David Schwimmer, the current star of the Sky One and Now TV series Intelligence, tried to make a good faith effort at pitching an alternative to Friends featuring an “all-Black” and/or “all-Asian” cast, but didn’t realize that already existed.
In an interview with the Guardian, the Friends actor addressed the issues surrounding the NBC sitcom and its all-white cast.
"I feel that a lot of the problem today in so many areas is that so little is taken in context," he said. "You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time. I'm the first person to say that maybe something was inappropriate or insensitive, but I feel like my barometer was pretty good at that time. I was already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality."
That said, Schwimmer proposed some reboot ideas that were certainly not original.
"Maybe there should be an all-Black Friends or an all-Asian Friends," Schwimmer told the publication. "But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part."David Schwimmer starred as Ross in Friends , which has been widely reported was a ripoff from Living Single . As Queen Latifah explained to James Corden back in June of 2016, the president of NBC explicitly copied Living Single to create Friends . The same amount of characters, living in an apartment building in New York City -- except Friends was all-white. Friends would last 10 seasons, while Living Single only lasted five.
David Schwimmer clearly doesn’t know that the “all-black” reboot of Friends that he wants was already done and was called Living Single...which btw inspired Friends pic.twitter.com/uDQz2oxqID— Joshua Chenault (@joshuachenault1) January 28, 2020
David Schwimmer wants a Black reboot of Friends? He doesn't know Friends was the white 'reboot' of Living Single - starred in a ripoff & didn't do research? They put Living Single in the SAME time slot as Friends - even Pat Boone & Elvis did research to be culture vultures. SMH. pic.twitter.com/upMSNwFC2V— Clay Cane (@claycane) January 29, 2020
The fact that Living Single is trending nationwide because of that David Schwimmer comment... When Twitter does what it’s supposed to >>— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) January 29, 2020
Me watching Twitter hand David Schwimmer his ass for pretending like he didn't know of or that they stole Living Single: pic.twitter.com/a1iAMZwcf6— A Shot of Henny. (@VigorousMental) January 28, 2020
Did a pod w/ @EAlexTheGreat a few months ago and she broke down how “Friends” was a rip-off of “Living Single.” We also discussed black erasure in general. Guess nobody told David Schwimmer.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 29, 2020
Full pod here —> https://t.co/1nDMGZPGqc https://t.co/HZc4TLQc2S
Furthermore, Erika Alexander, who played Maxine Waters on Living Single, earning her two NAACP Image Awards, tweeted directly to Schwimmer, “Hey @DavidSchwimmer @FriendsTV - r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template! Yr welcome bro. ;) David Schwimmer 2 The Guardian: ‘Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends.’”
Hey @DavidSchwimmer @FriendsTV - r u seriously telling me you’ve never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template! Yr welcome bro. ;) David Schwimmer 2 The Guardian: “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends” https://t.co/r8W1ZHBwoy— Erika Alexander (@EAlexTheGreat) January 28, 2020
Schwimmer not knowing Living Single would be perplexing considering at one point the Yvette Lee Boswer show was put in the same time slot as Friends.
Watch John Henton, who played Overton “Obie” Wakefield Jones in Living Single, explain how frustrated he was in the clip below:
Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images