I’ve been posting a lot of these episode reviews recently, but I’ve at least tried to break them up somewhat so this blog isn’t All Super Show All the Time. I was wondering before why the order of the episodes on the DVDs is different from the original broadcast order, but apparently they’re mostly arranged in production order. That is, except for a few that don’t include the live-action bits, presented as Special Bonus Cartoons despite the fact that you actually get less. Here we go!
Koopenstein – Mario and company have arrived in the Swiss Cheese Alps, mountains that are full of holes. Maybe they’re near the Wooded Kingdom, since it’s kind of Alpine. Or the Luncheon Kingdom, due to the food theme. There’s also a Cheese Land, presumably in the Mushroom Kingdom. I believe the original Frankenstein actually DID take place in Switzerland, despite the fact that the story has come to be associated with Transylvania. A mad scientist has shown up there, and Mario figures he must be Koopa, because he calls himself Dr. Koopenstein. I think Mario is finally starting to understand the pattern here. In a village there, a mayor who has the same voice as Mayor Fettuccine from “The Pied Koopa,” presents them with the key to the city even though they haven’t done anything yet. They go to Koopenstein’s castle, where Toad climbs up the wall so he can let the others in, despite there not being any visible places for his hands to grasp. He’s chased by some Shy Guys on the way up, and they’re able to walk up the walls, leading Toad to figure they must have Velcro on their feet. Meanwhile, Mouser and some other Shy Guys capture the other three and bring them to the doctor, who’s wearing glasses and has a lab coat over his shell.
He needs a brain for the Monster Robot Troopa he’s built, and figures he can use Mario and Luigi’s combined, since they’re not very bright individually. Yeah, takes one to know one, Koopa. Toad jumps through a skylight and interrupts the proceedings, leading Koopa to fall into the brain device and turn into the Koopenstein Monster, meaning that this makes the monster and the scientist the same guy. He grabs the Princess and runs outside with her, and at this point it looks like the lab door opens to ground, even though Toad had to climb a whole lot to reach the skylight. Besides, wouldn’t the lab be at the top of the tower to better attract lightning? Well, anyway, Mario, Luigi, and Toad return to town to fight the monster, but they’re unable to do anything but make him madder, even when he gets a bomb in his face. We also see that the cows in this area have holes like the mountains.
So instead they go to the castle to activate the Robot Troopa, which apparently works just fine with no brain. I guess Koopa wanted it to be autonomous instead of having to use the remote control. Anyway, during a fight between the two monsters, the robot steps on the remote, causing both of them to get shocked and fall into a river, along with Mouser. Back in the village, Mario is rewarded with a Swiss cheese pizza that doesn’t appear to be cooked, says he wants the key to the pizza parlor to teach them how to do it right, and the episode fades into a key shape for some reason. Yes, Mario mentioned a key, but it’s not like that’s central to the episode or anything.
Baby Mario Love – This is one of the live-action segments that isn’t included on the DVD set, perhaps because it includes a significant amount of a copyrighted song. And no, it has nothing to do with Mario being a baby, despite what the title might suggest.
Susanna Ross, a public domain version of Diana Ross, shows up at the plumbing shop. I’m not sure why they sometimes have actors playing real celebrities and sometimes knockoffs of celebrities, but there you go. Susanna’s backup singers’ flight was delayed, so her plan is to go to some random guys in Brooklyn and make them dress up in drag and learn the routine. It makes no sense, but Mario and Luigi take to it quite readily, although they end up fighting while on stage. The song they perform is “Baby Love,” hence the name of the segment.
On Her Majesty’s Sewer Service – It’s a James Bond parody, and I have to admit I’ve only ever seen one Bond film, Goldfinger. Most of my knowledge of the franchise comes from other parodies. This is the only Super Show cartoon without Toad in it, and I’m not sure why. Anyway, it takes place in Spy Land, where Koopfinger has used a magic ring to turn Agent James Blonde to stone. Blonde is another character who doesn’t really look like anyone else on the show, the impression I get being that they tried to make him tough and handsome, but failed entirely.
