This past weekend left us with the loss of Bea Arthur, most noted for her hilarious role as Dorothy Zbornak on one of the funniest television shows of all time, "Golden Girls". You know how you don't realize how hysterical something is until you're an adult? "Golden Girls" was one of the most hilarious sitcoms ever, part of an era that looks like it will never be repeated. But did you know that "Golden Girls" is said to have been the inspiration for "Living Single", which obviously spawned "Girlfriends"?
"Living Single " was a groundbreaking show because it featured young Black professionals living and loving in New York City without getting caught up in the stereotypes that typically plagued Black shows. You had several young, educated, employed, and cultured Black people living in the big city like everyday folks--that just happened to be funny as hell. (Hmmm... sounds like another very successful show that came afterwards, "Friends"! )
The heart of "Living Single" was the friendship between several young professional women who navigated friendship and dating in the Big Apple. Wait! This sounds like another show that was also very successful..."Sex and the City"! Hmmm... but I guess we won't be getting credit for laying the creative foundation for either mega iconic show anytime soon. (But we know what's up!) But word on the street is that the creators of "Living Single" were inspired by "Golden Girls". Let's compare:
"GG" featured four friends and roommates (Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia) in their "golden years" living wholehearted lives while pursuing love and dreams.
"LS" featured four friends and roommates (Khadija, Regine, Synclaire, and Maxine) living wholehearted lives while pursuing love and dreams.
On "GG" Dorothy was the level-headed strong leader who kept it all together and never minced words.
On "LS" Khadija was the level-headed strong leader who kept it all together and never minced words.
On "GG" Blanche was the superficial fun girl who was always up for male companionship.
On "LS" Regine was the superficial fun girl who was always up for male companionship.
On "GG" Rose was the idiot.
On "LS" Synclaire was the idiot.
On "GG" Sophia was the worldly smart-mouthed matriarch who felt she'd earned the right to speak her mind whenever, wherever.
On "LS" Maxine was an amalgamation of Blanche the man eater, and Sophia the quick witted smart-ass.
And "Living Single" led to our most recent evolution of Black programming with "Girlfriends", (don't you miss it, even without Toni?) another show featuring young, sophisticated (booshie) Black friends trying to create the lives they love in the big city-while looking damn fly every second!
It's all coming together right? Who would have thought that a show about feisty senior citizens would have led to some of our most memorable television hits and laid the groundwork for some other mainstream knock-offs?
"Sex and the City" got a movie. Wouldn't you have liked to see "Girlfriends" do a movie, even one on tv?--just to tie it all up since the CW yanked it off the air without so much as a champagne toast and obligatory electric slide at Joan's wedding?
Well we know how we get done, but we know how we do. We can either originate an idea, or take one and bring it even higher causing a mass ripple affect of creative energy that leaves no soul unmoved. At this point most efforts are derivative, but as intrinsically innovative people, we offer a new level of originality that will not be deterred. So keep creating, keep looking forward, and appreciate what came before. Evolve.