“Living Single” star Erika Alexander responded to an interview that “Friends” actor David Schwimmer recently had with the Guardian.
During that discussion, Schwimmer, who played the character Ross Geller on the show, said he was “Already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality” when “Friends” was on the air.
“Maybe there should be an all-Black ‘Friends’ or an all-Asian ‘Friends,’ ” said the actor. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”
In one of the “Friends” seasons, Schwimmer dated a character played by Aisha Tyler.
Alexander responded to the Interview on Jan. 28 via Twitter, and she brought up “Living Single.”
Both her show and “Friends” were based on the premise of six twenty-somethings living in New York City together and each had two guys and four girls on the cast. “Friends” aired on NBC from 1994-2004, and “Living Single” was on Fox from 1993-1998.
Plus, for many years now, there’s been talk that the “Friends” creators swiped the idea of their show from “Living Single.”
“Hey @monique-davisidSchwimmer @FriendsTV – r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template! Yr welcome bro. ;),” tweeted Alexander.
Then in a separate tweet, Alexander wrote, “4 yr edutainment. Help me school him,” and she tagged her “Living Single” co-stars.
Alexander engaged with some of her Twitter followers after that and then tagged Schwimmer in another message.
“@[email protected] we are committed to the change you’d like to see. Come meet us, let’s all be – “friends.” ; ) X. e,” she wrote.
Schwimmer responded to the actress one day later and said he was well aware that “Living Single” existed before “Friends.” He then explained what he said in the interview.
“Hi Erika, As you know, I was asked recently in an interview for The Guardian how I felt (for the thousandth time) about a reboot of Friends immediately following a conversation about diversity on the show, and so offered up other possibilities for a reimagining of the show today,” his tweet read.
“I didn’t mean to imply Living Single hadn’t existed or indeed hadn’t come before Friends, which I knew it had,” added Schwimmer.
“I was a fan of Living Single, and was not implying Friends was the first of its kind. To my knowledge, Friends (which came a year later) was inspired by Marta & David’s own lives and circle of friends living in NY in their twenties,” he added. “If it was based on Living Single you’d have to ask them.
“It’s entirely possible that Warner Brothers and NBC, encouraged by the success of Living Single, gave the Friends pilot a green light. I honestly don’t know, but seems likely! If that’s the case, we are all indebted to Living Single for paving the way,” the actor tweeted.
Schwimmer then closed his message by writing, “If my quote was taken out of context, it’s hardly in my control. I assure you I meant no disrespect.”
Alexander then posted Schwimmer’s message and said she’d be issuing some sort of official response in the future.
“David, thank you for this – it was very thoughtful,” she tweeted on Feb. 3. “I’d like to say something a bit more in depth myself – so stay tuned – but really brother thank you.”
Underneath the actress’ post, one person said she was convinced that “Friends” stole from “Living Single,” no matter what Schwimmer wrote in his tweet.
“You’re very gracious Erika. I’m not buying the ‘it’s entirely possible’ ‘seems likely’ and ‘if that’s the case’ dribble Like you said, LS was the template,” one person wrote.