Screengrabs via Matthew A. Cherry/Twitter

The brutal truths of the ‘Hey can I copy your homework’ meme

Did 'Friends' really rip off 'Living Single'?


Dahlia Dandashi

Internet Culture

Published Jan 5, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 6:25 am CDT

Fourth period is in 20 minutes, and you’ve just remembered: You didn’t do your homework. If you’re lucky, the next kid over lets you copy under the condition that you just have to “change it up,” so both of you stay in the clear. You copy it down pretty much the same.

The geniuses of Twitter have transformed this all-too-familiar occurrence into a “Hey can I copy your homework” meme, starting with how Friends was basically a white version of Living Single:

It’s true. The shows have striking similarities: Both sitcoms circle around the lives of six friends living in New York City. The personalities mirror each other too much to be a simple coincidence, with one-on-one character matches between actors. Both were likewise produced by Warner Bros.

However, there is a notable and obvious difference: Living Single followed the lives of African-Americans, while Friends focused on a group of white friends.

And just when you thought this wasn’t enough to discredit Friends, Twitter digs up this video of Queen Latifah pulling out the receipts:

At this point, it seems like most of the internet has already made up its mind: Living Single wins.

More importantly, the Friends versus Living Single meme brings to light a broader truth: Many ideas are original, but many are also modified and restyled for different purposes.

And thankfully, the internet hasn’t let it stop there. It’s feeding the fire, doing what it does best: Creating more winning memes. “Hey can I copy your homework” is now encompassing all the sectors of our lives, and it’s time to celebrate it in all its glory:

“can i copy your homework?”
“yeah but make sure it isnt too obvious”

— ᅠ (@jayhalsteady) December 31, 2016

It’s just all so savage.

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*First Published: Jan 5, 2017, 5:45 pm CST