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Martin (TV series)

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Martin is an American television sitcom that aired for five seasons on Fox from August 27, 1992, to May 1, 1997. It starred Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne, Tisha Campbell as his girlfriend and eventual wife Gina, Thomas Mikal Ford as Tommy, Carl Anthony Payne II as Cole, and Tichina Arnold as Pam. Lawrence also played several other characters.

Reflecting the rising popularity of the Fox network throughout the 1990s, Martin was one of the network's highest-rated shows during the sitcom's run.

Premise

Set in DetroitMichigan the series stars Martin Lawrence in the role of Martin Payne, a disc jockey with his girlfriend Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell). Martin works for the fictional radio station WZUP and later for local Public-access television station Channel 51. A common theme of the series is Martin's selfish and free-spirited nature. Episodes often center on Martin's inappropriate behaviors and incessant smart mouth towards his friends, neighbors, and whoever else finds themselves in his presence. When all is said and done, however, Martin loves his family and friends—it just takes dire situations for him to show it.

As the series progressed, plotlines saw Martin eventually move on to become the host of the talk show Word on the Street, which aired on the small Detroit public-access television station Channel 51. He retained this position until the series' final episode, in which he and Gina prepared to move to Los Angeles, from where his show would be syndicated nationally. The move coincided fortuitously with Gina's promotion by her boss Mr. Whitaker to head up his company's new Los Angeles headquarters, after having shut down the Detroit office. Gina's best friend Pam, whom Whitaker let go two episodes earlier due to this consolidation and downsizing, went on to pursue a career in the music industry as an artists & repertoire (A&R) executive at Keep It Real Records. (This plotline is the subject of a backdoor pilot episode that was included in the Martin series for a planned sitcom on Fox starring Tichina Arnold to be called Goin' for Mine (Episode 129, "Goin' for Mine"). This sitcom never materialized, however.) And at series' end, Cole proposed to his even more dimwitted, but attractive and devoted girlfriend Shanise (portrayed by Maura McDade), and they made plans to move into their own place. The only actor to appear in every episode as the same character is Thomas Mikal Ford as Tommy.

In early episodes, Lawrence began with a monologue of him speaking directly to the camera and audience from the darkened radio studio.

In 1997, Tisha Campbell filed a lawsuit against her co-star Martin Lawrence and the show's producers for sexual harassment and verbal and physical assaults, and she did not appear in most of the season five episodes. The explanation in most of the episodes Campbell did not appear in was that Gina was "out on business", though in the two-part episode "Going Overboard" it was stated that Gina had arrived too late to board the boat for the trip alongside everyone else. HBO Studios eventually settled the case with Campbell so that the show's last season could be completed. Campbell did return to the Martin set to film the two-part series finale of the show under the condition that she would not share any scenes with or interact in any way with Lawrence. In the episode, Martin and Gina kept entering and exiting the sets at different times and the storyline was adjusted so that the characters were both part of it but never crossed paths.

Main characters

  • Martin Payne (Martin Lawrence) Martin, the title character, is a caring family man deep down, but on the outside a very macho, selfish smart aleck. Martin carries himself in a typical urban youth manner, with modern expressions and mannerisms. His girlfriend turned wife, Gina Waters, has sometimes tried to change him (much to his anger, seeing as he likes the way he acts), but this rarely worked. Martin is not much of a physical fighter despite trying to come off as such. He has a particularly antagonistic relationship with Gina's best friend Pam.
  • Gina Waters-Payne (Tisha Campbell), Martin's professional, fun-loving, eternally romantic and forgiving girlfriend and later wife. She often acts as a peacemaker, admonishing others when they trade barbs and insults and breaking up fights. Gina works for a public-relations firm. She complements Martin's street savvy by serving as a voice of reason. She is also Pam's best friend.
  • Thomas "Tommy" Strawn (Thomas Mikal Ford), one of Martin's best friends. Level-headed, intelligent, and charming, Tommy serves as another voice of reason, especially during Martin's schemes. He would often portray himself as a ladies' man and would flirt with Pam and other women on the show. He had a romantic relationship with Pam during the third and fourth seasons. His mysterious employment status was a running gag on the show. Of all the male characters, he is the only one to have attended college. He is the only character to appear physically in every episode.
  • Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II), Martin's other best friend. Dimwitted but well-meaning and known for his eclectic taste in headgear, Cole proudly cleans jets at the airport for a living, drives an AMC Pacer, and lives with his mother Maddie until early Season Five. For a time in Season 3, Cole appeared to be attracted strictly to plus-sized women and dated a security guard named Big Shirley (who is fully seen in only one episode; another episode only showed "her" below the neck to portray her as being much taller and bigger than Cole). In the final season, after Cole meets Shanise and moves into his own apartment in a rough neighborhood, he dates Shanise, who appears to be even more dimwitted than he is. During the series finale, he becomes engaged to Shanise.
  • Pamela "Pam" James (Tichina Arnold), Gina's sassy and ill-tempered co-worker, best friend and Tommy's girlfriend. Before eventually dating Tommy, Pam was always looking for a good man. Pam worked at the PR firm where she was employed as Gina's assistant. Pam has a very adversarial relationship with Martin. When he insults her, she responds typically via belittling that brings attention to Martin's short stature. Pam has a beautiful singing voice that she displays throughout the show.

wikipedia.org

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