Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Episode 27: "On Her Majesty's Sewer Service"

CARTOON SUMMARY

The episode opens with a view of Spyland. Spyland is a terrifying place populated entirely by peeping Toms. And if that wasn't bad enough, there's also "secret agent James Blond", who does his movie counterpart justice by being horse-vomit ugly. His face is a cross between a pitbull's mug and a plate of macaroni; the sort of thing that makes John Wayne look delicate. This living abomination is as of now on the trail of a terrifying criminal named "Koopfinger". Read on quickly before the full horror of that sinks in. Alas, he finds that he's no match for this Koopfinger and "his old turn-me-to stone trick". Ah, of course, the well-known and widely feared turn-me-to-stone trick! (A cloud of pink smoke from a tacky-looking ring that petrifies on contact). There's one bright side: secret agent Blond looks lots more attractive in solid concrete.

After this profoundly tragic event, we're treated to a scene of Mario and Luigi having lunch in a cheapo restaurant with the Princess. Toad's not here, he's sleeping out his hangover. Or maybe they just forgot to write lines for him. However, as the Princess reveals, lunch isn't the true purpose of this restaurant. She messes around with a badly-drawn candle (it's a well-concealed switch), and a trap door opens underneath them. Their table then plummets down a long shaft, which terrifies Luigi. During their fall down this shaft, the Princess explains that this is actually a super secret spy center, and she's entrusting Mario and Luigi with the mission to kick Koopfinger's butt. They then land at the bottom of the shaft and break all their bones. Allright, they don't break any bones, even though they did just plummet down a long, steep shaft. Mister Gravity must be out to lunch or something. They're now in the top-secret spy HQ, where a certain agent N, who has bizarre eyes, welcomes them. Agent N shows them to their super-deluxe spymobile. Luigi isn't impressed, and points out that this so-called spymobile is nothing but a cheap-looking plumber's truck, with an attractive rose pink paint job. But agent N assures them that it packs plenty of firepower underneath it's badly-drawn exterior. He then demonstrates a few silly plumbing tools/spy equipment hybrids to them, which are of strictly no use at all for the rest of this episode. Mario is dead excited at the sight of these nifty gimmicks, but his enthusiasm is interrupted by the sound of an alarm siren. Some video images on a big screen show that Koopa and his crazy boys are on their way to "Fort Hard Knocks". No, that's not a café in the dodgy part of town, it is actually the place where all of Spyland's moolah is kept. Mario and Luigi immediately embark on a mission to put a halt to whatever horrifying deed Koopa is planning to commit.

Koopa and co have by now arrived at the Hard Knocks place, driving a very odd-looking car. Note that Koopa Troopa and Mouser have slightly new looks for this episode. Troopa has been extensively treated with anabolic steroids and runs around in nothing but a bright yellow slip during this episode, whereas Mouser has gotten himself a quasimodo look and a Groucho Marx moustache. Oh, and Triclyde wears purple dungarees. Now -that- is terrifying. Koopa, who has trouble telling bombs and magic potions apart, blows up the main gate to the fort, and they proceed to rip off all the cash. It helps that there are absolutely no guards or security systems whatsoever. Not even one tiny little alarm bell. Nothing at all in fact. They can just waltz in and rip off truck loads of badly-drawn coins without anybody noticing. That is, except for "secret agents Mario and Luigi". While Koopa and his posse drive off in their warped car, the Mario brothers are on their trails, and Mario decides to give chase by activating their (still pink) spymobile's shower-based turbo. They begin to gain on the Koopa clan, but their presence hasn't gone unnoticed, and Koopa sends in a Snifit against them, who showers them with a barrage of bullets. As Luigi points out, it's a good thing that "the windshield is made out of Snifit-proof glass". I know how he feels, I -always- use Snifit-proof glass for my windshields too. The Snifit is then finished off with a few "plumber missiles" (a bunch of plungers). My, isn't it just too handy-dandy. Koopa then attacks with an Albatoss, but the fearsome bird is no match for the deadly shower head that Mario and Luigi use as a cannon. In face of this, Koopa decides to play rough and calls upon a giant, winged Birdo (funny, I don't remember that appearing in the games). The creature simply picks up the Mario's truck and lifts them into the air.

