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Only a slight descent for Martin in its fourth season…
Once a TV show reaches its climax, it usually declines in quality before it reaches its final resting place. After reaching its climax in season three, the same could be said for Martin. It could only go one direction, and that is down. However, unlike other TV comedies the decline of Martin was not a sharp one. The reason? Martin Lawrence, of course.
The fourth season picks up where we left off last. Martin Payne (Martin Lawrence) has just married his longtime girlfriend, Gina (Tisha Campbell). They return from the honeymoon to be greeted in the real world once again by Gina’s best friend, Pam (Tichina Arnold), and Martin’s friends, Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II) and Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford). Tommy and Pam are still together and they are even attempting to move in with each other. Pam and Martin still fight with each other every chance they get as well. Meanwhile, Cole has broken up with “Big Shirley” and attempts to move on with various other women.
Season four featured once again the core cast of Martin, Gina, Pam, Cole, and Tommy. The actors are completely into their characters by this point. Everyone is at the top of their game and the cast is like one big well-oiled machine. In addition, this season also has some notable guest appearances. It’s strange seeing The Notorious B.I.G. in one episode when you know that less than two years later he was murdered. Chris Rock also guest stars in one memorable episode as Sheneneh’s disrespectful date.
All of the most popular crazy characters played by Martin Lawrence are back in the fourth season once again including Sheneneh, Jerome, Roscoe, Otis, and Momma Payne. They are featured less and less in each season, but it’s best not to overdo them. It keeps thing fresh and interesting. With that being said, some storylines during this season start to feel repetitive and derivative of storylines used in the previous three seasons.
Martin would finish up its run in the fifth and final season, so it’s only natural that the fourth season slid downhill a little bit. But Martin Lawrence and the rest of the fantastic cast are able to keep things moving solidly forward here. The fourth season does start to feel a little repetitive at times, but there is still enough fresh and crazy antics to keep the show interesting. You will hardly notice the decline in the show. If you love Martin Lawrence, you will continue to love Martin and its fourth season.
Episode 1 – Martin In the Corner Pocket
Gina realizes the honeymoon’s over when Martin spends their first night back home partying with Tommy and Cole, while she stays home.
Episode 2 – Kill Him With Kindness
Mama Payne overhears Gina discussing life insurance policies and she assumes that Gina is plotting to kill Martin for his insurance money. Of course, Martin believes his mom, and now he must be very careful around Gina, and not let her get too close to him, or else!
Episode 3 – Blow, Baby, Blow
Suddenly Gina, Pam and Cole can sing! But their talents are not appreciated by the Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls), who has asked for Martin’s help in finding a new background vocalist.
Episode 4 – Ring a Ding, Ding Gone
Tommy and Cole explain to Martin that his wedding ring frightens off single women. After taking off his ring, and seeing all the attention he gets from beautiful women, he realizes they are right. But it’s Martin who’s running scared when he loses the ring and has to figure out how to tell Gina about it.
Episode 5 – Love TKO
Martin and Gina decide to have a quiet night at home to rekindle their love passion. But they are constantly being interrupted before the fun begins. Tommy and Pam each show up at their apartment when things between them are not working out. And Cole has broken up with Big Shirley after catching her with another man. Then he shows up at Martin’s apartment, wanting Martin to meet all of his new girl friends, one at a time.
Episode 6 – He Say She Say
After breaking up with Big Shirley, Martin convinces Cole to get back into the dating scene. At the club, Cole falls for a pretty woman who has just appeared on “America’s Most Wanted”. Now the gang has to come up with a plan to save their pal. Meanwhile, Tommy and Pam decide to see other people.
Episode 7 – Uptown Friday Night
Tommy & Cole get robbed at Jerome’s new club, the Shiznitz, after picking up Gina’s birthday gift for Martin – an expensive ring. So they get with Jerome to track down the 3 female thieves at their hideaway.
Episode 8 – Old School Loving
Martin meets with Gina’s boss, then gets her fired from the ad agency she’s been working for. Now that Gina is unemployed, she spends her time rearranging the house, and painting the walls. So Martin tries to convince her boss to take her back.
Episode 9 – Cole on Ice
When Cole loses his job, Martin manages to get him a job working at the station. A job that Cole fouls up. But then Cole arranges to get Charles Barkley to appear as a guest on Martin’s show.
Episode 10 – Housekeeper from Hell
With both Martin and Gina working, they decide to hire a maid. Martin hires a maid that he likes, but when Gina sees her, she fires her. Then Gina hires a male housekeeper, and Martin doesn’t like him. They eventually settle on Miss Minnie, a nice, motherly woman on the outside, but eventually makes their lives unlivable with her domineering ways.
Episode 11 – Three Homies and a Baby
Martin agrees to babysit his infant nephew Camaron, when his parents go out of town. But once they get snowed in, and can’t return home and get their baby, Martin and Gina have to watch the baby. In the end, Gina has to leave for work, and Tommy and Cole come over to help out. However, even with the three of them, the baby still gets the upper hand.
Episode 12 – Heading for Trouble
Gina gets her head stuck in their new brass bed headboard while making love to Martin. They try everything to get her head unstuck. Martin tries sawing it off, Tommy tries a welding torch to get most of it off, but none of their efforts pay off. So Gina must attend an important board meeting with the brass headboard, still stuck around her head, but hidden under a big wig and shawl!
