Pose's first season wasn't a ratings hit — it averaged out to a little over 640,000 viewers by the end of the season — but ratings weren't really the point. Ryan Murphy's last original series at FX before he heads to Netflix, set in the 1980s ballroom scene of New York City, did something far more important than earn tick marks on a board: it changed the game by putting queer Latinx and black characters at the center of the story and by employing the largest cast and crew of trans people ever, showing what inclusion really looks like.
Pose also served and spoke to its audience with rivers of shade and severe reads, whether it was Elektra (Dominique Jackson) vs. everybody ("What is that on your lips, Lisa? Oh, it's just your favorite lip gloss: SPERM.") or Pray Tell letting Candy (Angelica Ross) have it every time, like when he told her, "Flexibility and rhythm cannot be bought. Have a seat!" Because TV Guide loves a good burn, we chatted with the cast recently at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to ask them: What was your favorite read of the season?
Indya Moore, Angel
Janet Mock, executive producer
"My favorite read was in Episode 4, when Candy walks into the room with her green jumpsuit and they talk about the idea of realness and Elektra says, 'If you're going to make an enhancement it has to be REAL!' and then Candy says, 'As real as that weave on your head? " Get her Candy!"
Billy Porter, Pray Tell
"Oh god, there are so many of them. I would have to say that the one that pops into my head right now is [when Pray Tell says to Candy] 'Is that Halston for JC Penney?' I grew up in the Pentecostal church. I grew up in the Church of God in Christ faith. And there's this song, the sort of theme song of the COGIC church and one of the lyrics is, 'You can't join it, you have to be born in it.' So at one point I call the category of face and I reference that lyric, not thinking anybody would get it. I got so many messages in my inbox from COGIC people who said, 'No you didn't! I can't believe you said that.'"
Dominique Jackson, Elektra
"God, I had so many! My favorite read of the season was when I said, "Indochine does not cater to the bridge and tunnel people!' The couple there was so sweet and they were like, 'Give it to us!'"
(That restaurant, FYI, is a real place, and is considered a landmark in the New York City nightlife scene; particularly in the 1980s, Indochine catered to the model/designer/artist/celebrity crowd, and it really did employ queer people to do the door.)
MJ Rodriguez, Blanca
"My favorite read was by Dominique and it was that long-ass read she gave to [Candy and Lulu (Hailie Sahar)] when she read them for filth at the end of the last episode."
(This is when Elektra says, 'Look at the fruits of my labor. A fool-hearty chunk who makes her living on the pole and a brainless wonder who thinks the way to get curves is to stick Charmin in her drawers or stick cement into her derriere. House of Ferocity? You two are about as fierce as my morning corn flakes... You're not smart enough or tough enough or glamorous enough to make it in this world. And that, little boys, is going to eat at you like termites until your pathetic house comes crumbling down.')
And THAT, kids, is how you read a bitch down to the bones.
What was your favorite?
Pose returns for Season 2 in 2019 on FX.