In case you slept on it, FX's Pose premiered last night and left us gagging!
It was everything we could've hoped for and more than it could've been. From the characters to the storylines to its representation of ballroom culture, here's just a taste of what we loved and what you might've missed.
1. A Love Letter to Paris Is Burning
Without Jennie Livingston's iconic documentary Paris Is Burning, we wouldn't have Pose. Not only did Livingston's documentary introduce the world to ballroom culture and the underground ballroom scene, it preserved a very important part of queer history that would've been lost had she not been there and chose to document it.
Paris Is Burning captured an entire group of people who formed a community and families when nobody else accepted them. Most were homeless and destitute, and yet were able to go to these balls and get lost in the fantasy world they created with each other. In the ballrooms, they were able to embody the wealth and aspirations they were robbed of when they were rejected by society and their "real" families.
For anyone in the LGBTQIA community, we know Paris Is Burning to be a very important piece of our history and — dare I say — required viewing. Aspects of the world captured in this documentary still influence, permeate, and ripple throughout our culture, as well as the mainstream.
Pose is, without a doubt, a love letter to Paris Is Burning. Words cannot begin to describe the feeling you get while watching Pose. It's as if no time has passed between the documentary crafted in the '80s and today. You can feel the spirit of the legendary House Mothers Pepper LaBeija and Angie Xtravaganza. You can hear the philosophies of Dorian Corey ripple throughout the entire episode.
If you haven't seen Paris Is Burning, you absolutely must. It's on Netflix right now!
2. Bringing the Outside In
Pose features quite a few trans women in front of and behind the camera.
The ever so talented Janet Mock, author of Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me (a must read!), is one of the main decision-makers at the helm of the show. Mock lends her talents to Pose as writer, producer, and director. Also involved is Our Lady J, who wrote for Transparent.
Between Mock, Our Lady J, and Pose's star actresses, trans women are finally given the space to craft multiple leading characters that are diverse in representation. They now have the opportunity to reflect their own experiences as trans women, as well as the experiences of the trans women who came before them in American history.
3. The Music Is Everything
The music featured in Pose will submerge you in the '80s and make you want to practice voguing between commercial breaks. No joke. And the minute Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) started dancing to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," my heart fluttered away, and I was in tears.
You can almost say Whitney was a guest star in this episode, and it's safe to say I died.
We miss you, Whitney!
4. Stan, the 1980s Business Man
I did mention Pose takes place in the '80s, didn't I?
Yeah, well, with that comes the "Gordon Gekko," the American Psycho and Wolf of Wall Street coke-induced decadence associated with the time period, as well as — you guessed it — Donald J. Trump.
Not much different than now, "'80s Trump" symbolized luxury, wealth, and everything not presidential. We find these aspirations in the social climbing, business man Stan (Evan Peters).
Shortly after securing a position with the Trump Organization, Stan happens to cross paths with Angel (Indya Moore) during one of her "nightshifts" on the streets. To Angel, Stan is everything members of the ballroom community aspire to represent — everything they can only imagine. And though Stan is married (with kids) to Patty (Kate Mara), these two make a strong emotional connection and we can't help but be captivated by it.
Here's to hoping for the best...
5. The Birth of the House of Evangelista
Shortly after receiving devastating news, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) decides to leave the House of Abundance and form her own house, the "House of Evangelista." And though it's not much and her apartment is a space of absolute squalor, she recruits members: Angel, her sister from the House of Abundance; Damon, an aspiring dancer who was recently kicked out of his home for being gay; and Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel), who latches onto Blanca with enough enthusiasm to give us all hope they will someday becoming legendary.
And like all the great House Mothers before her — Pepper LaBeija and Angie Xtravaganza, included — Blanca shelters, inspires, and protects her kids.
It's like Blanca tells Damon when he's too embarrassed to dance for his dance school audition: "We do not have the luxury of shame."
None of us ever have.
Catch Pose on FX Sundays at 8 p.m.