‘Saturday Night Live’ Turns Mario Kart Into ‘Last of Us’ Hellscape

Your favorite wacky racers, reimagined as complex, dramatic HBO characters
‘Saturday Night Live’ Turns Mario Kart Into ‘Last of Us’ Hellscape

Saturday Night Live is probably not far off in predicting that the success of The Last of Us could usher in an era of prestige dystopian dramas based on iconic video games. But just what the hell would that look like? Pedro Pascal showed us last night. 

The HBO version of Mario Kart reimagines a desolate kingdom, decimated by a badass named Bowser (Kenan Thompson, stretching his wings as the villain for once). The only hope left? Finding a way to transport a disheveled princess (Chloe Fineman) to Rainbow Road. Of course, there’s only one man for the job: “It’s a-me. Mario.” (Chris Pratt, take a-note. Pedro Pascal just a-showed you a-how to do Mario.) 

It’s a journey that’s nearly impossible to make on foot. Lucky for Mario and the princess, they won’t have to. A souped-up kart is all they need to a-go. From the master storytellers who brought you Mario Karts 1 through 8, we get previews of “all of your favorite wacky racers, reimagined as complex, dramatic HBO characters.” A shotgun-toting Luigi (Mikey Day) enters the fray to help them defeat Goomba, “a sentient fungus with shoes for legs.” Yoshi (Bowen Yang) rocks Beats — and he’s bisexual. Toad (Marcello Hernandez) wears a battered helmet and studded biker gear — also, he’s bisexual.

There’s strife along the way. When Mario scarfs some magic mushrooms, the princess chides him for swallowing “that poison.” But she doesn’t understand a-Mario — “It makes me feel big!”

Hats off to the SNL video crew for conjuring up a virtual world where Pascal and company can careen around virtual raceways, a greenscreen goof we’re pretty sure wouldn’t have been possible five years ago. Sure, it looks a little cheesy, but that just plays to the idea that the show is a massive creative misfire. “HBO picked the wrong game to do this with,” says the faux-Variety pan. “Yeah… this ain’t it,” griped the New York Times.  

Maybe a lousy HBO show. But pretty great for an SNL sketch.

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