After signing a lucrative contract of $300,000,000 for 5 years, Ryan Murphy leaves the FOX group to join Netflix. Father of Nip/Tuck, Glee and American Horror Story, he is known for his style-mixing programs, giving pride of place to marginalized communities.
For his last creation before joining the streaming giant, he signs a series that seems to bring together all the elements of his work. In POSE, it is the world of ballrooms and voguing that he chooses, going back to the time just before its mainstream turn. Decoding…
A unique story
1987. In New York, African-American and Latino gays and transgenders often live off prostitution, drug dealing or petty thefts. Many are homeless, rejected by their homes and society. AIDS is devastating, so is homophobia.
To trick the sadness of everyday life, they regularly meet in balls. These gatherings become an opportunity to express one’s singularity, where (s)he dreams of being a star in drag contests, verbal jousting… and the famous voguing fights, dance inspired by the poses taken from the pages of the eponymous magazine. The participants are organized in “homes”, a kind of team that becomes a family for those who no longer have one.
POSE follows the adventures of one of them, composed of characters ranging from the hopeful young queer to the HIV-positive trans. Between romantic excitement, blood tests and extravagance, Ryan Murphy delivers a creation that is funny, touching and political, without being stereotyped. A few sequences undoubtedly remain a bit too cheesy, but the whole manages to exude a rarely-seen authenticity on television.
The celebration of a culture
The program could easily have fallen into cultural appropriation, which it brilliantly avoids by integrating members of the current ballroom scene into the production team.
It is also a considerable step forward for the representation of LBGT+, particularly those from the Afro and Latin-American communities. For the first time, a major TV channel agrees to develop a series focused on these minorities, to turn them into complex characters and to tell their story. Transgender people play their own role, rather than using men as women, or cisgender actresses (whose “felt” gender corresponds to the birth one, editor’s note), as is all too often the custom in Hollywood.
While voguing is more popular than ever — president Macron even invites Kiddy Smile to the Élysée — POSE gives back to Caesar what belongs to him. Strike a pose, baby. It’s time to shine…•