To this day, the FOX Thursday night lineup of Martin, Living Single, and New York Undercover is known as the Holy Trinity in the hood—a block of television that targeted people of color and won. Martin stands out from that bunch as one of the greatest programs to ever grace television. It was—and still is—pure hip-hop.
Martin (Martin Lawrence), on-air personality for the fictional Detroit radio station WZUP, and his boys—Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II)—wore Jordans and spoke slang. Martin's wife Gina (Tisha Campbell-Martin) and her best friend Pam (Tichina Arnold)—who Martin hated with all his heart—were strong women who didn't take shit from anybody. In addition to the leading parts, there were bit players like ghetto starlet Sheneneh, playa from the Himalayas Jerome (both played by Lawrence), salesman Hustle Man (Tracy Morgan), and Martin's elderly foe Miss Geri (the late Jeri Gray), among others.
Martin was the black version of The Honeymooners. Martin and Gina loved each other madly, just like Ralph and Alice; Pam was Trixie; and Tommy and Cole were both Ed Norton (with an emphasis on Cole). The relationship between Martin and Gina was so important that the show died when Tisha Campbell-Martin filed a lawsuit citing sexual harassment and verbal abuse against Lawrence and HBO, the show's production company. Campbell-Martin refused to be in the same frame with Lawrence, and eventually the dispute had to be settled out of court.
On camera, and for four of the show's five seasons, Martin and Tisha portrayed the trials and tribulations of a young couple just trying to survive in Detroit. They were a ride-or-die couple no matter what obstacles they faced. And their friends—Tommy, Cole, and Pam—were loyal co-defendants in whatever nonsense the couple got into.
This was a very difficult piece to curate, and we know people will have their own favorites (that's what the comment section is for). Here is our ranking of the 25 best Martin episodes of all time.