Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

Episode 38: "The Unzappables"

CARTOON SUMMARY

The setting for this episode is the urban region of "Crimeland", a place dominated by such fiends as drug dealers, perverse, homicidal maniacs and underpaid scriptwriters. Only you never get to see them: for a big city, Crimeland has some stunningly empty streets (it was too much trouble to draw some figurants, probably). Anyway, "the city was in it's worst crimewave", and the man behind this sudden outbreak of bloody murder is none other than Koopa, who goes by the name of Al Koopone and has his posse committing lurid crimes all over the city (he forces people to lick his feet). While the Mario bunch wander through the wide empty streets, they suddenly witness a profoundly horrible event. Mouser, Triclyde and Koopa Troopa, dressed in stylish suits come rushing out of a building, carrying large paper bags. The Princess succinctly analyses this situation: "Those crooks just robbed a bank!". And who can blame them? If you knew of a bank where you can just waltz in, rip off a big load of cash and waltz out again with not one security system, guard, or bloody anything at all in your way, you'd take your chances too. But that sort of thing only happens in badly-scripted surreal 80's TV shows. The Mario gang tries to halt Mouser and co, but they are unimpressed and just fire a few rounds of machine gun ammo at their faces (amusingly represented by Snifits in violin cases). Toad still finds the time to make a dumb pun before they dodge the salvo of bullets, after which the Koopa clan has long since pushed off. Surely, this deed of profound gruesomeness must've been the work of Koopa (du-uh, it's his flunkies after all) and Mario is determined to punish him.

Koopa himself is residing in a soda bar called the "Koopa Klub", which he thinks will be the perfect cover. Great move, no-one will figure it out with a name like that. We're then treated to a shot of Koopa himself, pointing his bare feet right at the camera (note that although he and all his henchmen wear funky-colored Prisu two-piece suits, Koopa himself is the only one not to wear shoes. Make of that what you will). His three flunkies then drop by, carrying giant pink XTC tablets, and Triclyde tells him that the "special order from the gangster supply store" has arrived. Ah, the bliss of shopping with the friendly folk of the well-known gangster supply store (these writers really are desperate). Koopa's three goons then begin to dance the conga (lord knows why) and end up crashing to the ground with the boxes they were carrying. Surprise, the boxes contain nothing but hats. Koopa orders them to put those hats on, and they look absolutely daaarling, but Koopa doesn't like it. So he takes out a Snifit machine gun and brutally murders his three flunkies. Or not, as the bullets mysteriously bounce off his servants. Qué passa? Well, it's like this: those groovy hats turn out to be enchanted hats that make one immune to any kind of injury (it even protects you from getting aids). With their protective magic groovy AT field hats on, they are "unzappable". And the suspense is killing us....

The Mario posse, meanwhile, are marveling at a poster of Koopa's hunky mug (he's wearing a very suave 3 Suisses hat and trenchcoat), where he is declared "public enemy number one". I thought that was Geri Halliwel? But oh well, what they need to do is find out what Koopa's next act of merciless slaughter will be, but out of mortal terror for Koopa, no-one dares to tell them (and Koopa -is- frightening. Suppose he wanted you to lick his feet). Luigi reasons that they need "a stoolpigeon". And just then, ta-dah, they find a stoolpigeon; a Tweeter bird sitting on a stool. That's a joke. Hoo, hilarious. The Tweeter agrees to give them the hot info in return for a paper bag full of LSD (oh, allright, it's really chicken feed). Koopa's latest scheme is as follows: he intends to rob the "first Mushroom bank". The swine. The scene then switches to this first Mushroom bank. Like every bank in this crazy show, there's no security at all, which means that Koopa and co have no trouble to just rush in, guns blazing, which frightens the three bystanders. After Mouser has done something profoundly terrible to one of the bystanders, Koopa says: "Plug your ears and watch your rears" (maybe he means that the other way around). Koopa, are you sure this is the right time for such a thing? He then throws a Bob-omb at the bank's safe, thus blowing it up and creating a rain of gold coins. But just when the Koopa gang is about to nab the moolah, the Mario crew make their entrance. They immediately attack Koopa with crap scripting, but that doesn't work, so instead they throw lethal vegetables at the cruel Koopa gang. But, -ah-hah-, Koopa and his boys are still wearing their "unzappable" hats, and thus, the veggies don't even scratch them. Even hitting Koopa with a big wobbly rubber plunger doesn't work. Mario and the others are mystified, and Koopa, in a rather dim move immediately spills the beans on how it's their hats that block out every single attack (brilliant move, Koopa, always deploy all your cards to your enemy). They then menace the Mario group with their UZI's, and Troopa wonders what they should do with them. Well, you'd shoot them if you had any brains, but Koopa has another suggestion. With a lewd expression on his face, he orders to "take them...for a ride". Luigi: "I duh...don't think he means a j....joyride". Don't be disappointed, Luigi, you might still get lucky (this is Koopa, after all). The Mario crew are then taken to a bridge over a river, where they're tied up, and have their feet entrapped in concrete blocks (definitely the most bizarre side of Koopa's foot-fixation so far). After Koopa gruesomely murders the poor, idiotic Troopa, Mario and co are dumped into the river, where they sink like bricks (on account of the concrete blocks around their feet). Everyone minds terribly, even though they're easily able to breathe and talk under water (so why does Koopa dump them in the river if he knows that they can't drown? It's a mystery). But Mario then discovers a Starman, and with some struggling, he manages to nab it. He then transforms and frees his comrades (he takes his time, however), after which they decide to go kick Koopa's shapely buttocks.

