May the Pasta Be with You

Raiders of the Lost Mushroom – The Indiana Jones parody is infamous in that the character Indiana Joe doesn’t have a face. The story writer Perry Martin tells is that he originally intended Joe to be a caricature of Harrison Ford, but there was some fear of legal trouble. It still doesn’t make sense, though, because even if they can’t make him look like Ford, wouldn’t any face be better than no face? Instead, we have the Mario characters chatting with the Terrible Trivium from The Phantom Tollbooth with everyone thinking it’s normal.

It’s worth noting that he has an exposed belly as well, like his jacket doesn’t fit properly. Also, “Indiana Joe”? Isn’t that kind of lazy? The Paper Mario games later had an adventuring archaeologist Koopa named Kolorado, which keeps the state name idea.

Anyway, the Mario team is back in Jungle Land to search for a wish-granting artifact called the Lost Mushroom. While the title plays on Raiders of the Lost Ark, the jungle setting is reminiscent of Temple of Doom, made even more obvious by the fact that the Mushroom is hidden in the Temple of Koopa.

King Koopa himself is basically dressed as a Nazi here, as a reference to Colonel Dietrich in Lost Ark. I mean, it’s not close enough to be banned in Germany or anything, but it’s obvious what they’re going for.

He’s called Kolonel von Koop (although the good guys call him “Kolonel von Koopa”), and he’s in Jungle Land with Mouser, Triclyde, and a Koopa Troopa. The Kolonel claims that the Mushroom was the property of his great-great-grandkoop, who left it to him and built the temple to house it. Mario and company arrive in a hot air balloon, something we’d see again in later Mario games.

An Albatoss shows up to burst the balloon, and for some reason Toad finds it necessary to point out that the bird works for Koopa. After a crash landing, the heroes meet up with Joe, who leads them to the temple but refuses to go in because he suffers from koopaphobia, a play on Indy’s fear of snakes. The usual suspects have the same sort of chase sequence they’ve had several times in the past, this time running from a Fryguy and jumping over a Cobrat.

They reach the Mushroom, which resembles the Laughing Buddha, and Mario wishes for a trapdoor out, which is immediately granted. Koopa and his henchmen are waiting outside to steal the artifact, and they lock up the heroes with a lion in a Shy Guy mask.

It’s not that much of a threat, though, as Mario is able to tame it with one whip by a plumber’s snake. They go back to see Joe, who is now working as a babysitter, but he decides Koopas aren’t as scary as kids and joins them again. In the upcoming battle, which is mostly just the Mario gang fighting with plumber’s snakes, Koopa’s Cobrat appears to be spitting eggs instead of bullets, although nothing really comes of it. We also see Triclyde spit fire for what I think is only the second time in the show. Kolonel von Koop escapes through a warp zone, but doesn’t do the typical “he and koops and runs away” line. Indeed, the whole scene is strangely silent, making me wonder if it was originally written to include a cover song there, but they didn’t. Mario uses the Mushroom to fill Joe’s hut with pasta as a final joke, but the fact that the good guys end up with a magical item that apparently has no limits isn’t addressed. For that matter, what did Koopa’s ancestor do with it? Why would he hide something that could give him anything he wanted? There could certainly be valid explanations for such things, but they aren’t in the show. Also notable is that Mario uses a rhyme to make his wish, as did Koopa earlier, but Mario’s original wish for a trapdoor didn’t rhyme and was still granted. I guess the rhymes aren’t necessary, but they make the spells sound more impressive. There was a similar Indiana Jones spoof in the Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon “Do the Koopa,” with the Marios finding a magic music box in the Temple of Gloom and the Koopalings stealing it from them, but the rest of that episode went off in a different direction.

Cyrano de Mario – Vanna White makes an appearance as Roxanne, an old girlfriend of Mario’s whom he agreed to marry years ago. He doesn’t know how to be romantic, however, so Luigi agrees to hide in a trash bin and feed him lines. Weird that Luigi would be the more romantically confident one, since he’s usually portrayed as shy, but this characterization didn’t always hold in the live-action bits. Mario once again wears a tie over his usual outfit, by the way. It turns out Roxanne is already married, and instead wants Mario to keep his promise to help her buy discount plumbing supplies. There isn’t that much of Cyrano de Bergerac here, at least from what I know of the story, but I guess Mario and Luigi both have pretty big noses.

Crocodile Mario – There had already been a Crocodile Dundee parody in a live-action segment, but this animated one doesn’t have a character based on Dundee, instead spoofing some of the more famous lines from the movie and Australian stereotypes in general. The usual gang is in Down Under Land, presumably the Mushroom World version of Australia, to check out a magic statue. In this country, trees are upside down and rivers float in the air.

They arrive right when Kangaroo Koopa is stealing the statue. Their calendars must be synced up or something.

