Erika Alexander wants to explain how the show Living Single was the original Friends, but there are a lot of differences that need to be mentioned. Living Single was a funny show really since it did come out a year before Friends debuted and it was something that as a lot of fun to see on TV. There were characters that were at the time stereotypical but there were also a couple that were not the norm which was nice. Alexander is pretty frank about the period of time in which there didn’t seem to be any positive black representation when it came to TV, and to be honest it’s an honest statement. After the more positive shows that came along with black casts TV really kind of went into a period during which people of color and different races weren’t well represented. Things are turning around as of now and becoming far more positive for everyone involved, but the path to real equality is still being traversed.
There’s no denying that Living Single and Friends were separate entities, and if you didn’t care for one show or the other that was your prerogative. The biggest difference is that the rate of pay and working conditions were a lot different. There was virtually nothing to the set of Living Single versus that of Friends, and the pay rate was absolutely horrible as each character on Living Single made tens of thousands of dollars compared to the millions that each character on Friends made. It could be argued that at the time the Friends cast had more star power but then again a few of them were virtual unknowns and shouldn’t have been able to pull down those kind of numbers. Living Single was in fact funnier than Friends and despite its lesser fan base it was a more uplifting show most times than the neurotically-charged Friends that operated on the same kind of emotions and feelings that were seen on Seinfeld quite often. Ever notice how shows with black casts were a lot more chill and dealt with emotions in a way that didn’t make people want to take out stock in Xanax and Valium?
Some folks might think that Alexander and The Breakfast Club are going on and on about how black people are not being given a fair shake in this country and are responsible for the majority of cultural influences in the USA, and they might be kind of right. But if you really look at such words it’s hard to deny that African Americans haven’t been a big influence to culture in this country. Their ancestors, not them keep in mind, were brought forcibly to these shores by white folks and forced into hard, manual labor for the benefit of their masters, more white folks that often did reprehensible things to them. But as the nation has evolved and the many cultures along with it there’s no denying that African Americans have been at the forefront of creating and enhancing the many different cultures in this country.
Some people might try to deny it, but even in TV it’s especially true.
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