The Super Mario Bros. Super Show is a 1989 animated/live action DiC production and an Animated Adaptation of Nintendo's flagship games, featuring the adventures of those plucky plumbers from Brooklyn (it's unlikely that the show has anything canon with the games outside of setting and characters, so consider it an Alternate Continuity), the Super Mario Bros.. Mario is voiced and portrayed live by the professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano, with Danny Wells as Luigi.The show was presented in a Three Shorts style, where one live-action story is split into two parts and straddles an animated short. The live-action short features the brothers in Brooklyn before they were sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom, providing plumbing duties for normal joes (like Dr. Frankenstein) and celebrities (like Lyle Alzado and Cyndi Lauper) alike. The animated short features Mario and Luigi who (as shown in a in-show bumper) wound up stuck in the Mushroom Kingdom while doing a routine plumber job and got sucked down a drain which happened to be a warp pipe. They inadvertently save Princess Toadstoolnote her American name at the time, long before the N64 game would adopt her Japanese name, Peach and her servant Toad from the evil King Koopanote Bowser. The episodes would see the group traveling the oddly variously themed sections of the Mushroom Kingdom, as the brothers and Toad bodyguard Toadstool from Koopa and saving the lands they visited while trying to find a way back home.The show ran in syndication for 65 episodes (13 weeks) in the fall of 1989. Each of these episodes featured a Mario live-action segment, whilst each Monday-Thursday episode featured a Mario cartoon segment, with Fridays reserved for a cartoon based on The Legend of Zelda. It has two sequel series: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show provides examples of the following tropes:
Badly Battered Babysitter: When Toadstool is transformed into a baby in "Two Plumbers and a Baby", the Mario brothers and Toad (especially Mario) go through all kinds of heck watching over her.
Big Eater: Mario, to the extent that his primary motive for stopping Koopa's plans is simply so he can sit and eat in peace. Luigi, Toad, and the Princess have called him out on it at least once. This exchange from "Koopenstein" sums it up quite nicely:
Princess: Don't you ever think about anything but food?
Mario: What else is there?
The Blank: Indiana Joe from "Raiders of the Lost Mushroom" is literally drawn without an actual face.
Mario and Luigi: "Patty-Cake, Patty-Cake, Pasta man! Give us pasta power as fast as we can!"
Celebrity Paradox: Captain Lou Albano played Mario in both the live-action and animated segments of the show. In a particularly memorable live-action segment, Luigi mentions that Mario idolizes Captain Lou, who goes missing. Cyndi Lauper then shows up to lead a search to find Albano. Albano appears at the end of the episode, shortly after Mario leaves...
Mario is also apparently a fan of Inspector Gadget's show, but then there are the two episodes where the Inspector stops by the brothers' pad in the live-action segments.
Clumsy Copyright Censorship: Most of the episodes featured a cover song during an action sequence. When the show was reran in the early 1990s, these were removed and replaced with BGM from the series. In many instances, the cover songs were the highlights of the episodes, as the subject matter often tied into the action (for example, "Proud Mary" played in "Rollin' Down the River", an episode taking place on a steamboat; "Bad" by Michael Jackson is played in the episode, "King Mario of Cramalot", after Mario says, "I'm bad!"; "Thriller" by the same Michael Jackson in "Count Koopula", an episode taking place in Koopa's haunted castle), so their removal really hurt part of the show's appeal.
Continuity Nod: In the live-action segment "Defective Gadgetry", Mario discovers and subsequently tosses away a dead goldfish named Kenneth, whom Mario had to look after and whom he unwittingly killed in the segment "Goodbye, Mr. Fish".
Continuity Snarl: Averted. Somehow. Despite the show taking place in an awkward era for Mario Games in the US where the only available source material was two completely seperate games that originally had no bearing on one another, the show manages to employ the conventions of both in a faithful way consistently(allowing for standard cartoon handwaving). For example most of the enemies from Super Mario Bros. 2 are never stomped on, the mushroom kingdom people being turned to stone was a plot point in the original Super Mario Bros., and the use of the items throughout the show plays on both the games' conventions and player conventions(i.e. Mario being more confident with the Fire Flower as most players are or Toad being able to lift vegetables the fastest and jump the lowest when all the characters jump).
The group finds another plumber who got stranded in the Mushroom Kingdom. He had finished building a machine that could get back to Brooklyn, but it had a short window of use. The Mario brothers have to choose whether to go back home or save Princess Toadstool and Toad from King Koopa, whose theme of the week was Koopa Khan. Here's a hint on what they chose: this isn't the series finale.
Another episode has them actually get back to Brooklyn... but find out that King Koopa and his Koopa Pack had followed them and were taking over the city. They end up having to lure Koopa back to the Mushroom Kingdom and destroy the pathway to Brooklyn, thus returning to the old status quo.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Workin' for a Livin'", the song used in the original version of the episode "Plumbers' Academy", uses the word "damn", which is another possible reason as to why the songs were removed.
In another episode, Toad appears to be saying "Hey bitch, wanna race?"
Idiot Ball: In the live-action episode "Goodbye, Mr. Fish", Mario is stopped from dropping a meatball into Kenneth's fishbowl by Luigi, yet Mario proceeds to do it anyway.
Insistent Terminology: Bowser was always referred to as "King Koopa", and never by his first name. Averted with the Princess; "Toadstool" was her Western name until 1996, years after this cartoon ended production. He did refer to himself by his full name, King Bowser Koopa, at one point in the series.
