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Yvette Lee Bowser remembers the exact day “Living Single” was greenlighted to premiere in the fall 1993 TV season.

“I was actually at a hair appointment,” she told NBC News, laughing. “As a Black woman, (that’s) fitting.”

“It was May 10, 1993,” she said. “I got a phone call telling me that the show was getting picked up for another 12 episodes in addition to the pilot.”

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“I called my mother first and then I call my girlfriends,” she said. “You know that show that I wrote about? It’s actually going to be on TV. I’m not going to just be sitting at home in my robe watching the one episode over and over and over again.”

“Living Single” premiered three months later on Aug. 22, 1993, and it marks its 30th anniversary Tuesday.

In May, The Writers Guild of America West recognized Bowser and awarded her with the 2023 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement.

She received the career honor, which is presented to a WGA member who has “advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer,” at the 75th annual WGA Awards.

Bowser said there are no public anniversary celebrations planned due to the concurrent Hollywood strikes, but the legendary show ran for five seasons on Fox and starred Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander, T.C. Carson, John Henton and Kim Fields as Khadijah, Synclaire, Max, Kyle, Overton and Regine, respectively.

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They lived in Brooklyn, New York, as working professionals navigating the roller coaster of their careers, friendships and romantic lives. The show is available to stream on Hulu and Max.

Even after 30 years, clips from the show regularly trend on social media. Most recently, the final scene of the series finale trended on TikTok with almost 3 million views when fans discovered that Khadijah whispered an additional line after her actual line.

Clips of the title sequence and theme song continue to make the rounds online, as does the quartet of women breaking out into song in the bathroom, using brushes and toilet bowl cleaners as microphones.

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If not full clips, there are (of course) also GIFs of Regine posted whenever someone is acting bougie or some of Synclaire whenever someone is whimsically innocent — traits those characters are known for. “Living Single” has become a classic sitcom, and Bowser said that’s just how the circle of love works.

“I wanted to create a series that centered on and celebrated women,” she said. “When you create something that is intended to be a love letter, and you pour love into it over time, what I’ve found is that you continue to get love back over an extended and unexpected period of time.”

As a result, Bowser said “cultural impact” is the show’s legacy.

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“We didn’t just set out to make a TV show,” she said. “We set out to make a universally entertaining but culturally specific experience. And I think we achieved that.”

She said the fact that it still lands with people is a credit to the audience for watching and popularizing the show.

“You don’t get to decide what’s going to resonate with the audience,” she said. “The audience decides. And I believe, over the last three decades, they’ve decided that it’s been significant for them, that it’s been life-changing for many, it’s been inspirational. And that’s incredibly rewarding and affirming as a writer, creator, and just as a Black woman in society.” 

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Bowser said the “Living Single” team remains in touch and are all in a group chat in which they “chat it up (and) chop it up on that thread pretty frequently.”

“We’re still true blue, tight like glue,” she said, referring to lyrics in the theme song. “It’s not just a title. It’s a spirit. It’s a thing. For us, it’s not just a moment; it’s a movement. It’s an energy that we carry with us as a group, which is really beautiful.”

Bowser said her goal all along was to be intentional and stick to her convictions — it nearly cost her the show. 

“They really enjoyed the characters, but they asked me to lose Maxine from the show,” she remembered. “Yes, this incredibly daring, beautiful, confident, unapologetic Black feminist was apparently intimidating on paper.”

Bowser said she refused their request because Max is an “idealized version” of her.

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“Taking Maxine out of the show would be taking a big part of me out of the show, and I’d rather not do the show at all,” she remembers telling the studios. “So there I was: 27 years old with the opportunity to have my own TV show on the line, and I was willing to risk it. I was literally becoming Maxine while I was in the process of creating her.”

“It was at that moment in the development process that I found my real voice,” she added.

The creative compromise was to move Max — who initially lived with Khadijah, Synclaire and Regine — across the street into her own apartment. But like any close friend, she was regularly at their apartment, eating their food and taking up space just the same.

Bowser said Max’s enemy-turnedlove-interest, Kyle, and his best friend, Overton, are based on her husband, Kyle Bowser, and his best friend in real life, Overton Wilkins. 

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“The enemies-to-lovers dynamic was one that I wanted to explore through Max and Kyle,” Bowser said. “And it is very much modeled after, but a hyperbolic version of, my relationship with my husband, Kyle, to this day.

He will not admit his part in it, but we go toe-to-toe very passionately with each other on a variety of things. We love and argue with the same passion.”

The show’s anniversary coincides with Bowser’s 30th anniversary of getting engaged to her husband.

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“Since we’re not having a studio-planned event, we decided we’re going to go get away,” she said of their upcoming vacation.

Sounds like something Kyle could convince Max to do.

This article was written by Randi Richardson and published by NBC News.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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