Pose (TV series)

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Pose
PoseTitleScreen.png
GenreDrama
Created by
Starring
ComposerMac Quayle
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
Cinematography
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45–78 minutes
Production companies
Distributor20th Television (Seasons 1-2)
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (Season 3)
Release
Original networkFX
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio format5.1 surround
Original releaseJune 3, 2018 (2018-06-03) –
June 6, 2021 (2021-06-06)
External links
Website

Pose (stylized as POSE) is an American drama television series about New York City's African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene in the 1980s and, in the second season, early 1990s. Featured characters are dancers and models who compete for trophies and recognition in this underground culture, and who support one another in a network of chosen families known as Houses.

Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, the series premiered on June 3, 2018, on FX. The series stars an ensemble cast including Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter, Indya Moore, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Charlayne Woodard, Hailie Sahar, Angelica Ross, Angel Bismark Curiel, Dyllón Burnside, and Sandra Bernhard.

The first season was met with critical acclaim and subsequently received numerous award nominations including the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama for Billy Porter. In 2019, Porter was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – the first openly gay black man to be nominated for and win in an Emmy lead acting category. The series was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the same ceremony.

The second season premiered on June 11, 2019, to further acclaim. The third and final season premiered on May 2, 2021, and concluded on June 6, 2021.

Premise[edit]

Pose season 1 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.[1]

The second season begins in 1990. More of the characters are now either HIV-positive or living with AIDS. Some have become AIDS activists with ACT UP, and everyone is now attending frequent fundraisers, funerals and memorial services for their many friends and lovers in the community that has been hard-hit by the AIDS pandemic. With the release of songs by Madonna, Malcolm McLaren, and others, some aspects of the ballroom dance styles begin to go mainstream, and members of the community find new opportunities as dancers and dance teachers. Others are working as dominatrices and strippers.

The final season begins in 1994, with Blanca focuses on balancing her life as nurse aide, a mother and present partner to Christopher, her new love who works in the same hospital as hers. The season also focuses on the reassembly of House of Evangelista due to Lemar's father role in the unruly new group House of Khan, and Pray Tell's health scare.[2]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Evan Peters as Stan Bowes, Patty's yuppie husband who works in Trump Tower and later becomes Angel's lover. (season 1)[3]
  • Kate Mara as Patty Bowes, Stan's wife and mother of their children. (season 1)[3]
  • James Van Der Beek as Matt Bromley, Stan's kingpin boss. (season 1)[3]
  • Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, a trans woman with HIV/AIDS and former member of the House of Abundance. She is the founder and mother of the House of Evangelista.
  • Dominique Jackson as Elektra Evangelista, mother of the former House of Abundance. After brief stints in the Houses of Evangelista and Ferocity, she forms the House of Wintour before rejoining the House of Evangelista in the final season.
  • Billy Porter as Pray Tell, emcee of the balls in New York, fashion designer, and mentor to members of the community, especially the members of House Evangelista. He later enters a relationship with Ricky.
  • Indya Moore as Angel Vasquez-Evangelista, a trans woman sex worker who joins the House of Evangelista after leaving the House of Abundance. She has an affair with Stan during the first season, before entering a relationship with Papi.
  • Ryan Jamaal Swain as Damon Richards-Evangelista, a homeless, talented dancer who becomes the first member of the House of Evangelista. The character was absent after the Season 3 double premiere due to Ryan's sister was murdered at the time of shooting in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama; thus the writers wrote the character became an alcohol addict that relapsed and settled in his cousin's home in South Carolina. In the series finale, it was unveiled that Damon is in Chicago and teaches dancing.[4][5][6]
  • Charlayne Woodard as Helena St. Rogers, a modern dance teacher at the New School for Dance. (season 1; guest star in season 2)
  • Hailie Sahar as Lulu Evangelista, the founder of the House of Ferocity alongside Candy. She joins the House of Evangelista in the final season.
  • Angelica Ross as Candy Johnson-Ferocity, the founder of the House of Ferocity alongside Lulu. Murdered in Season 2, she appeared sporadically in the final season.
  • Angel Bismark Curiel as Esteban "Lil Papi" Martinez-Evangelista, a member of the House of Evangelista.
  • Dyllón Burnside as Ricky Evangelista, Damon's ex-boyfriend and a former member of the House of Evangelista who joins the House of Wintour. In the final season he rejoins the House of Evangelista.
  • Sandra Bernhard as Judy Kubrak, a nurse who works with people with AIDS and member of ACT UP. (seasons 2–3; guest star in season 1)[7]
  • Jason A. Rodriguez as Lemar Khan, a former member of the House of Abundance, Ferocity, Evangelista and Wintour. In the final season, he becomes the father of the House of Khan. (season 3; recurring seasons 1–2)

