Not everybody liked Living Single in the beginning – as a matter of fact, many critics said that it was just another sitcom with an urban setting, which twitched a bit on the concept and thus became a moderate hit. The twitch was a double one, with one improvement being the more realistic approach of the subject (four regular women living single and struggling to achieve a certain success).
The other improvement was perceived as a negative one, since it dealt with the stereotypes concerning the African-American community. As said in a previous article, TV shows are meant to play on these kinds of prejudices if they want to survive.
Living Single did that and presented the women from a different perspective. However, this wasn’t the case of the men presented in the show, which were constantly bashed and viewed just as sexual objects. In a way, the roles were reversed (hence the improvement), but there was still prejudice.
Of course, from this point of view, this can be seen as a satire – and it works pretty well. If in other mediums, and in the hip-hop culture prominently, the woman is described as a gold digger and even worse, the tables are turned in Living Single.
Of course, this was considered back in the ‘90’s when the show was aired a dangerous precedent, since it was replacing a stereotype with another. And quite a few of articles from that period were baffled at how young African-American men were described as just oversexed wha’s-up, man buffoons.
As said in a previous article, this is a harmful method of improving on a given concept (young people struggling to achieve success). I am not talking about a gender or another, because this problem transcends the so called battle of the sexes which changed the way the woman’s role is viewed in the society.
And this is a harmful method because, no matter how you look at it, a stereotype or a prejudice cannot disappear if it is still played upon. Even if it is used in the same enclosed circle (for example, between friends), it still exists.
Of course, this is just one way of viewing Living Single. By no means was this a poor TV show because of this particular aspect. After all, its main point was that young people can still live single (without the help of the parents), pay for their own bills, and have fun. This was a positive idea on which the show was built.
However, maybe the particulars of the series should have been improved too.