Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Evangelista. (Photo credit: JoJo Whilden/FX)
We’re one week out from Pose‘s season finale at the time of writing this post, and I’m not used to having my Sundays lacking the House of Evangelista. Can the second season of Pose come on right now?
I know I’m asking for the impossible–it’s not like the scripts have even been written yet. But Pose is one of those shows that has absolutely bowled me over. It’s a show that is important, yes. It’s necessary, something others have written about much more eloquently than me. The fact that a show starring a majority POC cast, with several of those leads being transgender women of color, has been renewed for a second season in Donald Trump’s America can be seen as a feat in itself. But it also shouldn’t be that surprising, since this proves that the new America, comprised of a younger, smarter, more community-minded individuals is much more open-minded and ready for change than pundits are ready to accept.
But at the end of the day, a show can be completely important and still lack a great story. Thankfully, Pose has lived up to the hype and then some by giving us some excellent characters, characters who immediately feel like members of your family. I haven’t felt as connected to a group of characters since Sleepy Hollow or popular ’90s shows like A Different World and Living Single.
Indeed, it’s the theme of family that keeps the show at a high level of creativity and social consciousness. I dare anyone to tell me that television and film don’t impact how we view each other as individuals because shows like Pose shoot down any argument to the contrary. Even for someone like me, who is knowledgeable about LGBT Americans and empathetic to the issues facing them, I came away with much more understanding and even more empathy than I had before.
I realized even more that what I was missing as a television viewer was a show that was genuinely from the perspective of those who live their experiences every day. Indeed, TV has been missing a show like Pose for the longest, and I’m glad the television desert is finally being addressed. Instead of being talked at, which usually happens in media about LGBT individuals created by cis, straight people, I was talked to by the trans women and gay men on the frontlines in Pose. I was shown their world as they would present it, with their narratives and points of view intact. I was able to learn directly from them and get a story I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I’m forever grateful to Janet Mock, Our Lady J, Leiomy Maldonado, Dominique Jackson, Mj Rodriguez, Hailie Sahar, Angelica Ross, and Indya Moore and anyone else I might have unintentionally missed.
My experience with Pose is also why I didn’t want to recap it. Some shows I recap and some I don’t. If I’m not recapping a certain show, it’s probably because I just want to selfishly enjoy it. Some shows I just keep as my safe space for me to escape into, and Pose was definitely that. I was born in 1988, so the only memories I have of the ’80s are the tail end of 1989. So, like most late ’80s babies, I yearn for the days of the ’80s, particularly the height of the era, when tons of great music was coming out, and amazing, loud and pastel fashions were the peak of sophistication. Watching Pose each week was like a legitimate escape into a time machine, in which I remembered ’70s and ’80s songs I grew up listening to with my parents in the early ’90s and marveled at the hats, dresses, and casual wear that is now called “vintage” today.
But on a deeper level, even a spiritual one, Pose was also special to me in that it was less of a weekly show and more of a weekly experience. Each episode felt like an extremely well-conceived chapter of a book, and of course, to enjoy a book, you have to enjoy the entire experience before you can dissect it into its parts.
Of course, there are those out there who did successfully recap this season, and that leads me to another reason I didn’t want to recap it; I knew there would be elements of the show I wouldn’t be able to successfully parse through as a cis, straight woman. I’d rather read or watch the recaps from those who are part of the LGBT banner since they had a different level of knowledge than I do. Sometimes with recapping, you have to know when your input elevates or detracts from the viewing experience, and I felt like my voice wouldn’t be able to add the richness necessary, unlike others who have tacit knowledge in areas I clearly wouldn’t.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this season of Pose, and I can’t wait for the second season to come. As I’ve said before, it’s cool to actually be within six degrees of someone actually on the show–my youngest sister went to school with Ryan Jamaal Swain–but beyond that, it’s just been great to see people who haven’t been represented on TV finally get their shine. I’ve enjoyed every character on the show and I miss each character dearly, as if they were friends who are awaay on vacation or something. And, like a lot of people, I’ve developed a soft spot for the cute and adorable Lil Papi, who turned out to be one of the fan favorites of the season.
I just can’t wait until my ’80s friends come back. Whenever the second season decides to grace our TV screens, you’d better believe I’ll be front and center, ready to transport back to 1988.