Recurring[edit]

Introduced in season 1
  • Jeremy McClain as Cubby Wintour, a young gay man and a former member of the House of Abundance, Ferocity, and Evangelista, who joins the House of Wintour. He died in Season 3 Episode 1
  • Alexia Garcia as Aphrodite Ferocity, a trans woman who defects from the House of Xtravaganza to the House of Ferocity.
  • Bianca Castro as Veronica Ferocity, a thrift store cashier who joins the House of Ferocity.
  • Samantha Grace Blumm as Amanda Bowes, Stan and Patty's daughter.
  • Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza as himself, a Judge and member of the real-life House of Xtravaganza.
  • Johnny Sibilly as Costas Perez, Pray Tell's boyfriend who dies of AIDS.
  • Jack Mizrahi as himself, a ballroom emcee and member of the Masters of Ceremony Council.
  • Leiomy Maldonado as Florida Ferocity, a member of the House of Ferocity.
Introduced in season 2
  • Patti LuPone as Frederica Norman, a wealthy and shady real estate mogul.
  • Damaris Lewis as Jazmine Wintour, a member of the House of Wintour.
  • Brielle Rheames as Silhouette Wintour, a member of the House of Wintour.
  • Dashaun Wesley as Shadow Wintour, a member of the House of Wintour.
  • Danielle Cooper as Wanda, Judy's girlfriend and member of ACT UP.
  • Trudie Styler as Eileen Ford, a fashion model agent.
  • André Ward as Manhattan, a member of the Masters of Ceremony Council.
  • J. Cameron Barnet as Castle, a member of the Masters of Ceremony Council.
  • Patricia Black as Chi Chi, Elektra's co-worker at the Hellfire Club.

Notable guest stars[edit]

Introduced in season 1
  • Clark Jackson as Lawrence Richards ("Pilot"), Damon's father
  • Roslyn Ruff as Mrs. Richards ("Pilot"), Damon's mother
  • Deidre Goodwin as Wanda Green ("Pilot"), employee at the New School for Dance
  • Matt McGrath as Mitchell ("Access"), the manager of Boy Lounge
  • Tamara M. Williams as Summer, a trans woman who attempts to seduce Stan ("Access", "The Fever")
  • Sol Williams Pendavis as himself ("Access", "Mother of the Year"), a Judge and member of the real-life House of Pendavis
  • Kathryn Erbe as Dr. Gottfried ("Giving and Receiving", "The Fever"), Elektra's physician
  • Christine Ebersole as Bobbi ("Giving and Receiving"), Patty's mother
  • Christopher Meloni as Dick Ford ("The Fever", "Pink Slip"), Elektra's wealthy lover and financier
  • Cecilia Gentili as Miss Orlando ("The Fever", "Butterfly/Cocoon"), a shady woman that offers discounted plastic surgery
  • Flor de Liz Perez as Carmen Rodriguez ("Mother's Day"), Blanca's sister
  • Charles Brice as Darius ("Love Is the Message"), Blanca's love interest
  • Our Lady J as Sherilyn ("Love Is the Message", "Love's in Need of Love Today"), a local pianist
  • Trace Lysette as Tess Wintour ("Love is the Message", "Worth It"), a clothing store saleswoman who later joins House of Wintour
Introduced in season 2
  • Alexander DiPersia as Andre Taglioni ("Acting Up", "Revelations"), a famed photographer and fetishistic predator
  • Edward Carnevale as Jonas Norman ("Worth It", "Love's in Need of Love Today"), Frederica Norman's son
  • Blaine Alden Krauss as Chris ("Worth it", "What Would Candy Do?"), dancer and Ricky's former lover
  • Peppermint as Euphoria ("Butterfly/Cocoon"), a trans sex worker
  • Danny Johnson as Darnell Johnson ("Never Knew Love Like This Before"), Candy's father
  • Patrice Johnson Chevannes as Vivica Johnson ("Never Knew Love Like This Before"), Candy's mother
  • Austin Scott as Adrian ("Life's a Beach"), a lifeguard and Blanca's love interest
  • KJ Aikens as Quincy and Gia Parr as Chilly ("In My Heels"), street kids who Blanca takes under her wing

