In the magazine business, the Back Page is where you'd find all the weird goofs that we couldn't fit in anywhere else. Some may call it "filler"; we prefer "a whole page to make terrible jokes that are tangentially related to the content of the mag".
We don't have (paper) pages on the internet, but we still love terrible jokes — so welcome to our semi-regular feature, Back Page. Today, with the Super Mario Bros. Movie looming in the not-too-far future, we pondered what it would be like if Mario had his own sitcom...
"Coming soon to a streaming platform near you, ‘Mario’ is a show about nothing."
Well... We wish it were coming soon. Just recently, we stumbled across what appears to be a significant set of pre-production documents relating to a 'Mario' sitcom that seemingly failed to get off the ground. Documents include the casting call for the main characters, along with four scripted scenes featuring Mario himself, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Bowser.
The sitcom itself was pitched as a "show about nothing", depicting the day-to-day life of Mario along with his friends (and a few enemies) in the Mushroom Kingdom. How can you have a show about nothing, you ask? Well, what did you do today? Did you perhaps lounge on a sofa watching '90 Day Fiancé' whilst munching on some brie? Well, there's your show! That's a show.
It may, however, sound quite familiar to some, and we suspect that this might be why it was never commissioned. Nevertheless, for a glimpse at the main cast of characters, check out this copy of the casting call we obtained below:
The fun doesn't end there! Below is a sample of the pilot script from Mario, depicting four scenes featuring the core characters and the situations in which they find themselves...
Int. Lakitu Cafe - Day
Mario and Luigi are sitting in a booth, drinking coffee, and discussing Mario’s break-up with Peach.
Luigi: Why do they make sugar cubes? What’s-a the point of sugar cubes? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply store sugar in a container and let us add the exact amount required? You’ve gotta be so precise with cubes — one is too little, two is too much — it’s absurd!
Mario: Luigi, will you just add the cube?
Luigi: I’m adding it, I’m adding it. So what-a you get up to last night?
Mario: Well, I ironed out my clothes, watched a bit of ‘Yoshi’s Love Island’, and ate a pretty nice burrito. Oh, and Peach broke things off with me.
Luigi splutters on his coffee.
Luigi: Hold up, hold up, she what? What is this, what happened?
Mario: She gave me the whole “it’s not-a you, it’s-a me” routine, can you believe it?
Luigi: You invented that!
Mario: I know! We’re still gonna be friends though; in fact, she’s coming over tonight to pick up an air conditioner from Toad.
Luigi: Why does Toad have a spare air conditioner?
Mario: I don’t know, why does Toad have anything? He's an enigma.
Luigi sips on his coffee and immediately spits it out.
Luigi: Oh, jeez... See? Too sweet!
Int. Mario's Apartment - Day
Mario stands at the kitchen counter eating a bowl of cereal. The apartment's front door bursts open and Toad slides in at top speed.
Toad: Oh hey!
Mario: Hey, what's up?
Toad: Listen, I got a great idea for your plumbing business, Mario, you're gonna love it. So you're there, grafting away for hours on end and you think "oh man, this plumbing is making me thirsty!", but you left your water bottle at home! Well, listen to this... A water bottle with a hexagonal neck. So when you're fixing up pipes and whatnot, you can keep the bottle as your main tool to tighten up bolts and you can quench your thirst at the same time!
Mario: Toad, that's-a gross, you think I want to put something in my mouth that's been in contact with toilet pipes? Plus all the water would fall out!
Toad: It'll come with a microfibre cloth and an anti-spill mechanism, Mario, I got it all figured out!
Mario: No, I don't think so.
The apartment's door buzzer rings out. Mario Answers it.
Peach: It's Peach!
Mario: Come on up.
Toad: So what d'you think, are you gonna go for it?
Mario: No, of course not!
Toad: Oh come on, it's gonna make your life so much better!
At the open apartment door, a figure slinks into view. It's Bowser. Mario and Bowser look at each other with utter contempt.
Mario: Hello, Bowser.
Bowser: Hello, Mario.
Mario: What do you want?
