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Episode 33: "Mighty McMario and the Pot o'Gold"

CARTOON SUMMARY

This episode is set in the kingdom of Shamrock (look, it wasn't my idea), which has fallen in the cruel clutches of Koopa. Right after his takeover, he has ripped off the land's sacred pot of gold, which somehow causes al the "luck" to push off as well. The situation is profoundly catastrophical, as no-one is able to get lucky anymore now. Probably. And just to make matters worse, the Mario crew have also arrived. They take a stroll with a certain Murphy. No-one knows who this Murphy is supposed to be, or why he is hanging out with them. Murphy looks like a cross between Patrick Bruel and an onion, and he wears high-heels, olive tights, a beige slip and a funky pastaga green vest, with a matching cupcake-shaped hat. Mouais, passons. Anyway, Murphy laments the current unpleasant situation, but Toad, with a hilariously badly-drawn Princess and Luigi in the background assures him that they'll sort out Koopa soon enough. Mario insists that they go and have lunch first. However, their little talk has been overheard by Mouser, who is wearing groovy striped tights and a wide purple hat (what, is he going snowboarding?), and the ratboy immediately reports their presence to Koopa. Koopa then decides to sito presto launch a massive attack on them.

Then, it's time for a scene in the "Shamrock Inn", where Murphy serves Mario something that looks (and also sounds) horrendously gross. Still, Mario doesn't care, but just when he's about to pig out on the red and white globs of unidentified material, the bench he's sitting on breaks and he crashes to the ground. Mario: "I sure hope the food's better than the furniture!". Well, trying to eat the furniture is probably not a very good idea in the first place, Mario. The food then begins to display an extreme tendency for flying away just when Mario's about to nab it, and Mario manages to injure himself in his attempts to catch the fugitive delicatesse. Murphy blames himself for this "bad luck". Murphy: "I'm a jinx!". Well, that wasn't the word I had in mind for him, but fine, I'll go with the jinx bit for now. The disgusting food then flies out of the window and lands right on Koopa's studly face. For Koopa has surrounded the inn, and after a timing delay of a few seconds, his troops begin to rush in. Mario makes brave attempts at holding the door shut, but he ends up getting squashed (paper-flat Mario; one of the only genuinely chucklesome moments of the series). Luigi and Toad valiantly fight back by flinging the gross food at the Troopas (chemical warfare in the late eighties. Yes, folks), and Mario begins to swing around on a chandelier and drop-kicks a few more Troopas. For hardly any reason at all, Murphy then grabs onto Mario's waist (Murphy's sense of timing is every bit as bad as his taste in men, then), and they end up crashing to the ground and knocking down the others as well. This leaves the Mario gang with only one option against the onslaught of Troopas: run for your life and hide in a tree, while the dim Troopas just run right past you. No sooner have the Troopas disappeared then the branch on which the Mario gang were hiding out snaps and they crash to the ground. It is once again underlined that Murphy is to blame for this, since without his pot of gold coins, he does nothing but bring bad luck. To such an extent even, that it begins to rain. So what? Well, so strong is the effect of the bad luck that it will continue to rain on and on until the whole kingdom is flooded. Murphy has a hysterically badly-voiced freak attack (or maybe someone just stepped on his voice actor's foot), and it is decided that the pot of gold must immediately be retrieved from Koopa in order to avert this rainflood disaster. It'd be easier to just kill Murphy, but no-one thinks of that.

So, they head to Koopa's creepy castle, and Murphy shows them a secret way in via a hollow tree stump. In a short scene where the animators forgot to draw the falling raindrops (oops), Mario and co decide to go into the castle and cruelly leave the catastrophe-magnet Murphy behind to "guard the secret passageway". Once inside the castle, they immediately locate the pot of gold, but there's a sophisticated alarm mechanism: touch the pot and a bell begins to ring, thus alerting a bunch of Beezos. No prob, just have Toad holding the bell still so Mario can nick the gold and walk away. Alas, it goes pear-shaped when Mario trips and drops the gold. He starts to recollect the coins in a quick fast-forward shot (the only thing to genuinely make me laugh in the whole series), but it was all in vain, as Murphy, whose moronity knows no limits has drawn the conclusion that Mario and co must have gotten into danger by now and has entered the castle to help them out. Only he doesn't. As soon as he makes his appearance, everyone ends up crashing into each other, the alarm bell is inadvertedly rung, and Koopa immediately imprisons them. Or rather, he imprisons Mario and the others, while the Princess gets the deluxe treatment as he lovingly attaches a chain around her ankle. Yes, it's that feet and chains thing of his again. But Mario has already found a smashingly debile way out of their dungeon. He cruelly rips off a stool from underneath Luigi's bum, and somehow begins to destroy the ceiling with this. This alerts a few Troopa guards, who penetrate the prison cell and menace Murphy with lousy puns. Mario then rams the ceiling a few more times, a bunch of badly-drawn blue bricks hurtle across the screen, and the Troopas just mysteriously disappear. Somehow. The scriptwriter must've been sniffing paint stripper again.

