In the 1990s, Fox’s Thursday-night lineup featured a young, black couple for the hip-hop generation attempting to make their relationship work amid a changing world.
In the comedy Martin, Martin Payne (played by comedy icon Martin Lawrence) is the loudmouthed brother following his passion at a local radio station. The college-educated Gina Waters (played by Tisha Campbell-Martin) is his prim-and-proper girlfriend with a blossoming career at a white-shoe advertising firm.
Viewers watched as they weathered storms about career pressure, money—more specifically, who made more money than who—and whether it mattered, difficult mothers-in-law, eccentric neighbors (Hey, Shenehneh), nosy, but well-meaning, best friends, and whether two people from opposite sides of the track could truly be together forever. Peruse through dating-advice websitestoday and it’s clear that couples are still being confronted with these kinds of issues.
As a nod to The Root’s poll that asks our readers to vote for the greatest black TV shows of all time (Martin is on the list), here are six segments from the Lectures to Beats Web series that feature real-life couples therapists giving advice about Martin and Gina’s relationship and how men and women today can learn a thing or two from it:
1. Martin should go easy on the inflated expectations he has for himself as a man and as a romantic partner because they are smothering both him and Gina.