The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
December 16th, 2008
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Of all the poorly animated, poorly written and just downright poor animated shows that came out of the 1980s...this was one of 'em. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
NC (voiceover): This is probably one of the strangest cartoon shows that ever came out of our generation. And considering what we grew up with, that's saying a lot. At the time, Super Mario Bros. was everywhere, scoring it big with two hit games on the original NES. So the appropriately named "dick" entertainment (actually DiC, pronounced "deek") said "We can profit from this too. Let's make a show about this world famous game and see if we can come up with something truly ridiculous and embarrassing." They did. And, boy, was it not only stupid, it was weird, weird, weird.
NC: Now I know what you're thinking. How can a show based off two Italian plumbers in a land of mushrooms who spit fire from flowers and spend most of their time kicking turtle shells POSSIBLY be strange?
NC (voiceover): Well, it is. Mostly because when you get down to it, Mario Bros. had no story. It's just your basic "hero rescues princess from dragon" scenario. Nothing else. So how can you possibly center an entire animated series around that?
NC: The short answer is, they don't. The long answer? Well, let's take a look.
Mario: Hey, paisanos, it's the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
The Mario theme song starts up
NC: Well, at least they have the original video game music, I mean, it's not like they tried to modernize it with some retarded rap or something.
Mario and Luigi start rapping the theme song.
Mario and Luigi: We're the Mario brothers, and plumbing's our game!
NC: You know, I gotta learn to keep my fucking mouth shut.
NC (voiceover): So the show actually starts off with a live-action portion, with Danny Wells as Luigi, and PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO as Mario.
NC: Okay, THAT'S kinda cool.
NC (voiceover): They would often get incredible guest stars on like Dracula, Inspector Gadget, and even Elvis, wow, they managed to get Elvis. They mostly sat around, telling lame jokes, hoping the kids don't know how to comprehend humor yet.
Dracula: You must be Mario. You must be Luigi. ...You must be kidding! This place is a dump.
NC: And if you think that piece of puked up horrible writing is bad, wait till ya see the cartoon!
NC (voiceover): The animated portion stars your essential characters, Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad. You know, the little bastard who always said "Our Princess is in another castle." I wonder if he's as annoying in the show as he is in the game.
Toad: Hey, Bob-omb, did anyone ever tell you you were UUUUUG-LY!
NC: Nope. He's FAR more annoying.
NC (voiceover): I mean, they really couldn't find another voice for this guy? It sounds like Jay Leno's mentally deficient cousin.
Toad: Hey, man, I'm the Fantastic Fungus!
NC: (mocking Toad) Myah, myah, myah!
NC (voiceover): What a shitload of shroom. Give them some credit, though, they actually did get a WOMAN to do the princess' voice. Instead of...whoever the hell they got to do it in the games.
Montage of clips from Super Mario Strikers, as examples of Peach's voice from there--worth noting is that from Mario Tennis until Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Peach was played by Jen Taylor, who is indeed a woman, also known for playing Halo's Cortana and Left 4 Dead's Zoey
NC: Why is it I always see like a fat, middle-aged balding man doing that voice, it's just so creepy!
NC (voiceover): While we're on the subject, though, is it me, or does Luigi sound an awful lot like George Carlin in this show?
Luigi: I know I'm gonna regret this./Okay./Miserable manicotti!
NC: Now say the seven words you can't say on TV!
George Carlin: (audio, dubbed over Luigi) Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits, fart, turd, and twat.
NC (voiceover): And then, of course, there's Bowser, who they always call King Koopa for some reason, I never got that. Why don't they just call him Bowser, or even The Artist Formerly Known as Bowser, just...something, I'm used to calling him Bowser! (Note: Bowser was called King Koopa for the first few games, and in Japan he is known as King Koopa) So, anyway, you're probably wondering "What's the story of the show?" Boy, is that the million dollar question. I say that 'cause the story keeps changing, it's never the same scenario! Sometimes, they're in the jungle, sometimes, they're in the future, sometimes, they're in SPACE...the fact is they didn't have any original ideas of their own, so they just decided to rip off everybody else. So you get really lame titles like "Toad Warriors", "Star Koopa", and "Raiders of the Lost Mushroom."
NC (voiceover): And in every episode, Koopa would be different. In one, he's a punk leader, in another, he's a robot, in this one...I don't know what the hell he is, vibrator maybe? I don't know. All these characters are totally flat and have no personality. But trust me when I say that's not the worst part. Like let's talk about the setting. In the game, everything takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom. Here? Good God, I couldn't even tell you how ridiculous these settings are. They live in idiotic worlds like Spy Land or Jungle Land or Robo-land. Or even stinking Car Land, they have a Car Land!
