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    Gina Settled and Martin was Problematic: Why Martin Shouldn’t Be Rebooted

     Image via Google

    Image via Google

    90s nostalgia is in full effect with the advent of reboots. “Full House”, “Roseanne”, and “Sister, Sister” are getting shipped to different networks. The possibility of some of these shows returning is great. But, some shows need to stay exactly where they are.

    Martin is lauded as one of the best and most beloved shows of the ‘90s and introduced Black popular culture to a larger audience on FOX. When Tisha Campbell-Martin and Tichina Arnold hinted that a “Martin” reboot might be in the works, my heart dropped. Is this a great idea? My answer is a firm, “Leave it alone. We didn’t ask for this.”

    When I was younger I thought Martin was hilarious, but now watching the show through the eyes of a 23-year-old woman, I view Martin Payne in a different light. Don’t get me wrong, Martin was and still is funny in some aspects, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that the show wouldn’t translate well to the current society we live in.

    Whenever I hear someone say, “I want a Martin and Gina relationship.” My initial reaction is a mean side-eye. Why may you ask? Martin Payne was misogynistic and immature. He belittled and allowed his mother to disrespect Gina on multiple occasions, as well as, slandered Pam often because she was a darker skinned woman.

     Image via: Giphy

    Image via: Giphy

    If we’re being honest, Gina could’ve done way better than Martin. I’m not saying this just because of her background and education,  I’m saying this because the way he treated her. Martin was loud, childish and problematic in every sense of the word. His misogyny rooted in hyper-masculinity showed its head in multiple occasions. There were numerous times when Gina would try to help Martin grow from his immature ways and he turned it into an argument on her either trying to change him or that she didn’t know what she was talking about. Mind you, Gina wasn’t the one to go join a cult, even though Martin always insinuated that she lacked common sense. Rather than accept that she wanted to help him grow, he treated her like she was disposable on multiple occasions.

    Martin’s immaturity and lack of respect for Gina was always heightened whenever Mama Payne came to town because she justified his foolishness instead of telling him he was wrong. Mama Payne would lay into Gina with insults from, “apple head, muscle butt, heffa,” to accusing her of not loving her son (when clearly she did). Mama Payne epitomized an overbearing mother who coddled her son and made all of their relationship problems Gina’s fault. As a Black woman,  Mama Payne should’ve uplifted Gina, as well as, been happy she continued her relationship with him in spite of his disrespect. If we learned anything from Martin’s and Mama Payne’s relationship it is that coddling a guy when he is wrong, will only produce an immature man-child. 

     Image via Giphy

    Image via Giphy

    Many may not agree, but I ALWAYS thought Gina should’ve ditched her relationship with Martin a long time ago. Aside from the fact that he talked to her in the most disrespectful ways, Martin didn’t accept Gina for who she was. In the first season alone, he made womanizing remarks on the radio and was extremely insecure about the fact that she made more money than him. His extreme insecurity led him to prove to everyone that he was the “man” in the relationship. Martin always quipped that Gina wanted to “change him” (which is a man’s way of saying they don’t want to grow up or mature), but in actuality he wanted to change her so she would be placating to him- similar to the way Mama Payne treated him. When they broke up in the first season, it was due to Martin not appreciating Gina’s Valentines Day gift to him. Though this may seem small, it represented a bigger problem of Martin not understanding Gina for who she was. After the first season Gina should’ve been out the door for good, but they reconciled.

     Image via Giphy

    Image via Giphy

    The icing on the cake with Martin Payne, is that he never reciprocated the compassion she showed him. Gina’s parents weren’t fans of Martin at all, but she stood by him and made sure they respected him. They even ended up accepting him once they were married. Martin, on the other hand, made Gina feel like it was her fault his mother didn’t like her. Aside from his overbearing mother, the fact that Martin treated Gina as if she were disposable was a big problem. When she received a job offer in New York, he really didn’t waste time telling her to take it. Though Martin was hesitant and received advice from Stan to tell her to take it, he should’ve been honest with Gina. She wanted to cement their place in each other’s lives, but Martin wasn’t mature enough to understand the importance of that. Though they did get engaged and eventually married, can we really say that Martin and Gina are goals? Their relationship was rocky from the start because of Martin’s lack of growth, unchecked sexism, and more. If we’re being honest, this wouldn’t translate to a positive representation of Black Love in today’s society. In the climate we live in, we aren’t going to relate to the way Martin talked to/neglected Gina, the way she lowered her standards to be with him, and we definitely aren’t going to be here for the “Buckwheat, Clint Beastwood, Nappy Longstocking, Nappily Cole, the little Fur-Maid” or any other of the insults rooted in colorism that Martin flung at Pam.

