Although it pains me to say this, the Super Mario Bros Super Show is one cartoon best left remembered than revisited. A lot of the times youâ€™ll remember loving a cartoon as a kid and thinking its still â€œawesomeâ€, but then when you check it out ten years laterâ€¦not so much.
Now, alright, perhaps Iâ€™m being a little harsh. The Super Show was campy for campinessâ€™ sake and I canâ€™t fault them for that. The main problem is just that so many of the gags are really dumb, and those musical numbersâ€¦Good Lord! Still, the show is not without its merits. Mario and Luigi are portrayed in perfect character in the animated segments; with Mario being the chipper yet somewhat sarcastic hero and Luigi being the craven coward. I have a feeling the whole â€œcowardly Luigiâ€ thing originated from the Super Show, what with it still being a staple of the character in Nintendo games today. The animation isâ€¦serviceable. Itâ€™s never really impressive and occasionally ranges from ugly to decent. The environments are very abstract, though; mimicking the crazy levels of the first two NES games. Lots of floating blocks and insanely cartoonish settings.
Most of the plots of the animated segments revolved around some sort of film parody or typical clichÃ©d cartoon plot. There are a lot of â€œhistoricalâ€ settings, too, with Mario and Luigi fighting King Koopa (remember, this was before they started calling him â€œBowserâ€ on a regular basis) in gladiatorial arenas, in Camelot, Nottingham, as Robin Hood, as Sherlock Holmesâ€¦you get the idea. Probably the most â€œentertainingâ€ film parody is the last episode on the disk, â€œToad Warriorâ€, where that little Mushroom Kingdom Retainer, Toad, becomes a Road Warrior. Mel Gibson would be proud.
The voice acting for the cartoon is actually pretty good. Iâ€™ve never been a big fan of Charles Martinetâ€™s interpretation of Mario (heâ€™s been voicing the character since Super Mario 64), as he comes off more like a â€œMickey Mouse with a mustacheâ€. I much prefer the deeper, more sarcastic version from Captain Lou. Câ€™mon, itâ€™s hilarious whenever he yells â€œEy! Shut up-a yo face!â€ I also have always liked Danny Wellsâ€™ voice for Luigi, though for some reason it reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield. Probably my favorite voice would have to be Harvey Atkin as King Koopa. He just sounds perfect and I wouldnâ€™t mind him voicing the character in the games these days.
Now, thereâ€™s the part people remember best about the show: the live action segments. And Iâ€™ll admit, they were my favorite part of this box set. The cartoon segments almost felt like they were tacked-on, with the Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells bits being what I really came to see. Theyâ€™re stupid, theyâ€™re silly, theyâ€™re campy, theyâ€™re glorious. Captain Lou and Danny Wells really do fit the parts to a T, bringing the characters to life. The gratuitous celebrity guest stars are just the icing on the cake. I mean, who wouldnâ€™t want to see Mario and Luigi hang out with Inspector Gadget (Maurice LaMarche), Punky Brewster (Soliel Moon Frye), Magic Johnson and Ernie Hudson (as a â€œSlimebusterâ€)? Itâ€™s kind of surreal, in a way.
The Super Show set comes in 4 disks with, unfortunately, limited special features. You get a great interview with Captain Lou about his experience with the show. Itâ€™s a lot of fun, especially when he gets into various set stories, like how he almost didnâ€™t do the show because he didnâ€™t want to shave his trademark beard. It also surprised me that he and Danny Wells apparently wrote a number of the live action segments. A great interview. Unfortunately, all the rest of the extras are background paintings. Tons and tons of background paintings. Theyâ€™re interesting at first but quickly get boring.
The Super Mario Bros Super Show is a cartoon best left to nostalgia. The live action segments, on the other hand, are still solid gold. Iâ€™d recommend it to hardcore Mario fans only.