Martin aficionados are aware of two very, very distinct truths about the series. First, the last 12 episodes of the fifth season never existed and you never, ever watch the final episode under any circumstances.* And second, the characters and their personalities are the biggest reason the show remains in heavy syndication with cult-like status to this day.
Whether your memories of the show travel back as far as when it appeared on the Thursday night “murderer’s row” of Black programs – Living Single, Martin and New York Undercover – or whether your appreciation of the series has come from the constant reruns of episodes on MTV2 and TV One, chances are you have a favorite episode (or six). And chances are, too, you have a favorite character (or six).
Naming the definitive top five characters is impossible. There are too many punchlines, too many situations and too much time to second guess to truly come to a concrete listing. However, these are five the series could have never lived without and all became legends in their own right. Excluding the “starting five” of Martin, Gina, Pam, Tommy and Cole, of course. That’d just be too easy.
Previously: WZUP: 5 Unforgettable “Martin” Characters
* – The final 12 episodes represent one of the most depressing moments in sitcom history. No, f*ck that, pop culture history. Tisha Campbell basically refused to be anywhere near Martin because of sexual harrassment claims. Even when she returned for the series finale, her and Martin’s scenes were filmed separately. I’m sick just typing this. This series deserved a better send off and will always remain one of the biggest black eyes in TV history. Great, now I’m emotional.
1. The Reverend Leon Lonnie Love
Like A Tribe Called Quest, A Pimp Named Slick Back and the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams aka “The Greatest Show On Turf,” you must say the entire name. It’s written in the unwritten by-laws.
Pam’s cousin, The Reverend Leon Lonnie Love, was something else.* He was a money grubber. He was a sinner. He was two-faced. He was probably one of your friend’s cousins and/or uncles. And given enough time, he’d push up on your girl.
In some cases, it’s scary when art imitates life, huh?
* – The time when he told Gina to get on her knees (to pray!) was one of those moments from the show which has gotten funnier and funnier as the years go by. Possibly because when the episode first aired (“The Break Up”; Season 1), I had no clue why my uncle was laughing uncontrollably.
2. Bruh Man
There was the time Bruh Man ate all of Thanksgiving dinner during the battle of the sexes episode. There was also the time Bruh Man and Martin went into business together selling “Whitty Hutton Wuld Tour” t-shirts outside a Whitney Houston concert. Or how about the time Bruh Man borrowed Martin’s CD player – seen below – leaving a note under the sink because he figured Marty-Mar would look there after he saw his toilet paper was gone?
Look, the lovable neighbor from “the fif flo'” batted 1.000. This just isn’t up for debate.
P.S. – You’re damn right I’m ordering the “Whitty Huton” shirt for the summer. It’s like the ultimate icebreaker.
Forget hyperbole, this truly was one of the funniest scenes in sitcom history. This, too, is not up for debate.
Of the non-“big five” characters, Martin’s ’70s-inspired-would-be-Detroit-player, Jerome, could arguably be the show’s funniest personality. Everyone had a nickname (Gina was “Red” and Pam was “Junk”) as every situation in life had a corresponding rhyme. Half were right on time, the other half made no sense whatsoever, but 100% were guaranteed to produce either a chuckle or wiping tears from your eyes with laughter.
In other words, if you’re doing P90X like I am right now and don’t feel like doing the “Ab-Ripper X” portion, simply put an episode featuring (Trinidad) Jerome on. My suggestions? Either the player’s ball one with OutKast, the one when his casino was robbed (“If I tell you a duck could pull a truck, then shut up and hook the sucka up!” ) or “Jerome’z In The House” from Season 1.*
* – You should probably still do the workout though.
4. Big Gay Guy
“Call me, Almond!”
The DMV episode is hands down a Top 5 moment in the show’s history for a long list of reasons – Sherman Hemsley, the Wesley Snipes/Money Train look-a-like pick pocketer, “starting from scratch,” the fight with Ms. Geri and The Big Gay Guy who somehow knew the answer Martin was stumped on without bothering to glance at the driver’s test. Despite only being in the episode for less than three minutes, The Big Gay Guy left his mark on the show for a lifetime. Seriously, the scene was so funny you could see Martin even attempting to hold back laughter.*
* – The gay guy on Martin was actually the executive producer of the show. Bentley Kyle Evans. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he was also one of the brains behind The Jamie Foxx Show. Remember the dude lying on a hammock at the end of the credits but before Jamie’s “Foxxhole Productions” thing? Yea, that’s him.
5. Dragonfly Jonez
Dragonfly boasts a lower winning percentage than the present-day Charlotte Bobcats. Still, it’d be difficult to find funnier characters on than the over-confident, yet immensely non-talented black belt Kung Fu master who once – according to him – studied under Bruce Lee and refused to pay his “obedient servant” Kenji.
You’ll also be hard-pressed to find one more culturally relevant, too. Dragonfly went on to inspire the hilarious Twitter account @DragonflyJonez, one of the funnier and well-informed users you’ll find on the platform on topics ranging from world history, to sports, to music and random, but vital information useful in everyday life. He’s sort of like the Black Lori Beth-Denberg, only he drinks beer, curses like a sailor and pisses off Fox News.
DFJZ’s influence reached new heights last fall after a list he created was Instagram’d by Snoop Lion-Dogg causing the suits at Fox to flip tables and likely go home and verbally abuse their spouses and children. So, yes, through six degrees of separation, the original Dragonfly Jones was 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000007% responsible for President Obama’s second term. America, you’re welcome.
Unless, of course, this opens up an old wound and you didn’t vote for President Obama. In which case, you read these 1,000 words for nothing, but thanks for the support regardless. Allow me to extend the comedic exercises of Kid President as a peace offering.