For this week’s installment of Saturday Morning Cartoons, we are looking at the first episode of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show “The Bird! The Bird!” Now, you may be pointing out that technically, this wasn’t completely a cartoon. That there are live action bits, and you would be right. But I don’t care. Most of the show is animated, so we’re going with it. Besides, it’s too awful to pass up experiencing this piece of animation glory.
Let’s start with the introduction. The opening song is a rap song set to the Super Mario Bros. theme. It is certainly…something. Then combine that with live action Mario and Luigi, Mario being played by Capt. Lou Albano, over top animated scenes that also include Princess Toadstool and Toad, and it is a sight to behold. But also, probably fairly representative of what you’re going to find within the episode.
The episode opens with a live action bit, where Mario is tidying himself in the mirror, but Luigi just has to point out that there’s a piece of spaghetti on Mario’s shoulders, but Luigi also has spaghetti sauce on his shirt. Because they’re Italian. Get it? Aren’t stereotypes in the late 80s fun? Anyways, some young woman contacts them from their medicine cabinet, but then comes inside, conveniently holding a newspaper declaring them on the front page to be the best plumbers in the world. Of course newspapers had that sort of thing on the front page. Didn’t you see it? It was in all of the papers.
This mystery woman is here to hire them to fix her clogged kitchen sink, but she needs it done really quick. Fortunately(?), they just happen to have a clogged sink sitting in the middle of the room to demonstrate how quickly they could fix it. You may be asking yourself why they have a sink in the middle of the room, but best not to ask such questions. It’s a very awkward moment. There are video game sound effects, Mario is doing something weird with his hands. However, it all leads to a moment where the lady gets sprayed in the face with water. Hilarious.
Finally, we arrive at the animation, and it’s introduced by another rap song. Less than 4 minutes into the episode, and we’ve already have had 2 introductory rap songs. Be still my beating heart. But, it does set the scene and let us know the basics about how we got here in this cartoon world. This story opens with Mario and Luigi walking through the snow, searching for the magic that can free Princess Toadstool’s Kingdom. The Princess is sitting in a sled, being pulled by Toad. Poor Toad, but it gets worse. After crashing a few times, Birdo flies off with Toad.
Mario promises the Princess that Luigi and him will get Toad back, in spite of Luigi protesting that he is allergic to mountains. I already have the sinking suspicion that Luigi is going to get no respect in this cartoon. Birdo returns to her home, and drops Toad off in a crib, thinking that he is her baby. If it’s not clear by now, Birdo is pretty blind. Even with thick glasses, she can’t find the phone, and when she does answer it, she has it backwards.
Meanwhile on the mountain, we go from happy traveling music, to things are getting serious, dramatic movie. And then a large crack forms in the mountain, for no reason. Poor poor Luigi is in hysterics, but good ol’ Mario is there to show them the way with “pasta power.” Because they’re Italian, in case you forgot. In the end, they all jump over the gap. But lo and behold, they are being watched by…by…you know what? I don’t have the slightest idea what they were being watched by. Some Adipose (Doctor Who reference) looking things on skis, that are going to report back to King Koopa.
Those two white blobs return to King Koopa, who is grateful for the news, but still has them lick his feet. It’s weird. And I feel the need to point out that the animators must really love drawing slobber. You had it with Birdo kissing Toad. Now you have with these white things licking Koopa’s feet. It’s a little uncomfortable because there’s just so much of it. But anyways, King Koopa sends word to his Air Force, and a flock of birds change directions to presumably go after Mario and Luigi.
We now return to Birdo, who is feeding Toad a bottle. And while Toad does continue his protestations after a bit, it does seem like he is enjoying being fed from a bottle for an uncomfortable amount of time. Unfortunately for Toad, today happens to be the day that Birdo is going to start his flying lessons.
Meanwhile, Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool are continuing their trek up the mountain. Just as Luigi asks how could things get any worse, things get worse. Oh the irony. Koopa’s Air Force starts dropping Bob-Ombs on them, even though Mario would have preferred and salami sandwich. Because he’s Italian. Get it? The gang knocks what bomb they can away, but the birds drop bombs higher up the mountain creating an avalanche. The trio run away, even though Mario hates running on an empty stomach. Because he overweight. Get it? They find a conveniently place door, but are now trapped by the avalanche.
While Toad tries to bribe Birdo with 10 gold coins to drop him to his death, the trio find an even more conveniently placed fire flower inside this cave with a front door. Using a chant of “pasta power,” because you know why, Mario jumps up gets it. He blasts a who through the snow with his new found fire power. During this time, Koopa is in the middle of awarding his birds with medals, the two white blobs inform Koopa that Mario and them survived the avalanche. Koopa snatches the medals away, and vows to lead the next attack himself.
With their newly gained freedom, Mario, Luigi, and the Princess are suddenly just sitting down. Mario laments that he could really go for a pepperoni cheesecake right now. Because you know why. Just then, they find Birdo’s baby frozen in a block of ice. With a few blasts of fire power, they are able to free the baby, and not roast it as well. Birdo, flying high with Toad, drops him so that he can learn to fly. Toad yells that he wishes that she would have given him a parachute, and then remembers that he can use his mushroom hat as a parachute. So he does, and just happens to drop in on the gang sitting around a campfire. You know, for a group so intent on finding Toad, they sure are doing a lot of sitting around.
As they are planning on taking the baby, Chibi, back to Birdo, King Koopa attacks, leading his army on a snowmobile. A bomb takes out Mario’s fire power, and Koopa’s army has them surrounded. At that moment, Toad, being carried by Birdo starts dropping vegetables onto the Koopa army. King Koopa calls for a retreat. I mean really, what choice did he have. Sure, his arch enemy was powerless, but they were throwing freaking vegetables at him. You can’t repel firepower of that magnitude. In the end, Birdo invites everyone back to her home, and offers them dinner, as a reward for saving her little baby. Mario initially thinks it’s spaghetti, but it turns out to be a worm. And they all run off in terror. And that’s the end of the cartoon.
Back in the live action stuff, a series misfortunes that are allegedly funny befall this poor, young lady, who according to the end credits is Nicole Eggert, playing herself. The name didn’t really mean much, but apparently she was in Charles in Charge and Baywatch. Anyways, it all works out in the end, because the party she’s going to is a sloppy party. Whoever dresses the sloppiest wins. I am not even going to bother to see if these were a thing. I fear the Google results. It should be noted that there was a preview for the next episode of The Legend of Zelda cartoon, which may find its way into this column soon. Let’s just say, I liked it better when Link didn’t talk. Before ending, of course the end credits has another rap song, with Mario informing everyone on how to do “The Mario.” To me, it just looks like a dancing Santa.
So that was the first episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. I hadn’t really remembered much of this show from when I was a kid, but it was certainly rough. I can see why Nintendo has remained hesitant to allow their games to be adapted. But really, you should see it for yourself, just to share in the experience.