Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Civilization, Mario-Style

I missed the latest Futurama, so I can't review it here. They're supposed to be rerunning it on Monday. Let's see if I remember. There's still Super Mario World to review, though!

Party Line - If there's one thing this show needed, it's another episode where Mario and/or Luigi invent something that the cave people are totally inept at using, right? I mean, this is only the eighth episode, and it seems like they've already done this approximately fifty times. And this time we don't even have the Koopas taking advantage of the new technology. The main bad guy is a giant tyrannosaur. At least I assume it's supposed to be a tyrannosaur, despite the stegosaurus-like scales on its back.

Considering that some scientists now think tyrannosaurs might have had feathers, though, I'll accept some artistic license. Anyway, the episode starts with Mario and Luigi observing how incredibly accident-prone the cave people are, with one example being a caveman swinging on a vine right into a tree. Hey, George of the Jungle called. He wants his gag back. Also, Yoshi trips over a block, but the Princess conveniently shows up right then with dinosaur-sized Band-Aids. Does she just follow Yoshi around with them all day? Mario decides that the best solution is to re-invent the telephone so the cave people can call for help, so he improvises one out of coconut shells connected by a vine, and somehow it actually works. I guess I can cut the writers some slack since it is a MAGIC vine, and magic can do anything! Okay, maybe not, but a fiber-optic vine makes as much sense as one that you can climb to reach a bunch of solid clouds with coins on top. So the Marios set up a phone system, with the Princess as the operator.

Poor little rich girl probably never worked a day in her life before coming to Dinosaur Land, and now she gets all the shitty jobs. Not surprisingly, the cave people just use the phones for idle chit-chat, and ignore such details as tending to their crops (more on that later) and a rampaging swarm of Wigglers. For some reason, the Wigglers in this cartoon are always red and angry, even without having been jumped on first. Luigi tries calling the emergency number, but it's busy. You'd think there would be a cutaway gag here, but there isn't. Mario and Luigi find a star, which Luigi uses to become invincible and launch the caterpillars into space. And I mean that literally; there's a shot of them eating a meteorite. Also depicted in the scene is a satellite with a stone age appearance.

Does that mean Dinosaur Land had space travel before the wheel? I'm just going to assume it was launched by a different Mushroom World civilization (we know from the Super Show and Super Mario Galaxy that some inhabitants of this world have reached space), and they went for a retro design. The Marios barely have time to recover from this before a tyrannosaur shows up and chases Mario around. He gets knocked out and sees stars, but uses one of them to become invincible. This would be more amusing if they hadn't already used the exact same gag in "Pirates of Koopa." Anyway, invincible Mario spins the dinosaur into space, where it runs into the Wigglers. Then he decides that the phones were a bad idea, and has Yoshi eat all the vines, prompting him to make a bad pun to which Mario overreacts. And that's that episode.

Gopher Bash - This time, Luigi is determined to teach the cave people agriculture. Wait, they're a hunter-gatherer society, but they live a city? Also, Mario and Luigi mentioned in the previous episode that the cave people were neglecting their crops. I guess we just have to assume they took place in a different order from that in which they were aired. As usual, the cave people are total morons who can't do even the simplest of tasks (to be fair, it's not like they really have any frame of reference here), but eventually they manage to grow some vegetables. Also, we get a gag where Luigi says to Mario, "When that crop is in, you're going to eat these words." Then we cut to however much later it takes the crops to grow, and he says something like, "As well as some vegetables." Don't you love lines that would make absolutely no sense to the actual characters? Or did Luigi remain silent for several months just for the sake of this joke? Anyway, the crops are stolen by a redesigned Cheatsy Koopa. For some reason that involves color palettes or something, a lot of the Koopalings ended up with white hair in the Super Mario World game.

For the most part, the cartoon kept the Super Mario Bros. 3 designs, but they decided to give Larry/Cheatsy white hair instead of blue.

In this episode, Cheatsy has several gophers (actually Monty Moles, but the cartoon doesn't always use the in-game names, probably because the English translation hadn't been completed when the show was made) working for him, and they take the crops, leaving Piranha Plants in their place. Yoshi saves the Mario Brothers by eating the Piranha Plants, and the three of them go after Cheatsy, who plans to sell the food back to the cave people at inflated prices. Mario suggests that the cave people can go back to picking berries, but Luigi says they don't have enough food saved up for the winter, so they have to get the crops back. With the help of a balloon, the most obnoxious power-up in the game, they float down to the platform where Cheatsy is hanging out with his mole minions. I wonder how they got down to it themselves. Cheatsy sings a song about himself, with the moles on backing vocals, which gives Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi the chance to capture them. When Cheatsy sees what happened, he does one of those wild cartoon takes, and soon does another one when they drop the moles on his head.

Is it just me, or does SMW have more visual gags like this than the earlier Mario cartoons? They get the crops back, but Yoshi eats them all. Wait, if they didn't have enough food saved up for the winter, does that mean Yoshi has doomed them all? But they just make Yoshi replant the crops, even though it's doubtful there's enough time to grow them again, and everyone laughs. I don't think they'll be laughing when the starving cave people roast Yoshi over a spit. What a stupid ending. Would it hurt to have a LITTLE respect for your audience?
Tags: cartoons, mario, television, video games

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