Living Single (TV series)
|Created by||Yvette Lee Bowser|
T.C. Carson (seasons 1–4)
Mel Jackson (season 5)
|Opening theme||"We Are Living Single", written and performed by Queen Latifah|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||118 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Yvette Lee Bowser (entire run)
Roger S.H. Schulman (seasons 4-5)
|Location(s)||Warner Bros. Studios
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||approx. 22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||SisterLee Productions
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original run||August 29, 1993 – January 1, 1998|
Living Single is an American television sitcom that aired for five seasons on the FOX network from August 29, 1993, to January 1, 1998. The show centered on the lives of six friends who share personal and professional experiences while living in a Brooklyn brownstone.
Throughout its run, Living Single became one of the most popular African-American sitcoms of its era, ranking among the top five in African-American ratings in all five seasons. The series was produced by Yvette Lee Bowser's company, Sister Lee, in association with Warner Bros. Television. In contrast to the popularity of NBC's "Must See TV" on Thursday nights in the 1990s, many African American and Latino viewers flocked to FOX's Thursday night line-up of Martin, Living Single, and New York Undercover. In fact, these were the three highest-rated series among black households for the 1996–1997 season. (In order of popularity, Living Single, New York Undercover, and Martin.)
The series focuses on two different households in one brownstone, one shared by a trio of independent women and another shared by a pair of male friends who have known each other since they spent their youth in Cleveland, Ohio. In the first apartment, Khadijah James (Queen Latifah), a hard-working editor and publisher of the fictional urban independent monthly Flavor lives with her sweet but naïve cousin Synclaire James (Kim Coles), an aspiring actress who works as Khadijah's receptionist and has an affinity for Troll dolls; and her childhood friend from East Orange, New Jersey, Regina "Régine" Hunter (Kim Fields), an image-conscious boutique buyer who is in a constant search for a well-to-do man to spend her life with (and spend his money). Later in the series, Régine becomes a costume assistant for the soap opera Palo Alto. When the show is canceled, she becomes a wedding planner and leaves the apartment to move in with her fiance, Dexter Knight (Don Franklin). Maxine "Max" Shaw (Erika Alexander), a sharp-tongued attorney and Khadijah's best friend from their college days at Howard University frequently stops by to share her unique insights, keep them entertained by sharing her day, to make sure that the girls' refrigerator isn't overstocked, and to start trouble with Kyle.
Kyle Barker (T.C. Carson) lives in the second apartment with Overton Wakefield Jones (John Henton). Kyle is a stockbroker whose constant verbal sparring with Max does little to mask their obvious sexual attraction while Overton is the friendly but not too bright maintenance man for the owner of their (and neighboring) building who holds deep affection for Synclaire. Kyle and Max end up pursuing a sexual relationship, but when he decides to take a job in London and invites Max to join him, she turns him down. Maxine subsequently becomes distraught over her decision and after defending a man who claims to be the second coming of Jesus (Harold Perrineau), she begins to seriously look for the purpose of her life. Through a series of events, Max decides that her purpose must be to become a mother and during the insemination process she unknowingly picks Kyle's sperm specimen based on a list of qualities she would like for her child to have. Kyle returns in the series finale and the two reconcile. Overton and Synclaire also get together and their relationship culminates in marriage by the end of the fourth season. In season five, they move in together, leaving Overton and Kyle's apartment open for new character Roni DeSantos (Idalis DeLeon), a New York-area D.J., to move in to. It is eventually revealed that DeSantos had a fling with Ira Lee "Tripp" Williams III, (Mel Jackson), the new roommate of Khadijah and Régine who moves in when Synclaire's room becomes available. Tripp is a songwriter. Synclaire joins a comedy improv troupe where she gains the attention of Tony Jonas, a Warner Bros. television exec who casts her as a nun for a new comedy series he is developing.
