Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Episode 24: "The Pied Koopa"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Things have gone a bit pear-shaped in Pastaland. Using a magic flute, Koopa has ripped off all of the region's children. That is to say, he played them the Pokémon theme on that flute and they immediately came running after him. The fiend.

Meanwhile, Mario and his gang have arrived in Pastaland, still unaware of the calamity that has recently occurred. Toad takes them sight-seeing and reveals the pleasures of Pastaland to them: above-average background paintings, twisted trees on which genuine Grand Italia brand pasta grows, and last but not least, the amazing "lake Spaghetti sauce". The amazing bit is that the animators never even bothered to draw it. Naturally, Mario is overjoyed at the concept of a country based around pasta. However, they then decide to pay a visit to the local big cheese, a certain mayor Fettucini, who reveals the latest Koopa-based disaster to them. They are shocked and puzzled, and while the Princess mimics distress with extreme conviction, they wonder why on earth Koopa would nick all the region's youngsters (I dare you to take a wild guess). It is at this point that Mouser appears, revealing all the gruesome details of Koopa's evil scenario. According to a telegram that he reads out to them (Fax? Never heard of), Koopa demands that all of Pastaland's spaghetti harvest is given to him in return for the abducted children. Mayor Fettucini then gives an extremely short speech in which he explains that the only option they have left is to give up all the pasta. However, Mario will have none of that. He's determined to keep the pasta to himself and free the children by brute force. To this end, they follow Mouser to Koopa's odd-looking castle, but before they can get in, the ingeniously-designed drawbridge is pulled away underneath their feet and they plummet into the castle moat. Mario looks on the bright side of things by stating that getting themselves hurled into a castle moat doubles up as a cheap way of getting their slips washed (they are on a low budget after all), but this one spark of optimism is then counterbalanced by two sparks of disaster. First, a bunch of Albatoss attack from the sky by lobbing Bob-Ombs, and next, a group of Koopa Troopas start to hurl spears at them from the shore. After some panicky swimming around, Mario and co make the ingenious decision to dive. Under water, they locate a POW block, and Mario immediately hurls this object against a nearby wall, thus blowing a major hole into it. Through a display of slightly off the wall physics, all of the moat's water is then sucked into the hole they have just generated with enormous force, and the four hapless travelers are sucked in along with it.

They end up inside yet another one of Koopa's dungeons, but as the Princess so cleverly points out: Koopa has no knowledge of their presence in his funroom, so they can just walk out of the door and proceed with freeing the youthful Pastaland population. Well, they would if it weren't for the fact that Koopa and a bunch of his Troopas are standing right outside this door. Koopa is enraged at having his "favorite dungeon" flooded (you know how one develops profound emotional bonds with dungeons...well, you do if you're like Koopa. He really does employ the phrase "my favorite dungeon"), so as a pay-off, he orders his Troopas to hurl Mario and his gang back into the flooded dungeon where they'll remain imprisoned until the end of their days. And the end of their days may be upon the sooner than expected, as a horde of aggressive Trouters make their entrance in the flooded dungeon at that very moment. The four valiant heroes swim for their lives and surprisingly, their lives are saved by one of Koopa's disturbing tendencies. His handcuff fixation to be precise. See, they come across a set of handcuffs hanging very high from the wall, so they cling onto these suspended cuffs, thus avoiding the horrible fate of being devoured by the Trouters. Another stroke of blind luck then follows: a Bob-Omb seems to have been washed into the dungeon via the drained moat, so Mario dives back into the water and uses the Bob-Omb to blow up a wall of the dungeon, thus re-draining the water away into...some other location (not sure if that makes sense...probably not). The strong current sweeps away the Trouters as well, so they are out of mortal peril for now. All there's left for them to do is to hop down from the suspended handcuffs, which is no problem for the Princess, Toad and Mario. It is, however, a considerable problem for the animators, who have messed up so that you see Toad dangling from a handcuff in elevation in a shot right -after- he has supposedly jumped down from the very same cuff. Luigi finds it troublesome as well, complaining that he doesn't like "high places" (he never wants to go to Jamaica and starts to scream whenever he sees a coffee shop in Amsterdam), but he eventually summons all his courage and jumps right onto Toad. It is scandalous.

