Review of The Super Mario Brothers: Super Show!


Erika Lewis



All the way back in September of 1989, society was blessed with a show unlike any other. The Super Mario Brothers: Super Show! was one of the first ever TV shows to be based on a video game. It was based on the well known Super Mario games that started coming out in 1985. As a child, I was raised on these games and also was raised on the show. I had all but forgotten about the show until my sister sent me a playlist of the episodes on Youtube during the late hours of the night. Figuring I had nothing important to do (I don’t consider sleep important) I decided to watch some of the episodes. If anything but for a trip down memory lane. 


Live Action Parts

Something that sets The Super Mario Brothers: Super Show! apart from some of the other Mario shows is that at the beginning and ending of each episode there is a live action part. It seldom ties to the plot of the meat of the episode (the animated parts) but it’s always really funny. Basically it details Mario and Luigi’s lives as plumbers in Brooklyn, New York. Every episode there is a new guest star for these segments and it’s interesting to watch things unfold. There have been episodes where it’s a Military Sargent and another where it’s Santa Claus. No matter the guest star it’s always funny. 

Although I find these bits funny now, I remember that as a kid the live action parts were “scary”. I always skipped them while watching the show. I think it’s because there was one episode with Doctor Frankenstein and something happened to Mario. I don’t remember fully, but I know I hated the live action parts. Now when I watch them I’m disappointed that I missed out on them as a child. However, I don’t think younger me would have fully appreciated the humor for what it was anyway. 

I would give the live action bits 8/10!


The Animation

The meat of each episode is the parts that are animated. They fill a majority of the episode and carry the most action. This was (and still is) my favorite part of the episode. However, it’s not quite as magical as I remember it to be. When looking back I always remembered the animation to be absolutely superb. There were no mistakes and it was the definition of great animation. After watching it again I found that to not be the case. Although not as bad as some things, I have definitely seen better. There is at least one part in each episode where the coloring is somehow mixed up. Mario has been colored green and Luigi has been colored red. The shades of each color are also never consistent. It feels like every other scene the characters’ colors are just ever so slightly different. It’s subtle but still there. 

My personal favorite part is in one of the episodes where the screen just goes black for a couple seconds. Maybe it was a stylistic choice, but based on the context it didn’t make any sense. Especially because you still hear the characters talking and they make no response to the darkness. I’m almost certain that the animators just didn’t animate those frames. There are also parts when the animators forgot to draw characters’ bodies, but we don’t need to talk about it. 

I always appreciate the funny faces that are made. As seen in a lot of older animated shows there are always those frames where the characters are either making a funny face or are in an awkward position. This show has a lot of them. I like to think that the animators just stuck those frames in there for kicks but I guess will never know. They definitely add to the experience though. 

I would give the animated parts 10/10!


The Writing

One of my personal favorite parts of the show is the writing. It’s, and this is wording it nicely, interesting. Definitely one of a kind. In all seriousness it isn’t horrible, but it definitely won’t be winning any awards. It’s like it’s trying to make sense while also trying to be funny and it’s just not working. The writers also really liked to make really cheesy pasta jokes. Every five minutes either Mario or Luigi is saying something about pasta and I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to be funny. Sometimes they are, but other times not so much. Also the writing reveals that Toad is an actual jerk and just isn’t that great of a person, and I’m completely here for it. One of my favorite exchanges goes as such: 

Toad: [Toad’s snowboard fell into a snowbank] If that Koopa ruined my board, I’ll-

Princess Toadstool: Don’t you care if we’re alright, Toad?

Toad: Well, yeah, but my present?

Princess Toadstool: I guess your present means more than we do.

Toad: Well, it *is* Christmas. Uh, are you OK, Princess?

I don’t know, there’s just something about Toad’s character that makes me happy. But back to the point. Don’t go into the show expecting good writing. Not even mediocre writing. The writing is only as good as it is because it’s so bad. 

This is another good exchange:

Agent M: I am Agent M.

Mario: I see.

Agent M: Not C. M!

Luigi: Oh.

Agent M: Not O! I’m M. Agent O is on vacation.

I would give the writing 23/10!

After rewatching the show, I was reminded of how much I love it. It holds so much nostalgia and I loved it as a child so my opinion might be biased, but whatever. I definitely recommend that people watch it, if anything but for a good laugh. The overall show I would give a solid 10/10! Something I will always watch and enjoy. That wraps this up. “Until next time, everybody… do the Mario!”