As Pose reaches the end of its second season (with its eye on it third), the critically acclaimed, six-time Emmy nominated FX series has shared the ’80s and ’90s ballroom culture with the masses and in turn, had an impact on pop culture with its authentic and thoughtful portrayal during a defining era of the LGBTQ community. During the Pose session at TCA, co-creator/writer/director Steven Canals was joined on the stage by producers Janet Mock and Our Lady J as well as actress Mj Rodriguez and Billy Porter via satellite to talk about the game-changing second season as well at the influence of the show since its premiere.
Mock, who also serves as a director and writer for the series said there was a challenge this season to go bigger in the ballroom scenes. She references Elektra’s (Dominque Jackson) elaborate costumes including her Marie Antoinette and clam shell pieces. More than that, Mock points out that the show has gone beyond the spectacle and impacted mainstream culture.
“It opens up conversations about gender expression and presentation,” she said, adding that at the first season premiere the men were wearing suits. She said that during the second season premiere “almost every man wears a train. She continues, “It’s the evolution of the show’s influence.”
“Ballroom as a community has always been ahead of fashion, music, and pop culture for decades,” add Canals when it comes to the influence of Pose.
Porter, a Broadway veteran who is the first openly gay Black man nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, remarked that his career has seen a slight change in that his message of inclusivity can reach more people with TV’s expansive reach. “This has cracked open a moment of my life and I’m having a fabulous time,” he declares.
In tonight’s episode directed by Canals, Mock points out that many may think its the beginning of the end and will “heighten anxiety” with their fans — and it will shift things for the narrative and the characters. The producers unpack the evolution of the show across two seasons and how the stories may seem crazy and over-the-top, but its the reality for the community.
With the second season, Mock said they wanted to go deeper and darker and “take bigger swings” — mainly with Candy’s (Anjelica Ross) death as well as Elektra’s Dorian Corey story. “Our people will always tell us how they feel,” she said.
“We all have been inspired by Paris is Burning,” Our Lady J said, in reference to Dorian Corey. “We find out about these characters, humans and these stories.”
“You can make this sh*t up,” Porter chimes in. “The things that happen in our lives are crazy — and on paper they don’t make sense — but you just keep living.”
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