The Crew and Living Single

The Crew (1995-1996)
Living Single (1993-1998)
Type: Crossover

   Living Single was a good little sitcom that didn't get the respect it probably deserved from its network, Fox. The show centered around four black women who were friends sharing a house together and the men in their lives. The show starred hip hop star Queen Latifa, former Facts Of Life star Kim Fields, former Cosby Show/A Different World star Erika Alexander and Kim Coles who while not former of any big role was just so bubbly and fun and cute that she just kicked butt!

   Living Single was just what it sounds like from the title, the story of a bunch of young successful African Americans living the single life. And it was a great funny show. The thing is at the time there were a number of networks putting "black shows" on the air that weren't all that great and were focused on grabbing just black viewers. Black, white or Martian, nobody should have been watching Homeboys From Outer Space. The point I'm getting at is that Living Single was not part of that mold. It was a quality show with great acting, great writing and starring a black cast that went beyond race lines in reaching a much wider audience. Quality funny here people.

   All that said Fox kinda took the show for granted. I mean they didn't try to kill it or anything but they also didn't hype it, promote and try to nurture it into becoming a bigger hit either. And it could've been a bigger hit. Instead it trudged along doing its thing, getting respectable ratings but not much help from the network.

   But of course when the network needed Living Single to help it, well that was a different matter. In 1995 Fox started a wacky new sitcom called The Crew centering on a group of young flight attendants. It was a Friends-ish type show. For the sake of comparison lets say they were trying to do Living Single only with a largely white cast and on an airplane. Instead they got closer to Homeboys From Outer Space... with a white cast... on an airplane. It didn't help viewership that Fox also put it in a timeslot where it faced stiff competition from NBCs "Must See TV" lineup of shows. But Fox really wanted this show to, well, fly I guess.

   So even though they didn't offer Living Single much promotional help Fox used it to try and help get viewers to watch The Crew. First they put it in the timeslot right after Living Single. That's not such a big deal. But then for two weeks in a row they used the cast of Living Single in cameos on The Crew to try and draw viewers to it. The first week wasn't too bad. They simply had Kim Fields appear in a cameo as her Living Single character of Regine Hunter. But the following week... well Fox kinda played dirty in my opinion. They ended Living Single with Kim Coles' character Synclaire James on a plane flight which just happened to be crewed by The Crew. Then as part of one continuous scene the action rolled right into the start of The Crew without a break or a proper alert to the audience that they were now no longer watching Living Single and also giving folks no chance to flip the channel. They were using Living Single to trick folks into watching The Crew. When have you ever had to be "tricked" into something that was any good? Never. So even if The Crew was great this stunt would have made it smell kinda bad. And Fox made Living Single party to it too. So yeah, no help for Living Single but they still make it act as a shill for them in this weak con attempt.

   I actually don't mean to sound as angry as I do. The Crew wasn't a horrible show or anything. It's just that the network's handling of Living Single was kinda stinky and this crossover seems kinda cynical with an attitude towards deceiving viewers.

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