NC: You can't just add the word "land" to something and expect it to be a fully developed, three-dimensional world! Like, "Hey, I got an idea, let's all go to 'Pot Land'! And after that, maybe we can spend time in 'Table Tennis Land'. Or how about we stop by 'That British Guy that Seems to Be in Everything But You Never Really Take the Time to Learn What His Name is Land.'" (Jim Broadbent) IT DOESN'T WORK!
NC (voiceover): So, okay, there's nothing wrong with a little satire, as long as it's written well. But I actually think they went out of their way to make sure this was written badly. This humor is so lame it predates half the dinosaurs they're fighting in the show. I mean, listen to some of this dialogue.
Luigi: Holy macaroni!
Princess: May the Pasta be with you!
Mario: Not on your lasagna loving life!
Bowser: So long, spaghetti suckers!
Mario: (while getting out a light saber) I'm gonna make linguini out of you!
Bowser: Try it, meatball!
Luigi: Calamitous calamari!
NC: Pasta jokes, nothing but fucking pasta jokes! Why? 'Cause they're Italian? Yeah, that's not stereotypical at all!
Mario: Speakin' of pasta, where's that lunch you promised? (everybody then laughs)
NC: (Italian accent) Hey, cause we Italian, all we know about is lasagna and comedically large mustaches. ...Meatball!
NC (voiceover): So if pasta puns isn't your cup of Ragu, don't worry. There's plenty of other stuff that doesn't make sense. Like the animation. This stuff makes Hanna-Barbera look like Hayao Miyazaki. I mean the original video games have better animation than this! Half the time it doesn't even add up. Like, look at this scene where they throw a bomb at this guy. He's so afraid that he actually jumps off WITH THE BOMB! Why? Was he a kamikaze Koopa? I mean, it makes no sense. Here's another great scene, see if you can spot the flaw here.
Bowser: How much longer till my Birdo Ray destroys the space mushrooms?
Mowser: 16 minutes-
But the timer only says 4:25!
NC (voiceover): (stammers) WHAT?! You said 16 minutes LITERALLY as the clock is showing four minutes and 25 seconds!
NC: What the hell, are they even trying?
NC (voiceover): But here's my favorite. They come across a character named Indiana Joe.
NC: Get it, they remove the "N" and the "S" and it becomes a completely different name. Genius satire.
NC (voiceover): So he comes in with the hat and whip and everything, but look! THEY FORGOT TO ANIMATE HIS FACE.
NC: HOW CHEAP ARE THESE BASTARDS, they couldn't even animate facial features*?
- (According to Perry Martin, the episode's writer, Indiana Joe's face was left off to avoid a copyright lawsuit from George Lucas or Harrison Ford)
NC (voiceover): And they never explain why, you're just supposed to accept the fact that he looks like that, no questions asked.
NC: How hard can it be to put a face on a person, anyone can do it, I can do it, watch!
He waves his hand and disappears, then the scene cuts to Indiana Joe, with NC's face Photoshopped (although it's technically video) over the blank space
Indiana Critic: GIVE ME A FACE, YA FUCKIN' BUNGHOES!
NC (voiceover): But wait! It gets even more chaotic. Just watch a few of these scenes and see if you can make a lick of sense out of it.
Mario: That was more fun than getting flushed down a sewer!
NC: (scared) ...Okay, I don't wanna know what you do Friday nights.
Scene of a snake enemy shooting a bullet out of its mouth
NC: Why was the snake shooting bullets?
A scene of a Toad in some sort of makeshift flying machine clearly primarily comprised of a trashcan
NC: Is he flying a garbage can?
Mario: We don't have anything he wants!
Princess: Yes, we do! A tanker full of spaghetti sauce!
NC: ...I don't know what's going on! (he cries) I'm so confused. Why does he want a tanker of spaghetti sauce, why would ANYONE want a tanker of spaghetti sauce? It's spaghetti! It's not a valuable resource! That's it I'm done! I can't take it, this show makes NO SENSE! Show me something else, I don't care, just anything, anything that doesn't have to do with this!
The title screen for The Legend of Zelda cartoon comes up
NC: EXCEPT THAT, EXCEPT THAT!
