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Friday, January 22, 2010

Collection Oddities: Super Mario Brothers TV Tray

For my first Oddity of the new year I've decided to highlight something that could have been a completely normal and legitimate item, but didn't quite come out that way, The Super Mario Brothers TV Tray.

At it's core it's a normal light metal TV or lap Tray. When the legs are extended it's roughly 4" tall and measures probably 16" across*. At the time a TV tray was a perfectly reasonable piece of merchandise and something most homes had in the 80's so it was normal thing for Nintendo to market. What wasn't normal is to find an a drug addled artist to put an even more incoherent spin on the already clearly drug influenced world of the mushroom kingdom.

There's a lot of especially crazy stuff going on. That's not even taking into account the things you just accept about the mushroom kingdom, like mushrooms reading in the living room and stars making phone calls. There's honestly so much, I'm not sure I can't properly even mock it all, but that won't stop me from trying:

  • Crazy proportions everywhere, the crooked man in the crooked house had nothing on this place.

    Television screen seemingly made of paper, and while looking at that note that one of Bowser's claws in backwards.

    • Luigi coming from Doorway quite possibly designed by a drunk MC Escher.
    • Barber Pole in what should be a plumbing shop
    • Phonebooth inside house (or whatever sort of dwelling this can be called)
    • Lamp screaming (this is unfortunately very hard to see in my picture, but I assure you it's happening)
    • Toad, just look at toad. He's um...phallic.
    • And that thing on the wall that looks sort of like a muffin or a hair comb? That's half of a woman's face with fringe on the bottom. Seriously.

    And that's just the most obvious stuff, not even the things you have to think about like for example, Mario. I can accept that Mario has somehow managed to procure a giant NES advantage pad (it's a bit inaccurate, but you can tell what it is) and is using like a Power Pad. What I can't understand is why he's attempting to use it facing away from the television. I also can't understand why he's suddenly deaf to the cries of bascially everyone else, including the inanimate objects (IE the screaming lamp), and continues to pose happily with his giant prototype.

    In spite of all the awful there are some things about I consider good:

  • Old, bald, mentally disturbed and much scarier Bowser character design. This sort of Bowser pretty much disappeared by the time Mario 3 came out, so I'm always thrilled to find anything old with him.
    • Old, Italian Stereotype Mario and Luigi. I know it's insensitive, but I love how ridiculous and inappropriate their old designs are.
    • The NES Advantage, sure it's drawn inaccurately, but how often do you see something other than your standard NES control in merchandise?
    • The goomba. Look at him over there with his hands he shouldn't have peering in the window, adorable.

  • On the whole, there's a lot more crack than good. But, honestly we bought it for the crack just as much as we bought it for the "good". Sometimes I'm sad items of this caliber are no longer being created (officially at least, bootlegs are a totally different story), then I realize that it probably much better for everyone else this way.


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