Super Mario Bros Super Show Review


“Hey Paisanos! This is going to totally blow!”

As a kid, I was all about the Mario Bros.  I had the first Mario Bros game for my sister’s Atari 2600 and then I got the NES and got my Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo cartridge, and that was it; I was hooked for life.  (Seriously – I’m just about done with Super Mario 3D World for Wii U.)  Then, Super Mario Bros 2 came out (the American version – not the extremely difficult Japanese one) and blew everyone’s mind and it flew out of the stores at such a fevered pace that I never actually owned a copy.  Such was the fever of Mario Mania – it was everywhere.  Naturally, the time was right to launch a TV show, and I thought, “YEAH!  That sounds amazing! I am going to watch the hell out of this show.”

And I did.

And then I thought, “Oh.  I mean… oh.”  I let out an exasperated sigh, a few weeks passed and then, the following Monday, I couldn’t help but think, “Is it Friday yet?”  People who watched the show know exactly what I’m talking about. 

The Intro Tells ALL!
Obviously, this funky fresh early 90s take on the Mario Bros theme was just as insufferable then as it is now, but more to the point, the intro doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I don’t know why Mario broke that block, why Bowser is so afraid of a breaking block or why Bowser’s holding onto a flagpole because that’s not a Bowser thing to do.  (Also, Mario’s ‘going down the flagpole’ sound effect is late – that’s just embarrassing.) When the heroes are flying on the carpet together, they’re completely unaware of the piranha plants because they don’t seem to exist in the same space.  It’s like everyone is unaware of everything that’s happening around them.  And you have to imagine that the audience for a Super Mario Bros show is going to pick up on the fact that touching a star SHOULD make Mario blink with invincibility, but instead, he is transformed into what is clearly the colors Mario darns when he touches a fire flower.  You might call it nitpicking, but I call it contempt for the audience.  My point is that if they can’t get the easy things right, it’s no surprise the big picture is such a mess.

You know what’s the most bizarre thing about my reflections on this show?  I can’t decide which Mario Bros component of the show is worse – live action or animation.  I really can’t.

The Live Action:
The show stars “Captain” Lou Albano (best known for his career as a professional wrestler) as Mario and Danny Wells (who is best known for sort of looking like my high school choir director) as Luigi.  The first episode features Nicole Eggert (she was Jamie on Charles in Charge), who not only needs her kitchen sink fixed but is also concerned about expiring tooth paste.  So… yeah.

It’s as exciting to watch as it sounds.

The Super Mario Bros Cartoon is the worst thing ever
The bottom line is that the Mario game play just doesn’t seem to lend itself well to narrative storytelling.  It’s just a fun, straight forward platformer.  You run, you jump (Pretty sure Mario is just called “Jump Man” in his first appearance in the landmark Donkey Kong game.) and that’s pretty much it.  Maybe an amazing writer could make this succeed, but what’s there is not working.  Just look at it.

The Legend of Zelda Cartoon
Look, I know that I’m the only one who likes this show, but frankly, it was exciting.  The arrangements of the musical themes from the game are fantastic, and I liked their original bits, too.  Also, there is NOTHING at stake in the Super Mario Bros cartoon, but in Zelda, they have to protect the triforce or even steel Ganon’s triforce or they’re SCREWED FOREVER!  And Zelda is herself is a badass – she’s one of the first strong female protagonists in cartoons I can remember.  (I guess Teela counts, too.)  Zelda is clearly in charge and Link is a Han Solo-ish soldier of fortune… I think it works well.

OK, OK, I know what you’re going to say…

…and you’re not wrong.  Keep in mind this show debuted in 1989, OK?  I think it’s comparable with the silliness of its day and maybe it could have evolved if it had gone on for longer and they’d given it a few more episodes instead of choosing to concentrate Mario’s super weird adventures, BMX races and so on… but this was all we got.



And as suddenly as it appeared, the Super Mario Bros Super Show was gone.   52 Mario episodes, 13 Zelda Fridays and that was all she wrote.  It lives on in infamy (and on YouTube), but as bad as the show was, I’ve never been able to forget it – I guess that counts for something.

That’s all I have to say, so it’s time to go – do The Mario!



About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on May 8, 2015, in tv review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. so doing “The Mario” is basically just walking in place to the rhythm… and is that Captain Lou singing? Cuz I’m not sure that’s Captain Lou’s voice…

  2. the lyrics in the opening theme “you’ll meet Koopa, the troopas, the princess and the others” troubles me because “the others” is really only referring to Toad. everyone else they show gets their name in the song except Toad because toad can go f@ck himself

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