NC (voiceover): Ah, yes, I almost forgot. Every Friday, the Super Show would replace the Mario cartoon with a Legend of Zelda cartoon. And even though it wasn't as bad as the Mario stuff, it was still pretty damn wretched. I mean you watch the opening, it looks cool, it looks big and epic, until...
Zelda: Nice job, hero!
Link: Hey! Excuuuuuuse me, Princess!
NC: ...really? "Excuse me, Princess," that's the best 80s sitcom catchphrase that you could come up with? Well, if we're gonna go this route, why not exploit the shit out of it? I mean, there's plenty of other phrases you could've used, like "Wha'chu talkin' 'bout, Zelda?" Or maybe the more obscure "To the moon, your highness!" Or how 'bout the always classic, always endearing "Dy-no-mite, Princess Hottie Pants!" I mean just if you wanna make it more subtle.
NC (voiceover): For all its problems, Zelda does at least have a grounded story. Zelda and Link are guarding the Triforce of Wisdom while the evil wizard Ganon is constantly trying to steal it from them, trying to combine it with the Triforce of Power. Whoever gets both Triforces will rule the Kingdom of Hyrule forever.
NC: Now this is an adventure I can get behind, exciting stories, gripping action, and tough, nail-biting dilemmas that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Like:
Zelda: The crew building my father's water park was attacked by monsters! You got any ideas?
NC: ...WHO GAYED UP MY NINTENDO GAMES, WHO? WHO?!
NC (voiceover): It's funny, since with Mario, you never knew what to expect. With Zelda, you ALWAYS knew what you were gonna get. For example, Link always tries to get to first base with Zelda.
Montage of Link's attempts to get a kiss from Zelda
NC: Jesus, he's more horny than Pepe Le Pew!
Link: Whether I'm awake or asleep, you're the girl of my dreams.
Zelda: That's the sappiest line I've ever heard!
NC: That's nothin'! Wait till you hear my pasta-related humor!
NC (voiceover): Ganon always sits and plots like Skeletor's drunken mother-in-law.
Scene of Ganon making some plan, and teleporting around the room while doing so
Ganon: I want those pieces of the Triforce!
NC: Okay, what's with the teleporting?
Ganon: Link and Zelda...
NC: Is that really necessary?
Ganon: I'll have Link's...
I dunno, but he's still doing it
NC: What is the point?
I don't know! But clearly asking me isn't gonna stop him, look!
NC: KNOCK IT OFF!
Don't you yell-oh, wait, no, you mean him, cause he's still doing it
NC: Does he have ATD, Attention Teleportation Disorder?
NC (voiceover): And, of course, Link always says:
Link: Excuuuse me, Princess!
NC (voiceover): Why? Because Zelda and Link are always bickering.
Link: I was sleep walking.
Zelda: Sleep walking?/Stop sitting down on the job!
Link: Thanks heaps!
Zelda: I guess you'll have to do.
Link: Why me?
Zelda: You stop doing that!
Link: Now what?
Zelda: Good boy.
NC: When did this turn into the Mad About You of fantasies?
Zelda: Yuck! You're all dirty!
Link: Aw, come on princess!
The Zelda logo comes up, and NC sounds like an announcer
NC: The Adventures of Zelda, action-adventure, swords and flame, and trying to figure out who left the toilet seat up the other night!
NC (voiceover): Well I have to say I like the fact that Zelda is an active character, not just some pretty damsel waiting to be rescued. I think she's actually more mannish than Link is! I mean look at this, she's always saving the day, always planning the strategies, and even pushing her loved ones out of the way so she can focus on her work.
NC: Back off lady, we totally own that!
NC (voiceover): I also like the fact that she actually DOES have a king for a father, so she's not just taking the princess trademark cause it sounds pretty.
King: Perfectly natural for him to defend it, eh?
NC: Whoa, what the hell is the king on?
NC (voiceover): Look at his eyes, listen to his voice. I think I know why they call this land Hyrule, cause it's always ruled by a high king!
Link: Well, excuuuse me, princess.
NC (voiceover): It's weird because Link is often considered one of the quintessential video game fantasy heroes. But here he's a wise-cracking jackass, kinda like a medieval Wheeler from Captain Planet .
Wheeler: Now I'm some sorta cut-rate superhero!
Link: You called for a hero, princess?
Wheeler: What's that supposed to mean?
Link: Well, excuuuuuse me, princess!
NC: I'm just gonna keep sayin' this till someone makes a t-shirt out of it.
