I'm gonna be a critic. Richie, Chris, you guys know how much I enjoy and respect your work. So please take everything I'm about to say with the love it's intended. It's just that drama is, in many ways, much more difficult than comedy. So, in bringing these issues up, I hope I'm helping, not just nagging. *pulls her hat down over her eyes and takes a deep breath*
The beginning was okay. But the dialog between Mario and Dawn was a little awkward simply in that all the things people would normally say and do in a case like that are avoided for the sake of getting the audience the info they need as quickly as possible. For example, Dawn says, “I'll get you help.” This is good … but then she doesn't get him help. There's no, “where does it hurt” or “don't try to move” or “how many fingers am I holding up.” Then she goes into an expositional bit about herself going for a walk ... to a total stranger lying injured on the ground. As for Mario, he's surprisingly coherent very quickly for having just been knocked out and suffering a concussion. (I know, my big brother just recently slipped on the ice, bashed his head, and ended up with a concussion. Not to mention that I've done a lot of study into head injuries.) I mean, “Thank you.” ? What about, “No, I'll be okay, just give me a minute” or any sort of dazed spluttering like “I was... I think... I'm...” or even a simple “Who the heck are you?.” But no, Mario remains formal enough to thank Dawn ...twice
Luigi and Wario's scene is almost entirely expositional. We can let Luigi's line, “I can't believe we were ambushed” slip 'cause … meh, you might be able to argue someone saying that IRL. But then Wario responds, “They attacked us while we were by ourselves.” … Why is he telling Luigi that? Luigi obviously knows. A moment later, “According to Snake and Ness the same three guys attacked them.” This line wouldn't stand out as so expositional if it was integrated smoother into the dialog. But how is it a response to Luigi's concern for his brother? Instead it's just stuck in there. The end of the scene is refreshingly funny. But it does bring up the question, why didn't Luigi
check the mailbox? Afterall, while Wario was running around checking all those places, where was Luigi looking?
Wario at the mailbox is really funny. That drop to the ground to sniff the cement was really graceful. Matt does not like wearing that hat, does he?
Okay... so instead of getting the amnesiac stranger to a hospital or getting the police involved in trying to establish his identity, Dawn brings him into her house
and begins to try and erase all clues to his past like his clothes and speech pattern. … Does Dawn seem predatory to anyone else?
Three days and no one has called the police to report a missing persons or multiple counts of physical assault.
Alright, I pause for a moment to adjust my perspective. This is the “real world” but maybe the “fictional” characters (Mario Bros., DK, Brock and Gary, Snake, Ness, etc.) don't officially exist and thus can't get assistance from the authorities...? But they can get pulled over and arrested and stuff. Hmm. Okay, so maybe they just don't understand the system, they don't know to go to the police. Yeah, okay. Unpause.
And now back to Mario. Impressive speech adjustment! Only 3 days to completely loose an accent... and change the pitch of his voice. … And they're wearing the same clothes… Logistics aside, one is left with the question why!?
Mario felt strongly enough about keeping his clothes because they “might be important” but he's making no effort to find his former identity. Even considering the “not understanding the system” theory for why he hasn't gone to the police I would still expect him to at least be returning to the place he was found, wandering around, maybe even talking to people. The dialog is cheesy, a little forced, and the entire bit about his voice is expositional. The hint at romance is okay I guess but why does it seem that Dawn does not fully reciprocate? Mario pours himself out and all he gets is a hug?
Luigi looking for his brother. Sweet, but you'd think after 3 days he would have gone a bit further than the recognizable backgrounds.
So Luigi walks in looking sad. Wario starts to suggest giving up and Luigi snaps at him. Okay, so Luigi is in denial, refusing to admit his brother is gone. It's an emotional issue. But wait, Wario changes the subject to physical defense. What's that got to do with anything? If they feel threatened, can't they be on guard and move in groups and stuff while still looking for Mario? Or at least without giving up on him? What does Luigi's search have to do with acting defensively? Luigi snaps back at him again with a good line, but only in the context that he's not actually asking a question. He's just releasing frustration, challenging Wario, possibly looking for an argument. Ah, but Wario's dialog fails again as he responds to what Luigi said, not what he meant, essentially changing the subject. I see the connection between the powers and defense but not between getting their powers back and finding Mario. Getting the impression Wario has a one track mind. Okay, then Luigi creates a connection. A completely irrational connection, but a connection nonetheless. And the irrationality doesn't especially matter in this case because, yet again, I'm reading this as Luigi having a deeper subtext to his dialog. He's still talking about not giving up on his brother and he's still challenging Wario and venting frustration. “We have no choice. We can't keep hoping. Without our powers, we're sitting ducks.” … What is Wario saying? No choice but to what? And what hope is he talk about? Hoping to find Mario? Why can't they? Because of their powers? Again, Wario is making a connection I ain't following. I dunno if Luigi is making the connection either cause he' still talking about not giving up on Mario. “We'll play it your way?” What way? I didn't hear Luigi insisting Wario take any specific course of action. He didn't even mention Wario helping him look for Mario. Throughout the conversation the only thing Luigi was expressing was his own thoughts and feelings. Basically, as a summary, I got the impression Wario and Luigi were actually having two totally different conversations. Wario was talking about possible courses of actions and Luigi was just venting. And of those two, Luigi's was best communicated; I think Wario was leaving out key pieces of information.
