In what would become a recurring theme among the show's alumni, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were such a big hit on Nickelodeon's variety show All That that they were given their own TV show. Set in Chicago, the sitcom chronicled the misadventures of ambitious Kenan Rockmore and dimwitted Kel Kimble. Kenan & Kel aired from 1996 to 2000 (it should be noted that three years after the show's end, Kenan Thompson would be a cast member on Saturday Night Live).As of July 25th 2011, it airs as part of TeenNick's "The '90s Are All That" blockNot to be confused with the webcomic Kevin & Kell.
Tropes found in this series include:
Accidental Bargaining Skills: Kenan applied for a job in the mailroom of a large company and got his CV mixed up with someone applying for an executive job. He's offered a massive salary and the interviewer misinterprets his shock as a sign someone having made him a better offer.
In "A Star Is Peeved", Kel and Chris called the director Goldberg "Goldfish".
In "Natural Born Kenan", Kel calls Kenan "Marvin" in his third dream because Kevin is a better friend.
In the Stand-In Parents episode, the stand-in mom keeps getting Kenan's name wrong. She's called him "Kato", "Kevin", "Kelvin", and "Kelgan".
Stand-in dad: IT'S KENAN! THE CHILD'S NAME IS KENAN!! HOW HARD IS IT TO REMEMBER??
Acting for Two: In "Present Tense", Kenan and Kel also played Roger's great-aunts.
All Love Is Unrequited: Kenan constantly fails to impress his pretty co-worker, and Kel is completely oblivious (or plain annoyed) to the fact that Kenan's little sister, Kyra, has a massive crush on him.
The Bet: A good one arises - Kenan bets Kel that he can't go an entire week without drinking orange soda, whoever wins, the loser has to sing the national anthem in Chris's store, while wearing a woman's nightie. Needless to say, Kel tries desperately not to drink a drop of orange soda, while Kenan (and even Roger) tries just as desperately to get Kel to give into temptation.
The B Grade: Parodied in the Future episode: Anything short of an A++ is failing. Kenan laments of the loss of the times when A+s were good things...
Captain Obvious: In "You Dirty Rat", everyone in Rigby's noticed all the small bites in the food. While Kenan was figuring out who could have done it, he noticed a rat on his sandwich and ran away.
Kel: I'll bet that rat has something to do with all the bites in the food!
Catch Phrase: "Aww, here it goes!" from Kel at the beginning and ending of each episode. In the Christmas episode, the whole cast says it, with Kel saying "Aww, that's my line!". And in "Tales from the Clip", Kenan says it after Kel walked away in anger.
The City vs. the Country: The two-parter where Kenan's family moves to Montana so Roger can live out his dream of being a park ranger. Subverted when the whole family hates the run-down house, Kenan hates his new school and Roger finds his job boring and the family can't wait to move back to Chicago.
Clip Show: One episode, in which Kenan and Kel introduce a clip show, but have a fight. The show can't actually start, so time is spent trying to get them to make up - with numerous clips shown in the process.
Comically Missing the Point: Kel, so very much. One variation of this, from "Foul Ball", Kenan and Kel try to ditch town, Kel dresses up as a cowboy to disguise himself from people recognizing him, when Kenan grabs his hat and see Kel shaved his head in case anybody recognizes him, to which Kenan tells him if he was going to wear the cowboy hat, why would he have to shave his head? Kel thinks a bit about this, and then starts to cry.
Continuity Drift: Originally Kel loved ham, not orange soda (or, at the very least, in addition to orange soda).
Could Have Avoided This Plot: In "Happy B-Day Marc", if Kenan just accepted Marc's invitation to his birthday rather than avoiding him (and had Sharla lie for him), he would't have everyone think he's getting ear surgerynote to make them smaller and think Marc doesn't like him.
Kenan: Why didn't you invite me? Marc: Because Sharla told all about you getting your ears reduced. Kenan: What? [Sharla shrugs and laughs nervously] Kenan: Kel, you said Marc didn't invite me because he didn't like me! Kel: I only said that so I wouldn't hurt your feelings. Kenan:That explains a lot.
Criminal Doppelgänger: One episode had Kenan's father Roger mistaken by the title characters (although Kenan believes in his innocence) for a jewel thief nicknamed "The Diamond Bandit" that they heard about on an America's Most Wanted-type program. Ironically, John Walsh makes a Cameo on this show.