NC (voiceover): So most of the time they just go to Ganon's fortress at Castle Grayskull where they try to steal his Triforce away, while Ganon often goes to their castle to try to steal THEIR Triforce away.
Link: Two zaps! One more and you're history, Ganon!
NC:(mocking Link) I know, I read it in the instruction book!
NC (voiceover): Speaking of which, wasn't there originally 3 Triforces*? I mean that's why it's called the TRIforce, right, there's three of them, they come together as one. So where's the other one if it's not here?
(*No. Originally there were just the two, named for their shape. The third wasn't introduced until Zelda 2)
NC: Is it lost in the mystical, enchanted realms of East Orange New Jersey? Or maybe in the outer regions of fantasy and reality known as Disney's Magic Kingdom. Or maybe it's in Pot Land, I don't know, I guess it doesn't matter.
NC (voiceover): I gotta say though, the Triforce itself is kinda strange. It can actually talk and predict the future. In rhyme no less.
Triforce of Wisdom: To find your father, royal daughter, you must search beneath the water.
NC: It's like one of those triangles you find in the Magic 8 Balls.
Zelda: Ganon's got Link's Crys-Sword* now, how can we stop him?
The Triforce just shows "Ask Again Later" on it
Zelda attaches a chain to the Triforce and carries it from the room, while it floats next to her
NC (voiceover): Oh, dude, the Triforce is not a balloon, show some respect!
Link: Well, excuuse me, princess!
NC: And you shut the hell up, you metrosexual wannabe!
NC (voiceover): I think if I had to pick my favorite episode, one of them would have to be the waterpark adventure. Because it makes NO SENSE. You have all these demons and creatures you could be fighting, and what's the biggest problem?
King: My royal water park should be completed soon!
NC (voiceover): I especially like this scene where the animators forgot to animate the creature's claws in this scene. Look, you can even see where they're supposed to be.
Two arrows pointing to where the claws WOULD be
NC: Oh yeah, we're the best animators in town! Just don't ask us to draw creature claws...or faces, we're no good at either of those, we keep forgetting to put them in.
NC (voiceover): Look at this, the bubbles aren't even moving in the background. Do you think they just stopped to watch the show? So in the end, what was causing all that ruckus in the water park?
King: 'Fraid our water park was hooked into the fairy water supply! And the fairy king here got worried.
NC (voiceover): Ohohoho, what a misunderstanding! I'm so glad this mediocre and unimpressive problem was resolved.
NC: Next week, they're gonna find out why Link's piggy back horse has a squeak in it!
NC (voiceover): I think the other episode I like is one where Link's soul is removed from his body, so he has to tell Zelda how to defend herself and use his weapons, which of course makes no sense, she's the one who's doing the work to begin with! Why does she suddenly need instruction?
Link: You swing that sword like a girl!
NC (voiceover): You know the whole role-reversal gag doesn't really work if you already reversed the roles to begin with!
Link: Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, princess!
NC (voiceover): So even with his soul removed from his body and on the brink of eternal slumber, do you think that gets any respect from our highness?
Link: Say, I wonder why you're the only one that can see me.
Zelda: Just my bad luck, I guess.
NC: (speaking for Link) You know what? Why? Why do you hate me so much? Is defending all of humanity just not good enough for you, you royal piece of cocktease, I oughta split you in half with my laser sword you no good sack of bitch! FUCK YOU!
Link: Well, excuuuse me, princess!
NC: Or you could just go with that, either way, the cartoon blows.
NC (voiceover): Especially because the Zelda games have gotten a big reputation recently, becoming kinda like the Lord of the Rings of video games. So people really seem to take it seriously and really hate this cartoon in particular. And who could blame them? Everything about this show is half-assed, cheesy and just downright lazy. Not that we expected exactly high art, but we did in fact EXPECT something. And instead got one hell of a silly, thoroughly unenjoyable series. Hell, just watching someone play the games is more fun than this fully animated bullcrap.
NC: Now to be fair, I do think this show was probably intended for much younger kids in mind, but that's no excuse. Just because something is intended for younger kids doesn't give you the right not to try. If you're really good at something, you can make anything entertaining and anything plausible, no matter how absurd. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. Now if you'll excuse me-
He takes off his hat and switches it for a fedora
NC: My neverending search for Pot Land continues.
- The actual reason Bowser wanted the tanker full of spaghetti sauce was that, in the episode the clip in question comes from, "Toad Warriors", he planned to make the Toads buy the spaghetti sauce back from him.