They immediately locate the Koopa Klub "hideout" (some hideout). In order to get in, they dress up like gutter freaks. However, Mouser asks them what the password is, and they don't know. Their absent-mindedness annoys Mouser, who sternly reminds them that the passwords is "cheeseballs" (bet there's innuendo in that), and then lets them in. The fool. Inside the Klub, a few Koopa creepies are committing acts of shocking decandentism: they drink milkshakes and dance the cha-cha-cha (in case someone is wondering, this scene has in no way inspired the SMB Freaky Show concept of the "Koopa Kafé". That idea came from Sailor Moon SuperS). Note the dead kawaii Goomba who plays the piano with his feet, and the saxophone-slinging Pidgit. There's also a Shyguy on a bass fiddle in there, as well as Birdo and Ostro dancing around. Mario and co then sneakily kill the defenseless Troopa who was minding the hat-check room. They then rip off a few of those "unzappable" hats from the hat-check place, which will surely give them an advantage in battle against Koopa's groovy bunch. And it does; when the Mario gang pop up, Koopa's guards can fire all the machine gun bullets they want at them, it doesn't harm them at all. Mario and co then produce vegetables from nowhere and kill Koopa's three servants while Koopa himself cowers miserably. Just for good measure, the Princess then also kills the innocent musicians with a blast of soda water. Koopa tries to make a run for it, but Mario blocks his path. No problem, Koopa just takes advantage of the sluggish timing to hop off via a warp zone, while no-one can be bothered to do anything about it (again). Oh well, that rids Crimeland of him (but with a name like that it probably won't become a peaceful place anytime soon). To round things up, Mario changes the name of the Koopa Klub to his own Pasta emporium, and all is right with the world.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Koopa and the boys in great two-piece suits, complete with Dick Tracy hats and trenchcoats. Oohh, suave.
  • Amusing appearances by quite a few minor baddies (especially in the Klub scene).
  • Mario gets to transform (only for a very short while, but still).
  • Animation quality is getting a bit better.
  • I quite like the urban setting.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • The "unzappable hats" plot premise is kind of dumb.
  • Some scream-inducing scripting and desperately lame "humour" (it's about as hysterical as having tea and biscuits with Rei Ayanami).
  • What is it with the totally security-free banks? Why can't we have banks like that in Amsterdam?
  • A few points of the plot are very dodgy indeed; the river scene is strange, and the bit where Mouser just lets Mario and co waltz into the Klub makes strictly no sense.
OVERALL
This one's actually good enough. Sure, the plot is pretty dim for the most part, but it's possible to forgive that and pick out plenty of enjoyable bits, such as the cool costumes, the many minor baddies that appear, Mario's short transformation and the strong come-back of Koopa's foot fixation. There's enough good stuff in there to make this stand out.

EPISODE RATING: 3.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
Mario has come up with an ingenious idea (we're all doomed): he wants to make people pay to sleep at his place (no, no, it's -not- what you think), and lure them in with a sign that says "George Washington slept heree" (that's not a typo, it really does say "heree"). It's a scandalous lie, but George Washington isn't going to tell anyone, right? Wrong. The Washingman pops up and gravely scolds Mario for telling such lies. See, he never slept with Mario. But Mario then has another ingenious idea (it's the apocalypse); if they manage to get Washies to sleep while he's over at their place, it will indeed be true that "George Washington slept heree". So Maz and Lui try to hypnotize him, but it doesn't work. Instead they fall asleep themselves and have a frightening dream about being in a bathtub with Georgie, while badly-painted cardboard set pieces menace them. They then wake up, and it was all just a dream. A middle-aged guy then barges in, which frightens them, but he pushes off again right away.