Episode 13 – Swing Thing
The Paynes are invited to attend a Christmas party, given by some influential people with ties to other influential people who may be able to help Martin in his career. But little does Martin realize that at the party, the guests are swapping more than Christmas gifts, and Martin may have both his hands full.
Episode 14 – The Bodyguard
After Gina and Pam witness two bank robbers leaving the scene of the crime, they must enter witness protection because the criminals are notorious for making their witnesses disappear. And since the police are afraid of the bank robbers, they arrange for Otis to be the girl’s bodyguard.
Episode 15 – Green Card
The Hispanic building superintendent is about to be deported, unless he gets married in a hurry. Pam, who desperately needs cash, so she can pay her back taxes to the IRS, agrees to be the bride — for a price.
Episode 16 – You’re All I Need
Gina gets a sexy make-over to rekindle her relationship with Martin.
Episode 17 – Kicked to the Curb
Martin finds a bigger and better apartment for half the price they’re paying now. So he decides to sublet his old place to a young couple, and move into the new place. But then the deal on the new place falls through, and it’s too late to move back. Martin and Gina end up in the street! So they devise a scheme to scare off the new tenants. Tommy, Pam and Cole masquerade as dangerous criminals. The plan works nicely, and Martin gets his old crib back.
Episode 18 – The Best of Martin
Tisha Campbell hosts a special retrospective look back at the best of the last 99 episodes. Episode includes many of the special moments from the show, outtakes, and Tisha’s own insight into the laughter behind the show, that made it such a success.
Episode 19 – Love Jones Connection
Sheneneh crashes a Love Connection show screening, then gets chosen! Chris Rock guest stars as Sheneneh’s disrespectful date.
Episode 20 – Where the Party At
Gina attempts to arrange a surprise birthday party for Martin. But she runs into some unexpected difficulties when all his friends, including Tommy and Cole, say they’re not interested because of Martin’s rude and obnoxious attitude (AND, he doesn’t tip his barber). But they then turn-the-tables on both Martin and Gina by throwing a huge surprise birthday party at Nipseys.
Episode 21 – Homeo and Juliet
Gina and Pam have taken roles in an upcoming play to help raise money for needy kids. Martin continually disrupts rehearsal because he doesn’t like the Olde English speech being used in the play. But everything comes to a head when Martin finds out the leading man will have to kiss the leading lady (Gina) during the play. He causes the leading man to fall and injure himself, leaving the actors without a leading man. Martin then has to improvise with his own “homeboy” interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.
Episode 22 – The Cabin Show
The gang goes on a camping trip in the woods, and Martin and Gina look forward to a special time under the sacred Chippawa Indian waterfalls. But Pam sprains her ankle, and Martin has to help her back to the cabin. The two get lost in the woods, just as darkness falls, and nobody knows how to find them.
Episode 23 – The Tooth Will Set You Free
After undergoing hypnosis at the dentist’s office for an aching tooth, Pam becomes a different person whenever clapping occurs. She goes on a blind date with an artist, at his showing, and nobody realizes that she is still under hypnosis.
Episode 24 – I Want To Sing
After Pam’s cousin wins an open mike contest with her powerful singing voice, Martin only sees dollar signs, and decides to become her manager. But things go awry when her voice doesn’t cooperate when she gets nervous about singing.
Episode 25 – DMV Blues
After Martin’s drivers license expires, his insurance company cancels his policy. So in a rush to get his license renewed, he goes down to the DMV and experiences first hand the horrors of a day spent waiting in long lines, filling out reams of paperwork, DMV clerks with bad attitudes, and meeting up with an assortment of strange characters.
Episode 26 – Why Can’t We Be Friends (Part 1)
On their anniversary night, Martin and Gina are preparing to celebrate a night of quiet romance, when they are interrupted by Tommy and the gang. An argument breaks out over a suitcase that was loaned to Martin, and results in Tommy and Martin not speaking to each other, and eventually deciding to end their life-long friendship. Martin is determined not to have Tommy in his life as a friend, until Cole comes by to deliver some bad news.
Episode 27 – Why Can’t We Be Friends (Part 2)
A major car accident has put Tommy in the hospital. Martin and Tommy had not been speaking to each other. Martin and the gang rush to the hospital to check on their injured friend, but find the man in the room in a full body cast. Martin, now sorry for the feuding, sobs at his bedside and vows to renew the friendship. But can Tommy really hear his plea?
The video is given in fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. The quality is the same as it was for the first three DVD sets, which isn’t a bad thing since that was fairly good for an early 1990s TV show. The same thing goes here once again.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French. Pretty standard quality for a TV show and the same as it was for seasons one, two, and three. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear.
Just like the season two and season three DVD sets, there are no extras on this set at all. Disappointing for sure, but that’s really the only major complaint for this DVD set once again.
Martin Lawrence and Martin fans will still want buy this DVD set. There are no extras, so that might still make some fans mad. Season four is slightly a notch below the first three seasons, but this season is still funny and entertaining enough to recommend a rental at least. Even if you have never seen the show, you can jump right in with season four so give it a chance.
HBO Home Video presents Martin: The Complete Fourth Season. Created by John Bowman, Topper Carew, and Martin Lawrence. Starring Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Carl Anthony Payne II, and Thomas Mikal Ford. Running time: 600 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: April 1, 2008. Available at Amazon.com