Another slightly cheesy scene between Dawn and Mario (who is at this point unrecognizable as Mario.) I can't figure Dawn out. She suggests marriage and settling down so off-handedly that I can't help but get that “unreciprocated” feeling again. That she didn't mean it anywhere near as seriously as Mario took it. And yet, I can't think Dawn would be that dumb. As a girl, I know when girls say that, even off-handedly, they're fishing. So I swing back toward Dawn being predatory. Enter silly imagination sequence. Then Mario starts to propose. Okay, now I'm going to pause for a moment and talk about head injuries. Head injuries make people do weird and stupid things. It can entirely alter personalities. It can make someone become insanely religious, giving everything he has away, and run off to live in a monastery. It can turn a gentle church-goer into a raging, emotional, sex-addict. But one of the terribly common things it does to people is make them feel affection or lose affection for the people around them. Men forget their wives and suddenly become attached to the nurse caring for them at the hospital. Or suddenly fall for a girlfriend they haven't seen or thought of in decades. But it's all part of the brain injury. So Mario, without any hint of who he really is, falls head over heels for a girl and starts to propose to her a matter of days after meeting her. All I can think is, brain injury!
Oh yeah, and Dawn is predatory. Insert flashback. And Mario suddenly not only remembers, he decides to not explain anything to Dawn!
Ta-da! He's had amnesia for days, his entire life and identity missing, and it all comes back in a flash and he's … not excited? No, happy babbling out bits and pieces of memories that erupt into his consciousness. No happy dancing around because he has suddenly found his place in the world again. No fond mention of his friends or his brother. Just depression. Mario's life must suck. Okee-dokee! There's the predatory Dawn! She cares more about keeping Mario then about him getting his life back. She isn't happy for him, doesn't even bother to ask him about who he is. Just, “What about me?” … And then Mario doesn't ask her to come with him. Not even a phone number for her to call him. Whatever Dawn might or might not deserve Mario suddenly seems like something of a heel.
Mario knocks on his own door. Did Luigi finally remember to start locking them? And, you know, for how long Mario's been gone (At least 3 days) and for how upset everyone's been (there's been some arguing about whether he's even still alive) there ain't much of a reception for him. And Luigi has spent the entire episode visually and verbally expressing nothing but extreme concern and emotional attachment to his brother and yet he doesn't seem surprised at all to see Mario at the door. He doesn't even blink. Give 'em a second... okay, they hug! And even a, “We were worried sick!” … But what about the questions? What about shouting for everyone else, spreading the good news! And why does Mario look so surprised that Luigi is hugging him. I'd expect him to look surprised if Luigi was, I dunno, crying on his shoulder. (Heck, I'd be surprised too.) But if I knew I'd been missing for several days, I'd kinda expect at least a slightly mushy greeting. Not a really mushy greeting here. Suddenly it's, “Never mind.” … Never mind! Never mind!?
He was missing for days and it's never mind!?
Oh, and magically everyone is gathered and no one seems surprised to see Mario at all! And back to the exposition. “None of us had seen him before. The other two just did what he said.” Genius, Luigi. I think everybody you're talking to already knows that. … And then they proceed to tell each other descriptions of the men they all already met and describe the encounters. I know this is info the audience needs. If it was a sort of melting pot of ideas, with everyone contributing in a more piece-meal manner, less organized, the dialog would seem more natural and less expository. “What we need to do...” Mario's a little slow on the pick up. It's been days since the attacks and I'm sure everyone's been acting defensively ever since, at least in little ways. Stuff like “sticking together” should have come immediately after the attack. At this point, days have passed with no more attacks, our heroes (easier than typing out all their names) should be talking about moving into more complex strategies if they truly believe the danger is still present. Like figuring out motivation, locating the trio, etc. Snake's response, “how do you expect us to do that? We can't always be together” is kinda... If they truly think they're lives are in danger why would they ever separate? It's not like they have any reason or obstacle to sticking together. They don't have jobs or even lives that would ever motivate them to move out of each other's sights. Perhaps Snake meant always as in the literal term, as in he's suggesting going on the offensive instead of remaining in defensive indefinitely? Wario's still one track minded but at least now it's somewhat appropriate. “It seems we only have one option.” Yeah, buy a gun. “The only way to survive another attack.” Really? They didn't kill them the first time. They didn't even injure them that badly. Other than Mario's inadvertent and temporary amnesia I think bruises might have been mentioned.
