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From the popular video game, Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show features Mario, his brother Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and her advisor going by the name of Toad. They go from land to land try to save that land from the sinister Bowser Koopa and his band of goombas, troopas, and other villians from the video game. The show also features live action parts with the voices of Mario and Luigi, Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells. Each episode also features a special guest on every show. Written by
Contrary to what many claim, Mario's first initial cartoon appearance was NOT the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Rather, it was in an obscure Donkey Kong cartoon that aired as part of Saturday Supercade during the early-1980s, before Nintendo rose into prominence. You wouldn't have noticed, because in that cartoon, Mario was a generic guy who pursued the big dumb ape. But that's irrelevant, because before 85, Mario wasn't a big deal. After '85, he practically salvaged the video gaming industry and got a cartoon out of it.
Every Mario cartoon had the same basic plot; evil King Koopa (Bowser, although he never goes by that name in the cartoon) wrecks havoc in various worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom and it's up to Mario, faithful brother Luigi, loyal Mushroom Retainer Toad, and the Princess (when she isn't kidnapped) to spoil his nefarious plans. Rinse, lather, and repeat.
Odd thing was that this had more in common with Super Mario Bros. 2 (Mario USA to Japanese folk - the less said, the better) than it did the original game, but I'm not complaining.
The way I see it, the cartoon (and even the Captain Lou Albano live skits) was what truly defined Mario as an Italian plumber from Brooklyn who enjoyed eating pasta rather than this fat plumber who ate mushrooms, something that the games depicted. The cartoon stayed true to the original games, as opposed to the later movie which was a bastardization of what was good and wholesome. The stories are rather cheesy, crude, and cheap parodies of certain series and movies, but who cares? They were fun and back then, that's all you really needed.
The animation was decent for its time. You have some minor technical errors here and there (sometimes Mario would be speaking with Luigi's voice, or his hat would be the wrong color), but these things happens in all the old cartoons (see the old Ninja Turtles as a good example - yes, you know who you are!) The voices were pretty good; nothing great, but alright nonetheless. Characterizations were pretty good (even though it's based off a video game and you actually had no frame of reference as far as characterization goes).
Of course, the cartoon is only part of the show. Bookending the cartoon are live-action skits featuring Captain Lou as Mario and this other guy as Luigi, in their Brooklyn basement, where they have to deal with these guest stars' problems. I'm not just talking nameless hacks looking for a quick buck, but actual stars whom were popular at the time. Like the cartoons, the skits were cheesy but fun. And it's always a welcome sight to see Captain Lou make an idiot out of himself by doing the Mario. (Now, if the REAL Mario were to have done that in any of the modern Mario games, it would have actually prompted me to buy a modern Nintendo system.)
Every Friday, they'd throw in a little Zelda cartoon. Back then, when I first saw them, I never touched the original game, but still enjoyed them nonetheless... although these days, hearing Link whine "Excuse Me, Princess" every fifth minute irritates me to no end.
After some time, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show changed its format and became Club Mario. While you had the same IL' good cartoons, instead of live Mario and Luigi, you had two 'hip' guys in a messed-up apartment with lots of stuff that boggles the mind. Every once in a while, they have actual 'storylines' such as one guy's evil twin trying to take over the show. Sometimes, I wish good IL' Koopa showed up during the Mario Bros' off-day and took over the show so he could cancel it, because even back then, it was bad.
Even today, it's still a good wholesome cartoon that's good for a few laughs and maybe can be genuinely enjoyed. I think you can find them on Yahoo somewhere, who airs the shows online. Check 'em out if you have the chance.
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