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Episode 23: "Do You, Princess, Take this Koopa..."

CARTOON SUMMARY

As the title implies, in this episode, our dynamic duo is finally going to tie the knot. I am of course referring to Koopa and Princess Toadstool. And I have no desire whatsoever to hear who else you were thinking of, thank you very much (actually, that's a lie, do drop me a line with your votes for who'd be most suited for Koopa, I need the data for scientific research).

Well, the episode opens with a bit of a sticky situation for the Mario bunch. Koopa has imprisoned them and has dumped Mario and Luigi into his dungeon. An angered Toad bravely challenges Koopa to a fight. The Princess tries to dissuade Toad from this (she wouldn't want to see Koopa's make-up getting smeared), but Koopa can handle it on his own: with a wobble of his magic wand, he turns Toad into a block of frozen spinach. The Princess is horrified at this, because she doesn't like spinach. Just to add insult to injury, Koopa then presses a switch, and the walls of Mario and Luigi's prison cell begin to close in on them. They are now in danger of getting squashed by the badly-animated walls, and the suspense is simply mortifying. The Princess can't stand it anymore (that is, the rotten animation effects on the moving walls), and she begs Koopa to stop this horrendous process, promising "I'll do anything you want! Anything!". Tramp.

They're in front of a camera, so Koopa can't reveal his hearts true darkest desires (he'd get arrested), so instead, he settles for the following agreement: he demands to marry the Princess, thus becoming the rightful ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom (and you can bet he also has more sinister things in mind). Mario and Luigi try to convince the Princess that it's a bad idea to marry someone who dresses like the love child of Boy George and Metallica, but the Princess has long since succumbed to Koopa's macho appeal and accepts his proposal, on the modest condition that he'll free the Mario bros and turn Toad and the many other spinach-turned mushroom blokeys back to their usual selves. That's just peachy with Koopa, he agrees to de-frost the mushrooms before the wedding and release the Marios afterwards. So their imminent wedding is now a confirmed fact. Insert your own naff Wedding Peach witticism here.

Mario and Luigi won't just stand there and take that, however. They somehow have a couple of spoons with them, and since the walls of their prison cell are made out of chocolate mousse, they can immediately begin to very rapidly dig a tunnel through them, which is just what they do. While Koopa hurls badly-drawn flower petals around to announce the happy news and thoroughly inform everyone that he's not getting married just because he's five months pregnant (no, it's marriage out of love, got that?), the Marios continue their valiant digging. Mario has no sense of direction, however, and they end up bumping into some Hammer Brothers. Quick, back into the chocolate mousse tunnel. Switch back to the wedding preparations: Mouser is attending to Koopa's wardrobe. For the occasion, he has chosen a tasteful mélange of a pale pink jacket and mustard-yellow shirt, with dark purple trousers. It's outrageous, yet elegant, thus underlining both Koopa's suave, man-of-the-world aspect and his easygoing, informal side. It is decided that a rumba-metal-sirtaki band is needed for the big bash, and that Koopa's mother will be invited as a special guest. The Princess, however, insists that Toad and the other mushrooms be freed first. Koopa attends to this wish sito presto. With his tacky-looking magic wand (we told him not to watch so much Sailor Moon), he turns the spinacherified mushrooms back to normal and sets them free. Toad is still depressed at the thought of leaving the Princess to marry a man who will probably cheat on her with the vacuum cleaner, but there is nothing to be done. The Princess goes for the kinky type, see. In the meantime, Mario and Luigi have finally succeeded in digging a tunnel so extensive that they're now outside of Koopa's castle, just in time to witness something truly shocking. Koopa has no intention to keep his part of the deal with the Princess, and mere moments after the mushrooms have been set free, he pops up before them again (mysteriously -without- the funky jacket combo he was wearing a few seconds ago), and cruelly turns them back into badly drawn green rocks that bear a striking resemblance with deep-frozen spinach. The hapless mushrooms are then transported back into the castle by a group of Troopas. The Marios are horrified by this, and decide that the wedding must be stopped at every cost. First, they must find a way back into the castle. Mario claims to be having "a brainstorm", which means that they try to get past the castle guards by dressing up as caterers. It doesn't work at first, but when Mario informs the guards that they're bringing a special order of XTC, they are warmly welcomed into the castle.

