Mario and the Beanstalk

Image: Super Mario Bros Super Show. DiC Entertainment/Nintendo.

Live-Action Plot: The Brothers Mario are visited by yet another Transylvania transplant, this time it’s vampire Zoltan Dracula. This is a rather light plot, even as far as these episodes go, with the Marios only getting into a mild degree of trouble with their monstrous guest. Eventually, Zoltan hears the brothers badmouthing him, and decides to leave of his own accord.

Very Special Guest: As mentioned, this episode stars another one of those fictional guests, as opposed to the “actual celebrity” type. Zoltan is there as an exchange student, but what inspired the Marios to take him on? What and where does he study? This episode begs more questions than it answers.

Animated Plot: The princess is in yet more financial trouble. It seems she needs 100 coins to save a mushroom orphanage, and she’s already mortgaged her house and sold-off the royal jewels. The only solution is sell the royal cow, but the brothers wind up conned out of the animal with only three garbanzo beans to show for it. This is your go-to stock plot of “Jack and the Beanstalk” that every cartoon seems to need one of. Of course, the beans wind up out the window, where they quickly grow into a monstrous vine. The plan is climbed, and the crew discovers a giant-sized castle, inhabited by a likewise massive King Koopa. The green menace has suddenly acquired the power of magic to grow himself, raise a castle into the sky, and force a duck to lay gold coins. Invariably, the Marios escape Koopa’s clutches, chop down the beanstalk (which takes the castle with it), send Koopa running, and recover enough coins to save the orphanage.

Why Toadstool can’t boost taxes on the richest shrooms and use the funds to care for wayward orphans is a mystery. Protecting the rich, who have so much gold they just leave it lying around for any Goomba to find, is apparently more important than avoiding public debt. Occupy Mushroom Kingdom.

Horrible Stereotype Alert: During the live-action portion of the show, Mario complains that Zoltan sleeps all day. Luigi points out that it’s the same way Mario lives, except when there’s an Inspector Gadget marathon on. That’s not much of a stereotype alert, but it does contribute to the mounting evidence that this show uses Mario-is-a-lazy-slob jokes as a crutch.

1×08 Bats in the Basement/Mario and the Beanstalk – Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Episode Guide