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18June 3, 2018 (2018-06-03)July 22, 2018 (2018-07-22)
210June 11, 2019 (2019-06-11)August 20, 2019 (2019-08-20)
38May 2, 2021 (2021-05-02)June 6, 2021 (2021-06-06)

Season 1 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven CanalsJune 3, 2018 (2018-06-03)1WBF010.688[8]
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 conservative and religious 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.
22"Access"Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven CanalsJune 10, 2018 (2018-06-10)1WBF020.548[9]
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.
33"Giving and Receiving"Nelson CraggJanet Mock & Our Lady JJune 17, 2018 (2018-06-17)1WBF030.561[10]
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 at 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 has Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Pray Tell.
44"The Fever"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonJanet MockJune 24, 2018 (2018-06-24)1WBF040.719[11]
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 practicing 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.
55"Mother's Day"Silas HowardSteven CanalsJuly 1, 2018 (2018-07-01)1WBF050.582[12]
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.
66"Love Is the Message"Janet MockRyan Murphy & Janet MockJuly 8, 2018 (2018-07-08)1WBF060.594[13]
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.
77"Pink Slip"Tina MabrySteven Canals & Our Lady JJuly 15, 2018 (2018-07-15)1WBF070.689[14]
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 realizes 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.
88"Mother of the Year"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven CanalsJuly 22, 2018 (2018-07-22)1WBF080.781[15]
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 troupe, 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.

