Saturday, June 14, 2008

In Praise of Good Television - Martin

I have been on a vintage television kick of late and thought I would mention another of my favorite shows from the past. Martin was a sassy sitcom centering on a radio-and-television personality named Martin Payne. The series focuses on Martin's romantic relationship with girlfriend Gina Waters, his job changes from a radio personality to a television personality, and the variety of friends Martin hangs out with along the way: the loud-mouthed and sassy Pam James and his best friends Tommy Strong and Cole Brown.

Star, Martin Lawrence, also portrays of host of wild characters on the show. His neighbor Sheneneh; his mother Mama Payne; Otis the security guard; Jerome the gold-toothed player; Roscoe the snot-nosed kid who's always looking for a leg up; Bob, the white guy, King-Beef, Elroy, and many more. Martin is the center of attention, as each episode takes you from one hilarious circumstance to another.

Martin's girlfriend (and later, his wife) was Gina Waters Payne an ad executive who could, on occasion, be as egotistical and badly behaved as Martin, but otherwise maintained a level head. Speaking of heads, one of the running gags of the show was the size of Gina's dome. Tommy was a friendly guy who usually became the most irritated with Cole's stupidity, often commenting "Cole you Stupid".

Because no one ever knew what Tommy did for a living and because Tommy himself would never say what he did for a living, dancing around the question, a common running gag occurred whenever Tommy mentioned his job in a given situation, to which everyone would exclaim in unison, "You ain't GOT no job, MAN!" Pam completed the circle of friends. She and Martin had a true love/hate relationship (mostly the latter!), as they constantly traded insulting wisecracks between each other, but were there for each other when push came to shove. Ironically, Arnold is one of Lawrence's closest friends in real life.

Other characters who showed up from time to time were Brotha Man, the upstairs neighbor, Hustle Man, the guy who sold stolen goods, Sheneneh's girlfriends, Martin's boss Stan, and his mother's cackling buddies. There was talk of the cast doing a movie, much like the cast from "Sex in the City" did earlier this year. I would go and see it because in its heyday Martin and his crew made for must see TV. Hijinks, laughter, quick-witted banter, and lotsa love, make this series one to last forever.


X. Dell said...

I caught a few episodes of the show. I've enjoyed Lawrence in TV and movies.

pjazzypar said...

I like some of his movies, but the show is just plain funny. This is mostly because of the ensemble casts.