Series: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
You'll be hooked on the Brothers!
"Hey, paisanos... it's the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!"The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
is a 1989 animated/live action DiC
production and an Animated Adaptation
'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
and her servant Toad from the evil King Koopanote
. 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:
- 65-Episode Cartoon: Though 13 of the episode's cartoon segments were episodes of the Legend of Zelda cartoon.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Queen Rotunda in "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" accidentally becomes this to Mario when she drinks a love potion.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: "Do You, Princess Toadstool, Take This Koopa..."
- The Anime of the Game
- Arbitrary Skepticism: In one episode Luigi doesn't believe in magic lamps despite all the other stuff like warrior turtles, mushroom people and magic stars and flowers he's okay with.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Koopa becomes a giant in two episodes. So does Mario in one of these two. And that was before they became giants in their later games.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: The episode "King Mario of Cramalot".
- 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.
- Brown Note: In one episode, Koopa is defeated by the playing of The Legend of Zelda theme song. Seriously.
- Captain Ersatz: Stand-ins for Indiana Jones [the above-mentioned Indiana Joe], Robin Hood [Hooded Robin] and Elvis Presley [Elvin Parsley], among others, appear. Plus Alligator Dundee in one live-action segment.
- Koopa has two: "He who Koops and runs away lives to Koop another day!" and "Koopa Pack, ATTACK!"
- Mario has "Pasta Power!"
- Mario and Luigi: "Patty-Cake, Patty-Cake, Pasta man! Give us pasta power as fast as we can!"
- In the live-action segments: "Uh-oh." "Uh-oh?" (both) "Uh-ohhhhhhhh!"
- 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.
- Christmas Episode: "Koopa Klaus", "Santa Claus is Coming to Flatbush".
- 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).
- Cover Version: Nearly every episode featured a cover song of a famous song, such as "Bad", "Thriller", and "Beat It".
- Crouching Victim, Hidden Badass: Although frequently getting kidnapped by Koopa, the Princess often showed ingenuity in either escaping traps or signaling her plumber paramour to come save her (even once sending smoke signals without a fire). She could also fight capably if she really had to. When she became Super Princess, the boys even wondered aloud if something wasn't a tad screwy here .
- Dance Sensation: Do the Mario!
- Demoted to Extra: Clawgrip got this bad. A boss in the second game, he was not only reduced to a mook, but a generic mook.
"Look out! A clawgrip!"
- Dodgy Toupee: In the "Toupee" live-action segment.
- The Dragon: Mouser.
- Drink Order. Luigi tries to fit in at a Koopa pirate tavern, but then orders a milk. Mario hastily adds, "...in a dirty glass!".
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sergeant Kooperman, Mario and Luigi's Plumbers' Academy instructor who has Bowser's voice.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Zig-Zagged like crazy in in "Do You, Princess Toadstool, Take This Koopa..." when Koopa invites his mother to his wedding.
- Everybody Laughs Ending
- Excited Show Title!
- Expository Theme Song
- Eye Catch
- Faux Affably Evil: King Koopa is this straight for this part of the series.
- Food Fight: In "Elvin Lives" and "Escape from Koopatraz".
- Friend or Idol Decision
- 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.
- Fountain of Youth: Appears in the episode "Two Plumbers and a Baby". Toadstool accidentally falls in it, transforming her into an infant. Koopa ends up falling in it too, by the end of the episode. Baby Peach and Baby Bowser actually became canon characters much later on (In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, respectively).
- 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.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Mario ended up getting shrunk in two episodes. And then they made the Mini Mushroom...
- 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.
- Insult Backfire: Koopa often replies to being insulted by thanking the offender in some way. It fits his Card-Carrying Villain nature.
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).
- Kid Sidekick: Toad, to Mario.
- 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.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: "Bad Rap": An electrical outlet boosts Mario to Super Mario (after zapping the hell out of him).
- Mage in Manhattan: King Koopa.
- May the Farce Be with You: "Star Koopa".
- Mondegreen: "Oh, thank you, Luigi!" and "Maybe we should stay and help the Princess."
- Mario was actually telling Luigi, "How thoughtful, Luigi."
- Rhyming Episode: "Bad Rap" is performed entirely in (awful) rap.
- 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").
- Opening Narration: "Plumber's Log, Number ______...."
- Pie-Eyed: Almost everyone, in a rare modern use that's not a deliberate throwback.
- Planet of Hats: Most episodes took place in a world built around a particular theme (Pirates, Wild West, outer space, etc.). And that's almost a decade before Mario Party 2 offered a similar premise with themed boards.
- Pokémon Speak: The Pidgits in the episode "Mario's Magic Carpet".
- Power-Up Food: In the Sherlock Holmes episode, Mario eats a hamburger he'd kept in his pocket, and it gives him the strength to break out of a Death Trap.
- Powered Armor: Robo-Koopa.
