‘Martin’ finally arrives on DVD

Call him crazy, but Martin Lawrence is by far one of the funniest comedians to ever walk the earth. A master of stand-up comedy, Lawrence has proven time and time again to be quite original.

The talented individual has showcased his comedic aptitude in television, cinema and comedy clubs everywhere. However, nothing shows his creativity more than his hit 90’s sitcom, “Martin.”

Created by Lawrence along with executive producers John Bowman and Topper Carew, “Martin” ran on FOX for five whole seasons from August 27, 1992 until May 1, 1997. During its popular run, the series garnered superior ratings and became a staple in black society.

Set in Detroit, the sitcom centered on the character of Martin Payne, who at the show’s start was a radio personality and eventually became a talk show host by the series end. Martin, along with his beautiful, bigheaded girlfriend, Gina Waters, portrayed to perfection by the hilarious Tisha Campbell-Martin, kept the laughs coming.

Along with Thomas Mikal Ford as the mysteriously employed Tommy Strong, Carl Anthony Payne II as the clueless Cole Brown and Tichina Arnold as the loudmouthed Pamela James, “Martin” proved to be a very strong sitcom – one that has undoubtedly stood the test of time.

Now that sitcom can be found on DVD racks, “Martin: The Complete Fifth Season,” the final four disc set in the series of “Martin” DVD releases.

Despite the fact that the sitcom was very pleasing for black viewers, “Martin’s” fifth season was a bit of a downer. Along with uninspired scripts, behind the scenes arguments with Campbell-Martin caused a lot of friction.

According to reports, the actress claimed Lawrence sexually harassed her. Ultimately, Campbell-Martin’s appearances on the show began to dwindle and she only agreed to appear in scenes with Lawrence by the use of a split screen.

This of course caused stress. Lawrence, who entertained viewers by playing a variety of eclectic characters like the sassy Sheneneh Jenkins, the super fly player Jerome and the very abrasive Otis, seemed to be a bit frustrated, which showed.

To add insult to injury, Lawrence didn’t bother to portray his hilarious alter egos as much as he did in previous seasons. Alas, the sitcom had lost its steam and as a result was cancelled.

However, despite having ended its five-year run over a decade ago, “Martin” has found quite a loyal fan following in numerous reruns on various networks – hence the DVD releases.

Unfortunately, none of the five DVD sets released contain a substantial amount of bonus features, which is a little sad. Surely Lawrence and his cast mates could have found the time to do an episode commentary or two. It isn’t like either of them is very busy at the moment.

“Martin: The Complete Fifth Season” suffers from a blatant lack of bonus features. No commentaries. No bloopers. No behind the scenes documentaries.

This is a shame considering the love that fans seem to have for the sitcom. Episodes on each disc are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a total run time of 535 minutes. Season highlights include an episode in which Sheneneh takes Tommy to court and a hilarious two-part episode featuring the brilliant Lynn Whitfield as a psychopath out to get Martin on a cruise ship.

“Martin: The Complete Fifth Season” may be a bit tired, but it is a welcome addition for individuals who wish to own the series in it entirety. The series overall was indeed very funny and despite a convoluted fifth season, the laughs were still in place.

And in the end that is what counts.

You go, boy!