Season 2 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
91"Acting Up"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven CanalsJune 11, 2019 (2019-06-11)2WBF010.672[16]
It is now 1990, and the voguing aspect of ballroom culture is beginning to go mainstream with the release of Madonna's song, "Vogue". The community has conflicted feelings about this. Blanca, though still feeling healthy, discovers her T cell count has dropped to 200, which means her diagnosis has shifted from HIV positive to AIDS. Judy Kubrak helps Blanca get AZT, and brings a reluctant Pray Tell to an ACT UP meeting. Judy, Blanca, Pray Tell, and most of Blanca's household participate in ACT UP's "Stop the Church" protest at St Patrick's Cathedral, and are arrested for civil disobedience. Angel enters a modeling competition held by Ford Models, and is selected as a top-ten finalist, but is exploited by a photographer who fetishizes her. Blanca and Papi beat up the exploitative photographer and take back the photos and negatives.
102"Worth It"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonJanet MockJune 18, 2019 (2019-06-18)2WBF020.567[17]
Elektra embarks on a new career as a dominatrix. Feeling empowered, she leaves the House of Ferocity and recruits members for her new House of Wintour. Blanca rents a storefront from shady real estate mogul Frederica Norman with plans to open a nail salon. When Frederica finds out Blanca is transgender she tries to evict her but Blanca claims squatter's rights. Damon suspects Ricky is having sex with other people, so he breaks up with him. Ricky leaves the House of Evangelista and joins the House of Wintour.
113"Butterfly/Cocoon"Janet MockOur Lady JJune 25, 2019 (2019-06-25)2WBF030.589[18]
Newly-minted dominatrix Elektra leaves a client alone in her dungeon and is horrified upon her return to discover him dead. The client had snorted cocaine, overdosed and suffocated in the bondage mask. Elektra enlists the aid of Blanca and then Candy, who help her mummify and seal the client's body in a trunk and hide it in Elektra's closet. Angel and Papi begin to explore their relationship but a last-minute modeling assignment derails their first official date. At the end of the episode, Angel becomes the new face of Wet 'n Wild cosmetics.
124"Never Knew Love Like This Before"Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy & Janet MockJuly 9, 2019 (2019-07-09)2WBF040.580[19]
Candy is murdered while working at a motel. Candy attends her funeral in spirit, where she and Blanca hum and sing together. Pray Tell, Angel, Lulu, and Candy's parents all see Candy in spirit form. Before Candy's demise, Pray Tell and the council of emcees had rejected having the lip sync category at the balls (leading them to be showered with diner cutlery by Candy). At Candy's funeral Pray Tell announces that, in honor of Candy, they will now have the lip synching, naming it "Candy's Sweet Refrain". At the end of the episode Candy lip sync Stephanie Mills song "Never Knew Love Like This Before".
135"What Would Candy Do?"Tina MabrySteven CanalsJuly 16, 2019 (2019-07-16)2WBF050.497[20]
Ricky and Damon both audition to be dancers for Madonna’s Blond Ambition World Tour. Elektra schemes to have Damon injured by Candy’s hammer (handed off to various potential assailants) in an effort to better Ricky’s chances of securing a spot on the tour, but calls off the plan after she is berated by Blanca.
146"Love's In Need Of Love Today"Tina MabryBrad Falchuk & Our Lady JJuly 23, 2019 (2019-07-23)2WBF060.505[21]
Pray Tell has a severe, adverse reaction to AZT and is hospitalized. Blanca organizes his annual AIDS cabaret in his place. She shares that she is HIV-positive to the cabaret crowd, for the first time, before performing “Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder with Pray Tell. The ballroom community, led by Lulu and Elektra, comes together to protest Frederica after Frederica betrays Blanca and has Blanca’s nail salon boarded up while everyone is at the cabaret/benefit.
157"Blow"Jennie LivingstonJanet MockJuly 30, 2019 (2019-07-30)2WBF070.405[23]
Pray Tell and Blanca realize they are now elders in the community, and challenge the young members of House Evangelista to organize an ACT UP action,[22] inflating a giant condom to cover Frederica Norman's house, protesting her financial exploitation of Blanca and others. Angel and Papi drink and sniff cocaine at an uptown party, causing Angel to arrive late and hungover to an important modeling job, where the photographer is revealed to be the fetishistic predator from episode 1 ("Acting Up"). Ricky learns his HIV test was positive.
168"Revelations"Steven CanalsSteven CanalsAugust 6, 2019 (2019-08-06)2WBF080.508[24]
Ricky and Pray Tell, who have been growing closer as friends, become lovers. Damon graduates from the dance academy. At the graduation party back home, Damon confronts Angel and Pray Tell about their secret drug use and lying to Blanca, and informs Blanca. Angel and Papi move out, and into an apartment in The Village that Papi found. Damon leaves to perform on a European tour for Malcolm McLaren. Blanca begins to feel empty nest syndrome.
179"Life's a Beach"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonJanet Mock and Our Lady JAugust 13, 2019 (2019-08-13)2WBF090.547[25]
Blanca's nail salon burns down. Elektra, Blanca, Angel and Lulu take a girls trip to a fancy Long Island beach house owned by one of Elektra's clients. Blanca meets a man there and they have a romantic date on the beach. On the drive home to the city, Candy appears in spirit, singing along with them in the car.
1810"In My Heels"Janet MockRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven CanalsAugust 20, 2019 (2019-08-20)2WBF100.536[26]
Fast forward to May 1991, Blanca is running her nail salon inside her home. While visited by Pray Tell, Blanca becomes so sick that she must be hospitalized. Blanca and Pray Tell see on the news that Frederica Norman is responsible for burning Blanca's nail salon; Frederica is arrested for her crimes. Damon returns from Europe. Angel is outed as trans, and loses her Ford Modeling contract. During the Mother's Day Ball, Angel and Papi become engaged, and Angel secures a new modelling job overseas thanks to Papi becoming her manager. Angel is scared she'll be outed again, but Papi has founded an agency based on truth and transparency – all the new clients know the truth about the models. Shortly afterwards, Angel is booked through Papi's new agency for a job in Berlin and they get engaged at the next ball. Followed by Blanca's lip sync win and Elektra's Mother of the Year coronation, Elektra takes Pray Tell's position as MC, and Pray Tell, Ricky and other male contestants walk in drag for the first time. At the end of the episode, after bidding Angel and Papi farewell, Blanca, now in a wheelchair, meets two homeless teenagers outside, Quincy and Chilly. She and Pray Tell take the new kids to dinner.