Yup, it's that time again, they have as of now been captured by Koopa. You just know what will happen next. That's right, handcuff time. Mario and Luigi are chained to a slab of plastic in Koopa's "hideout", and Koopa tells them that they're going to play a game. When Koopa mentions "playing games", especially in this context, you have every reason to be terrified. But truth is even more frightening than fiction in this case, as the game in question turns out to be "the wheel of misfortune". It's a painstakingly lame and un-witty parody on that other game show, and it's hosted, horror of horrors, by a frighteningly ugly middle-aged woman with a really bad hairdo. This display of lame scripting still manages to really turn on Koopa and co, especially when it's decided, via a spin of the aforementioned wheel, that the fashion in which Mario and Luigi will be gorily murdered is "the tunnel of doom" ("My favorite!", Koopa adds). Sito presto, a trap door opens underneath the two plumbers, and they're hurled into this tunnel of doom. And the reason why it has such a grim name is as follows: something absolutely horrifying happens in this place. Namely, one single lonely and defenseless Goomba comes running towards them. My God! One tiny little Goomba! It's horrible, this time, they really are doomed! Mario and Luigi take the only natural course of action left to them: they run away in mortal terror. However, they soon enough come across a horde of munch-happy Piranha Plants. No problem, just jump onto them, using the plant's heads as stepping stones. Hmmm, running in panic from a mere Goomba, jumping onto the heads of Piranha Plants...you can just tell that this scene was written by someone who probably doesn't even know what a copy of SMB looks like. And you thought the SMB movie took shocking liberties with the true spirit of the games. Well, anyway, they still haven't shaken off the frightening Goomba, and just to make matters worse, a Spark is also heading right for them. So they're stuck with the Goomba coming up behind them, and the Spark on collision course in front of them. Luckily, Mario has a miniature plunger on a rope gun with him, and using this, he improvises an upward escape route out of the terrifying tunnel, while the Goomba and the Spark kill themselves by crashing into each other. Mario and Luigi then climb out of the tunnel and find themselves back in Koopa's hideout.

While Koopa shouts at his flunkies, Mario and Luigi make their dramatic entrance and engage in a frenzied battle to the death with the Koopa minions. A so-so song begins to play in the background, about "a man who leads a life of danger". It's probably referring to the animator. Mario and Luigi, although armed with blunt plumbing tools to hit other people with, find that the battle is getting a little hairy. The steroid-pumped Koopa Troopa is unaffected by Luigi's repeated blows, and Mario has a bit of trouble facing up to Triclyde and Mouser. However, Mouser, whose cretinicity knows no boundaries then decides to hurl his hat around as a deadly projectile. He can't aim to save his life, and the hat of doom ends up knocking out Troopa and Triclyde. The wrinkled lady and her wheel of misfortune then make their comeback, and she blows a fireball towards the Marios. Think Sonya Blade in her late fifties (and dressed in Tati clothes) and you get the idea. This technique is no good either, as Mario uses his super wrench to knock the fireball into Mouser's mug, who instantly dies. The fireball ricochets around for a bit and ends up sending the ugly woman off to a painful and very badly-animated death. With all of his subordinates trashed, Koopa is officially declared as finished. Even the wheel of misfortune thinks so. But that doesn't bother Koopa. He knows that the director has gotten stoned again and takes opportunity of this to hop off through a warp zone, while Mario and Luigi just stand around and don't bother to do anything. The good news is that Spyland is back to it's former glory. The bad news is that agent Blond is no longer petrified. Agent N joyfully states that his colleague is "back in human form". Agent N is either terribly short-sighted or has no idea what a human looks like (hint: nothing like agent Blond). The tragedies don't end there: Mario also becomes the unwitting victim of agent N's newly-created "spaghetti bomb", and the episode ends on an extremely badly-directed shot of Mario with shockingly miscoloured gloves.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • A large selection of different enemies appear, with noteworthy appearances by Snifit, Spark and Porcupo.
  • Quite action-packed.
  • The re-designs for Koopa's gang add a dash of variety.
  • Luckily, the scream-inducing agent Blond doesn't appear too much.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Toad doesn't appear.
  • Agent Blond is dangerously ugly.
  • Was that bit with the wheel of misfortune really necessary?
  • My congratulations on the director's third birthday.
  • The tunnel of doom part is shockingly cretinous.
  • A lot of plot elements are terribly flimsy.
  • Loads of the script consists of lines that are re-used so often in the series, it's just painful.
OVERALL
Allright, so there's a lot wrong with it. In fact, this has all the elements for a travesty of the highest order. It does, however, have one saving grace: you get to see loads of different and quite rare enemies in action. This manages to make it worth watching, but it's serious drawbacks are still hard to forgive.

EPISODE RATING: 2.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Mario and Luigi have gotten themselves a bizarre talking computer, who goes by the name of HAL (deja vu, anyone?), and looks like a combination of a traffic light and a supermarket counter. Quite how they could afford such a supposedly high-tech device is a big enigma, but oh well. Via a complex mathematic process, and some cheapo special effects, the thing's able to instantly create pizzas. Alas, it isn't long before HAL blows a fuse and starts to churn out positively gross pizzas: pizzas with shoes, pencils, dog biscuits, heroin injection needles, and all sorts of other not very appetizing elements. And to make matters worse, HAL hypnotizes the unwitting Marios and forces them to eat every single one of the revolting pizzas. It's "Can't cook, won't cook" on cheap LSD. Morale: beware the culinary computer apocalypse.