The imprisoned children, meanwhile, are having a perfectly good time, jumping around on Koopa's furniture, playing Hyper Robot Battle Collection card games and tickling the dopey guards in a suspicious fashion. Koopa doesn't care for this at all and shouts at Mouser. He demands that the children be dumped into a cage, and the guard around them be doubled, nay, tripled. Mario and the others are observing this scene from a distance and Mario makes a luminous suggestion: "what if we do to Koopa's guards what Koopa has done to those kids?". What, in front of a camera, Mario? It is left in the dark what exactly this stroke of genius from Mario translates into, but still, he and Luigi head back into the dungeon where they rapidly fashion some trumpets from old drainpipes, which they will use to play a soothing melody to Koopa's guards. Remember, kiddies, that you shouldn't try this at home. Mouth to badly-drawn drainpipe trumpet contact, as irresistible as though it may seem, should be avoided on account of the nasty diseases it can get you. But the Marios don't care, and they start to play a hallucinating kazatchok-twist-reggae sonata on their improvised instruments. The Koopa Troopas are big fans of experimental multi-influence exotic music, so they do the only natural thing one could do in such a situation: they start to walk after the Marios, seemingly 100% in trance, and compulsively dancing a cosacco-funky chicken hybrid (it's even more effective than pure heroin). Koopa and Mouser debate what the source of this bizarre phenomenon could be for a while, until they notice Mario and Luigi's presence. By then, Mario has already ripped off the keys to the children's cage, and the Princess sets them free. Just as they are about to escape from Koopa's castle, Mouser interrupts them, boldly claiming that their bizarre music has no effect on him (because he only likes pure jazz). In that case, acts of horrifying violence will have to do instead, so Luigi knocks Mouser unconscious with his deadly trumpet. With Mouser immobilized, the drawbridge is lowered, and the children are set free, while the Mario bros and the Troopas amazingly float down the stairway around Koopa's castle (I told you it was drug-induced. Or is that badly-animated?). Koopa, however, is preparing a counter-offence. He's about to rush after them to re-rip off the kids with his magic flute, menacing to Mouser that he'll put him "in full charge of the brats" once they're back in captivity. Such is the horror of the idea of having to look after that horde of brats to Mouser that he turns against his lord and master and pulls up the drawbridge underneath Koopa's feet, just to save himself from this fate worse than death. Koopa plummets into the moat (wasn't it supposed to be drained?), and during the fall, loses his flute. He slobbers miserably. Back at the Pastaland village, Mario and co pig out on pasta and are awarded badly-drawn medals. Mario gives a short speech in which he explains that he wants more food to wrap things up.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Well, there isn't anything so bad it makes you want to hurl yourself out of the window....
  • The concept of "Pastaland" is amusing enough.
  • And Mouser's in there...
WHAT'S BAD?
  • The bit about the double-drained moat is a bit hard to follow....
  • How exactly are the Marios able to entrance all those Troopas with their bizarre music?
  • Rather slow-moving, devoid of action and a bit dull in the end.
  • It just doesn't have anything especially redeeming.
OVERALL
Ho hum. This is a rather tame episode, nowhere near as fast-paced as some of the better ones. The dungeon scene is way too long and drawn-out, and the plot holes are so huge you could lose a Boeing in them. On the whole, it's not a travesty full stop, but rather a forgettable and unexciting, but otherwise decent episode.

EPISODE RATING: 2.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
A hair-tearing tragedy has struck the Mario residence: mama's garlic plant is about to die in horrible agony. But luckily, a lunatic doctor, with an extremely bald head and a frightening LSD-added stare pops by and hands Mario a miraculous plant-saving formula. Alas, Mario over-uses the stuff, and the plant mutates into an unbelievably idiotic monster, who develops a slightly too big affection for Luigi. Doctor LSD-eyes is called upon, and he engages in terrifying mortal combat with the horrible monster (a bloke with a beach towel draped over his head). By spraying a mega-shrinking formula (just another name for cheapo washing machine powder) over the vile spawn of Satan, it is reverted to it's original perky plant form, and is in perfect health. Ahh, bliss.