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Episode 39: "Bad Rap"

CARTOON SUMMARY

That title is mean to be taken literally, although it's a bit of an understatement ("travesty rap", more like). You've heard of Aids, Ebola and Aaron Carter, right? Well, all those profoundly dangerous and unpleasant threats pale in face of this; an SMBSS episode turned into a mondo funky disco musical. No, seriously. They've done it. Mario: "Rap-laand wazzen't rappin'. Any. More." You should leave it that way, Mario. But no, the Mario gang have gone into the depths of hell (otherwise known as Rapland) and are there "to figure out what to do". How about nuking the place? Anyway, the situation is as follows: Koopa has imprisoned Rapland's king (that would be Satan, then), and via a mind-warping radio speaker system, he's forcing the Rapland inhabitants (who all look like they're on LSD) to hand him all their moolah. It is horrible. At that point, things get even more horrible; two fat, bald blokeys in vomit-coloured trainers pop up and introduce themselves as the Flab Boys (it's Mental Theo meets Mss Slocombe). They're something of the servants of the kidnapped king, and Koopa's mind-control radio waves have no effect on them, due to their groovy headphones. They then join the Mario crew in their struggle against Koopa, which means that they're all doomed now.

Next up is a scene where Koopa, who's wearing triangular red shades, a big candy necklace and a cute goatee beard (it's DJ Koopa! Aaargh!), cruelly insults the imprisoned "king James". Koopa then looks through a highly sophisticated spying device, which allows him to spot the Mario gang on their way to his place. And Mario has an ingenious strategy: "guess what, Princess, you're our man!" (Mario is beginning to take after Koopa, it would seem). So, the Princess, in a groovy banana-color beret and mondo shades joins the cue of stoned Raplanders who are dazedly handing over sacks of cash to the Koopa Troopas at Koopa's castle entry gate. Only she has Toad hiding out in her moneybag, but this strategy goes awry when Toad makes a noise and the Troopas begin to harass the Princess, who's cover is now knackered. Mario and Luigi rush to the rescue, but the Flab Boys constantly get in their way, the cretins. They eventually manage to kill the meddlesome Troopas by throwing CDs at them (they're pirated shareware CDs, that stuff is lethal), and Mario delivers the finishing blow by flinging a deadly plunger in the Troopas' mug. But then, all is -not- right with the world, as Koopa pops up and rips off the Princess himself. While she's cradled in him big, muscled arms he tells her: "let me show you the true meaning of mean"....Meaning? (That his pick-up lines are getting bolder, probably). Mario and Luigi are being harassed by Albatoss' with rubbish aiming abilities in the meantime, but they survive the attack. After this, Koopa ties the Princess along with funky man king James to a giant record (it's a low-budget production, CDs were over their heads), and tries to kill them with a giant needle that slowly descends towards them. But then, after a Troopa has told DJ Koopa the unpleasant news that the Mario gang are still alive, Koopa leaves the room, thus allowing Toad (who had been smuggled into the building, remember) to sneak in and save the Princess and the evil king James from a grizzly death. The whole Mario bunch is now re-united, and they decide on the following strategy: their first move against Koopa is to cut Rapland's power supply, thus putting an end to Koopa's brain-control radio waves. In order to do so, they need to pull a giant electric plug out of it's socket (insert your own dumb witticism on "getting plugged" here, I can't be bothered). The Flab Boys and Luigi climb on top of each other (I mean literally), and Mario then climbs on top of them. With a jump, he can now reach the giant electro-plug, but alas, it's under high voltage, and as soon as he touches it, he gets zapped painfully. But bravely/stupidly, he clings on to the plug and instead of killing him, the high voltage transforms him into his super form. With this power boost, he can easily unplug the power cable, and all of Rapland's power is now down, including Koopa's cruel machinations. Oh, goodie.

