The well-loved Martin television show is reportedly returning to Fox in 2015. The original cast is said to be featured with the exception of Tisha Campbell-Martin. The show starred famed comedian Martin Lawrence (Martin Payne), Campbell (Gina Waters), Tichina Arnold (Pamela James), Thomas Mikal Ford (Tommy Strawn) and Carl Anthony Payne II (Cole Brown). Campbell’s role as Martin’s wife is supposedly replaced with singer and actress Ashanti.
Martin is still considered one of the premiere black television series of all time. It ran for five seasons between 1992 and 1997. It is still watched in syndicated form on different stations with millions of views weekly. Fox has allegedly reached an agreement with the comedian to return to prime time with his famed comedy series.
The series was centered on Martin, his crazy antics and circle of friends. Initially he played a disc jockey who worked for the fictional radio station WZUP. After quitting his job to pursue other things, which never materialized, Martin landed a job as a talk show host. A common theme throughout the five seasons is Martin’s smart-mouthed and selfish behavior towards his friends and anyone else who finds themselves in his presence.
One of the hallmarks of the show is Martin playing multiple characters. He used a variety of costumes and prosthetic additions to create these personalities. Some of the characters were seen more often than others, but they always provided comedic relief whenever they made an appearance. Below are some of the characters Martin is known for:
Sheneneh Jenkins: A stereotypical “around the way” girl. Sheneneh was Martin’s neighbor who lived across the hall. She sported a large butt, spoke in “ebonics” and kept drama going with whoever was at Martin’s house. Sheneneh owned and operated Sheneneh’s Sho’ Nuff Hair Salon, always wore funky weaves, flashy clothes and had a feisty and confrontational personality.
Edna Payne: None other than Martin’s mother, the insane Mama Payne. She had an over the top personality and was overly protective of her son. Mama Payne could not stand Gina and felt she was not good enough to be his girl and was fiercely against their marriage. When playing the role of Mama Payne, to add to the humor, Martin’s mustache was not covered and often made its way into Gina’s recurring jokes about Martin’s mother.
Jerome: The neighborhood ladies’ man known as the “playa from the Himalayas.” Jerome always had a bank roll of money and wore outdated but flashy clothes reminiscent of his pimp days. He spoke mostly in rhyming sentences, had a certain swag in his walk and an insatiable love for Gina’s best friend Pam.
Otis: The old, abrasive security guard. Otis was a hyperactive and melodramatic man who always found himself trying to keep order, even without the need. Otis’s pet peeve was the disrespectful behavior found in the younger generations. Because of his age, large gut and goofy appearance, he was often taken for a weak old man. Although much older, Otis never had a problem defeating his younger challengers.
Roscoe: A neighborhood antagonistic kid with a smart mouth and runny nose. Martin adapted this character by standing on his knees with his shoes attached.
Dragonfly Jones: A martial arts “supposed expert” who gets beat up in every appearance. Dragonfly had a student he always seemed to owe money. As a result the student would often beat him up when Dragonfly refused to pay or tried to short change him.
These characters, along with a few others, kept the show going with high ratings until 1996 when Campbell-Martin filed a lawsuit against Martin for sexual harassment. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount of money with Campbell-Martin agreeing to finish the final season but not appear in any joining scenes with Martin. The fallout between the show’s stars led to the demise of the series.
Nearly two decades later it has been reported that the entire cast, with the exception of Tisha Campbell-Martin, had agreed to return to the show. The truth is, this was all a lie and the story of the show’s return is a hoax. The story went viral in a matter of minutes which proves how much the fans loved the show, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) Martin will not be returning with new episodes any time soon.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)