Living Single...The Original Sex In The City
Before there was a Carrie Bradshaw and her crew of single friends, there was Khadijah James, Regine Hunter, Maxine Shaw, and Synclaire James. A group of 4 single, successful, black women living in New York and trying to navigate the challenges of work, dating, and overall life itself. What made this program so special was that we were seeing black women portrayed in a positive, realistic light. These women weren't ordinary either. They each had distinct personalities and career goals that made them uniquely different but yet their friendship made sense.
There was Khadijah who was the editor and publisher of her own urban magazine "Flavor" and the overall mother figure of the group. She not only ran a magazine but kept everyone else in line. Then you had Synclaire, who was Khadijah's cousin and worked as her secretary at "Flavor." Synclaire was an unique person that lived in her own world for the majority of the time but she was a good moral compass for the ladies. Next up was Regine, who was an image conscious boutique buyer who was more concerned with finding a wealthy man than anything. Her and Khadijah were childhood friends and often bumped heads on a lot of things. Last but not least, there was Maxine, who didn't live with the other three women but liked to think of herself as the 4th roommate. Maxine was a sharp attorney who went to Howard with Khadijah and was not afraid to speak her mind in any situation and in the courtroom. Regardless of how different their personalities were, they loved and supported each other in their different endeavors which to me, is great example of black female friendships.
I remember the first episode I saw of "Living Single". It was the one where all 4 friends decided that they needed a night out on the town and they were all getting ready in the same bathroom. The conversation switched over to what women go through to make themselves more attractive to men. Synclaire leaned over and said, "Do you ever wonder what the world would be like without men?" Khadijah then answered with "A bunch of fat, happy women and no crime." From there, they broke out singing the same song in various stages of getting dressed. Talk about TV gold. I was sold right then and there. It was like all my college experiences with my girls was right there on TV. Not to mention, they had two male friends (Kyle and Overton), who they got along with and even started dating at one point. The actors who played Khadijah and Regine even had their real life mothers on the show in a few episodes. Can you get any more organic than that?
Like most shows that you fall in love with, they tend to hit a lull period and things get weird. It was right around the time that Synclaire and Overton got married and moved out, Kyle accepted a job out of state and was replaced with someone else (Don't ask me the name cause I tuned him out), Regine was no longer living in the apartment, and Maxine was trying to find herself after giving up her lawyer life. It was weird and the magic for me was lost. Still, I watched faithfully until the show ended in 1998.
I never watched "Sex in the City" like that. I have friends who were faithful viewers and can quote you several lines from the movies but I just wasn't interested. Nothing enthused me about Carrie Bradshow's endless relationship drama with Mr. Bigg, and I couldn't tell you anything about the 3 others. It just always seemed like a rip off "Living Single" which, to me, had a touch more realness to it. I mean, not everyone is a writer living this fabulous life in NYC. How could they afford it anyway? "Living Single" was an actual portrayal of black women living their daily lives, suffering from the same dating woes, and trying to find their place in the world. That's the experience I want to see displayed on TV. This show has solidified it's place in history and now thanks to Hulu, I can watch all seasons whenever I'm in the mood. Hopefully they don't ruin my young memories and decide to do a reboot like they are doing with everything else. Some things should just remain as is.