Season 3 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
191"On the Run"Janet MockSteven Canals & Janet MockMay 2, 2021 (2021-05-02)3WBF010.498[27]
The year is now 1994. Newly-elected New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has cracked down on sex work in the city, forcing Elektra to leave the Hellfire Club. Lemar has become the house father of the greedy, fame-hungry House of Khan. Blanca juggles working as a nurse's aide with dating Christopher, a doctor who works at the same hospital. Papi's talent agency is thriving, while Angel's modeling career has stagnated. The House of Evangelista (including Elektra and Lulu) is brought together by both the live coverage of O.J. Simpson's slow-speed chase (in which they share differentiating opinions) and by the death of Cubby after his battle with AIDS. These events encourage Blanca to re-form the House of Evangelista once again. At the Summer Solstice Ball, they face off against the House of Khan and win.
202"Intervention"Steven CanalsSteven Canals & Our Lady JMay 2, 2021 (2021-05-02)3WBF020.370[27]
Blanca stages an intervention when Pray Tell's alcoholism leads to expected consequences. Ricky leaves Pray Tell due to Pray Tell's alcoholism. Damon's alcoholism relapses, thus making him relocate to his cousin's place in South Carolina. Blanca nervously prepares to meet Christopher's parents, and his mother is not very friendly to her after their meeting. Pray Tell first refuses to go to rehab, but later relents. Angel decides to clean up from her crack habit.
213"The Trunk"Tina MabryJanet Mock & Brad FalchukMay 9, 2021 (2021-05-09)3WBF030.394[28]
Elektra was unjustly arrested by police, and she requested for Blanca to remove the trunk containing her client's remains (Season 2 Episode 3) from her home before the police found out. This episode also focuses on Elektra's backgrounds and foundations of House of Abundance in 1983-1984. Angel, Candy, Cubby, Lemar, Lulu, and Pray Tell appeared in flashbacks.
224"Take Me To Church"Janet MockJanet Mock & Steven Canals & Brad FalchukMay 16, 2021 (2021-05-16)3WBF040.404[29]
Pray Tell visits his hometown after the lymphoma diagnosis. Jackee Harry guest stars as Aunt Jada, Janet Hubert guest stars as Aunt Latrice.
235"Something Borrowed, Something Blue"Steven CanalsBrad Falchuk & Steven CanalsMay 23, 2021 (2021-05-23)3WBF050.360[30]
Lil Papi found out that he had a love child named Beto from his previous relationship. Meanwhile, Elektra decided to finance Angel and Lil Papi's wedding, much to Lil Papi's initial disapproval.
246"Something Old, Something New"Janet MockJanet MockMay 30, 2021 (2021-05-30)3WBF060.430[30]
In order to make amends with Lil Papi and accepting Beto, Angel went to see her estranged father. Before Angel and Papi get their marriage license, Angel's anxiety over her license went to the roof. Cubby and Candy appeared in this episode.
257"Series Finale (Part I)"Steven CanalsRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven Canals & Janet Mock & Our Lady JJune 6, 2021 (2021-06-06)3WBF070.530[30]
268"Series Finale (Part II)"Steven CanalsRyan Murphy & Brad Falchuk & Steven Canals & Janet Mock & Our Lady JJune 6, 2021 (2021-06-06)3WBF070.485[30]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