*deep breath* Okay, I know that was a lot. (3 pages worth in my text editor) And I suspect some of it is not as well communicated as it could be. As I said before, I mean it all in the most loving way possible and I don't mean any of it to be hurtful. Yeah, I know it's not very helpful for me to be making these suggestions/observation after
the episode has already been filmed and released. But, I dunno, maybe some of this will become applicable to later scripts. Especially the stuff about expository dialog. So yeah... I'd appreciate knowing whether you guys find this stuff helpful at all or if, in the future, I should keep my mouth shut.
Your response was so good i'm actually considering making an analysis video for this episode to explain the things that people are having trouble with, but i will answer a couple things.
1. Dawn is not Predatory, she was simply a good person who cared for a total stranger, And She's not from Pokemon lol
2. "Getting Mario Help" Meant personally helping him. In the stupid Mario Universe, Cops are only there to harass (ACI I COPS) Or Annoy (Max Payne), This is a reflection of my distrust for the legal system lol. Seeing as Mario was only Knocked out and just in mild pain, she deemed it better to take him home. Technically Mario Is from the mushroom kingdom, so he has no ID and no background, so no one would have been able to help him.
3. I didn't want this part of the story to drag, I didn't want mario "Out of Overalls" For more than one episode. I remember Adam saying to me at the beginning of this season that he wanted to see an episode where a complete story is told and concluded within one episode, this was that episode. ANd when you want that episode to be around 10 minutes, its going to feel a bit exposistionary. But i don't see that as out of place, that's how the characters always talk to each other, I just see it as them keeping each other on the same page, In Real life Chris and I repeat things to each other like that all the time.
4. Luigi is waiting by the house in case Mario returns, he sent Wario to check elsewhere.
5. Perhapps I didn't make this clear but Mario doesn't care to search for his past, he's content with dawn, But He feels something for his clothes, Mainly because of the power that only he can sense from his hat.
6. The Hug is all we need, I never want to see 2 characters kiss on this show, it's too much for SMB. Plus I think kissing is overated, A hug symbolizes comfort and protection, and love.
7. The montage Of luigi looking around represented redundancy, of course he's checking the same places again and again, he's desperate.
8. "What does finding mario have to do with their defense"? Everything, The characters see Mario as their leader, they are strategically lost without him. And Without him, They feel like "Sitting ducks". Luigi misses Mario as a brother, Wario sees the loss of Mario as a huge problem in any hopes of makking a non-powered attack against the enemy, therefore he suggests getting their powers back.
"We have no coice" But to continue without him
"We can't keep hoping" That he'll return
"We'll play it you way" By continuing to wait for Mario to return before making plans
Again, It's all their in the subtext, sorry for not making that clearer.
9. Mario and Dawn had real feelings for each other, but as soon as he regained his Memory, it all went to hell. Put yourself in Mario's shoes, He's had 2 love interests, One was constantly kidnaped by the enemy and was always in distress, The other he accidentally killed, He's not ready to let another person he loves go in harms way. Simply put, If Dawn is with him, she is in danger thanks to his enemies. This is called the "Superman" affect lol.
10. Why is not happy when he regains his memories? Because he now knows he has to leave dawn. Does he hate his life? No. But He's not going to jump for joy at the moment either.
11. Luigi is more shocked than surprised to see Mario, but then he is happy, But rather than completely betray the premise of the show and go into an uncharacteristly mushy reunion scene, these characters immediately revert to their former selves, Luigi joking about flash drives, and Mario wanting to get down to business. Luigi was worried, but it wasn't enough time for him to be devastated at marios disappearance. Mario Didn't react to luigi's hug because he just regained his memory, so to him, he hasn't actually been gone that long.
12. They were already about to have a "WHat should we do" Meeting before Mario showed up, hence why their all there.
13. Again, they repeat the facts they all know to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially Mario who hasn't been there.
Hope that clears of some miscomunication! lol