This is “The Breakdown” where we look at some of the biggest moments in our lives (and by “our lives,” we mean stuff that was happening on TV) and get at the heart of what makes these scenes and characters so unforgettable with five thoughts.
This week, we’re looking at what happened when “Living Single” (8 back-to-back episodes, starting tonight at 8/7c) mixed oil and water — Max and Kyle FINALLY got their groove on after a season of heavy — and mean — flirting. The season one finale showed them waking up together, but the season two opener showed A LOT more.
- Don’t Sleep on Erika – We’re just going to go ahead and say it: Erika Alexander is the funniest Black woman on 90s TV. Why do we say that? Just look at how this scene starts. It would be easy to have Max look beautiful and serene as she sleeps in Kyle’s arms. But no, Alexander opted to show us how we REALLY look after a night of some good-good — head back, mouth WIDE open, stupid, silly and shockingly real.
- All Kente Everything – Will you just LOOK at all the Afrocentric merch on display. From the Kente blanket of shame to the cowrie shell choker, Max and Kyle were hotep-chic in a way that only the early 90’s could have produced. Keep in mind, this was PRE-Badu so these were NOT ironic hipsters sporting gear to be funny. This was a major TV network trying to reflect a genuine trend – ah, the good old days.
- Throwing Shades – Not only were Max and Kyle dipped in Ankhs and beads, but they had the delightful nerve to be dark-skinned honeys who steamed up the screen with their off-the-charts chemistry all while giving zero f*@!$ about mainstream standards of beauty.
- Safe Sex Scandal – Any five minutes of today’s sitcoms may make “Living Single” look tame, but the appearance of a condom wrapper on TV in this scene was no small thing (pun intended). Keep in mind, in 1993 the group TLC was considered “controversial” for making jimmy hats part of their costuming, so seeing a non-married couple post-coital AND an empty condom wrapper was positively rebellious.
- Petty, Messy Love – You know how you look at the insane relationships of Amber and Wiz or Karrine and Columbus and think “HOW DID THESE TWO EVER GET ALONG?” Just remember Max and Kyle, the original messy couple who openly fought and threw pre-Twitter shade at each other before meeting up later in the “bone zone” for some secret freaking. Back down Ciara and Future, the champs were here!
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