Welcome to another edition of our weekly feature, Saturday Morning Cartoons. Here, we select an episode of a cartoon, and recap/review it, because Saturday mornings were made for cartoons. This week, we return to the Mushroom Kingdom with “Mario’s Magic Carpet,” from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! This episode was written by Rowby Goren, and directed by Dan Riba.
As with every episode, of course this one starts with the remarkable(?) intro song. If you can’t remember what this song is, you owe it to yourself to look it up. In the live action segment, we find the Mario Bros. answering the phone and Luigi is upset that Mario told a lady that someone was coming over, and then we get the cartoon intro song. That was a really quick opening live segment. It’s kind of surprising.
The cartoon portion begins in a desert. Man, I really hope those angry suns aren’t in this. Those things still stress me out. The heroes are searching for Aladdin’s lamp, for the Princess to use to free her people from King Koopa. Right after warning each other about not falling for mirages, they all see a swimming pool. Surely if they’re all seeing it, then it can’t be a mirage, right? Well, they all go to dive in, only to find that it is a trap. It’s really a trampoline. A really bouncing trampoline, as it bounces them all of the way to a palace that they had not previously seen.
Inside they are greeted by the Sultan Pah(something), where he informs them that they will be his slaves. He forces the Princess to join his harem, which seems like a really odd thing to have in a children’s cartoon. Luckily, Mario, Luigi, and Toad are led right past Aladdin’s lamp. Even luckier, apparently the guards didn’t lock them up very well at all. They were locked up so poorly that it didn’t even warrant a scene in which they escape their cells. It just immediately shows them with a pizza slicer glass cutter, trying to get to the lamp.
The Sultan’s assistant tells the Sultan that the Princess is impossible and won’t wear her outfit and roller skates. The Sultan states that he’s tired of that wench, and is trying to sell her. Again, definitely something that you likely wouldn’t see in a cartoon today. Mario and Luigi overhear this, and get with releasing the genie from the lamp. As luck would have it, the genie turns out to be a cantankerous old woman. Toad runs in, which causes the genie to make the eloquent exclamation, “there’s a fungus among us.” Anyways, Toad ran in to tell everyone that King Koopa has shown up to buy the Princess.
Mario, going through his “Italian” based compliments, begs the genie to help. Unfortunately, rather than casting a magic spell, she casts a magic smell, and just stinks up the place. Koopa uses the mix up to fly him and the princess out of there. Mario ends up having to pay the genie to get them to fly, because I guess that’s how genies work in the Mushroom Kingdon. Unfortunately, the spell goes awry as well, and they are just shot up high into the air. Fed up with this, Toad suggests they check out the conveniently placed used magic carpet shop.
So, they chase after Koopa in what is a very beat up, run down car-pet, and they eventually catch up to him. Based on the fact that Koopa had a head start, and that Mario and the gang would have had to buy a magic carpet, and that these carpets are essentially cars and we all know buying a car is not a quick process, and this carpet is a beat up piece of junk that can’t go very fast, it seems unlikely that Mario and them could have caught up to Koopa. But they did. Toad then started jumping up and down to create a dust cloud to hide their approach, but the genie sneezes and buh-bye dust cloud. Koopa spots the chase car, and drops the Princess into quicksand. Like, drops her out of the car and she lands in quicksand. This wasn’t a small drop, but it’s fine. It’s all fine.
Koopa goes back to Mario’s car, which is again covered in dust. Mario flies off to save the Princess, and is able to without much trouble. Yeah, not sure why Koopa didn’t interfere. All he did was to call in a squadron of pigeons to attack them. And this is where things get weird. So, they save the Princess, and the pigeons attack. Mid-attack, Luigi remembers that he speaks Pigeon, at which point they have what can best be described as a Pokemon-esque conversation, just saying the word “pigeon.” Luigi tells them that Koopa has really tasty carpet. So, the pigeons go after Koopa, and somewhat destroy his carpet.
However, the episode ends with Koopa in possession of the lamp. This powerful magical device that they were after at the beginning of the episode to stop Koopa is now in Koopa’s hands, and no one seems to care. Sure, it doesn’t seem like the genie isn’t all that powerful, but what if Mario and Luigi were just not asking for the right things. We all know genies grant wishes, but Mario and Luigi never once actually wished for anything. They just kind of suggested that the genie do something. What if she was intentionally doing poor magic because they weren’t making the correct requests? Either way, it’s unwise to leave something that could pose a threat in the hands of your greatest enemy.
Wait, what if they’re not really enemies? What if this is all just a game that the 4 “heroes” play with Koopa? What if all of the back and forth is just a show for the Mushroom Kingdom to make it look like the Princess is the good, benevolent ruler, but really the citizens are being brainwashed and distracted about the Princess being the real tyrannical leader, and Koopa is just there so they have sympathy for the Princess and think things could be worse with Koopa. WAKE UP SHEEPLE! THE PRINCESS IS THE REAL TYRANT!
Or maybe not. Anyways, that’s the end of the cartoon. We know come back to the live action section. The brothers are taking inventory of their food, and are really hoping their guests don’t show up early. Needless to say, the three guests show up early. Just know that their cousins, who are very interested in their friend Mario and Luigi in women’s clothing. I guess I should have seen it coming when their names were Mariane and Luigina. I’m disappointed in myself.
Either way, this has been a very traumatizing episode. It started off with slavery, and ends with Mario and Luigi in drag. Hey wait, I almost forgot about the Sultan. What’s his deal? Does he exist within the Mushroom Kingdom? Does the Princess allow slavery? Was Koopa able to buy the Princess easily because the Sultan is in on the scam as well? Is Toad really the only innocent one among them? The truth is out there somewhere, and I will find it.