Princess: King Koopa, you're disgusting! Koopa: I know, that's why I love me-self so much.
It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: When the brothers think they've struck it rich in a live action sketch, Luigi mentions he always wanted to buy his mother a fake fur coat.
Karma Houdini: Even though Koopa's schemes occasionally resulted in his own defeat, he always made a Villain Exit Stage Left either by running away or by using a warp potion. For some reason the Mario gang did not always try chasing him down while the portal's opened. In fact in one episode they were literally STANDING on it and they never tried to jump down to catch him (granted it was an animation error but still).
Killed Offscreen: Implied to be Thunder Birdo's fate in "Toad Warriors" when Princess throws a sack of Bob-ombs in her mouth.
Laugh Track: The live-action segments had this. In one instance, it lead into a hilarious Mondegreen (see below).
Leitmotif: Since the show re-arranges most of the music from the first two Mario games, the tunes are indicative of the character or type of environment that is currently on-screen. Examples: The Star theme plays when Mario gets a star.
My Hero Zero: The titular masked bandit in "The Mark of Zero", who is suspiciously similar to Zorro.
No One Could Survive That: In "Toad Warriors", Kar-Krazy Koopa blasts a fortress where the heroes are hiding. Though he immediately jeers like he assumes he's defeated his opponents, in the very next scene he refuses Mouser's insistence on the same outcome, thinking that the heroes might be lying low as a trick. It takes a couple more potshots and more urging from Mouser until Koopa finally agrees to move in, which is also when Mario & Co. initiate the plan they had just developed.
Obsessed with Italian Food: Mario and Luigi. Never once does a single episode go by without Mario and Luigi making terrible pasta puns.
Obviously Evil: King Koopa and the Koopa Pack. The show, due to its pastiche nature, offered most genres' worth of Obviously Evil design. Because it's a comedic show, though, the lowest Mooks are occasionally given Affably Evil moments when they think nobody is looking.
Off Model: Mario and Luigi have the colors of their shirts and overalls swapped, and King Koopa is in different colors. This is even repeated for the next two Mario cartoons. Though to be fair, this was based on how they looked in the original game. Their current appearances weren't established yet. The Koopa Troopas also have beady eyes and different colors in this series.
Of course, this still doesn't describe the overall quality of this series. Which looks like an odd mix between a 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon and a 1940s Looney Tunes short featuring the Mario cast depending on the scene.
On the Next: Each episode would feature Mario, Luigi or another character in the live-action segments introducing such a segment for that week's The Legend of Zelda. That meant for different previews for one episode.
Once per Episode: The Mario Bros. battling Koopa Troopas to the beat of old pop music. Examples include Mario & Luigi fighting ninjas ("Kung Fu Fighting") and redcoats in 1776 ("He's a Rebel").
Rock Bottom: In one episode, Mario and friends are thrown into a dungeon. Mario tells Luigi that things could be worse. Luigi asks him how, and Mario tells him that the ceiling could flatten them like a pizza. Right on cue,the ceiling starts descending on them. Mario, undaunted, says that water could flood the room until they drown like rats. You know what happens next. Mario, still keeping his cool, says he could think of other things that could be worse, but Luigi promptly shuts him up.
Samus is a Girl: In "The Mark of Zero", it's revealed that the masked hero is in fact the waitress from the taco stand.
Save the Villain: Subverted in the Christmas episode: Koopa, who has taken Santa Claus captive at this point and is threatening to throw him into the icy water below, stupidly causes an avalanche. Mario uses his plumbers' snake to rescue St. Nick, but instead of doing the same for the Koopa King, he gestures to the reptile that he'll just have to jump into the water himself (which, surprisingly, he survives).
Status Quo Is God: A lot of episodes of the cartoon segment open on the group's hopes that some local dogooder will join their fight to depose King Koopa and liberate the Mushroom Kingdom. As soon as Koopa's latest scheme is stopped, they're never seen again.
Too Dumb to Live: In "Love Em and Leave Em". The heroes are arrested by Queen Rotunda's royal guards for stealing her royal red hot peppers. Princess Toadstool tries to argue that the peppers were growing wild, despite it clearly being shown that the peppers were fenced in.
Totally Radical: Averted in both the live action skits and for the most part, the cartoon. However, when it was changed to "Club Mario" during the summer of 1990, it was played straighter than an arrow.
Twist Ending: In the episode "Neatness Counts". the brothers try to fix Nicole Eggert's sink, but manage to get her all messy. They try to keep her from getting messier, but fail at every turn. At the end, Nicole thanks them for getting her ready for a "Sloppy Party" she's attending that night.
Uncanny Family Resemblance: Each of the Mario Bros.' relatives who visited them in the live-action segments were played by the same actors as the Bros. themselves.
Universal-Adaptor Cast: The main characters - both good and bad - end up in a wide variety of settings, whether it's outer-space, a land of cars, a land of spies, or wherevere the story is set.
Unlimited Wardrobe: King Koopa often has a different outfit depending on the theme of the episode (i.e. dressing like a cowboy in "Butch Mario and the Luigi Kid" and dressing like Julius Caesar in "The Great Gladiator Gig.").
Unusual Euphemism: "What the koop are you talking about?" "Leapin' lasagna!", and many more of this type.