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 were also set to executive produce alongside Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, and Sherry Marsh. Production companies involved with the pilot were slated to consist of include FX Productions and Fox21 Television Studios.[31] In October 2018, it was reported that Leiomy Maldonado and Danielle Polanco would be choreographing the series' ball scenes[32] and that Janet Mock and Our Lady J had joined the show's writing and producing staff.[33]

On December 27, 2017, it was announced that FX had given the production a series for a first season consisting of eight episodes.[34] On May 9, 2018, ahead of the series premiere, Murphy announced that he would be donating all of 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.[35][36][37] 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."[38] On July 12, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season which premiered on June 11, 2019.[39][40] On June 17, 2019, FX renewed the series for a third season.[41] In March 2021, FX confirmed the third season would be its last. The final season premiered on May 2, 2021.[2]

Casting[edit]

Stars from the show Pose at Los Angeles Pride Parade

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.[32][42] The series was expected to include over 50 transgender characters total.[1] 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.[43][44]

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.[45] On September 19, 2018, it was announced that Sandra Bernhard would reprise her role of Nurse Judy in season two as a series regular.[7] On March 23, 2019, at PaleyFest, Ryan Murphy revealed that Patti LuPone will guest star in the second season.[46]

Filming[edit]

Production for the series' pilot began in New York City in October 2017.[47] The following episodes of the first season were expected to begin production in February 2018.[34] Murphy directed the series' first two episodes[1] and Mock directed the sixth, thus making her the first transgender woman of color to write and direct any episode of television.[48] On March 14, 2020, production on the third season was suspended due to the COVID-19 health crisis.[49] The third and final season's filming wrapped on March 20, 2021.[50]

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

Promotional poster featuring Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista (MJ Rodriguez), star of Pose, portraying the drag ball culture of Manhattan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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.[51] On May 3, 2018, the first official trailer was released.[52]

Premiere[edit]

On May 17, 2018, the series held its world premiere at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.[53][54] 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.[55][56][57] 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 latest album and MJ Rodriguez sang "Waving Through a Window" from Dear Evan Hansen.[57]

In March 2019, the series was part of the Paley Center for Media's annual Paleyfest LA at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[58]

Pose premiered in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2019 on BBC Two, also being available on the BBC iPlayer in full.[59] Season 2 premiered on BBC Two on October 26, 2019. As with season 1, the full series was also made available on BBC iPlayer.

Influences[edit]

While a work of creative fiction, the series is "heavily inspired by" Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning;[60] Livingston also serves as a consulting producer on the show. 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, an icon of the voguing scene, who plays a judge throughout the first series, and Sol Pendavis Williams, of the House of Pendavis.[61] 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."[61]

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.[62]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critical response of Pose
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
196% (82 reviews)[63]75 (27 reviews)[64]
298% (40 reviews)[65]79 (14 reviews)[66]
3100% (14 reviews)[67]76 (8 reviews)[68]

Season 1[edit]

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 8.3/10 based on 82 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."[63] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the first season a score of 75 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[64]

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."[69] 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."[70] 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."[71] 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." She 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."[72]

Season 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds a 98% approval rating with an average rating of 8.39/10 based on 40 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "A delightful, delicate dance of light and dark, Pose's second season achieves a striking balance between the grittiness of reality and the glamour of the runway and shines even brighter."[65] On Metacritic, season 2 holds a score of 79 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[66]

