Never Steal a Used Carpet

Koopa Klaus – Christmas was almost a month ago, but here’s the Christmas episode of this show. I already wrote about this one twelve years ago, and I can’t say I can think of much to add. It is weird that they never mention why King Koopa hates Christmas so much, but I guess it could just be part of his constant desire for bad guy credibility. He’s evil, Christmas is good, so he hates it. It is funny how he dresses up as the guy he kidnaps. It would make more sense if it were a disguise, like the Grinch used, but he immediately announces himself as Koopa Klaus when he shows up to harass the Marios. And why handlebars as antlers? They could have turned that into an actual joke, showing some bicycles without handlebars in the background, and it wouldn’t have even been out of nowhere because Koopa starts the episode destroying toys. I also think it’s interesting that the Flurries are Koopa minions who just happen to live in the area, and are able to carve out ice blocks.

Little Marios – While there was a Christmas live-action segment, it wasn’t paired with the Christmas cartoon. Instead, it’s a weird flashback bit, with Mario and Luigi as kids, except they’re still played by Lou Albano and Danny Wells, and Lou still has a mustache. I’m sure this was funny to somebody. I mean, it IS kind of funny, but more in a “this is so stupid it’s amusing” way than in a “that bit actually worked” way. The framing story for the flashback is that Brian Bonsall, the youngest kid on Family Ties, is running away from home, and for some reason has stopped by the Mario Brothers’ basement while doing so. They call him Brian, so I guess he’s playing himself. But maybe not because he’s never introduced as a celebrity (in which category I guess he broadly qualifies), suggesting he might just be a kid from the neighborhood who has the same name as the actor playing him. Anyway, Mario tells about the time he ran away from home, and Luigi and Mama were relieved to have some time without him. So Brian decides not to run away because his family would enjoy it too much. Captain Lou does Mama’s voice, but since the character is in scenes with Mario, most of the time it’s a stand-in whose face we don’t see doing the body work.

Mario and the Red Baron Koopa – I said Pasta Land would be back for a later episode, and here it is. The Mario gang is there for a celebration in honor of their earlier defeat of Koopa. I guess this would be the one in “The Pied Koopa,” so is this the anniversary of that or what? Regardless, he’s back, this time on a flying carpet and in Red Baron gear even though no one actually CALLS him the Red Baron Koopa. Since the earlier episode was based on a fairy tale associated with Hamelin in Germany, and the actual Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was German, is Pasta Land the equivalent of Germany, despite producing Italian food? I don’t know. But Koopa shows up with Lakitu, in his only appearance on this show (there’s a brief appearance in one of the Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon “Life’s Ruff”). His design is a little weird, but since all they really had to work with at the time was a face on top of a cloud, I guess they can be forgiven. Indeed, a lot of what happens here seems more similar to a Mario game than in most episodes of this show. Lakitu tosses some Spiny Eggs, one of which lands in the spaghetti, and Mario picks it up. Technically, he should probably shrink from this, but I think we should give SOME leeway. Koopa then activates what he calls the Wicked Weather Satellite, which makes it rain or snow on the country at his command. Toad remembers there’s a beanstalk nearby, and fortunately the top of it is right near the satellite. Koopa destroys it with his fireball cannon before the good guys can reach it, though. As it turns out, however, Toad lands right on top of a lever, which causes a platform that raises Mario and Luigi into the clouds. They end up at a shop in Cloud Land run by Sam Shalam, crooked carpet salesman and racist stereotype, who has a talking paddle named Slammer for an assistant. The Mario Brothers buy a carpet from him for three washers and a stick of gum, apparently Wrigley’s as there’s an arrow on the wrapper. While Shalam claims the rug is fireproof, this turns out to be a lie, as Koopa easily burns it up. The Marios plummet to the ground, but fortunately the Pasta Landers save them with a trampoline, which is somehow powerful enough to get them right back to Shalam’s shop. There’s a new bizarre coincidence about every minute here, but there’s a certain video game logic to them. When Mario mentions that they’re trying to stop Koopa, Shalam says the reptilian royal stole a carpet from him, and allows the brothers to take two carpets for free. The plumbers return to Pasta Land and build a plane with the carpets as wings and a fire-spouting tail gun, although I’m not sure where they got that.

Luigi flies the plane, with Mario as tail gunner and Toad as bombardier, throwing a Bob-omb at the satellite to destroy it. There’s a dogfight between Koopa and Mario, but it turns out the carpet the villain stole isn’t fireproof either, and the cannon fire destroys it. The Mario team are declared Pasta Land Heroes, but I don’t know whether that’s a higher rank than the Order of the Golden Meatball.

Gorilla My Dreams – The title is an old joke, but it also makes clear this bit is going to involve a gorilla somehow. Mario and Luigi are going to a costume ball, with the former in a bunny suit (shades of Super Mario Land 2 here) and the latter a gorilla suit. Before Luigi comes back inside, though, an actual gorilla that escaped from the circus shows up and throws an unsuspecting Mario into a brick wall. When Luigi shows up, Mario insists he doesn’t know which is which, even though Luigi talks. So he leaves, and Luigi decides to take the gorilla as his date for the ball.

