The spotlight illuminates three of New York’s freshest faces. Decked out in their freshly stolen TJ Maxx dresses and Marshalls stilettos, they’re ready to tear up the runway.
Let the fashion show commence.
Except this isn’t for Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Tom Ford – it’s for Grand Prize of Femme Queen Realness — one of the many categories of fashion walking that’s shown each night.
If all of this jargon seems like nonsense, you’re in the perfect place to add “Pose” to your Netflix watchlist.
Pose is the electric and eclectic drama detailing the lives of (mainly) LGBTQ people of color, set in the late 80’s, early 90’s New York City. The show isn’t fully fiction: the characters are based off of real people involved in “Ball Culture”.
“Ball Culture” refers to the Balls the characters go to compete with their creativity and fashion skills, while still being uplifting to each other. They are outlets to build a sense of community and identity the queer youth. Whether they are stomping down the runway or dancing the walls off, these showdowns never fail to entertain.
Although these ballroom walk-offs are amusing, it’s just the surface of the complex story lines and character arcs that this drama has to offer.
With spending an episode talking about a girls trip to the beach, the show also touches on heavy subjects like the AIDS crisis in the late 80’s or transphobic parents.
After spending only two episodes with the characters, they became my long lost best friends due to their raw and honest stories, some of which left my pillow tear-soaked. But the realness of the show only deepened my connection to the characters and the plot.
Whether being banned from gay bars or not being able to have relationships with people from the straight world, every episode shows inspiring stories about overcoming adversity, making the characters’ bonds stronger.
Their bonds are shown in the way of “houses” — or families, groups of abandoned queer people. These family dynamics are what I love dearly about this show. It takes the idea of a TV show family — mother and father running their crazy town house and making sure their quirky children do just fine — and spins it on its head.
On the other hand, there is Mother Elektra Abundance who leads with cut throat passion and snarky remarks. She sees her children as walking trophy winners.
Take Damen, for example: when he was 18, his parents found out he was gay — making him dead to them without a second thought. All he had was a passion for dance and nowhere to go. Fortunately Bianca found him alone, scavenging for substances and provided him with a hot meal, a chance to walk the balls in her house forced him to apply for a scholarship at the New York Dance Academy.
There’s also Pray Tell, a black gay man in his 50’s who is the head announcer of the Balls. He peppers the floor with his snappy “yas hunty”s and “get it [expletive]” (gotta keep it somewhat PG).
The slew of different historic and fabulous recurring characters brings a different kind of flavor to every episode, which practically drags my finger to tap the “next episode” button before the end credits roll out.
This connection is what has me and many other viewers counting down the days until the next episode every Tuesday .
“Pose” is way more than just a celebration of gay people being gay. It’s a celebration of people finding their way in New York, while bringing light to the lives of the LGBT community in the city.