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Episode 21: "Two Plumbers and a Baby"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Another episode, another freaky kingdom for our crew to travel to. Due to Mario's severely muffled pronunciation, I can't quite make out the name of this particular funky location. It's either "the kingdom of Hugh", "The king of Youth" or "the kindom of Huke". Maybe even "the kingdom of Puke", but I wouldn't bet money on that. The reason for Mario and co's presence in this kingdom of whatever is as follows: apparently, there is a legendary fountain of youth in this kingdom, and Koopa is abusing of it to satisfy his grotesque impulses. While the Mario gang stare at the inventive floor tiling, an odd-looking car drops by, with three equally odd-looking old men in it. They resemble Bob Saget after a particularly rough night (try to picture -that-). The three old geezers get out of their car and hurl themselves down a vomit-colored slide. The Marios follow, and discover that this slide leads to the fabled, and scandalously badly-drawn fountain of youth. The three old-timers are dead keen on hopping into the fountain, hoping that it's effects will turn them back into young men with firm, healthy and sexy bodies, and yet still be able to live off their pension money (but considering the way they've been drawn, I strongly doubt whether they'll ever be anywhere near to a shadow of being sexy).

Alas, things don't go quite according to plan, as Koopa has secretly messed with the fountain's operating system, and it's now running at full power, thus turning the three oldies into mere babies (who still bear an uncanny resemblance to Saget-san). Take a moment to contemplate Koopa's tasteful and subtle outfit: nappies, a pink scarf with a heart printed on it and a Mary Poppins hat. Ooh, Koopa, you gorgeous thing, you.

Anyway, Koopa attempts to rob the newly-babified oldies of their freedom, but surprisingly, they fight back. However, once Koopa sends in his Albatoss armada, complete with capturing net-charged bombs, the three infants are rapidly in Koopa's vile grasp. Once the Marios finally react to what is going on around them (the director had been run over by a steamroller and wasn't feeling very well that day), all they decide to actually do is cower behind a bunch of pillars while Koopa sllllowwwwly drags himself across the screen and imprisons the tots. Then the Marios sort of do something: they peek through the window's of Koopa's apartment and discover that he has imprisoned a large number of newborns and forces them to mop the floor. It is absolutely horrible. This display of pedophile practices, by the way, is the 178th gruesome perversity that Koopa has indulged into. That's almost a new record. He's trying to break 250 by the next episode. Send your letters of encouragement to "Go, go kinky Koopa!", at the usual address.

Mario decides that the infants must be freed, but alas, due to extreme klutziness, he manages to lose his balance and destroy an entire wall by falling into it. Koopa notices these unwanted guests and gives chase in a scene so pitifully directed that you'll scream. The Mario bunch run off, terrified, but the Princess manages to stumble into the fountain of youth by accident and is also turned into a mere baby. The first thing she does is hurl a plunger in Koopa's face. The others take this opportunity to rapidly escape with the youthful Princess. Koopa sends his net-bombing Albatoss squad after them. A well-placed net manages to entangle itself with Mario's feet, who immediately hurls the Princess into the air. Luigi catches her and tells Mario not to treat her like "a sack of tomatoes". They are still under attack from Koopa's cronies, including a Koopa Troopa with a terrifying giant diaper pin, but they improvise an escape route out of Koopa's territory with a nearby see-saw. Que some death-defying jumps from Mario, and they're all out of harm's way. They decide to return to Koopa's funhouse at night, in order to free the trapped children. Only in the meantime, they have to look after the baby Princess. Toad assumes that this will be an easy task, but alas, the Princess is already beginning to develop suicidical tendencies at her young age, for she is scaling a tall tree with very fragile branches. Despite Mario's valiant efforts to retrieve her, the branch on which she was creeping around snaps and she plummets into a gaping chasm, only to be saved by a well-placed branch. While the Princess is still hanging from this branch, Mario improvises a deltaplane out of an old Ikea moss-green synthetic cotton fireplace carpet, and using this engine, he retrieves the Princess. She promptly begins to tickle Mario, who lets go of the deltaplane, laughing hysterically. He lands face-forward into a pool of disgusting mud, and the young Princess applauds this (sadist tendencies tend to shine through at a young age).

The catastrophes don't end there. A few moments later the Princess is installed on a raft in the river, while Toad gives a speech about independent parenthood. Toad releases his attention for two seconds, and the Princess immediately sails her raft into dangerous water, stuffed with aggressive Trouters. In her blissful innocence, she hurls one of these Trouters in Mario's direction. The Trouter immediately chops down a nearby tree with it's bare teeth, thus improvising a floating log on which Mario, Luigi and Toad can go after the Princess in peril. A rapid plunger to her bum soon pulls her out of this hazardous situation.

Fed up with the disaster-prone Princess, they try to get her to sleep, but alas, the brat sternly refuses to slumber. A few fireflies, released by Toad shut her up for a few moments. Alas, this strategy has a downside; the Princess is so fascinated by the fireflies that she immediately crawls off in pursuit of them. And just so happens, the fireflies are on their way to Koopa's creepy castle. Once there, she almost manages to hurl herself into the fountain of youth a second a time, but Mario's rapid intervention prevents this. They then notice how Koopa has shockingly messed up the fountain's controls. And just to add insult to injury, he ripped off the control dial. Luckily, Mario has an ingenious plan; just reverse the flow of the water (how?). To this end, they give in to their kleptomaniac impulses and rip off a huge load of pipes from Koopa's cellar. These pipes are used to mess around with the fountain's operating systems. Koopa doesn't like that idea and comes charging right at them, on a terrifying wooden ostrich. Using a large fork made out of pipes, Mario and Luigi manage to hurl Koopa off his horsey and into the fountain (look out for the single most horrendous coloring and voicing error of the whole series here). This results in Koopa getting babified, and he runs off, whining. The water's flow is then miraculously reversed by a complex and delicate plumbing operation (either that or writers just had no clue), and the freed children, plus the Princess hop into the water, thus retrieving their original age. Everyone is overjoyed, and while the Mario bunch ride off on those silly toy ostriches, the Princess compliments their jaw-dropping babysitting skills.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Some plot originality.
  • Quite a lot of things going on.
  • Koopa's outfit is a must-see; nappies and pink lace. No, seriously (it must be a manifestation of his midlife crisis. Or maybe he gets off on it).
WHAT'S BAD?
  • The director deserves to be shot, for most of the episode moves around at a slow and very unconvincing pace.
  • A few simply shocking goof-ups in animation and voicing (Luigi with a red cap and Mario speaking with Luigi's voice -in the same shot-).
  • A bit too rushed and rapid.
  • Overall very badly drawn and animated, especially the fountain and the baby Princess.
OVERALL
While it had some potential, with its halfway original plot and Koopa's storming outfit, all of this is ruined by the extremely bog-standard animation quality and hysterically inept directing. The result is merely an okay-ish episode.

EPISODE RATING: 2.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
A hysterical woman pops by the Marios' place and laments the loss of her dog. Her pet dog has run away, and she's in a right state about it. Unable to stand her hysterical weeping and whining, Luigi decides to locate the dog by making outrageous noises. It actually works, as the panic-girl's mutt is attracted by Luigi's twisted moans, and so are a whole host of other dogs.