Series / Martin
You SO crazy!

"Wuzup, Wuzup, WUZUUUP!!"

Martin (1992-1997) is a sitcom that aired on FOX during The '90s, starring Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne, a Detroit disc jockey (later TV talk show host) and his various misadventures with his girlfriend (later wife) Gina (Tisha Campbell), homeboys Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II), and Gina's friend Pam (Tichina Arnold). For about four seasons or so, it was one of FOX's most popular shows.

And then it was discovered that Lawrence was abusing drugs. Even worse, Campbell sued him for sexual harassment. At that point, she refused to be in the same room as Lawrence, even when filming. Needless to say, the writers had a difficult time writing around this (they basically had the couple interact by yelling from different rooms or talking on the phone with a split screen).

These events did not bode well for the series. In fact, they spelled the end of the series in just one season. Still, reruns air on syndication all over the U.S., and the show is still popular even today. All drama aside, the series did conclude happily, with Martin and Gina moving to Los Angeles to begin a new life.

Not EVER to be confused with the cult vampire film Martin by George A. Romero.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: There are the main characters, Martin, Gina, Pam, Tommy, and Cole, and then there is Sheneneh's brood which includes Keylolo, Bonquisha and Laquita.
  • The Alcoholic: Recurring character Marian, who shows up at parties, clubs, and even in the audience of Martin's talk show, always loud, always slurring her words, and frequently saying random, inappropriate things. In the episode "Get a Job," she states that it's medication, not liquor, that causes her behavior.
  • The Alleged Car: Cole's frequently mentioned AMC Pacer.
  • Angry Black Man: Martin would certainly qualify.
    • An even better example would be the character titled Angry Man:
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Dragonfly Jones. Subverted hilariously in that he gets his ass handed to him in every fight.
  • Berserk Button: In the episode "C.R.E.A.M.," Martin flies into a murderous rage whenever Cole mentions his idea of a soup restaurant where the soup is free but the spoons are rented out, to be known as "Rent-'Em-Spoons." MC Hammer nearly suffers a similar attack at the end of the episode when he pitches the same idea and name.
  • Beta Couple: Pam and Tommy. Martin doesn't approve.
  • Big Eater: Bruh Man. He loves his "sammiches."
  • Big "NO!": Martin lets one out after he finds out about Tommy and Pam's Relationship Upgrade.
  • Break the Haughty: A very common plot since Martin is so full of himself, but most noticeable during his long job search after losing his radio station gig.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Pam is a strange example because while she isn't from the boroughs, Tichina Arnold's New York accent shines whenever she's particularly annoyed or angered.
  • I Broke a Nail: Sheneneh had one of these in the hallway adding the phrase bitch in front of it.
  • Burger Fool: Martin is forced to take a job at Hoochie Burger during his extensive job hunt in early Season 3.
  • Cargo Cult: A long spell of unemployment depresses Martin, and he takes off in secret for a place called "The Golden Palace," where subjects worship Brother Rock and seek "to see the light, and to get yourself right." Everything about the cult itself is played for laughs, but the conflict between Gina and Martin is genuine; Gina is sincerely upset when Martin initially refuses to leave the cult and come home with her.
  • Catch-Phrase: Quite a few, most of them said by Martin.
    Martin: Get to steppin'!
    Martin: Give me love!
    Sheneneh: Oh no you didn't!
    Tommy: Cole? You stupid.
    All [to Tommy]: You ain't got no job, man!
    Jerome: Jerome's in the house! I said Jerome's in the hou-ou-ou-ouse!
    Martin: Talk to the hand.
    Martin: Save the drama for yo' mama.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Martin keeps a framed poster of Do the Right Thing in his living room, yet no one seems to notice how he looks so much like Cee, the character Lawrence portrayed in that film.
    • One episode had Christopher "Kid" Reid, Lawrence's and Campbell's co-star from the first two House Party movies, guest star. He doesn't notice how much Martin resembles his friend Bilal or how much Gina resembles his character's Love Interest Sydney.
    • In another episode, Martin watches School Daze on TV and wants to see the scene where "the light-skinned girl lick that guy's head." The girl in question is played by Campbell.
    • Probably the most complex example is where Martin receives a handheld TV and comments that he can now see Def Comedy Jam and "the Martin show." What Martin show?
