Martin (1992)

Bolstered by Lawrence’s side-splitting antics & impressive range playing multiple characters (sometimes simultaneously), although the rest of the cast is borderline-awful & pacing oftentimes shaky. A mediocre, potential-waste of a sitcom. 4/10.

Plot Synopsis: Stand-up comedian Martin Lawrence drives this irreverent sitcom as a sexist, cocky and wisecracking radio station talk show host. His girlfriend and eventual wife, Gina, puts up with him — although clashes do occur. Martin’s friends, Tommy and Cole, help him get into trouble.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

CLC’s Best #Martin Episodes: 1. Suspicious Minds, 2. The Romantic Weekend, 3. Really, Gina Is Not My Lover, 4. Forever Sheneneh, 5. Mother Of The Bride, 6. No Justice, No Peace, 7. Hollywood Swingin’ Part 2, 8. Aint Nuttin’ Goin’ On But The Rent, 9. D.M.V. Blues, 10. All The Players Guard

Review: Martin Lawrence. You probably know him from the now-ubiqitous Bad Boys franchise, Rebound, Open Season, College Road Trip, Big Momma’s House, or any number of his comedy routines. But what catapulted him to super-stardom was a comparatively-meek sitcom going by his first name: Martin.

Even watching one episode, it’s not difficult to see why: his slapstick, brash comedic stylings, and impressive range being able to play multiple different characters from his own mother to Shenene (sometimes simultaneously) make for an instantly star-making performance that singlehandedly lifts the show to decent entertainment value on the sitcom-o-meter.

What’s problematic is: the rest of the show. Lawrence is at such a higher pedigree and level than anyone else on the show, it is borderline as laughable as any of the (more hit-than-miss) jokes thrown in. From Tisha Campbell to Tichina Arnold (who eventually self-improved given their umpteenth chances on exponentially-better black TV like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Everybody Hates Chris), the rest of the cast is downright shaky, rough around the edges, overact-prone, and often delivers their lines with what feels like a first-timer’s novelty (with Gina and Pam being pretty ratchet and shrill most of the time).

It’s a dang shame how the rest of the show fails Martin and dramatically fails to live up to the bar he consistently sets. The pacing is pretty bumpy as well, sound editing often awkward with not nearly enough background music/noise and a too-quiet laugh track, and storylines leaving something to be desired especially early-on in the series.

While this is mostly blanketed and covered by Martin’s shenanigans lifting the show slightly past watchable and passable on the sitcom-o-meter, and the show gets better as seasons go on with plenty of A-cameos like Snoop Dogg, Brian McKnight, Randall Cunningham, and John Witherspoon, it still hangs below the bar by thin margins and lacks a certain refinability or panache factor of other black sitcoms.

Official CLC Score: 4/10