    Another critique that has surfaced in conversation on the possible Martin reboot, is the sexual harassment allegations from Tisha Campbell-Martin against Martin Lawrence. Campbell-Martin quit the show in 1996 but in early 1997, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit detailing: sexual battery, verbal abuse, yelling and threatening her on set, groping her when they filmed scenes in bed and attempting to kiss her with tongue.

    Lawrence came forward after the lawsuit was made public and denied her claims, saying he was being used as a pawn in Campbell’s negotiations with HBO. Campbell-Martin won the lawsuit and as a result, refused to be on the same set as Lawrence when she returned to appear in the last two episodes of the series. In today’s climate of #TimesUp, #MeToo and basic principles of right and wrong, the question lingers if the show should come back under these circumstances. Though Lawrence and Campbell-Martin have reportedly buried the hatchet many still don’t know what the truth is.

    Taking everything into account, including Tommy Ford’s death, I still feel the show shouldn’t receive a reboot. It should be remembered as the 90’s Black culture gem that it was. Though it wasn’t perfect, it fit in the 90’s world and bringing it into 2018 will cause it to lose its aura. Though we may be nostalgic, it is best to remember Martin the way it was, not the way we would want it to be now. 

    Header Image: TV Guide

    Katrice Mitchell
    Katrice Mitchell


    1. Charles
      December 13, 2018 / 6:52 am

      Great read! I was literally thinking the same thing and decided to google “Martin Gina Problematic” and came across your post. Thanks!

      • thereignxy
        December 13, 2018 / 3:17 pm

        Thanks for reading!

    2. Elle
      December 25, 2018 / 6:09 am

      My… I can’t believe I gotten through that without stabbing myself in the eye. This whole write up is from the eyes of a hater and I mean that with all my heart. If you’re 23 in 2018, this tells me that you didn’t grow up on the tv show of Martin nor Martin Lawrence, which further tells me that your opinion on this matter is unnecessary. If Tisha Campbell and Martin “Buried the hatchet”, who are you to wonder what the truth is? If you watched the show, never did it mention the character of Pam skin color or anybody of darker skin as the butt of a joke. Pam just happens to have dark skin like me and many girls who did grow up on the show, helping us feel comfortable in on our skin because everyone on the show had a brown skin girl representing for us. Why don’t you grow up 23 year old and get a life, one that includes you respecting actual shows that depict our culture in the right light. Yeah his mother hated Gina and everyone has dealt with a mother in law like that, that means it’s relatable. Tell me one show that is actually relatable right now, showing two African Americans, working African Americans with real jobs, real relationship problems and friends in situations that are absolutely hilarious! The heart break we felt when we found out that Martin and Gina weren’t really perfect and in real life, they may be messed up and Martin may of made Gina feel uncomfortable and Gine may of chose her husband over show. However, none of that matters because these real human beings in real life have gotten past that…. And btw just cause we say RIP Tommy, doesn’t mean that it would be disrespectful continuing on show. It would be different but his legacy will live on even further if we gotten a reboot. All this to say is in hopes of you actually researching the topic before putting your energy into the world because you sound crazy coming after our beloved show. Weirdo.

      • Xel
        June 4, 2019 / 4:34 am

        How you write all that bullshit and still didn’t make a good point. Re read what the writer wrote and learn how to expand on an intellectual concept with the diction of an adult and not an angry toddler lmao

      • Cash endless
        July 11, 2019 / 11:02 am

        Same thing i was thinking

    3. Miles Davis
      February 24, 2019 / 3:17 pm

      What’s wrong with these people writing this stuff today??? It’s a comedy show it’s individual free thinking comedy. Each person has there own personality and the show was great. The only problem in the world these days is all these stupid women claiming victimhood. Grow up dumbass who wrote this stupid writeup. Wow you’re stupid. Ps you know this show isn’t real life right moron??

      • Xel
        June 4, 2019 / 4:28 am

        I- wow the thinking is so one dimensional with this comment, and the repeated use of “stupid” like an angry 7 year old to address a several paragraph analysis lets us know where YOUR thinking and mental capacity is at lmao that is some funny shit, incel.

    4. Arnold
      July 22, 2019 / 3:38 am

      Well-researched post. Please don’t be discouraged by the personal attacks in the comments. People are free to disagree, but that tends to turn into personal insults that don’t actually address the points you’ve made. Don’t let that deter you. I learned a lot from this post and appreciated the willingness to take time to offer evidence.

      August 3, 2019 / 8:11 am

      Lol, how can a comedy be a comedy if it isn’t funny???? Nobody acts that way in real life all the time. Your an idiot, keep your stupid opinions to yourself. Everyone is so fuckin sensitive these days!!!

    6. Sauce
      August 4, 2019 / 2:35 pm

      Dumbest shit ever 😂 A comedy show taken way too seriously. Period

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