  • Cherubic Choir: When Pam meets the artist Michaelangelo Jones, the lighting changes and a dramatic wind blows (even though they are indoors), followed by one of these playing in the background.
  • Clean Pretty Childbirth: An episode lampshaded this while Leaning on the Fourth Wall. A woman gave birth to what was obviously a baby doll that Martin caught in a catcher's mitt. When Tommy asked about the umbilical cord, Martin said "We don't need an umbilical cord! This is TV!"
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Done hilariously, complete with radio-friendly bleeps, on two occasions. The first involves Martin taking it out on a listener who made fun of Gina, and the second features him finally cursing out the new radio station owner, which led to Martin being fired.
  • Corpsing: Several times you can see the other actors attempting to keep straight faces when Lawrence gets into his more outrageous physical comedy, good examples being when he's playing Dragonfly Jones. Martin does it himself while interviewing another comedian.
  • The Ditz:
    • "Cole? You stupid."
    • Bruh Man isn't too bright either. One subplot involves him and Martin planning to sell t-shirts outside of a Whitney Houston concert. Bruh Man makes the shirts. They end up running for their lives from people who got tricked into buying shirts for the "Whitty Huton Wuld Toor."
    Martin: Baby, I blame the public school system.
    • Shanice, Cole's girlfriend, also counts. How stupid is she? Even Cole is dumbstruck by her stupidity in the series' finale when she didn't get that Cole was trying to propose to her.
  • The Dreaded: Mad Dog No Good, as played by Gary Coleman.
  • Drop-In Character: Brother Man Bruh-Man frum tha Fifth Flo', who always entered Martin's apartment through the window.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Believe it or not, Tommy had a job. In the first season episode, "Blackboard Jungle Fever," Tommy works as a teacher. He invites Martin to participate in his school's Career Day.
  • Enter Stage Window: Bruh Man almost exclusively used the window despite everybody else using the door. He even climbed through Gina's window once despite the fact that she admittedly didn't have a fire escape.
  • Fake Hair Drama: Pam's (supposedly) horrible weave makes her the butt of many jokes.
    • Sheneneh's business revolves around this trope since she is a stylist.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Martin is choleric/sanguine, Gina is melancholic, Pam is choleric, Tommy is phlegmatic, and Cole is sanguine.
  • Friend to All Children: Martin has a soft spot for kids, as indicated by his catch phrase "Marty-Mart luv da kids."
  • The Ghost: Big Shirley, Cole's longtime girlfriend. By the end of the series, all the cracks that had been made about her size through the years made it pretty impossible for her to be portrayed onscreen by a real person.
  • The Hyena: Tommy
  • Incoming Ham: Martin
    "Wuzup, Wuzup, WUZUUUP!!"
    • Also Jerome.
    "I say Jerome's in the house!"
  • Jerkass: Sheneneh. She seems to live to pick fights with Gina and Pam.
    • Martin could be selfish or stubborn to extremes. And let's not forget his habit of throwing people out of his house.
      • And his girlfriend out of his car, once.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A whole episode is dedicated to this. It's Martin's birthday, and no one wants to show up to his party because he's...abrasive. Throughout, contrasting clips are shown of Martin's meaner and kinder sides. Turns out it was all a trick to get him to come to a surprise party.
  • Girly Bruiser: Or at least Pam thinks herself as one; she is sensitive about her hair and nails, but is still as violent and confrontational as Martin, especially when Sheneneh is in the picture.
  • Large Ham: All of the main cast have their moments, but Martin is extremely demonstrative with his emotions, and Cole is extremely loud with his bird calls.
    • Every character Lawrence played tended toward this as well.
    • Tommy's loud, wide-mouthed laugh practically swallows the ham.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Martin and Gina panic when she has a pregnancy scare, but just as they warm up to the idea of having kids, it turns out she wasn't pregnant after all and they're deeply disappointed.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Otis the Security Guard is out of shape and inept. When insulted, though...he gets deadly.
  • Mondegreen: For the record, Tommy's last name is Strawn, not Strong, as so many fans initially believed.
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: Pam is easily put under by a children's dentist because of her refusal to let him fix her tooth.