Season 3[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds an 100% approval rating with an average rating of 7.83/10 based on 22 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though it's entirely too short, Pose's final season is a joyously entertaining celebration of life that is not to be missed."[67] On Metacritic, season 3 holds a score of 76 out of 100 based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[68]

Ratings[edit]

Viewership and ratings per season of Pose
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired Avg. viewers
(millions)
18–49
rank
Avg. 18–49
rating
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Sunday 9:00 pm 8 June 3, 2018 (2018-06-03) 0.688[8] July 22, 2018 (2018-07-22) 0.781[15] 0.645[73] TBD 0.25[73]
2 Tuesday 10:00 pm 10 June 11, 2019 (2019-06-11) 0.672[16] August 20, 2019 (2019-08-20) 0.536[26] 0.541[74] TBD 0.19[74]
3 Sunday 10:00 pm 8 May 2, 2021 (2021-05-02) 0.498[27] June 6, 2021 (2021-06-06) 0.485[30] TBD TBD TBD

Season 1[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Pose
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" June 3, 2018 0.2 0.688[8] 0.2 0.444 0.4 1.132[75]
2 "Access" June 10, 2018 0.2 0.548[9] 0.1 0.338 0.3 0.887[76]
3 "Giving and Receiving" June 17, 2018 0.2 0.561[10] 0.2 0.358 0.4 0.919[77]
4 "The Fever" June 24, 2018 0.3 0.719[11] 0.2 0.438 0.5 1.158[78]
5 "Mother's Day" July 1, 2018 0.3 0.582[12] 0.1 0.390 0.4 0.973[79]
6 "Love Is the Message" July 8, 2018 0.3 0.594[13] 0.2 0.436 0.5 1.031[80]
7 "Pink Slip" July 15, 2018 0.3 0.689[14] 0.1 0.372 0.4 1.062[81]
8 "Mother of the Year" July 22, 2018 0.3 0.781[15] 0.1 0.371 0.4 1.153[82]

Season 2[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Pose
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Acting Up" June 11, 2019 0.3 0.672[16] N/A 0.653 N/A 1.328[83]
2 "Worth It" June 18, 2019 0.2 0.567[17] 0.2 0.640 0.4 1.208[84]
3 "Butterfly/Cocoon" June 25, 2019 0.2 0.589[18] 0.2 0.573 0.4 1.163[85]
4 "Never Knew Love Like This Before" July 9, 2019 0.2 0.580[19] 0.2 0.686 0.4 1.268[86]
5 "What Would Candy Do?" July 16, 2019 0.1 0.497[20] 0.3 0.596 0.4 1.094[87]
6 "Love's In Need Of Love Today" July 23, 2019 0.2 0.505[21] N/A 0.588 N/A 1.095[88]
7 "Blow" July 30, 2019 0.2 0.405[23] N/A 0.617 N/A 1.023[89]
8 "Revelations" August 6, 2019 0.2 0.508[24] 0.2 0.540 0.4 1.051[90]
9 "Life's a Beach" August 13, 2019 0.2 0.547[25] N/A 0.553 N/A 1.102[91]
10 "In My Heels" August 20, 2019 0.2 0.536[26] N/A N/A N/A N/A