Anyway, with the Troopa guards out of the way (somehow), it's high time to save the Princess from Koopa's perversities and retrieve the gold before all of Shamrock perishes. However, Mouser is guarding the Princess. This is taken care of by Luigi and Toad who lure Mouser away by taunting him and running off. He immediately rushes after them with a few Troopas, thus giving Mario the chance to sneak in and begin to cut through the Princess' chain with an "all-purpose plumber's army knife" (yeah, right). Next up is a rather tedious and overly long chase scene between Luigi and Toad and the Mouser posse. However, this is brought to an abrupt end when Koopa interferes. And once he has nabbed Luigi, Toad and Murphy, he also pops by and nips Mario and the Princess' escape attempt in the bud (introducing himself with "his gorgeous self is here!"). Everyone blames Murphy for this latest flop. Mario then informs Koopa that the entire kingdom will drown if the pot of gold isn't returned to Murphy's hands, but Koopa doesn't give a damn, as he has a deluxe yacht standing by to escape with.

Everything seems lost, but Mario then makes an amazing discovery: they should use Murphy’s bad luck thingy to their advantage. Meaning that Murphy has to become Koopa's "very best friend". Murphy is but all too pleased at an opportunity like this and immediately hurls himself at Koopa (seems like 87% of this show's cast, regardless of their gender fall for Koopa's charms at some stage). Murphy violently glomps onto Koopa's ankle. Koopa hates this (you know how he feels about feet) and makes violent attempts at shaking Murphy off, which result in embarrassing self-injury and massive destruction of set pieces. Mouser and co are terrified and run off. Koopa launches a fireball at Murphy, which bounces around for a bit and ends up in the explosives storage room. Despite Koopa's valiant attempts at halting the inevitable, the castle is blown sky-high in a very unconvincing scene. Koopa is by now utterly terrified of Murphy, and when Mario informs him that Murphy will remain passionately his as long as he's in Shamrock, Koopa no longer hesitates to hurl himself into the purple waters below. The pot of coins is then retrieved, and the rain stops (only to be replaced by a shoddy-looking rainbow), and Murphy no longer brings bad luck. Even if he does cause Mario to crash through the floor, Mario lands next to a stash of food, so everything is peachy keen after all.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Some nice'n groovy costumes for Koopa and his boys (I especially care for Mouser's retro-funk ensemble).
  • Very rapid; most of the episode is dedicated to panicky running around and crashing though structures.
  • A few visual gags that manage to be genuinely amusing.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • The "bad luck" plot element is not only a bit dull, but also quite clumsily handled.
  • Chara designs and artwork are back down a notch, with the characters looking particularly godawful in some shots (especially Koopa).
  • Murphy really gets on one's nerves.
  • I simply can't make sense out of that bit where Mario smashes the prison ceiling and the Troopas mysteriously vanish. What was on their minds?
OVERALL
SMBSS episodes set in a slightly medieval England-flavoured setting usually spell disaster (although strictly, this is Irish-ish). However, this one manages to hold it's own well enough (it's nowhere near as much of a travesty as episodes 2 and 31). Although not outstanding in any way, there isn't anything especially putrid here. If you can stomach Murphy, this is worth catching for one or two chuckle-inducing visual gags, if very little else.

EPISODE RATING: 2.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Yes, we're back to this again; throw a dull celebrity in for hardly any reason whatsoever. This time it's a young teen idol, who was being chased around by frenzied fans (or maybe they're enraged tax collectors), and has decided to hide out in Mario and Luigi's place, on account of no-one daring to go in -that- place. Mario and Luigi immediately fall for his charms (he is probably the least ugly man in the entire series, so allright then) and have a cozy pizza-slobbering session with him. Luigi is amazed at having a famous person around, even though this plot element has already been used twenty million times on this show. The idol boy then transvestites himself as Luigi and uses this nifty disguise to escape the overly affectionate fans. Luigi then dons the idol's groovy duds, which gets him into trouble with the hysterical fans.