrasts the drag performers with ordinary, affluent New Yorkers, walking down busy Manhattan sidewalks. It’s often hard to tell which of these two groups is more “real”, which of them are fashion models or Wall Street power players and which are simply costumed as such. Pose elaborates on those subtle distinctions with a subplot involving Stan (Evan Peters), a rising star in the Trump organization with an obnoxious boss (James Van Der Beek), a pretty wife (Kate Mara), and a secret relationship with Angel (Indya Moore), a trans woman. The show aims to capture some of the diversity of New York in the ’80s, while also emphasizing the idea that, whether rich or poor, everyone in the city is pretending, in one way or another.
Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York by Chantal Regnault is also an inspiration for the series.[original research?] It was first published by Soul Jazz Books in 2011, and reprinted in 2018.
The series has been met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 97% approval rating with an average rating of 7.67 out of 10 based on 60 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Charged with energy, poise, and confidence, Pose pirouettes between artistic opulence and deliciously soapy drama to create a fresh new addition to Ryan Murphy's lexicon." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 75 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
In a positive review, Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson was effusive describing the series as "an engaging portrait of dark days met with merriment. Pain and perseverance are sewn together to create something humble yet fabulous—and, it should be shouted over all the show’s loud and glorious clamor, very much long overdue." In a similarly favorable critique, Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz praised the series' ambition, aesthetic, and spotlight on minorities saying, "it shows American audiences a world that has never been visualized on television at this length and at such an obviously grand budget level. The camera swings and swoops, glides and tumbles as in a Scorsese epic like Gangs of New York; in both the outdoor street scenes and indoor crowd scenes, it’s obvious that FX has spared no expense to get the clothes, the cars, the streets, the business signs, and even the distinctive yellow-brown glow of streetlights correct." In a more mixed assessment, Newsday's gave the series two-and-a-half stars out of four and described it far less approvingly saying, "good intentions don't always lead to good TV, and a couple episodes in, that appears to be the case with Pose. This certainly isn't bad TV — Murphy isn't about to leave his longtime home with a turkey — but it's often bland TV, and oddly enough, stock TV." In a negative evaluation, Slate's Willa Paskin was outright dismissive saying, "It's a TV show from one of the most canny creators working today, yet as a viewing experience it can feel like an object lesson." He continued on specifically criticizing the show's character development saying, "So many of the people on Pose are strong women, trans paragons, and this comes at the expense of them being recognizably flawed human beings."
|1||"Pilot"||June 3, 2018||0.2||0.688||0.2||0.444||0.4||1.132|
|2||"Access"||June 10, 2018||0.2||0.548||0.1||0.338||0.3||0.887|
|3||"Giving and Receiving"||June 17, 2018||0.2||0.561||0.2||0.358||0.4||0.919|
|4||"The Fever"||June 24, 2018||0.3||0.719||0.2||0.438||0.5||1.158|
|5||"Mother's Day"||July 1, 2018||0.3||0.582||0.1||0.390||0.4||0.973|
|6||"Love Is the Message"||July 8, 2018||0.3||0.594||0.2||0.436||0.5||1.031|
|7||"Pink Slip"||July 15, 2018||0.3||0.689||0.1||0.372||0.4||1.062|
|8||"Mother of the Year"||July 22, 2018||0.3||0.781||0.1||0.371||0.4||1.153|
Awards and nominations
|2018||American Film Institute Awards||Top 10 TV Programs of the Year||Pose||Won|||
|2019||Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||Pose||Pending|||
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Billy Porter||Pending|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Pose||Pending|||
|Best Actor in a Drama Series||Billy Porter||Pending|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: New Series||Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, Todd Kubrak, Janet Mock,
Ryan Murphy, & Our Lady J
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