Season 3[edit]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Pose
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "On the Run" May 2, 2021 0.1 0.498[27] TBD TBD TBD TBD
2 "Intervention" May 2, 2021 0.1 0.370[27] TBD TBD TBD TBD
3 "The Trunk" May 9, 2021 0.1 0.394[28] TBD TBD TBD TBD
4 "Take Me To Church" May 16, 2021 0.1 0.404[29] 0.1 0.399 0.3 0.803[29]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Gotham Independent Film Awards Breakthrough Series – Long Form Pose Nominated [92]
American Film Institute Awards Top 10 TV Programs of the Year Pose Won [93]
2019 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Pose Nominated [94]
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Billy Porter Nominated
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Pose Won [95][96]
TV Performance of the Year — Actor Billy Porter Won
LGBTQ TV Show of the Year Pose Won
TV Musical Performance of the Year Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez and Our Lady J (performing "Home") Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Pose Nominated [97]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Billy Porter Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Television: New Series Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, Todd Kubrak, Janet Mock, Ryan Murphy and Our Lady J Nominated [98]
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series Pose Won [99]
Peabody Awards Entertainment honoree Pose Won [100]
Television Academy Honors Outstanding Programs and Storytellers Advancing Social Change Through Television Pose Won [101]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Breakthrough Performance Mj Rodriguez Nominated [102]
TCA Awards Program of the Year Pose Nominated [103]
Outstanding New Program Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Nominated
Individual Achievement in Drama Billy Porter Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Series Pose Nominated [104]
Best Drama Episode "Love Is the Message" Nominated
"Mother of the Year" Nominated
Best Drama Actor Billy Porter Won
Best Drama Actress Mj Rodriguez Nominated
Best Drama Guest Actor Christopher Meloni Nominated
Best Ensemble The cast of Pose Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Sherry Marsh, Steven Canals, Silas Howard, Janet Mock, Our Lady J, Lou Eyrich and Erica Kay Nominated [105][106]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Billy Porter (for "Love Is the Message") Won
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Alexa L. Fogel Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series Chris Clark, Barry Lee Moe, Jameson Eaton, Mia Neal, Tim Harvey and Sabana Majeed (for "Pilot") Nominated
Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series Sherri Laurence, Nicky Pattison Illum, Chris Milone, Deja Smith, Lucy O'Reilly and Andrew Sotomayor (for "Pilot") Nominated
Outstanding Period Costumes Lou Eyrich, Analucia Mcgorty, Amy Ritchings and Kevin Ritter (for "Pilot") Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Pose: Identity, Family Community (Inside Look) Nominated
2020 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Billy Porter Nominated [107]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Pose Nominated [108]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Billy Porter Nominated
Best Actress in a Drama Series Mj Rodriguez Nominated
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guilds Television Series, Mini-Series or New Media – Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling Barry Lee Moe, Timothy Harvey and Sabana Majeed Nominated [109]
Casting Society of America Television Pilot & First Season – Drama Alexa L. Fogel, Kathryn Zamora-Benson and Caitlin D. Jones Won [110]
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series Pose Won [111]
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Pose Won [112]
TV Performance of the Year — Actress Mj Rodriguez Nominated
TV Performance of the Year — Actress Billy Porter Won
LGBTQ TV Show of the Year Pose Won
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama Pose Nominated [113]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Billy Porter (for "Love's in Need of Love Today") Nominated [114][115]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Period Costumes Analucia McGorty, Nicky Smith, Alexa DeFazio and Linda Giammarese (for "Acting Up") Nominated
Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling Barry Lee Moe, Timothy Harvey, Sabana Majeed, Liliana Meyrick, Lisa Thomas, Greg Bazemore, Jessie Mojica and Charlene Belmond (for "Worth It") Nominated
Outstanding Period and/or Character Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) Sherri Berman Laurence, Nicky Pattison Illum, Chris Milone, Deja Smith and Jessica Padilla (for "Acting Up") Nominated
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special David Presto, Greg Pikulski, Brett Schmidt, Lisa Forst and Keith Palmer (for "Love's in Need of Love Today") Nominated
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series Pose: Identity, Family, Community Nominated
Black Reel Television Awards Outstanding Drama Series Pose Won [116]
Outstanding Actor, Drama Series Billy Porter Nominated
Outstanding Directing, Drama Series Janet Mock (for "In My Heels") Won
Outstanding Writing, Drama Series Janet Mock and Ryan Murphy (for "Love Like This Before") Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ Known as Fox 21 Television Studios until 2020

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