It turns out that the statue keeps crocodiles away, so with it gone, the reptiles start ravaging the town. I assume Mario and company didn’t know what the statue actually did when they went to investigate it, because their problem isn’t crocodiles, even if Koopa has a snout like one. For that matter, why does Koopa want it? Mario wrestles with a crocodile and remarks that he knows why his crocodile skin suitcase was so hard to close. I seriously doubt the broke-ass Mario from his Brooklyn days would have had a suitcase like that. More likely it was imitation Ratigator. There’s a spoof on the “You call that a knife?” bit with plungers, although it’s somewhat ruined by the fact that Mario’s plunger is only slightly bigger than Luigi’s. (I’m talking about literal plungers here, people.) During this episode, Mario also bends a plunger into a boomerang and uses one as a pogo stick. Who knew they were such all-purpose tools? I just hope he cleans them off after putting them to their more standard use. Mario and Luigi chase Koopa out into the wilds, where they take a raft down some rapids while avoiding Birdoroo eggs and boomerangs thrown by Troopas, predating the Boomerang Brothers from SMB3, at least in the West.

The brothers lose track of their nemesis, but see some crocodiles running away, and assume they must be trying to get away from the stolen statue. Conveniently for them, Koopa has once again fallen asleep with no guards, so they can take the statue back with little trouble. Back in town, the residents, along with Toad and the Princess,are doing their best to keep away from the crocodiles, which are powerful enough to eat buildings. At one point, they hide in a tree where they see a giant koala. Mario and Luigi bring back the statue, the Princess makes it blush by kissing it, and the crocodiles all run off after Koopa. Mario’s closing line has him say they should throw a pizza on the barbie.

Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Rotten Pipes – The guest star is another person Captain Lou probably knew from his time in the wrestling world, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who wants Mario and Luigi to fix his bagpipes. Mario somehow manages to turn them into a vacuum cleaner that actually works, and that plays bagpipe music as it cleans. As you might expect, Piper is really pissed off at the plumbers, but they eventually manage to work them into automatically-playing electronic pipes, which for some reason Piper likes. From what I know of Piper’s wrestling persona, and I’ll admit I never really watched wrestling growing up, he was funny but could be also be scary, which fits with how he acts here.

Star Koopa – Yeah, there pretty much had to be a Star Wars parody somewhere in here, right? The original trilogy had been out for a while at this point, but this one sticks to the first movie, and obviously is pretty loose even at that. The Mario team is in space trying to save a colony of Toads who’ve colonized a planet, and Darth Koopa is threatening to destroy it if they don’t submit to his rule. The Mushroom Kingdom apparently has an active space program. According to Mario Kart 8, their space agency is the Rainbow Exploration Agency.

Mario’s spaceship this time is called the Flying Pizza, and the Millennium Falcon is sort of pizza-shaped, although I’ve read that the design was partially based on a hamburger.

The Koop Star, which is shaped like a giant pipe, captures the Flying Pizza with a tractor beam, and the heroes fight off Storm Troopas with their light plungers. Everyone here uses a light plunger to fight, which is closer to George Lucas’ original concept than the finished product where only Jedi and Sith use lightsabers. Luigi, who forgets how to turn his own, sticks his face right into the top, which is also what Luke Skywalker did when Obi-Wan Kenobi first showed him the saber. Then there’s a one-on-one fight between Mario and Koopa, and while it looks at first that Mario had the upper hand, Koopa takes out a freeze ray and freezes the good guys. Mouser then defrosts them, and Koopa says he wants the Princess to convince the mushroom colonists to surrender. She not only refuses but says they wouldn’t surrender even if she did ask them to, so instead Koopa decides to destroy the planet with the Koop Star’s Birdo Ray, which would shoot a giant egg at the world. In the image shown, the planet has supports like a globe. He and Mouser set a timer for the ray, but even though they show the clock a few times, it’s obvious that nobody cared about getting the readout correct. At one point, Mouser says there are sixteen minutes remaining when the timer only shows four. As for the Mario gang, Koopa throws them in a giant garbage disposal. Interesting that, of all the famous scenes in the film, they chose to parody the one with the trash compactor. To be fair, though, that scene stuck out for me when I first watched Star Wars. Or rather, the second time I watched it, because I was really young the first time and I think I slept through most of it. I guess Mouser sort of fills Grand Moff Tarkin’s role here, although not exactly as he wasn’t subservient to Darth Vader. Mario reminds Luigi that all the garbage disposals they fixed back in Brooklyn had silverware stuck in them, so Luigi throws some utensils into the blades (well, due to the poor animation, they actually barely touch the blades, but I think that’s the idea we’re supposed to get), breaking it. The good guys ride a garbage pod to the colonists’ planet, where they run into a giant Pokey and Cobrat. Mario has everyone run in circles around the Cobrat, kind of like what he and Luigi did with Triclyde in “The Great Gladiator Gig,” then they ride the snake to the colony.

