‘Pose’ writer Janet Mock’s trans experience frames the series
Sunday, 9 p.m., FX
Ryan Murphy’s eight-episode summer series “Pose” introduces us to the seldom explored world of drag balls frequented by trans women. Memoirist Janet Mock, 35, joined the show’s writing staff largely on the strength of her book, the bestselling “Redefining Realness,” which detailed her coming out as a trans woman in 2011 after funding the medical transition by earning money as a sex worker in her teens.
She spoke to The Post about the show’s mission, promising that you will fall in love with characters such as Blanca and Angel, who are played by trans actors M.J. Rodriguez and Indya Moore respectively.
Did your experience influence any of the story arcs for the trans characters?
It heavily influenced the story with the character of Angel. A lot of my own experience of trying to find love in a society that wasn’t offering me any social safety nets is there.
This story is set in 1987, a few years after you were born. As you did your research on that period of life in New York City, what surprised you?
What surprised me is not a lot has changed for those communities. LGBT men and trans women of color are still grappling with HIV/AIDS. I don’t think we have fully gone to acceptance in New York today.
‘A lot of my own experience of trying to find love in a society that wasn’t offering me any social safety nets is there.’
“Pose” deals frankly and graphically with some of the sexual issues faced by the trans characters in their relationships with straight, white men (played by Evan Peters and Christopher Meloni). Do you think American audiences are ready to hear those conversations?
I think they’re so ready. What does it mean to share these trans bodies with the people that they love? How is the female in these communities seen? The audience will have fallen in love with these characters by then.
In the first two episodes we see incidents of theft and vandalism by the trans characters with no repercussions. Are you concerned that the show might be sending the wrong message here — that as long as the crime serves the cause, it’s OK?
I don’t think so. In the pilot, they were arrested [for stealing the costumes from the museum] because of the embarrassment of being hoodwinked by these kind of people. They do things that on paper are criminal, but white-collar criminals were committing their own crimes. Part of what we’re creating is partly fantasy. People are fully invested in their world and want them to win.
How do you think “Pose” will be received?
I hope it resonates with people. I hope that viewers see themselves in the journey of these characters. That they care about their experience and learn through entertainment about folks who’ve always been marginalized and now finally are taking center stage.
Do you have a favorite character?
Blanca. She makes you cry in every episode. I do believe she is the bleeding, bursting heart of the show. She gets me every single time.
And here’s what else to watch this week:
The Tony Awards
Sunday, 8 p.m., CBS
Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles host from Radio City Music Hall. As Broadway’s best collect their statuettes, fans will see a parade of stars, including Tina Fey, Robert De Niro, Patti LuPone and Christine Baranski.
Season premiere. After winning the Borns Tech case, Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton) is pulled back into the law when his friend’s 16-year-old son is arrested for a double homicide. However, as Billy starts to investigate what appears to be an open-and-shut murder case, he untangles a conspiracy in the seedy underbelly of LA.
Celebrity Family Feud
Sunday, 8 p.m., ABC
Season premiere. The Kardashians face off against the family of Kanye West. Both teams play for Children’s Hospital in LA.
Thursday, 9 p.m., NBC
Season premiere. Marlon (Marlon Wayans, below) convinces his ex, Ashley (Essence Atkins), to let their son model for a kids’ athletic line. After the shoot, Marlon and Ashley are horrified to see that the photos have been altered — the shirt Zack is modeling now contains the phrase “Funky Monkey.” Ashley and Marlon decide to pull him from the campaign.
David Cassidy: The Last Session
Monday, 9 p.m., A&E
In this revealing documentary, the late “Partridge Family” star talks about this history of substance abuse and relationship with his father, Jack Cassidy.
Sunday, 9 p.m., TNT
Season premiere. Desna (Niecy Nash) and the girls at the nail salon are still working under the thumb of the new Russian regime, spearheaded by Riva (Andrea Sooch). A newly domesticated Polly (Carrie Preston) is jubilant when tasked with being a madam for an all-male dance troupe. The power dynamic shifts once again when Riva’s sister, Zlata (Franka Potente), arrives to change the game.
Thursday, CBS All Access
Series premiere. Real-life chemical factory janitor Jack Parsons (Jack Reynor, left) is a restless soul whose scientific bent leads him to discover the field of rocket science in the 1930s. The series also explores Parsons’ wanderings into the LA murk of occult pleasures when he became a disciple of an occultist. Co-starring Rupert Friend.
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