Club Mario

What were the Super Show guys thinking?

Club Mario
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Note: Due to the extreme nature of this article, certain radical words are, like, boldfaced. Dude, I can't help it!

Everyone knows about the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Watched it. Loved it. Did the Mario dance with Captain Lou during the ending credits. Even if you didn't see it after school, two DVD collections are available that contain all the cartoons and live-action Mario Bros. scenes. But did you know that there were alternate opening segments that did not feature Mario and Luigi? For some of the cartoons, Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells (the live-action Mario brothers) were not part of the Super Show. They were replaced by something terrible, cliched, and purely 90s...

Club Mario!

The show opened the same way we expected. Your TV filled with a purple holographic screen and Mario's smiling head exclaimed, "Hey, Paisanos! It's the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" But then the electric guitars came in with a heavy drum beat. The camera angles went screwy. What the heck was this?

Tommy Treehugger & Co-MC
Image courtesy of Alan Bates

Tommy Treehugger (generic white surfer dude) and Co-M.C. (generic black rapper dude) were the hosts - two twenty-somethings pretending to be teenagers who "satellite surfed" between extreme sports clips and wacky interviews in their radical apartment. Their "satellite" looked like an upside-down Chinese parasol, and whenever they wanted to "satellite surf", I remember they'd make a big deal of adjusting the thing. There was a weird lady with big hair who occasionally appeared on their TV between clips. I'm thinking she was some kind of space alien who wore a lot of pink clothes but I can't remember. Maybe I'm getting her confused with the weird alien lady from "Masters of the Maze". The only episode I remember doesn't feature her except in the opening theme song, where she's rocking out.

On Fridays, (Legend of Zelda cartoon day!), the Club M peeps decided to switch things up. Co-M.C. was replaced by his "brother", "Evil Eric", who loved to cause mayhem. I think "Eric" and "Co-M.C." were played by the same guy, but I really don't remember. Tammy Treehugger (Tommy's "little" sister, who happened to be over six feet tall) joined in the hijinx which involved ganging up on poor Tommy. Tammy claimed she "ate a lot of cereal", which helped her grow so tall. Did I mention that she looked like an artificial Barbie doll (complete with blonde ponytail), chomped gum, and spoke in a grating valley-girl accent? I always thought that Link's infamous quote "Well excuuuuuse me, Princess!" was as annoying as Fridays were allowed to get. Apparently, the Club Mario people didn't agree.

The Mario rap intro song was replaced by a different theme, something loud with cheesy lyrics and extreme guitar riffs. It's really sad that I can still remember how some of the song goes after all these years. That's mental harddrive space I wish I could get back.

Name any place that you wanna go-o
We'll take you there, oh don't you know
We're at the Club
Club Mario
Come join the Club
C-C-C-Club M-M-Mario

Grab your seat, hold on to your ha-at
Satellite Surfin' is where it's at
Here at the Club
Club Mario
Come join the Club
C-C-C-Club M-M-Mario

The visuals combined the Mario cartoon opening, scenes from the Mario episode "The Bird! The Bird!", and random shots of the Club Mario cast and set. At one point, the digitized voice says "M-M-M-M-Mario", but it sounds like he's saying "Wario" (funny, because this was years before there even was a Wario). No Captain Lou dance at all. No sign of the famous plumbing shop and basement apartment. In fact, the only thing Mario-related on the set was the larger simian-looking Mario doll. The doll on-screen had a hat (unlike mine). I remember one sequence at the end of an episode where the entire stage crew jumped onto the set and partied (whilst extreme camera angles ruled the day), one of the sound guys was dancing with the ugly Mario doll. They could have turned the set into "Club" Anything. It was about as "generic extreme" as you can get.

I used to have one episode with Club Mario on VHS (taped off TV), but apparently the tape ran off the end of the spool and was destroyed. The cartoon episode was "Count Koopula", and it included the original songs during the cartoon (in this case, a version of "Thriller" that wasn't sung by Michael Jackson). From what I remember, the Club Mario segment references the episode at the beginning (Tommy is having a dream about Koopa being a vampire, ooh, like, coincidence!), so these must have been episode-specific. The last time I watched the tape was at least six or seven years ago, so my memory is a little foggy. I wish I still had a copy of it so I could rewatch it and post pictures here.

The segments were really horrible, even by the typical Super Show cheesiness, and they were never syndicated on the Family Channel to my knowledge. There is a one-line mention of Club Mario in the "Mario Mania" Nintendo guide, (basically that it exists) but that's it. The segments aren't mentioned anywhere on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! DVD collections from Shout! Factory. There are a few one- or two-line references to the show on places like IMDB, but nothing even as large as this article. Am I the only one who really remembers this?

Since my VHS tape that had one episode of Club Mario has fallen apart, I can't post anything else about this show. If anyone out there has a tape of this old show, please email me if you can get me a copy. Or if you can upload a digital version of it to YouTube or another file sharing site. I would love to post images, but there don't seem to be any videos of it online.

So yeah, why did they decide to change up the classic (albeit weird) Super Show openings for this tripe? Maybe it was an attempt to make Mario & Co. more radical and extreme like rival mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. After all, Sonic was specifically designed to be everything Mario wasn't, and Sega's commercials said as much. There was a bitter rivalry between Nintendo and Sega in those days - I'm sure some of you are too young to remember that, though.

In any case, even the Super Show people apparently don't want to 'fess up to creating this dated monstrosity, and it's been left off the DVD archives. I can't say that's necessarily a bad thing...

From Alan Bates:

I remember it. I don't have any tapes or anything, but I do remember it.

The actors were:
Chris Coombs as Tommy Treehugger
Micheal Rawlins as Co-MC and Evil Eric (yes they were played by the same guy. Evil Eric was the "evil twin" and nobody could tell the difference between them, supposedly.)
Victoria Delany was Tammi Treehugger

From Brian Ward:

I have little knowledge regarding the “Club Mario” segments of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.  It’s to my understanding that the segments were shot to replace the live-action Mario and Luigi (Albano and Wells) when the show ran into further syndication.  It’s likely that they were trying to win over the Saturday morning audience that was, at the time, consumed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the like with all-new “hip” hosts.  By adding wrap-arounds only, DiC could save money by creating a new “series” while using existing cartoons.

In answer to your question regarding surviving episodes, I only know of one.  We were accidentally handed the wrong master of one of the second volume’s episodes that contained the Club Mario segments instead of the original Mario/Luigi segments.

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