Along with trying to make Flavor a success, Khadijah also spends time looking for Mr. Right. She eventually finds him in childhood friend Scooter (Cress Williams) with whom she leaves the brownstone for the final time in the series finale.
Cast and characters
- Queen Latifah — Khadijah James , editor and publisher of Flavor, an independent magazine devoted to the interests of the urban community.
- Kim Coles — Synclaire James-Jones, Khadijah's good-natured cousin and roommate; receptionist at Flavor and aspiring actress.
- Erika Alexander — Maxine "Max" Felice Shaw, strong-willed attorney and Khadijah's best friend; spends much of her time at girls' apartment.
- T.C. Carson — Kyle Barker (Seasons 1–4 ; 3 episodes in Season 5), stockbroker and girls' neighbor; Max's verbal sparring partner and on-again, off-again etc. love interest.
- John Henton — Overton "Obie" Wakefield Jones, Kyle's roommate and the brownstone's handyman; Synclaire's sweetheart.
- Kim Fields — Regina "Régine" Hunter (Seasons 1–5 ; appears for a short time in the fifth season), Khadijah and Synclaire's gossip-loving roommate; childhood friend of Khadijah.
- Mel Jackson – Ira Lee "Tripp" Williams (Season 5), Khadijah and Regine's new roommate; aspiring songwriter.
- Cress Williams – Terrence "Scooter" Williams, Khadijah's childhood friend and sometimes love interest
- Richard Lyons – Michael Janson (Season 1–2), Max's "old stand-by."
- Shaun Baker – Russell Montego, Jamaican-born music editor at Flavor
- Bobby Hosea – Lawrence (Season 1–3), Kyle's rival at the brokerage
- Chip Fields – Laverne Hunter, (Season 1-5), Regine's mother
- Rita Owens – Rita James (Season 1–4), Khadijah's mother
- Heavy D – Darryl (Season 2–4), Regine's friend
- Steven Gilborn – Jeffrey Higgins (Season 2–4), Kyle's boss
- Bumper Robinson – Ivan Ennis (Season 3–4), college-age messenger turned Flavor copy aide; infatuated with Khadijah
- J. Anthony Brown – Tibby (Season 3–4), Overton's favorite uncle
- Khalil Kain – Keith (Season 3–4), Regine's artist boyfriend
- Dorien Wilson – Rev. Leslie Taylor (Season 3–4), pastor at the church's group
- Isaiah Washington – Dr. Charles Roberts (Season 4), Khadijah's boyfriend.
- Idalis DeLeon – Roni De Santos (Season 5), popular New York City deejay and love interest for Tripp
Notable guest appearances
Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Living Single on DVD in Region 1 on February 14, 2006.
Half & Half: Erika Alexander and T.C. Carson reprised their roles of Maxine Shaw and Kyle Barker on the UPN sitcom, Half & Half (a series produced by Living Single creator Yvette Lee Bowser). In the episode ("The Big Performance Anxiety Episode", 3rd Season), ambitious law student Dee Dee learns that her mother's co-star in a play is engaged to Maxine, Dee Dee's idol. However, her mother gets Maxine's beau, Kyle, fired because she fears he will take attention away from her. The episode also revealed that Maxine and Kyle remained a couple and were the proud parents of their seven-year-old daughter.
The Crew: In one episode "The Mating Season" of the short-lived FOX sitcom The Crew, Regine becomes a passenger on a flight and argues with a sassy stewardess in hopes of upgrading to first class. On another episode, "The Worst Noel", Synclaire also becomes a passenger. The episode served as a bridge for The Crew and its lead-in show, Living Single.
An hour-long retrospective special, Living Single: The Reunion Special, aired on TV One on September 22, 2008. Coles, Henton, Fields, Carson and Alexander reunited to share fond memories with the fans. Unfortunately, Queen Latifah was unavailable to participate.
The special featured clips and revealing secrets of the cast from the show's successful five-year run.
Awards and nominations