The UnzappablesPerry Martin, the writer of this episode, has said Andy Heyward suggested the title as a parody of The Untouchables, and Martin had to figure out how to make that title work. Not that I really understand why “unzappable”; “zap” is a word I associate with video games, but not Mario. “The Unstompables” would have made a little more sense. But anyway, the Untouchables were the agents led by Eliot Ness who brought down Al Capone, but here it’s the villains who are unzappable. I do have to say that “Al Koopone” is a better name than many of the ones Koopa has used. In this persona, he keeps a cigar in his mouth, but I don’t think he ever smokes it. Maybe they should have introduced a character named Eliot NES, like the Nintendo Entertainment System. The episode takes place in Crime Land, which is a weird name to call a place. I guess if I wanted to interpret it in a slightly more believable way, I’d say that’s a nickname, but there’s no indication of that in the show. Mario and company first run into the Koopa Pack robbing a bank, and they pull some Snifits out of violin cases and fire at the Marios. It’s weird how some Snifits are close to human-sized and others small enough to be held and used as weapons. Are these BABY Snifits they use as guns? When the Pack returns to Koopone’s hideout, he shows off what he just bought at the gangster supply store, magic hats that make anyone who wears them invulnerable to attack. We see a whole bunch of these hats, but only the main bad guys ever wear them, which kind of seems like a waste. The good guys consult a stool pigeon, who’s a Tweeter on a stool (I wonder why they didn’t use a stool PIDGIT), and bribe him with birdseed so they can find out Koopone’s next crime. It’s a good thing Toad keeps birdseed in his vest for some reason. Koopone and the Pack are robbing the First Mushroom Bank, and the Marios try to fight them by throwing vegetables Super Mario Bros. 2 style. We’ve seen them do that before, but I think this is the first time we’ve seen them bring the veggies with them, and apparently a lot of them at that. Their attacks don’t work, and Koopone just blurts out that the hats are protecting them. There’s a lot of the villains being just plan dumb in this episode, sometimes humorously so, but other times just as a lazy way to move the plot along. I think it would have made more sense to just have the stool pigeon tell them about the hats as well. Anyway, the Koopa Pack captures the heroes and encases them in blocks of cement, Toad being so short that only his head sticks out. Koopone then kicks a Koopa Troopa who makes a dumb comment all the way across the city. When thrown in the river, the Marios are able to breathe and talk just fine, as usual. Did Koopone realize this would happen? Mario finds a star and uses fireballs to break the cement. That must be some fire! They wear paper-thin disguises to infiltrate the villains’ hideout, which is conveniently labeled with a big sign saying “Koopa Klub.”

There’s a nearby building you can see a few times called “Lori’s Eats.” Whoever Lori is, she must have been thrilled to be referenced on the Super Show! The Mario gang doesn’t know the password, but Mouser tells them what it is, in a bit of stupidity that’s actually funny. Inside the Klub, there’s a party in full swing, with a Goomba jumping around on piano keys, a Shy Guy on upright bass, and a Pidgit on saxophone playing a jazzy version of the SMB2 overworld theme. A Birdo and Ostro are dancing, the former wearing a tuxedo. I guess this Birdo doesn’t “think he’s a girl.” This scene has to be one of the best they’ve done on this show.

Mario and company knock out the Troopa working the coat check and steal some hats, then confront Koopone, who has the Koopa Pack attack despite the fact that he knows the hats work and bullets won’t affect them. Remember all those other hats they showed earlier on? This might have been a good time to use them, to even the score a bit. But no, we get a musical interlude where the bad guys waste a bunch of ammunition while the heroes throw veggies at them, while they play a cover of “Beat It,” a song about NOT fighting. It’s also the third Michael Jackson song they’ve done. The Princess blasts the other Klub patrons away with soda from the bar. Koopone does the standard warp zone escape, and Mario converts the club into a pasta restaurant, because Crime Land didn’t have any. Kind of strange for a place themed around Italian-style gangsters, but whatever. And we never see the unzappable hats again, despite the fact they worked perfectly for both the bad and good guys.

George Washington Slept Here – Mario and Luigi are converting the basement into a bed and breakfast, and the former decides to attract business with a sign saying George Washington slept there, reasoning that no one can argue with it. But right after the cartoon, Washington shows up and berates them for lying. The actor playing him is Ed Metzger, who was Einstein in “9001: A Mario Odyssey.” They try to get Washington to fall asleep on their couch, figuring that then they’d no longer be lying, but instead they doze off and dream about being on a bathtub boat with the first President. When they wake up, they realize the whole thing was a dream, but then a guy named Ralph Washington who’s also played by Metzger comes to the door to ask if they have any vacancies, scaring the pasta out of the plumbers.