- Product Placement
- As if this show didn't advertise Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda enough, the episode "Bats in the Basement" shows Mario eating Nintendo Cereal System.
- And the episode "Mama Mia Mario" opens with Luigi playing the NES itself.
- Domino's Pizza was also a sponsor of the show. Pizza boxes bearing its logo can occasionally be seen strewn around the basement.
- Pun: All the pasta jokes.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Herlock Solmes gives one to Bowser in "The Adventures of Sherlock Mario".
- Recycled IN SPACE!: This show IS this trope. No exaggeration. Literally EVERY SINGLE EPISODE had the gang starring in either some all new world or scenario, be it them becoming desert bikers while trying to protect the area's last supply of spaghetti sauce, duking it out in a typical Star Wars parody, or better yet winding up in some random place like Spy Land and Car Land, and most, if not all of them, are described as being either a territory or an affiliate of the Mushroom Kingdom.
- Replacement Goldfish: Played quite literally in the live-action segment "Goodbye Mr. Fish".
- 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).
- Shout-Out: One episode was based off of Star Wars, except with Mario characters and a FLYING CASTLE IN SPACE?! Interestingly enough, this was one of Mario's first times in space, before even Super Mario Galaxy. Also, one of the original concepts for ''Star Wars'' was that most everyone would have Lightsabers, but was nixed in favor of only Jedi and Sith having them. In this Mario episode, however, during the first scene all of Bowser's mooks have lightsaber knock-offs. Coincidence?
- There's also a ton of pop culture references in episode names, like "Two Plumbers and a Baby" (Three Men and a Baby), "Mario of the Apes" (Planet of the Apes), "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service" (On Her Majesty's Secret Service)...
- Many of King Bowser Koopa's disguised/personas in the "theme" episodes are this. (As well, as the theme episodes themselves.) In fact, Bowser's caveman persona/disguise in "A Quest for Pizza" Ally Koop is named in reference to the old comic strip Alley Oop
- Elvin Parsley in "The King Lives" is both a reference to Elvis, and oddly his voice sounds like James Brown. (Even stating, "I feel good!")
- Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Surreal, full stop. The games are borderline Fantastic and Surreal, since their internally consistent gameplay rules keep what would otherwise be a World of Chaos setting from getting too weird, but the show doesn't have those limitations.
- 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.
- Somewhat averted, as other episodes focus on a different mission of trying to raise money for orphin mushrooms, or helping liberate a "world/kingdom" from King Koopa's grasp.
- Tagalong Kid: Toad.
- Terrible Trio: The Koopa Pack.
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Theme Tune Rap: Doo doo doo da da doo, doo! We're the Mario Brothers, and plumbing's our game...
- 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.
- Trademark Favorite Food: The Mario Brothers' apparent obsession with Italian foods. Some of this even managed to make its way into the games.
- Trapped in Another World: Mario and Luigi are from Brooklyn, but were transported to the Mushroom Kingdom through a warp pipe.
- Traveling-Pipe Bulge: Mario and Luigi do this.
- 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.
- Two For One Show: Three counting the Zelda segments.
- 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. And when the two characters appear in the same scene or room, one of them is either offscreen or played by another actor with their face obscured.
- 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.
- Water Is Air: "Mario of the Deep" has the main characters spending the entire episode underwater with no apparent repercussions (of course, that kinda problem doesn't happen in the 2D games either...). In fact, they actually manage to walk around like if they were on land and they manage to not have their headwear (or the Princess's hair) drift upward once.
- We Will Meet Again: King Koopa often said something to this tune, most often "He who koops and runs away lives to koop another day!" while performing a Villain Exit Stage Left.
- Weird Trade Union: Mario and Luigi had a flashback where they were part of a plumbers' union. The weird part is that it had stringent physical fitness requirements.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of "Flatbush Koopa," the nerdy cab-driver who was turned into a pile of bricks by Koopa is never shown returned to normal. (Despite a cameo in the sequel-show "Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" in "Recycled Koopa.") In the same episode some of Bowser's "Koopa Troopas" were apparently still left in Brooklyn and chased by the police.
- Also, in "Princess I Shrunk the Marios" Mouser (one of Bowser Koopa's main henchmen in the show) is shrunken, and placed in a jar by the good wizard, and not seen for the rest of the episode. (Though, earlier 2 Mousers are seen in the episode. Either an animation error, or reference to the fact there are indeed two Mousers in the "Super Mario Bros. 2" game.)
- Wheel o' Feet: Complete with a sound effect that sounded like the vine-climbing sound sped up.
- Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: The Christmas Episode has Toad making a wrong turn at "that last iceberg", resulting in the group winding up at the North Pole.
- You Can't Go Home Again: "Brooklyn Bound" did focus on the duo finding a way back home, but they opt to stay in order to protect the Princess.
- "Flatbush Koopa" had them get home to Brooklyn, only to find King Koopa has invaded. They ended up having to lead him back to The Mushroom Kingdom and destroying the way back to Brooklyn.