Living Single

Season 5 Episode 6

Up the Ladder Through the Roof

Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Oct 30, 1997 on FOX
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Up the Ladder Through the Roof
After Overton and Synclaire bring a pile of classic '60s records home from a garage sale, everyone (including Russell) annoys Khadijah by playing loud music and dancing while she is trying to work. She retreats into the hallway and falls asleep on the stairs. She dreams that she is Flo, a member of a pop group called the Flavorettes. The other members are Maxy (Max), the brassy lead singer and founder; Cynthia (Synclaire) a militant woman with ties to the Black Panthers; and Regina (Regine) a woman who cares little for glamour and is hopelessly devoted to their manager Rupert (Russell, no accent). At Flo's urging, they take a gig at a club run by her boyfriend Sonny (Tripp). When Maxy trips over a microphone cord during the performance, Flo takes over the lead. Suave producer O.W. Jones (Overton) is very impressed, and takes the group under his wing--with Flo as lead singer. The others are angry that Flo is being groomed for stardom, but agree to perform at the Apollo. Flo is momentarily stung by her friends' resentment and the loss of Sonny to Maxy, but decides her new fame is worth it. When Khadijah wakes up, she is in the mood to dance after all. Tag: Cast tries to sing along with Chaka (shown only in syndication). Music: "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas; "Tell Him" (Exciters), performed by Erika Alexander and Queen Latifah with the Flavorettes; "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" (Betty Everett) and "Up the Ladder to the Roof" (Supremes), performed by Queen Latifah with the Flavorettes; "Sweet Thing," performed by Chaka Khanmoreless

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    John Henton

    John Henton

    Overton Wakefield Jones

    Kim Coles

    Kim Coles

    Synclaire (James) Jones

    Mel Jackson

    Mel Jackson

    Ira Lee "Tripp" Williams III (season 5)

    Kim Fields

    Kim Fields

    Regine Hunter

    Erika Alexander

    Erika Alexander

    Maxine Felice Shaw (a.k.a. "The Maverick")

    Queen Latifah

    Queen Latifah

    Khadijah James

    Chip Hurd

    Chip Hurd


    Guest Star

    Chaka Khan

    Chaka Khan


    Guest Star

    Tom Joyner

    Tom Joyner


    Guest Star

    Shaun Baker

    Shaun Baker

    Russell Montego

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (7)

      • Cynthia: "What makes you think we want to be Shoopettes? 'Shoop, shoop' is the sound the broom makes when it's sweeping the black man under the carpet, man!"

        Maxy: "Backup is meant for people like that tone-deaf Aretha chick upstairs."

        Regina: "Wigs? expect me to wear fake hair? Well, I'm sorry mister, but you're not turning me into some...diva."

      • Maxy: "All right. I'm with it. We play the club. But no more lyrics from Cynthia X. And girl, you need to get with that hot comb."
        Cynthia: "Keeping it natural. Keeping it natural." (Points at Flo's and Regina's hair.) "Why, sister, why? Why?!"

        Sonny: "I'm spoken for."
        Flo: "That's right, and I speak loudly. Get your own damn man!"

        Regina: "Who's that sugar daddy?"
        Rupert: "The man who put Shonda and the Shoopettes on the map, and Shonda's husband on the curb."

      • Khadijah: Russell, I'm too tired to put up with you. But Regine and the cast of Fame are inside dancing.
        Russell: Wait now, mon. The pendulous princess wiggling and jiggling?
        (Runs to apartment door.)

      • Overton: "All those beautiful girl groups of the '60s with their big hair and their big...ooh, mama, look--it's the Supremes."

        Khadijah: "I'm tired and I've got a lot of work to do, so I'm gonna ask you nicely. Get on the Soul Train and choo-choo your asses out of here!"

      • Cynthia: Let me tell you one damn thing, man. Even if my vision wasn't blurry, you still wouldn't by my type.
        O.W.: Baby, look here. I'm rich. I'm every woman's type.

      • Flo: "Bright lights, big city, here comes Flo." (All glare at her.) "And everybody else."

        Regina: "I just wanna be with Rupert."
        Rupert: "Hush puppy, are you sure?"
        Regina: "I want to marry you and put some beans in this oven."

        Cynthia: "It's hard to change the world while you're doing a shimmy."

      • O.W.: "Ladies! As much as I love a good chick fight--and I do love chick fights--the dresses and wigs aren't paid for yet."

        Cynthia: "Well, my sisters, I say we go. I may be militant, but my mama's out there."

        Flo: "I lost my friends, my man. I mean, what? Is this the price of fame?"
        O.W.: "Oh yeah!"

        O.W.: "She's turned into a ruthless, spotlight-hogging bitch. My work here is done."

        Maxy (on Chaka Khan): "That sister's workin' it real hard, but she ain't never gonna make it."

    • NOTES (4)

      • Chaka Khan performed the Prince-penned song "Pain" on the Living Single soundtrack, which was released about a month before this episode aired.

      • During the Flavorettes' performance at the Apollo, Maxy tries to sing a verse, but Flo shoves her away. This is probably a parody of an incident during the much-hyped Supremes reunion at the taping of Motown's 25th Anniversary Special in 1983, in which Diana Ross shoved a microphone in Mary Wilson's face.

      • Max continues her pattern of portraying characters with questionable opinions on musical talent in the fantasy episodes. In A Raze in Harlem, Big Max rejected Duke Ellington when he auditioned at her club. In this episode, Maxy dismisses Aretha Franklin as "tone-deaf"; and opines that Chaka Khan is "working it real hard, but she's never gonna make it."

      • Tom Joyner is the host of a nationally syndicated radio program. He helped organize a letter-writing campaign with the goal of convincing Fox to return Living Single to the air for the start of the 1997-98 season.

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • The title of the episode and the song the Flavorettes sing at the end is a reference to a song by The Supremes (post Diana Ross) released in 1970.

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