The Princess takes Mario and Luigi to the underground Super Spy Headquarters. If they really wanted to keep it secret, you’d think they wouldn’t put it in a place called Spy Land, but that’s the way things go on this show. The implication seems to be that the spy network works for the Princess and the Mushroom Kingdom. The Marios are introduced to Agent N, leading to some fairly obvious letter jokes, then he shows them some spy equipment disguised as plumbing tools. These include an atomic screwdriver and a laser drill, the latter of which seems like it would be really useful but is never used. The reptile goes out with his Koopa Pack, who for some reason are super-muscular in this one, to pull a caper. Mouser also is drawn to look like Odd Job, with the bowler hat and all. The plan is to rob Fort Hard Knox, which looks like a giant piggy bank. From what I’ve seen, the original Ian Fleming novel of Goldfinger did have the titular character trying to steal from Fort Knox, while the movie changed it to have him irradiate it instead. Still, just robbing a place seems a bit minor for a play on a series with a lot of international terrorism, although it IS a lot of money. At one point in the episode, Koopa has a Porcupo on his lap, so I guess he’s Blofeld as well as Goldfinger. The security at the fort consists of…one door, which Koopfinger blows up with a bomb, although for some reason he says it’s a magic potion. The gang takes all the money in his limousine, but Mario and Luigi are hot on their tails in a Spymobile that looks like a plumbing van. The Marios use plungers and a shower head to get rid of the troops Koopfinger sends after them, at least until he calls a giant Birdo to pick up their van and take it to his hideout. Then there’s a Wheel of Fortune parody, because this show can never stick with a spoof for that long. The hostess is named Vampa White, who as well as the obvious reference is probably a nod to the Bond girls with sex-related puns in their names, without actually playing that straight. Vampa spins a wheel with various means of death written on it, or at least that’s what’s supposed to be there, but shots of it just show random letters except when it’s zoomed in on something. Well, okay, I guess “ax” might be authentic. Anyway, the Marios are sentenced to the Tunnel of Doom, which seems empty until the plumbers see a single Goomba approaching them, their reaction being to run away. They also run on top of some Piranha Plants, which wasn’t something you could do at that point, although I believe you can stomp them in Super Mario 64. As a Spark approaches, instead of just jumping on the Goomba, Mario uses a hose nozzle and mini-plunger to get the two of them back into the hideout. There, they fight the Koopa Pack, even though they were just running in terror from a much weaker enemy. In fact, they make no headway against the villains at all, until Mouser has such bad aim with his hat that he takes out both Triclyde and the Troopa. Vampa is still there, and she actually participates by blowing a kiss that turns into a fireball, but Mario knocks it away with the atomic screwdriver and it hits both Mouser and the whole Wheel of Misfortune setup. Koopa gets away with his potion trick again. Every notice how he never takes the others with him, but they’re still often wherever he happens to be in later episodes? Blonde has come back to life as well, although it’s never explained how. The episode ends with Mario being blown up by a spaghetti bomb when he tries to eat it, but it doesn’t do any lasting damage.
9001: A Mario Odyssey – This is another one that isn’t on the DVDs, and here there doesn’t appear to be a copyright-related reason for it. I think I might have seen something about the master tapes being lost, or maybe the parody contained some stuff that was too close to the original. It’s too bad that it’s not included, and a relief that nobody has taken the segment down from YouTube (yet, anyway), because it’s bizarre even for this show. Mario and Luigi are getting a new computer, the HAL-9001, which is being installed by Albert Einstein. Well, the actor is doing an Einstein impression, he’s known for a one-man show about Einstein, and they CALL him Einstein. Of course, the actual Einstein is: 1) dead, and 2) probably not that experienced at hooking up computers, so who knows? Regardless, I’m not sure how he fits into a 2001 spoof. The computer makes pizzas automatically (out of what, we don’t know) with whatever toppings they specify. They start out ordering fairly standard toppings, then switch to stranger ones like a pizza covered in hamburgers. HAL then goes haywire and starts making pies with non-edible toppings, like golf pencils and nurse’s shoes. There was also a line about nurse’s shoes in the first segment with Magic Johnson, so is this an inside joke among the staff? I don’t know, but I can’t say I get it. HAL tries to use its red dot to hypnotize the brothers into eating the gross pizzas, but Einstein shows up just in time because he never gave them the bill (do they have to pay for each pizza individually, or is it a subscription service?) and disconnects the malfunctioning machine. As it’s shutting down, it sings a version of “Daisy Bell” with the lyrics changed to be about toothbrushes. The voice of HAL is provided by Philip L. Clarke, who is credited with “additional voices” in some Disney animated films from the late eighties and early nineties.
