Pose – Review

Cast: MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar, Angelica Ross, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Billy Porter, Dyllon Burnside, Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Charlayne Woodard

Genre: Drama

Pose will take viewers to 1980s New York, where the LGBTQ+ and black communities, disco music and a sprinkling of glitter will all come together. The show features what Fox says is the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles for a scripted series, along with the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ actors in a scripted series.

Helmed by Ryan Murphy, Pose centers on two rival Houses: the House of Abundance, led by Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson) and the House of Evangelista, under the direction of Blanca Rodriguez (Mj Rodriguez). This new House of Evangelista proves to be the kinder, gentler foil to the House of Abundance, as Blanca works to accrue family members, including 17-year-old Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), a sweet, naïve dancer who’s living on the streets after being violently kicked out of home for being gay, and Angel (Indya Moore), a streetwalker who’s also escaped Elektra’s clutches.

These two Houses battling for supremacy in the ballroom acts as a central thread holding several storylines together.

Meanwhile, in the corporate temple known as Trump Tower, Stan (Evan Peters) seems poised for success under his new boss, the coke-snorting businessman Matt Bromley (James Van Der Beek) but Stan’s tender connection with trans sex worker Angel (Indya Moore) threatens both his job and his marriage to wife Patty (Kate Mara).

This show is settled in an age where America’s President has rescinded its trans students’ rights to use their bathroom of choice at school and banned transgender people from serving in the military. Over three decades after the setting of this series, queer and transgender youth are routinely at risk for harassment by the law.

In the series there are divisions between the gay and trans communities, for example, we have Blanca fighting for acceptance as a trans woman in the face of prejudice from both the gay and straight communities. And even within the trans world between those who have surgery and those who don’t.

Though Pose’s characters may be unconventional, the stories — about ambition, acceptance, love, family — are universal. Even when it ventures into territory that will be unfamiliar to most viewers — like the discrimination against transgender men and women within the gay community itself — Pose lets the characters, rather than the issues, take the lead.

Pose is a sweet, touching drama about finding yourself.

> Mar Martínez

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