One of my favorite television shows of all time is Living Single. Set in 1990's Brooklyn, Living Single followed the lives of six young African-American professionals as they built their lives, careers and quest for love. The characters: Overton Wakefield Jones (John Henton), Synclaire James (Kim Coles), Regine Hunter (Kim Fields), Maxine Shaw (Erika Alexander), Kyle Barker (T.C. Carson) and Khadijah James (Queen Latifah) all lived in the same brownstone in the Prospect Heights neighborhood---Well, all except Maxine, who lived nearby and came by as often as she could. The characters were quick-witted, charming, and funny as they clashed with each other and dealt with life's challenging. And being a hit show, it had some exciting cameos from professional athletes, musicians and other celebrities. But more importantly, it was exactly what I thought adult life was going to be like.
I remember loving the show during my public school years because the characters resonated so much with me. They looked like me, were smart and ambitious, loving to their friends and family members, and were living the life that I thought I would live when I grew up. Except, I wanted to live in my own brownstone in Harlem (without all of the roommates) and my friends would live somewhere near by. At lunch time, my friends and I would talk excitedly about that week's episode. We argued about the characters we were most like (apparently I was most like Khadijah in stature and attitude), the decisions that the characters made and about the romances on the show. Our debate topics included: Would Overton and Synclaire would ever get together? (Eventually they did.) How could Kyle and Maxine hate each other so much and sleep together so often? (Even they could not explain that one.) Would Khadijah ever find the right man who could handle her ambition and independent spirit? (She did, in Scooter.) And would Regine ever find the rich, handsome, faithful man who would spoil her like crazy and respect her as a woman with standards? (Amazingly she did, in Dexter a rich video gamer played by Heavy D.)
While it was a hit show in the black community, it was eventually canceled after five seasons and I recall my friends and I being devastated at the loss. Frankly, television has not been the same since the 1990’s and there are few televisions shows that compare to this class.
Now that the show is in syndication, I try to catch an episode or two at least once or twice a week on TV One or any other station I can find it on. It seems I never get tired of this show, the characters and their antics. A wave of nostalgia hits me every time I watch the opening credits. The iconic views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Big Lez dancing on the cobblestone walkway overlooking the East River, and Queen Latifah singing and rapping the theme song brings me back to those days of being young, hopeful and hopelessly naive about life and what the future would hold.
On a rough day, I might reminisce about the show and our naiveté of life with one of my old public school classmates. We laugh as we talk about our lives being a lot harder than a sitcom could ever really show. Still, I am grateful that I had a positive image to aspire to and that I can recall whenever I watch an episode of this old show. Now, all we need is a reunion television movie and I'll be utterly grateful!!