The cultural impact of the sitcom “Living Single” continues to be unmatched nearly three decades after the show first premiered on Fox. Actor TC Carson, who played Kyle Barker, was swept up in the throes of nostalgia on Aug. 22 as he acknowledged the 29th anniversary of the show’s debut.
The show ran for five seasons between 1993 and 1998. The cast consisted of Queen Latifah, Kim Fields, Erika Alexander, Kim Coles and John Henton. All of who went on to experience success in the acting endeavors years after the show came to a close.
In an Instagram post highlighting two of the cast’s group photos, and a scene of Carson and Alexander, the actor wrote, “29 years ago I had the distinct privilege and pleasure to premiere A new TV show with five individuals who have become my family!”
The post continued, “Living single was the best television experience I’ve had to date and I am so grateful to @theyvetteleebowser, @queenlatifah, @kimcoles, @kimfieldsofficial, John Henton and my other half @erikaalexanderthegreat for giving me the experience of a lifetime! Love you All!!!#livingsingle #livingsingle29.”
The post was met with nostalgia-infused comments from Carson’s former on-screen partners, and the show’s writer and producer Yvette Lee Bowser.
“It was OUR distinct pleasure. I still have your audition tape. Luh you!” wrote Bowser.
Fields enthusiastically commented, “Still surreal. Still magical. Still. *puts on bold humility….WE DID THAT THANG! @theyvetteleebowser TY for our birth.”
Erika Alexander also chimed in about her character Maxine Shaw. “On this day 29 years ago, The Maverick was born. Thank you for loving Maxine Shaw and Living Single to this day. Thank you also to the super extraordinary @kimcoles, @Kimfields4real, @IAMQUEENLATIFA and John Henton, our crew, writers.”
But the talented actors and writers were far from alone in celebrating the show. Fans also wrote, “Living Single has stood the test of time. Still funny. Still stylish. Still amazing!” and “One of my all time favorites, there will never be another like it. BLACK EXCELLENCE.”
Carson was written off the show with his character taking a job in London in season four. He made a final appearance for the series finale. In 2020, the actor addressed his departure by saying that he was fired after executives felt he was leading the charge on issues during the show’s production.
“There were times when we had issues on the show. We would come to them as a cast, but I would be the spokesperson for it,” said Carson in an interview. “And so that last season before I left, they called me in and they basically said, ‘Well, all these problems that we’ve been having, they listen to you. You’re the person they listen to.’” Carson flippantly suggested he should have another job if he does in fact hold that much power. “I don’t think they liked that,” he added.
Elsewhere in the post’s comments, fans brought up the often discussed topic of “Friends” being a copycat version of the hit all-Black ensemble show. “The Original…friends could never…. You all started this…. I wish for a reboot with same cast,” and “This is was the blueprint and the original “Friends ” in which they completely stole the whole show and never apologized,” read some of the comments.
In the past, Alexander and other cast members have addressed the undeniable similarities between the two shows. Premise alone, both shows featured friend groups of four women and two men who were in their mid-20 while living in New York City.
“It’s the same and not the same. It’s the same because of the whiteface. Since we are the original I don’t call us the blackface. They certainly white-washed it, and I think that that happens in art. You know that if you get something successful you can make a version of it again but the thing about it is that they thought they had to make it again,” she explained to Atlanta Black Star in 2021.
The shows co-creator and producer Marta Kauffman has addressed come of the controversy surrounding the show and its lack of diversity. This year she announced a $4 million pledge to her alma mater, Brandeis University, to help distinguished scholars studying African cultures.