When we heard about Ryan Murphy’s latest (and last) output for FX, the NYC voguing drama Pose, we assumed it would at least pay homage to the seminal 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. What we didn’t know, however, is that it would blatantly rip it off.
Judging by the first trailer for Pose, which plays more like a “making of” documentary for the anthology series, we can expect the show to serve up not only cinéma vérité-style black-and-white footage, but an anthropological look at the history and legacy of voguing. Hmm, where have we seen that before??
On the bright side, Pose has already made waves as having the largest number of trans series regulars of any show in history. It also boasts the largest recurring LGBTQ cast of any scripted TV show ever in the U.S. And to bolster that already hefty reputation, it features the talents of James Van der Beek, Kate Mara, and Evan Peters, the latter two of whom will play a straight-laced New Jersey couple sucked into the sex, drugs, and death drops of ‘80s NYC culture. Van der Beek, on the other hand, will play a Donald Trump-esque Wall Street tycoon who will likely be the villain of the series — unless he ends up being the gay one while Mara and Peters’ characters end up being the major homophobes/transphobes who threaten to literally burn Paris. TWIST! Should we just be writers on this series?
Still, if this series ends up essentially being an eight-episode-long Paris is Burning but with more cocaine use and technicolor, then we’re out. It’s one thing for Ryan Murphy to overpower a 101-year-old woman in court, but it’s another to steal the look and content of a well-known, influential queer doc and use it to fill his already overstuffed shelf of Emmys.