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Episode 28: "Mario and Joliet"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and co have traveled to "the land of romance". No, no, it's not what you think. Their reasons for going to such a suspiciously-named place aren't half as sinister as what you might imagine. See, they're answering a distress call from this friend of the Princess who goes by the name of Joliet. Only they end up finding themselves in a distress situation, as they have somehow landed in a bizarre and massively destructive war. Snifits fire bullets all over the screen, set pieces crumble before their eyes, terrifying Beezos force them to hide in holes, and apricot jam is dumped onto Luigi's head. Not very pleasant. Things get hairy when they get trapped in a dead end, with a Bob-omb laden Albatoss dead on collision course with them, but they are saved in extremis by a trap door flipping open underneath their feet. This leads them to the sewers, where they're greeted by Joliet (who looks like she's over fifty) and her would-be fiancÚ Romano. Romano has a physique like a telephone pole and is dressed in an attractive puce and violet spandex combo, with purple puff sleeves. He makes Jon Inman look like Jean-Claude van Damme. But he's only Joliet's would-be fiancÚ because Koopa, as Joliet explains, has started a war between her and Romano's fathers, which isn't helping their wedding plans at all.

The Princess decides to shamelessly abuse of her tyrannical power to alter this situation. She hops out of the sewer and calls out Romano and Joliet's fathers. In a succinct (and simplistic) speech, she explains to them that they are ordered to immediately quit this war, or she will raise their income tax. Not daring to argue with that, the two fathers call it a truce, and Romano and Joliet can proceed with their wedding. Well, they would, if it weren't for the fact that Koopa has other plans. He's making pots of cash from selling arms to the war-mongering fathers (parents these days, they're so violent...), so he's not pleased about this latest development. He talks it over with his mirror. Oddly, the mirror talks back to him, and suggests that he should rip off Joliet (not Romano, he's got mad cows disease), which should re-light the flame of battle between the middle-aged men. Koopa immediately puts this cruel scheme into action. While Joliet prepares for the wedding by draping a plastic sandwich foil over her head, an aggressive Albatoss flies into her room and brutally kidnaps her, in front of Toad's horrified eyes. While the other characters are gathered in a recycled background set from a Monty Python sketch, Toad rushes in and reports this latest catastrophe. Immediately, the two fathers blame each other and re-start their war by firing their Snifits of doom at each other. They're very short-sighted so they constantly miss, but it does cause the entire studio to menacingly crumble. It's the apocalypse, everyone is doomed to be crushed under the falling giant chunks of caramel fudge. Romano then decides to kick into action, and opens a hatch in the floor through which he and the Mario crew escape the towering inferno. The finger of suspicion then falls on Koopa, and it is unanimously decided to pop over to his place and free Joliet. Trouble is, Koopa's cozy nest is guarded by a moat full of Trouters. No problem, Mario improvises a way across with some nearby logs. The following log-jumping session doesn't go too well for Romano, who manages to hurl himself into the moat, but the horrible thought of getting munched by Trouters is enough to fuel his desire to get across. Behold how unbridled panic can boost the abilities of even the least talented of persons.

Alas, their efforts were in vain, as no sooner have they crossed the deadly moat than they are captured in a large net. As if that wasn't bad enough, Luigi makes an absolutely rancid pun. In order to punish him for uttering such a scandalously yawneriffic witticism, he and the others are hurled into a prison cell where Joliet was lamenting her cruel fate (hey, spending your late fifties in a badly-drawn dungeon isn't enjoyable, after all). Koopa gloats evilly and puts his "Super Troopa", the aptly-named Grunt in front of their cell as a guard. Toad, however, has "a bodacious idea" (my god, run for your life). While Mr. Grunt practices his weight-lifting, Toad begins to boast that he used to have a boyfriend who could lift not one, but two dumbbells. Grunt is dead keen on impressing Toad, so just to prove that he's every bit as manly as the next guy, he picks up two dumbbells. The Princess then taunts him further by boldly claiming that her secret lover in Brighton is capable of lifting three dumbbells. He is also dead keen on impressing the Princess (he has a wide range of tastes) and so, just to show off his incredible studliness (which isn't easy if you're drawn as shoddily as he is), he lifts a third dumbbell. And then the inevitable happens: the combined weight of Grunt and his three dumbbells is too much for the floor to take (Koopa never hires decent builders), and it crumbles underneath his feet, sending him to a horrifying death. Trouble is, he had the key to the prison cell. Nice going, Toad.

But there's another way. It turns out that Joliet's bridal bouquet is made out of fire flowers. Hmm, I distinctly remember seeing her dropping the bouquet when she got ripped off by the Albatoss....Oh well, it doesn't bother Mario, who nabs the flowers and transforms. Having transformed, he can easily destroy the door to the prison, and they begin to run off. Alas, their path to freedom is blocked by a horde of Koopa Troopas. While Mario holds them off with his fireballs, the others go back and improvise some kind of speeding cart type-thing with the prison cell's door as the body and Grunt's dumbbells as the wheels. Surprisingly, this unlikely creation holds together, and it allows them to speed past the terrified Troopas, just when Mario's transformation had ended. Koopa attempts to kill them by raising the castle's drawbridge, but they still succeed in escaping. Koopa is not amused. Then it's back to the Monty Python set piece, where the Princess pronounces Romano and Joliet wife and husband. Everyone then starts to cry over the bad animation. In a matter of seconds, the two over-aggressive fathers fly at each other's throats again and begin to hurl food around the place. Can't they just play a few games of Mortal Kombat like everyone else? Oh well, Mario doesn't mind. He just loves the concept of having food flying around him.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Oh, joy and rapture, Mario gets to transform
  • To see the Snifits in action is a nice touch.
  • Animation and -yes- even the directing is a tad smoother than usual, and remarkably free of utter horridness (it still won't win them any awards, but it's not as desperately clumsy as usual).
  • Some pleasingly inventive backgrounds
WHAT'S BAD?
  • A few bits and pieces made hardly any sense
  • Romano and Joliet look pretty terrible.
  • The action scenes are slightly rushed and lacking.
OVERALL
Well, it's decent enough. The storyline is hardly anything to shout about, although it's refreshingly free of completely idiotic and illogical elements. It benefits from a little more attention to detail and visual polish than some of the more recent, utterly disastrous episodes, making it more enjoyable, if not particularly astounding in any way.

EPISODE RATING: 3.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Oh no, it's terrible! It's a catastrophe! An apocalypse! A travesty! The writers, who have really lost it by now, have decided on this scenario: the famous and beloved wrestler Captain Lou Albano is missing. Who cares? Not us, but there's one thing: Lou Albano is the pseudo-actor who’s supposed to play Mario (I'm being generous, he's more like half a wannabe pseudo-actor). Oh well, he can't act to save his life as it is, so it makes no difference if he's missing. Only he's not missing. He's right there, on the screen, making desperate attempts at playing Mario. A bizarre girl pops by and organizes a grandissimo international rescue operation to find Lou Albano. But Lou Albano is right there, dressed as Mario. What's the matter with them? Anyway, the operation becomes a flop. No-one is able to figure out that Lou Albano is right there, under their very noses. Mario then pops up wearing weird clothes and everyone is happy to have found Lou Albano. It's just a shame, as Luigi reckons, that Mario's not around to greet Lou Albano. Only he -is- around, because Mario and Lou Albano are one and the same. Malou then pushes off with the nutty girl and Luigi wonders where his brother Albario is. And you thought EVA was confusing....