Koopa is as of now making desperate attempts to teach his not-so musical Troopas the lyrics to Moonlight Densetsu. It is at this moment that the special guest makes her noteworthy entrance. Please welcome the one and only: Koopa's mom, complete with Dame Edna shades, 20 kilos of lipstick and funky spiky pink hairdo (this sheds a lot of light on the origins of some of Koopa's unusual tendencies). She's overjoyed to see her boy finally getting settled. Having a son who indulges in extreme perversities for a living is -very- straining on one's social life, you know. She insists that Koopa and the Princess spend their honeymoon at her place, and the Princess hates this idea (she would've preferred a hotel in Okinawa, with Koopa all to herself).

Meanwhile, the Marios have bumped into Mouser who suspects that they may not really be caterers. They deal with this tricky situation by hurling the plates they were carrying around in Mouser's face, who is too slow to react due to the howl-inducing directing. They then discard they caterer's disguises and run off. They eventually stumble into the chamber where the stone-turned mushrooms are being kept. Since Toad knows the way around the castle (Mario and Luigi don't, and they keep getting lost), they take the stone that was once Toad with them, reasoning that, all they need to do is find Koopa's magic staff, turn Toad back to his normal self, and he'll lead them to the wedding ceremony that they must halt. I'm not sure if this reasonment actually holds together, but oh well. Everything is almost ready for the big moment now: a hastily-drawn cake, Triclyde as the vicar (no, seriously) and all the decorations are in place. There's just one thing: Koopa isn't dressed for the occasion just yet. Deciding that her son can't get married in the buff, Mommy Koopa sternly orders her boy to go and get into his groovy pink tux. He rushes off to obey this demand and rapidly collects his outfit from Mouser. So happens, the Marios are just around the corner while he's getting dressed, and foolishly, Koopa leaves his magic staff behind on a table. Once Koopa has left the room to finally start his wedding, Mario nabs the staff, and with it's power, he and Luigi are transformed, and Toad is freed from the spinach-spell. Immediately, Toad takes them to the great hall, where the wedding is taking place. Just when the Princess is about to admit her true feelings for Koopa, Mario and Luigi interrupt the ceremony and hurl a barrage of fireballs at the guests. Everyone panics, the cake crashes to the ground, and Koopa's capital rip-off is revealed to the Princess. She is mortified, and smears wedding cake all over his face. Koopa's mom is most displeased as well. Now she will still be mocked at her bingo evenings for having such an indecent son. It's tough being a parent.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • A clever enough storyline with plenty of plot-progress potential
  • Good selection of enemies, including the Hammer Brothers, and an amusing Triclyde vicar.
  • Mario and Luigi both get to transform.
  • Some of the background paintings are very faithful to how some of the indoor levels from SMB2 looked. Nice touch
  • Koopa's mom stands tall as the only genuinely entertaining original character. The scenes between her and Koopa are a nice addition.
  • The whole thing is basically one big Princess-Koopa scene. Depending on how you look at it, that may also be a bad thing...
WHAT'S BAD?
  • A bit of clumsy animation here and there.
  • I don't get the part about digging a tunnel through solid rock with mere spoons.
  • The battle scene at the end, and in fact, the whole ending was unfortunately rushed.
OVERALL
Oh, this is -rich-. There's a huge doses of what sometimes makes this show good, plus a surprisingly clever and fun storyline. Add a few nice little touches such as the background paintings, the Hammer Bros, the double transformation and the Triclyde vicar, and it's easy to forgive the slight freak-ups, leaving you with an episode that is one step ahead of most others. Koopa's mom is a must-see.

EPISODE RATING: 4.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
While Mario and Luigi have left to go fishing, their two country bumpkin cousins, the aptly-named Mario Joe and Luigi Bob (just the same actors with different hats) scandalously break into the Mario residence. Foolishly, Mario has left them a note inviting them to "make themselves at home". You can just tell that this will end in sheer catastrophe, and it does. When an unsuspecting late middle-aged lady with an absolutely ludicrous wig stumbles in, searching for plumbers, the two yokels pose as the genuine Mario Bros plumbers and manage to arrange themselves a cozy dinner with the perruque-maniac. When the actual Marios return, they remain blissfully ignorant of the horrifying thing that their relatives have done.