Bad Rap – To get the joke everyone makes out of the way, yes, the title is accurate and the rap in this episode IS bad. Still, it’s pretty ambitious to do a show where all the lines rhyme. It seems to be pretty infamous as far as this cartoon goes. The plot is about as usual, with Koopa taking over another small kingdom with a weird theme, in this case Rap Land. He goes on the intercom and announces himself as Rappin’ Koopa, and tells everyone to bring him all their money. They apparently have no choice but to obey, although it doesn’t affect Mario and company. I had said there was going to be another Fat Boys reference, and here it is with the Flab Boys, two guys who look like overweight insect people. They insist that wearing headphones protected them from Koopa’s hypnotic announcements, but if they couldn’t hear what he was saying, how did they even know what was going on? And if the earphones cancel noise that well, should they be able to converse with the visiting Mario team? The Princess disguises herself as a Rap Land citizen, carrying Toad in a bag of money, so they can get into the castle. A Troopa figures out what’s going on, though, and Koopa captures the Princess and ties her up with the King of Rap Land. What’s weird is that he’s a caricature of James Brown (they even use “I Feel Good” as the episode’s cover song), when, as you probably know, he wasn’t a rapper.

Not that I expect the writers to be particularly knowledgeable about hip-hop, but they apparently were aware of the Fat Boys. Rappin’ Koopa sets up a trap for the Princess and the King where a giant record needle comes down to kill them; and the Mario Brothers and the Flab Boys run away from a bunch of Albatosses with Bob-ombs. Fortunately, Toad saves the prisoners, but it never makes a lot of sense when Koopa tries to actively destroy Princess Toadstool. King James leads the others to a giant plug in a hydroelectric dam, the source of all the power for Rap Land. Mario successfully unplugs it, but not until after he gets electrocuted, somehow turning him into his super form. That’s more the kind of thing that happens in Wario games. When they first get to the plug, one of the Flab Boys says, “There it is, Rap Land’s power,” but there’s no line that rhymes with it, and I think that’s the only time they forget. We also see the power lines running past a giant shoe. Everyone then prepares for Koopa’s attack, with Mario holding a microphone, Luigi at a turntable, the Princess and King firing explosive CDs from boomboxes, and Toad hiding in a hole in the ground. I’m not really sure what Mario and Luigi are actually contributing, except possibly providing morale. The CDs blow up some Albatosses, and the Flab Boys roll themselves into balls and knock down a bunch of Troopas. Well, at least it’s a bunch of Troopas in an earlier shot; we actually only see them take down six turtles. Koopa then runs toward his enemies, and Luigi is afraid despite the fact that they outnumber him by a significant amount. They don’t have to worry anyway, however, as the villain just happens to run over where Toad is hiding, and the mushroom trips him. Good thing Koopa didn’t choose to run toward them on a slightly different path! He does the standard potion door escape, and Rap Land celebrates with everyone dancing to the theme song from the cartoon introduction, making it an in-universe thing. It’s like when the Ghostbusters actually play the movie’s theme on the stereo in Ghostbusters II.

Caught in a Draft – Sergeant Slaughter reappears, claiming to be under orders to train the Mario Brothers for a secret government mission. They prove utterly incompetent at following orders, and eventually fall asleep. Then the President calls and tells them he really wanted Ratigator.

I’m not sure if anyone is reading these at all, let alone caring about whether I slip in a comic review, but I enjoy writing them. This time, it’s that classic “Duh Stoopid Bomb!” It opens with Mario, Luigi, the King, the Princess, and Wooster sitting around a table discussing a threat. They mention that Toad has infiltrated Koopa’s castle to spy on him, and we see him there dressed as a Shy Guy. While Koopa is yelling at him, he slips out of the disguise, and Bowser just keeps yelling at the discarded robe and mask.

Toad finds out Koopa’s new secret weapon is a stupid bomb, and he runs off with it, only to accidentally set it off at the Mushroom Castle and make everyone dumb. Koopa then reveals his other new weapon, smart bombs, one of which makes a nearby Snifit a genius (in the typical comic/cartoon way of having him talk incessantly using big words) who overthrows the turtle tyrant. This could be a story in and of itself, but instead it’s just a brief gag before we see both the good and bad guys repeatedly blowing themselves up with stupid bombs and being too dumb to care. Also worth noting is that there’s a Fryguy kindergarten located underneath Koopa’s throne room; and Wooster makes a list of everyone who says the King is dumb, including Kevin Keene (Captain N), Zelda, Nintendo of America translator Dan Owsen, Mother Brain, Wart, Little Mac, Donkey Kong, and Dirk Drain-Head. I’m not sure who the Nestor mentioned on the list is, unless it’s supposed to be Nester from Nintendo Power.

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1 Response to Never Steal a Used Carpet

  1. Pingback: May the Pasta Be with You | VoVatia

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