A Thin Line Between Love and Hate: The Kyle Barker and Maxine Shaw story.

Kendall Rivers
4 min readMay 11, 2021


Kyle Barker and Maxine Shaw on Living Single.
Erika Alexander and TC Carson

Living Single’s bickering, on again\off again lovers Kyle Barker, the smooth talking, brilliantly witty and sharp dressing stock broker and the dynamic, sex loving, food disposing and always quick with a sharp put down Maxine Shaw Attorney At Law were to the Living Single audience what Ross and Rachel were to the Friends audience, only so much more entertaining to watch with their constant trading of razor sharp insults and their heated sexual tension, their powerful love underneath all the surface of hate and their amazing comedic chemistry that helped make Living Single one of the funniest sitcoms out there. Their story is one for the ages and as a fan of Living Single since childhood I’m here to take you down the stroll of memory lane as we get into the up and down history between these two lovebirds. This is the story of Max and Kyle and how two bitter enemies became one of tv’s greatest love stories in a 90’s kind of world.

In The Beginning: True Love\Hate springs eternal:

When Living Single’s pilot episode “Judging By The Cover” aired on August 22nd 1993 on the Fox Network it changed television for African Americans as well helped usher in tv shows about twenty somethings getting through life whether it’s romance, sex, friendships, careers and just general life in the city. In this pilot we’re introduced to all six characters and their dynamics. In one quick exchange the pilot gives us exactly what the Max\Kyle dynamic will be going forward:

Max: Somebody’s got to defend women’s rights.

Kyle: Yeah, yeah, all this women’s rights stuff means only one thing.

Max: What?

Kyle: You want me.

And thus began the journey of this on again\off again dynamic that gave the fans of Living Single a 5 year rollercoaster ride.

There’s Got to Be a Morning After:

After Max gets fired from her law firm she looks for consoling and since Khadijah was busy dealing with her own mess she sought out Kyle and the two shared a drink or two that led to a classic moment that changed the bickering duo’s relationship forever.

This event led to their first official date where the two discuss what had happened between them and where it could lead to.

Afterwards the two decide to keep their relationship the way it always had been but that wouldn’t last for too long.

Barker Courts his Maverick:

Most fans will always remember the episode Singing The Blues where Kyle is distracted by Max in a tight dress singing at the club and it throws him off indicating that he actually does have feelings for her and has to figure out how to get it out of his system.

It all leads to him finally conquering his emotions and breaking Max down ultimately winning their little game in one of television’s most iconic scenes ever!

The First Date:

After Kyle inadvertently saves Max’s life she invites him on a date for dinner at her place and it gets steamy.

Max and Kyle: Black Love at its Finest:

The two develop an unconventional relationship but one that works for them and despite their constant bickering, trading of witty insults and numerous battles of the sexes the two ultimately showed the deep affection and closeness of two people desperately in love.

The two finally get together at the end of this episode but this doesn’t last long.

The Break Up:

Unfortunately the two’s love affair was short lived after Max told Kyle to go out with another woman who hits on him. Max’s fear of commitment and Kyle’s pride broke them up and it caused a rift that even these two opponents couldn’t handle.

Doomed To Be Together:

After a while the flames were reignited between the two and they start to sneak around behind their friends’ backs messing around again for old time sake. But after Kyle gets a job offer in London they once again hold back their true feelings and Kyle goes leaving their future seemingly dead. That’s until fate stepped in and cinched their future til the end of time.

Max and Kyle have one of the more complex, unique and enduring relationships in tv history and they should be celebrated as such. Their love may be messy and it may be competitive but it is also strong, beautiful and encompassing. I’m just a Kyle looking for his Max and they will always be real couple goals.



Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3