Mario and Joliet – The Romeo character in this loose Shakespeare spoof is actually named Romano, so I’m not sure why Mario has to be in the title. It begins and ends with what look like posters for a play, and the Plumber’s Log number is 1601. What’s weird is that this isn’t the year when Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, but rather when he wrote Hamlet. The Mario team has been summoned to the Land of Romance by Joliet, who is a friend of the Princess.
How can Joliet eat with such a skinny neck?
She and Romano were going to marry until King Koopa somehow caused their fathers to start a feud with each other, which includes their hiring Snifits and Albatosses to fight on their behalf. The Princess orders the marriage to take place despite the dads’ objections, so apparently the Land of Romance is within her dominions. It’s just based on word association, but with the lack of any other evidence, I suggest it’s the part of the Super Mario RPG map that includes Marrymore and Rose Town. Koopa, who has been making a lot of money from the feud, consults his magic mirror with a reflection that talks back, because we’re apparently putting a bit of Snow White into Shakespeare. He takes the mirror’s advice to have an Albatoss capture Joliet and bring her to his castle. This causes the fathers to blame each other, but the Mario gang knows Koopa must be behind it, so they go with Romano to the castle to rescue Joliet. They get across the moat on logs, but then are caught in a net. Toad yells out, “It’s a net!”, to which Luigi says, “Annette Funicello? Where?” Showing your age there, Luigi. The Hard Times podcasters thought the “It’s a net!” line was pretty funny in and of itself. Koopa throws the would-be rescuers in the cell with Joliet, leaving a bodybuilding Super Troopa named Grunt to guard it. We get a few plays on famous lines from Romeo and Juliet, but for the most part the whole thing is now centered around escaping, with no other Shakespeare in sight. At first, Toad and the Princess trick Grunt into lifting three dumbbells, which causes the floor to collapse under him. Strange how so many of Toad’s plans seems to be based on him realizing how flimsy something is. It doesn’t do any good, though, because Grunt had the key. Fortunately, in a strange coincidence, it turns out Joliet’s wedding bouquet is made of Fire Flowers. That leads back to the question of who can use power-ups, since Joliet certainly doesn’t get any super powers from touching them. Mario does, however, and he blasts the door down and fights some Troopas on their stairs, who use their shells as shields. While I don’t know of any indication that Koopa shells are fireproof, it does show them as removable before this is confirmed in-game in Super Mario World. An actual turtle’s shell is part of its skeleton. The others build a cart out of the door and two dumbbells, despite all but one of the weights fell down with Grunt. Well, maybe there was another one lying around somewhere. Somehow this works and gets everyone out of the castle, and Romano and Joliet are married in the same chapel we saw earlier.
The background of this place is much more ornate than anything else on this show, resembling a painting. And it apparently includes some cardboard cutouts that fall over when hit; I don’t know what’s up that. The fathers get into an argument about where the couple is going to live, and this leads to a food fight. If my supposition about the location of the Kingdom of Romance is correct, I guess the Snifits who were working for them went to live with Booster.