Next up is a short scene of Koopa, with some utterly -horrendous- scripting, in which he decides, for some reason, to launch an all-out attack with his Troopas against the Mario crew. Out on the battlefield, Mario and co are preparing to intercept Koopa's forces with ingenious weaponry. They all put on groovy sunglasses (it looks ridiculous on them), Luigi stands behind a DJ table, which is of absolutely no use whatsoever and Mario takes a microphone which is also totally useless. Toad puts on a helmet and hides in a hole in the ground while the Princess and creepy king James operate deadly CD-flinging radio guns. Koopa then arrives, leading his armada of Troopas, and he is majorly cheesed off. He dispatched a few Albatoss birds (who still can't aim to save their lives), but this aerial assault is skillfully countered by the Princess and king James who brutally murder the Albatoss squadron by firing their explosive CDs at them. The Flab Boys then use themselves as human bowling balls; they roll down a hill and crash into the legion of Troopas (which has mysteriously been reduced to a measly three or four Troopas), thus instantly killing them. Now that all his troops are lying on the floor in bloody chunks (well, that doesn't really happen) Koopa, in a slightly desperate move then decides to charge at the Mario bunch on his own. What's he going to do to them? Lick their feet? The suspense is unbearable. But Toad, who had remained cleverly concealed in a bunker then pops out and trips Koopa. This sends Koopa flying through the air, after which he painfully crashes on the ground and is instantly surrounded by the menacing Marios. Note that Koopa's cute goatee is missing during a few shots here. The Flab Boys then menace that they'll sit on Koopa (actually, he might like that), so Koopa has no other option than to admit defeat. But that doesn't bother him; he just throws a flask of Fernet-Branca against the celluloid, thus creating an escape door through which he can leisurely stroll away while no-one even attempts to stop him. But unfortunately, the horrors of this episode aren't over yet; there still is an absolutely painstaking scene to endure where the Mario gang get down and get groovy by wriggling about in an embarrassing fashion to the beat of the SMBSS intro song (which is an embarrassing thing in itself). It's about as cool n' funky as Edith Piaf on fast-forward. Oh, the agony of it.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Hardly anything is good here. Mario gets to transform, but it's disappointingly short-lived and a bit dim as well.
  • Well, allright, Koopa's costume is pretty neat, I'll give them that.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Since this is a "musical" episode, all of the lines are spoken as a rap of some kind (with dodgy rhyme). And it sounds totally horrible.
  • The dialogue, in order to fit in with the rap thing is terribly stilted.
  • All of the lines are supposed to rhyme, resulting in some gruesomely crap rhymes and semi-puns.
  • The Flab Boys are just aggravating. King James isn't much better.
  • Loads of misplaced and clumsy attempts at being hip'n groovy. It's just embarrassing.
  • The "dance" scene at the end can make grown men scream in terror.
  • Whatever action there is in there is rushed, short-lived and just as boring as the rest of the ep.
  • Can you really kill a person by hurling CDs at them
OVERALL
This is it, they've reached rock bottom. It can't possibly get any worse than this. I was almost howling "come back, 'Hooded Robin and his Mario Men', everything is forgiven!", that's how bad this is. The idea of making a rap musical episode was doomed to failure, and fail it does. Everything, from beginning to end is just so painfully -wrong- that it's embarrassing. Watch this with the sound off, and you might be able to sort of stomach it, but if you want to save your sanity (mine was knackered long ago), then run, run for your life and don't look back.

EPISODE RATING: 0.5/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
The frightening Sergeant Slaughter (as seen in episode 3's live-action travesty) is back, and for some reason, he has to coach Mario and Luigi into shape in order to make them top-notch government spies. He's on top secret business from the pentagon here, and his top secret orders read: "pssspsstpssstssspsss". How profoundly mysterious; for what spooky shady secret business could the government want to use Maz and Lui? (This is beginning to sound like an LSD rave disco over at agent Mulder's). Anyway, Slaughty subjects the Mario bros to severe physical training, which they hopelessly screw up, until it drives the Slaughterman to desperation. But just as he has them "ready to go out there and face torture, brutality and certain death" (it surely can't be worse than staying in there and facing bad scripting, budget cuts and rotten humour), he recieves a call telling him that the government wants Rattigator instead. Rattigator is a neon pink and green rubber thing that lives in the sewers. The SMBSS was made -before- that Clinton blokey popped up, so it's difficult to guess what the Yank government could want with a thing like the Rattigator. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. And it involves hefty XTC abuse, no doubt.