So here you have it: Updated for a stunning new age of Wiimote twirling, the women of Mario Kart, rated by Drew.
Last place: Baby Daisy
In the “My Beloved Cocksuckasaur” post, I began my evaluation for Princess Daisy with two choice words: “Fuck you.” I’m now focusing these words on this moppet of a princess, who didn’t exist in the Mario universe prior to Mario Kart Wii. (It’s fine. Babies don’t know what that phrase means. Also, for the record, I lack patience for the many other “baby” versions of Mario characters, but they at least had the good fortune to appear in actual games before they joined the rest go-karting and playing tennis.) As near as I can figure, Baby Daisy was invented so Baby Peach could have a friend, because although it’s a good idea to let babies drive racecars around tracks that run through lava, dairy farms, space and whatnot, it’s not a good idea to let them do it alone. Somehow, racing in greater numbers must protect their little fontanels from damage. Further strikes against the toddler Daisy: She’s this close from being a palette swap of Baby Peach (laziness on Nintendo’s part) and she’s occupying valuable real estate that could have been occupied by one of the beloved Mario characters I remember from childhood (wisdom on Nintendo’s part, I guess, since most of the people buying Mario Kart Wii weren’t alive to appreciate unknowns like Pauline and Wart).
Sixth place: Baby Peach
Again, I don’t dig the babies, though I understand that quite a few relative Nintendo newbies do, especially when those newbies happen to be female. Whatever. Blame my infantophobia on my relative discomfort around larval humans or on the fact that I think babies shouldn’t drive racecars. Baby Peach beats out Baby Daisy just for the fact that she came first. Also, she’s not any form of Daisy. And I have never cared for Daisy.
Fifth place: Princess Daisy
Oh, Daisy. You’ve been around longer than most and you no longer irritatingly shout, “Hi, I’m Daisy!” when you take the wheel, but I still don’t like you, mostly because I find you contrived: You exist only to offset Peach’s passive femininity with yippie, overenthusiastic femininity, which doesn’t really balance out the equation. You’re that girl at the bar shouting “Woo!” without any real provocation. You’re the pep squad. You’re the Midge to Barbie, the Meg Griffin to any female Family Guy character that Meg Griffin happens to be standing beside. A final note why Daisy gets to be the worst non-infant Mario Kart racer: She looked cooler when she was tan and vaguely non-Caucasian-looking, before they made her look downright Irish.
Initially, I hated Toadette, who was invented as Toad’s racing partner for Double Dash!! in the same way Baby Daisy magically appeared in time for Mario Kart Wii. Yes, she still smacks of some crime-against-nature cross-breeding of Smurfette, Strawberry Shortcake and Toad, but in Mario Kart Wii, I’ve found myself oddly transfixed by watching her weird mushroom braids bounce as she drives over bumps, much in the way I “lose time” while watching lava lamps. And on the subject of those braids: Do they grow out of her head or what? If she takes off the mushroom hat, do they go too? Does all lady mushroom hair grow in a string-of-pearls formation?
Third: Princess Peach
I have to give her credit for being the longest-lived female video game character this side of Ms. Pac-Man. However, if playing these games for most of my life has taught me anything, it’s that this woman started out with the IQ of mayonnaise and, 23 years of existence later, has only a slightly altered hairdo and a butt-showcasing motorcycle suit to show for it.
Upon seeing this monstrosity for the first time, most people ask, “What is it?” The boring answer is “She’s a Birdo.” Birdo — the only character on the list who wasn’t technically invented as a Mario character and who also the only one known as “Catherine” in Japan — lacks a widely agreed-upon gender. Depending on how you look at it, Birdo could be female, Birdo could be male but dressing like a female or, if you really want to over think matters — and if you are reading this, you totally do — you could think of Birdo as a transgendered character who was male but is now female. In the instruction booklet for Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo is identified as a boy who likes dressing like a girl and enjoys being called “Birdetta.” About ten years later, she started appearing in games regularly as a friend for Yoshi, who himself has weird gender issues. (He, like Birdo, makes eggs.) Nintendo referred to her as a “she,” seemingly having retconned her “Birdetta” days, but I noticed that as of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo has taken to using “it” to refer to this egg spitting, be-bowed… character. That I enjoy. Plus she speaks in quacks. Birdo the Gender Mystery.
And the winner: Princess Rosalina
Yes, as in real life, the new girl gets all the attention. Rosalina — who, by the way, was the subject of an insightful essay on narrativity in Super Mario Galaxy, the game in which she debuted — takes the gold for three reasons. First: She’s not pink, a rare trait among Mario females, as you can see by scanning over the images in this post. She may still wear a dress and also have hair that blocks one eye, seemingly hindering her driving ability, but she at least helps break the law of “pink equals girl.” Second: She’s accompanied by a delightful bouncing star creature that does nothing to increase her racing prowess but delights me regardless. And third: Despite appearances otherwise, she’s apparently secretly fat. For those unfamiliar with Mario Kart racer classes, they come in three types: lightweights (babies, things with big eyes), middleweights (plumbers, princesses, bipedal dinosaurs), and heavyweights (villains and jovial simians). This time around, Rosalina got crammed in with the heavyweights, for reasons that I’d guess are based more on her height than any hidden junk-packed trunk. Aside from the obvious shame about being the only girl in a class populated by a jive-talking ape and a ghost king, Rosalina’s heavyweight classification means that she races faster than the rest of these bitches. And yes, I realize that the existence of a crown atop Rosalina’s existence raises the question of whether Mario knows any women who aren’t either princesses, baby versions of said princesses or dick-sucking dinosaurs. I’m willing to bet that he doesn’t.