Obi-Wan Toadi, the second Obi-Wan parody they’ve had on this show, gives Mario a Bob-omb and a pizza to boost his spirits, and he and his friends fly out in fighter ships that look like X-Wings made of pipes to Koopa’s battle station. After a trench run where “Ride of the Valkyries” plays, Mario blows up the Koop Star with his Bob-omb, but Koopa and Mouser escape on a rubber raft. I have to wonder what the show would have done with the next two Star Wars movies. About the only thing I can think of would be a Yoshi version of Yoda, assuming Super Mario World had come out by that point. There are always James Farr’s parodies of the Star Wars films using Nintendo characters, with Mario as Han Solo and Pikachu as Yoda.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Flatbush – I still think they should have paired this with “Koopa Klaus,” but that’s just not how this show works. What’s interesting is that this one is kind of sad and not particularly wacky. Mario and Luigi’s business has been slow recently, so all they can give each other as presents is their own stuff, Luigi giving Mario his boots and Mario giving his favorite wrench to Luigi. As they’re sitting down for their Christmas dinner of soup made with two garbanzo beans (hey, why don’t they just trying planting them?), a guy who’s obviously Santa Claus shows up at the door, but the Marios don’t realize it. He says his name is Nick and his transportation was stolen, and the brothers share their soup with him. When he mentions that he never gets any Christmas presents, they give him the boots and the wrench as well. Nick leaves, and the Marios notice that there are presents under the tree, and a note from “SC.” Santa is played by character actor Kort Falkenberg, whose name sounds rather Jewish to be playing the symbol of Christmas.

Robo Koopa – This is the last cartoon in original broadcast order, but only the thirteenth in production order. I’m not sure why they chose to end with it. It’s not like there’s a cartoon that’s really made to be an ending to the saga, although I kind of think they should have gone out with “Flatbush Koopa,” as it does have the Mario Brothers finally getting back to Brooklyn, even if they don’t stay there. It also has the same Plumber’s Log number as the previous cartoon, 2001. While the title is a play on RoboCop, there really isn’t anything in the episode that parodies the movie other than that Koopa becomes a cyborg. Actually, I’m not sure if he actually counts as one, as he’s in a suit, but it does enhance his senses and such. In his own words, he has super-strength, super-vision, super-hearing, and even super-toes, meaning he has cannons in his feet. He also shoots Bullet Bills, and I think this is the only time we see those in this show.

Some of his functions seem to be automatic, while others require him to press buttons. He frequently forgets which button does what, even though there appear to only be eight of them at most, when the animators even bother drawing all of them. There are also metallic Troopas in this one, but we don’t know who built them. They’re more impressive than the Mecha-Koopas introduced in Super Mario World. Robo Koopa is causing chaos in Robo Land, where pretty much everything is mechanical, and the version of the SMB theme with record scratches from “Bad Rap” is used again. The Mario gang runs away from Koopa and into Bunsen, a robot the Princess knows, who serves as lab assistant to Dr. Nerdnick. Koopa has kidnapped Nerdnick and forced him to make the robot suit. When they get to where he’s being held, Mario comments that he’s “under heavy guard,” even though it’s really just, like, three Shy Guys. The doctor looks kind of like E. Gadd, and also speaks in gibberish that only Bunsen seems able to understand.

There’s a running gag of Nerdnick giving a long speech with a really short translation, and vice versa. Bunsen accidentally helps Koopa by translating Nerdnick’s mention of which button he needs to press. The scientist decides to make a robot suit for Mario and Luigi to fight Koopa, but since it’s made from parts from a garbage dump, it’s not quite as impressive.

Still, the Plumbinator puts up a decent fight, using eggs, a flyswatter, and scissors. It ends up falling off a ledge and breaking, and while both brothers fall out, you can still see Luigi’s head inside the robot. Koopa is finally defeated by a ploy from Nerdnick, who, through Bunsen, tells him that he’s about to run out of fuel unless he presses the big red button on his chest (which is drawn as yellow). It turns out to really be the ejector seat, which sends the Koopa King flying, and that’s the last we see of him in the Super Show. Dr. Nerdnick then converts the robot suit into a pizza oven.

Captain Lou Is Missing – I think the last live-action segment really WAS made to be the last one broadcast. A radio broadcast says that Captain Lou Albano has gone missing, and Cyndi Lauper shows up at the Marios’ apartment to get their help in looking for him. Cyndi casting Lou as her father in the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video helped the Captain’s career, so it makes sense that she’d be on the show. By the way, that song plays in the background, even though the cover of it was cut out of the SMB3 episode “Reign Storm.” There’s a mention of Captain Lou being Mario’s hero and role model, so they’re really going meta with this one. Searches are organized all over the world, and even the President gets involved. Ultimately, they call off the search, but after Mario leaves to get some pizza, Captain Lou shows up. He has his beard with the rubber bands, which makes me wonder if this was the first thing filmed for the show, before he shaved it off to play Mario. He also says “uh-oh!”, which, strangely enough, is somewhat of a catchphrase for the live-action Mario. It turns out that he tore his note to Cyndi wrong, so while it looked like it said, “I’ve gone for good,” it was supposed to say, “I’ve gone for good fried chicken.” Too bad none of those searchers tried local restaurants. And obviously Mario doesn’t meet Lou, because this show doesn’t have the budget for that kind of thing.

Well, that’s it for this show, except for the Zelda cartoons and their accompanying live-action Mario bits, many of which are largely unavailable these days. I might review some of them at some point, but for now, I think I’ll finish up with the Nintendo Comics System. Well, the stories that I could find online, anyway.

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1 Response to May the Pasta Be with You

  1. Pingback: The King Is a Drip! | VoVatia

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