From l to r: Alex, Ricky, Chance, and Noah
It’s not very often that I’ll find myself gushing over something that’s really abysmal, but I can’t help but love it anyway. Some might point to my adoration of the Spice Girls, in which case I’d say, “Fuck off! They’re one of the greatest girl groups of all time!” without batting an eyelash. But this particular “guilty pleasure” is a show that doesn’t exactly have any distinguishing merits except that it dared to expose the underground truth of Black queer life…whether that goal was accomplished with any kind of success is up for debate.
I’m talking, of course, about a little known two-season show on LOGO called Noah’s Arc. In it, we follow the lovesick, intrepid Noah on his quest for artistic freedom, sexual fulfilment, and everlasting romance. Along the way, we’re introduced to his close-knit circle of friends with their overtly cliché characteristics and flaws… so full of hubris Sophocles would have a heart attack.
As far as sitcoms go, there aren’t many that possess the depth or reach to keep me interested past the first few episodes. However, every once in a while a show will come along that not only manages to be completely innovative, but also has the balls to enter into dangerous ground –treading the path of the mainstream unknown.
Living Single was a show that took what people understood about Black life, particularly the lives of Black women, and gave it scope. It was a show that saw the transformation of the Black woman as more than just an entity behind a “strong Black man”, a rock that rested the pains and fears of an entire ethnic people on its jagged shoulders. Black women were just as human and just as easily neglected as any other, yet they had a sophistication that was somewhat underappreciated in the grander scheme of the human circus.
That being said, Living Single was just a damn funny show. Every character had elements of the next, yet had a definitive personality. This careful examination of the human experience allowed the flow of time and the relationships therein to move naturally and effectively. There wasn’t an ounce of plagiarism as far as the originality of the show. It was just a peek inside the existence of a group of friends and family that, for some reason, had been pegged an “other”. But one can’t explore the hilarity and honesty of the show without understanding each character.