Bowser: I've come to give Toad his air conditioner back. It's just out the door.
Toad: Oh nice, thanks! Yeah, that's for Peach.
Bowser: Peach? Really? She's coming up here?
Mario: Don't even think about it!
Bowser: Oh come on Mario, you gotta help me out here, what kind of stuff is she into? Where does she like to eat? You gotta give me something!
Mario: Peach wouldn't date you if you were the last Koopa in Mushroom Kingdom, I promise you!
Bowser: Curse you, Mario.
Peach arrives at the door and enters the apartment.
Peach: Hello, chums!
She notices Bowser and her smile drops quicker than a bowling ball.
Bowser: Why, hello th—
Peach: Not if you were the last Koopa in Mushroom Kingdom, pal.
Bowser: Drat! Well, I'll be off then. Thanks for the "help", Mario... I sure hope your mail doesn't get lost over the coming days... Bye-bye... Mario... Ehehehehehee!
Bowser leaves in cruel delight.
Mario: [under his breath] Bowser!
Int. Pauline's Pullovers - Day
Mario is helping Luigi search for the perfect birthday gift for Peach. They find themselves in Pauline's Pullovers, a clothing store in the commercial district of Mushroom Kingdom.
Luigi: Look, do I really need to get Peach such an extravagant gift?
Mario: She got-a you a job interview, it's the least you can do!
Luigi: I know, but I just don't know what to get. What do you get for a princess?
Mario: Well what about this?
Mario picks up a stunning cashmere sweater in pink.
Luigi: What's-a this - cashmere?
Mario: I think so.
Luigi: Well who doesn't like cashmere? Come on, it's too expensive.
Mario: Wait wait wait. Hey, it's-a 50 coins down from 500!
Luigi: What? How?
Mario: Oh... here you go... There's a red dot here. See it? And it says "no exchanges" on the label.
Mario hands the sweater to Luigi.
Luigi: You think she'd care about a red dot?
Mario: Hard to say!
Luigi: I don't even think she'd notice it - can you see it?
Mario: Well I can see, I know where it is.
Luigi: Pretend you don't know... Can you see it?
Mario: I can't pretend, I can already see it - I can't un-see what I've already seen!
Luigi: Look, just take an overview!
Mario: You want an overview? I see a cheap man trying to get away with something, that's-a my overview!
Int. Mario's Apartment - Day
It's Peach's birthday. She enters Mario's apartment. Mario and Luigi are already hanging out and Luigi is anxiously waiting to give Peach her birthday present, terrified that she might notice the red spot.
Mario: Happy Birthday!
Luigi's nerves increase.
Luigi: H-happy Birthday, Peach - ehehe. I, uhh, I got-a you something.
He hands Peach the wrapped cashmere sweater.
Peach: Ohhh Luigi, you didn't have to!
She rips the wrapping off in one elegant swoop. Her mouth stretches out into a huge smile.
Peach: Ohhhh my GOD, is this cashmere..?!
Luigi's confidence returns at once. He grins.
Luigi: Oh course it's-a cashmere!
Peach: Wow, this is amazing! This is one of the nicest things you've ever done - it must have cost a fortune! Mario, how could you let him spend so much?
Mario: Oh I tried to stop him, believe me!
Peach puts the cashmere jumper on. Meanwhile, Toad slides into the apartment.
Toad: Yoooo! Hey Peach, Happy Birthday! Whoooaaa, nice sweater, is this new?
Peach: Oh yeah, Luigi got it for me - nice, huh?
Peach turns to Toad, confused. Mario and Luigi glance at one another, horrified.
She notices the spot on the cashmere and her face drops.
Peach: What's this?! Luigi..??
Peach looks up, her face red with rage. Luigi has already snuck out of the apartment.
It's got 'hit' written all over it, right? Can't see how this one didn't make it past pilot season. Maybe Netflix will bring it back as an alternative approach or counterpart to the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie; Loki to the Mario Movie's Avengers! Definitely.
If you've got any thoughts on how else Mario and co. could be represented in film or TV, then let us know in the comments.