    • Hypno Fool: And as a result, she ends up taking on all of Martin's character tics because of this. The fact that she could be hypnotized this way and that Martin showed little issue with her hypnotized behavior was a hint they really did not dislike each other that much.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mama Payne will kill to protect her son. And she doesn't approve of Gina at all, so there's some conflict.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Of the Plan First, Elope Later variety. Due to their bickering relatives in general and the overbearing Mama Payne in particular, Martin and Gina scrap their plans for their wedding and abscond to the Bahamas with Tommy and Pam (it turns out Cole got on the wrong plane). They bounce just before walking down the aisle, in fact.
  • No Indoor Voice: Laquita
  • Not So Above It All: Gina, a very professional woman with a white-collar career, has been known to go off when tested. She does not play about her change.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: More than one episode was dedicated to trying to figure out what Tommy did for a living. Pam didn't even know even after she became his girlfriend.
    • Martin says he once picked Tommy up from work at a big, black building downtown, with no windows or signs.
    Tommy: Oh yeah, we're not there anymore. We moved.
    Martin: Where?
    Tommy: That big white building across the street.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: See My Beloved Smother above. Gina's parents, meanwhile, are arrogant but mostly harmless. Martin really loves his mother-in-law, in fact.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Damn, Gina!"
    • Tommy: "You ain't got no job!"
    • Martin: "You go, booooyy!"
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: That one Pam-centric episode seems to count, as it revolves around her, completely separate from the rest of the cast, taking on a A&R position and finding a singing talent played by Tyrese Gibson.
    • The episode is also titled "Going for Mine," which at the time (when the series was doomed) might have easily had a fictional and a real-world meaning for the character and the actress. Furthermore, the episodes leading up to the series finale were heavily focused on Pam.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Sheneneh. Sheneneh.
    • And Pam, on occasion.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: Cole's girlfriend Big Shirley is The Ghost type of this trope.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Do the Right Thing poster in Martin's living room (see Actor Allusion above) as well as a reference to the film where Martin, who's been fired from his radio job by the new manager, throws a small trash can at the window just like how Mookie smashes the window at the pizzeria, but with no effect. Martin says "It looked fly when Spike did it."
    • Another occurs in the episode "Suspicious Minds" where Martin had himself and his friends dressed in black and sitting around a table to emulate a scene from New Jack City to confront them on who took his expensive CD player. Martin even does the "SIT YO FIVE DOLLAR ASS DOWN OR I'LL MAKE CHANGE!" line.
  • Sinister Minister: Reverend Leon Lonnie Love, played by David Alan Grier, is a comedic example. He swindles people and has difficulty controlling his...fleshy urges.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Pam and Gina to Sheneneh, to a lesser extent Pam to Martin.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Martin uses his popularity as a radio personality to show other people up, and convinces himself that he has the number one show in the world to the point that he shouts his "WHAZZUP!!" Catch-Phrase to expect people to recognize him. They don't.
  • Split Personality: Pam temporarily develops one, and the two do not realize the other one's existence despite being brought to their attention.
  • This Is Reality: Sort of inverted and more like Leaning on the Fourth Wall on one episode where the guys help a woman in labor deliver a baby. Not only does the baby shoot out of the womb as if the woman was a pitching machine, but the child has no umbilical cord, as Tommy points out.
    Martin: Dammit, Tommy, we don't need umbilical cords! (turning to the audience) THIS IS TV!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Martin loves his mama's raisin butter biscuits.
  • The Trouble with Tickets: Combined with A Fool for a Client, in the episode "No Justice, No Peace."
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Unlike the traditional sitcom protagonist, Martin is the furthest thing from mild-mannered. He's loud, abrasive, and belligerent—and that's how he acts towards his friends. More often than not, though, his conscience makes him do the right thing.
  • Up to Eleven: Club Shiznit has Blacker Jack, which goes up to 22.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Martin and Pam, whose vitriol occasionally spills over to their respective partners.
  • Women Are Wiser: Played straight with Gina and Martin. Inverted with Tommy and Pam.