Fake Bro – A guy calling himself Pietro shows up at the apartment and claims to be Mario and Luigi’s long-lost older brother. There isn’t a whole lot of suspense, as the title makes clear he’s a fraud, but he does know some obscure facts about the Marios. He tries to convince them to sell the business to spend more time together, only to be fooled when Luigi gets a call and claims it’s the IRS demanding $900,000 in back taxes. He later reveals it was actually the pizza parlor, so they must have been really confused at Luigi’s responses. Pietro comes clean and says that he got all his information from the Who’s Who of Plumbing. So apparently this is a book that tells the mothers’ maiden names, childhood toys, and locations of birthmarks for notable plumbers? Seems far-fetched, but I guess it’s too early for him to have been phishing them. At least according to this, by the way, Mama Mario’s maiden name is Rigassi.
Too Hot to Handle – The Mario crew is visiting the volcanic island of Waki-Waki, part of a place called Lavaland, because the Fire God promised to help them fight Koopa. The island is supposed to resemble Hawaii, but for some reason the Toad inhabitants, the Aloha People, sound like California surfer dudes.
They’re also pretty dimwitted, immediately rushing to obey an order supposedly from the Fire God saying to throw the Princess in the volcano. Mario immediately identifies the voice as that of Koopa, who has the real Fire God trapped in a glass bottle.
But then, even when he’s later freed, the Fire God has no lines, so we don’t know how dumb the natives have to be to not recognize the difference. Capturing a god sounds pretty impressive, but I don’t think we ever learn what his powers are. The people drop Mario, Luigi, and Toad into a pit, but they quickly escape by climbing on each other’s shoulders and jumping so Mario can reach the edge. They then ride an Ostro up the volcano and throw pineapples at Shy Guys. Two Toads named Scooter and Bingo throw the Princess into the volcano, where she’s immediately caught by a Shy Guy. It looks like there’s a large possibility of error with that plan. Koopa tells Fryguy, who appropriately enough is his main assistant this time, to turn on a lava machine, and Mario, Luigi, and Toad run for their lives, but soon find a secret passage in a statue of the Fire God to a lower part of the volcano. He and Luigi sabotage the machine, which Koopa was planning to use to destroy the island and escape with the Princess on an inflatable raft that’s somehow fireproof.
Mario and Luigi sabotage the machine and trip Koopa with a life preserver, causing him to drop the Princess. A lot of this episode (and really, many of these episodes) relies on people and objects just happening to fall in the right direction. The heroes make a getaway on the raft, while Koopa escapes through a mask gate. For some reason, Fryguy is running away from the magma, despite being made of fire. Despite the fact that a bunch of magma already erupted all over the island and the Aloha People tried to kill the Princess, apparently all is now well, with a spaghetti luau where the Fire God is cooking the pasta over a captured Fryguy. And I guess they don’t ask the Fire God to help them, just like they don’t ask any other person they’ve set out to find after the immediate danger is over. I suspect Waki-Waki is in the vicinity of Isle Delfino and the Sunshine Isles. There was also a story involving a volcanic tropical island in the Nintendo Comics System, “Beauty and the Beach,” only the plot in that one is that Koopa, calling himself Ka-Hoopa, convinces the surfing Toad inhabitants to throw bombs into the local volcano to make it hot enough to erupt and turn all the Toads into Fryguys. (The cartoon only ever had the one Fryguy, from what I can remember, but there were several in the comics.)
Mario (Luigi isn’t in this particular story) uses bamboo plumbing to cool down the volcano, saving the day. It’s a plot with some significant similarities, but I’d say it’s more creative.
Time Out Luigi – Luigi is playing Duck Hunt (wonder if it comes on the same cartridge as SMB in-universe) when a mysterious saleswoman named Angelica appears, played by Nedra Volz, the actress who was Adelaide on Diff’rent Strokes. She tries to sell the Mario Brothers a crystal ball and a picture like the one Dorian Gray had, but when they refuse, she sells Luigi a watch for four dollars. It ends up making him do everything backwards, including saying the words in his sentences in reverse order. So Mario sells the watch back to Angelica for ten dollars.