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Episode 11: "The Great BMX Race"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and his gang are driving through the desert on a bizarre bike-bathtub combo vehicle. Toad cannot possibly sit still and does all sort of crazy stunts. The Princess watches him with glee, anticipating the moment when he'll fall and break all his bones. Things soon take a turn for the dodgy, however, as a Fryguy is watching them and starts to blow a barrage of fireballs at them. Unconcerned by this, Mario drives straight into the cross-fire and of course, their vehicle is hit in a matter of seconds. Toad is sent flying towards Fryguy, who starts to hit Toad with numbers. See, it turns out that Toad owes Fryguy 60 gold coins for some obscure reason (we can only guess what it is). Everyone is flat broke, so there is only one solution left: quickly kill Fryguy. But since the Marios are nowhere near clever enough to think of that, they instead accept Fryguy's proposition to enter a local BMX race (using the bike they had strapped to a bathtub) and win the required money for Toad.

At the starting grid, Mario and Luigi are waiting for the other contestants, wearing salad bowls on their heads. A measly three people show up: Mouser, Triclyde and a Koopa Troopa who will be their only competition during the race. While the three nasties make lousy puns, the Marios dart off, thus gaining a head start. Joy all round.

Meanwhile, the Princess commits a scandalous act of voyeurism: she ogles Koopa's biceps with a pair of binoculars. For Koopa is indeed here, and once Toad and the Princess have snuck up to him so they can overhear his words (and get a closer look at his biceps), he blatantly spills the beans on how he plans to kill Mario and Luigi in this lethal BMX race. No longer able to stand the stupidity of this scenario, Toad and the Princess decide to kill themselves by standing in the middle of the road and wait for the Marios to run them over. Well, allright, so they really want to warn Mario and Luigi of Koopa's cruel scenario and prevent them from going through with this race thing, but the Marios are so dense that they just drive straight on. Koopa's three racing henchmen, however, are a little faster on the uptake, and while the Princess just stands there and does nothing, they somehow capture them (this takes place offscreen as it was too hideous to show). Result: Toad and the Princess are taken to Koopa, who is highly offended that they were peeking at his biceps and rolls them up in a giant red snake to get back them. Hah.

The Marios, meanwhile, are so over-confident about their head start that they decide to drive their bike into a building and kill some time with a dose of good ol' wanton destruction. Well, actually, it's a "Pasta pit stop", but that still doesn't explain why the Marios had to drive their bike into a building. While they're wasting their time pigging out at this pasta pit stop (remember, Mario thinks with his stomach, it never once occurs to him that wasting a head start with an overlong and strictly useless pit-stop isn't too bright), Koopa's henchmen gradually catch up with them, and soon enough they are overtaken. Mario's not too pleased about this (even though he himself is to blame for this), so he gives chase at full speed. That's when Koopa decides to enact his most devious operation: while the Marios are driving up a steep cliff, he orders his men to turn around and charge at the Marios dead-on, thus eventually knocking the plumbers off the cliff and into certain doom. However, Mario and Luigi manage to hurl themselves off the cliff without the help of the three nasties. They save themselves from falling to death with that plunger-lasso thing. The fact that the animators seem to have messed around with the laws of gravity helps quite a bit as well (it's either that or they just weren't paying attention). While the three nasties just stand around and grin stupidly, the Marios overtake them and are now back in the lead. As a pay-off, Koopa's racers activate their turbos (which they should've done right from the start if they had any common sense). Mario counters this by spilling tomato sauce on the road. So what? Well, it's made with genetically-modified tomatoes, so it sends the nasties spinning.

An even more surprising thing then happens: Toad and the Princess decide to do something useful. Since they've just realized that Koopa's sleeping snake guard is a bit naff, they simply free themselves and run off while nobody's looking. And since the three Koopa Troopas that are sent after them are too inept to even walk 20 centimeters without knocking themselves unconscious, Koopa has to go after the two escapees by himself (who have shamelessly ripped off a bike for themselves in the meantime). He throws terrible menaces at them: "You're all gonna be Koopatised!". I have no desire to find out what that means, thank you very much. After a bit of bike-riding to the beat of a drab song, things start to get ugly again as Koopa's soldiers catch up with the Marios and Mouser lobs Bob-ombs at them. No problem: just jump over them and let the smoke of the explosion blow into Mouser's face. The Koopa Troopa tries a more tactical approach: defying the laws of weight and gravity, he has loaded a large boulder onto his bike and lobs it at the Marios. They avoid it again, but, in a wildly improbable turn of events, the boulder shatters into very sharp pieces that puncture their tires (boulders made out of glass, now I've seen everything). With their bike rendered useless, they soon find themselves surrounded by Koopa's cronies. Luckily, an immensely dumb solution is just around the corner: by spinning their now-useless bike around, they create a cloud of dust which they use for cover to quickly leg it. They then head into a field of vegetables and start to hurl the veggies at Koopa's goons. Luigi adds a zesty battle cry to this offense: "We'll smother them in sucker trash!". Or something. Probably the most bizarre attack line since "Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss!" (oh no, wait, Sailor Stars came after the SMBSS). This, obviously, is too much for Koopa's meanies to take and they decide to give up and go home. Mouser sums it up quite well by simply stating: "ouch". It is then that Toad and the Princess appear and blow Koopa's scheme wide open to the Marios. They're majorly ticked off at this discovery and shower Koopa with a barrage of aggressive veggies while he makes off on a tricycle.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • It's action-packed for one thing
  • The premise of a BMX race is not such a bad idea
  • Quite a few different baddies appear
  • The design of the bikes that Mouser and co use are quite innovative
WHAT'S BAD?
  • That shattering boulder trick is really taking things too far
  • Once again, there's a hefty doses of dimness in the storyline, which ruins some of the action
  • The director has gotten drunk again, and it shows painfully in some scenes
OVERALL
One of the most beloved episodes out there, probably because there's a lot of things going on at the same time. It's not that special, though, and some of the plot stupidities are hard to swallow, but it's still a margin above most other episodes for being quick on it's feet.

EPISODE RATING: 3.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
We get to see one of Mario and Luigi's most disturbing pass-times: they dress up in drag and smack each other in the face with handbags. Actually, the excuse for this nonsense is that Mario's dreaded mother pops by for a visit, but I'm not buying that. Oh well, there are at lease a few amusing fast-forward scenes to liven up this mess.