There was also a clown that tied the duo up and robbed Chris's store who just happened to be exactly like the clown who was later hired to perform at Kyra's birthday party.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: In "Safe and Sorry", Kenan and Kel find an old map in the Rigby's storeroom. Kenan thinks it says "safe", Kel thinks it looks more like "sofa". Just guess which one is correct. Both, of course.
Kenan: Come to think of it, I've never seen your mother.
Face Heel Mole: During the 18th annual grocery bagging contest, Chris' rival Angus offers a job for Kel as a way to win the contest. Kel accepts, but during the contest, Kel succumbs to the pressure, allowing Kenan to win. Kel was feigning, that's the reason he accepted the temporary job.
Flanderization: Kel wasn't really that stupid when the show started out; he just lacked common sense and good judgement. As the series progresses, however, he becomes so thoughtless, incompetent and naïve that one begins to wonder how he manages to function as a human being or why Kenan continues to put up with him, childhood friend or not. There are two episodes that show how far Kel has fallen.
The first of which is when Rigby's is holding a raffle, with a television for a prize. At first, Kel is tasked in selling tickets...he gets scammed out of ''all'' of them for a single orange balloon. ''Then'' while Kenan is distracted, Kel lets go of the balloon and it floats to the ceiling above the TV, which he uses as a bench to try to grab it. His jumping breaks the TV. Kenan decides to put the brand new TV that his parents got in the auction since Kel said he has the winning ticket...and during the raffle Kel ''loses'' it. Finally, they are at the only place that they can get the same TV at an insanely low price, while Kenan is making the deal...Kel plays with a video camera because he likes seeing himself on TV... and breaks it too, ruining the deal and making Kenan buy a small crappy television in exchange. At the end of the episode, Kenan asks why Kel does all this stupid crap... all of which Kel responds 'Accident, accident, accident... I had to get my balloon back'. Why the HELL Kenan didn't just snap and punch or even murder Kel then is anyone's guess.
The second time is when Kenan and his family go to a pirate themed restaurant. Kel, of course, tags along since he has nowhere else to go. Due to Kel's stupidity, when he has to go to the bathroom, he runs into the chef and knocks the arrow to where the bathroom is and gets himself stuck in the freezer. To compound things, Kenan then gets trapped. Then everyone else in the restaurant gets trapped in too. And Kel? He doesn't see how it's his fault at all, and keeps being stupid and complaining...and then he gets the door open...and doesn't let anyone else out. At the end, you want the crowd to take their revenge on the fucking moron.
The third time is in The Movie, where Kel's stupidity nearly causes the deaths of Kenan, Mr. Rockmore, the entire family...and the deaths of four innocent people when he pokes and prods Kenan to go to Rockville after he causes the fricken car to break down by ripping out the wires in the engine 'since they were so pretty'.
Frying Pan of Doom: Kel used one of these on a robber in an episode, leading to fears of his death. He managed to knock out everyone that was in the house, including Kenan.
Genius Ditz: Kel, despite being a orange soda loving idiot, gets a 96 (Later then corrected to 98) in an (marked out of 100) IQ test. He also got a 98 on the written part of the driver's test.
Kel: When the bread popped out of the toaster, no one knew what to put on it jelly, margarine, cinnamon-sugar. I suggested butter, crumbs were everywhere... Kenan: Man! He said let's tell ghost stories not toast stories. Kel: Oh I don't know any ghost stories.
Heroic BSOD: Kel has one when he sees Kenan, dressed as Santa, can actually speak the language of a little foreign girl, who doesn't speak English, and the two even sing "Jingle Bells" in her native tongue.
Hero with Bad Publicity: In one episode, "Foul Bull", Kenan and Kel end up becoming hated by the entire city of Chicago after news gets out that they were responsible for basketball player Ron Harper's injury.
Idea Bulb: Parodied in one episode; Kenan is standing in front of a lamp when he has an idea.
Roger: I fixed it!
Idiot Houdini: Kel, While he has moments as The Chew Toy, his destructive idiocy is less likely to be met with a proper punishment than Kenan. Part of this comes from his family (and most of his life outside Kenan for that matter) being The Ghost, while most of the primary supporting cast are Kenan's family and peers.
Inner Monologue Conversation: One episode begins with Kenan and Kel prepping the audience, then thinking to themselves about each other and the audience. Inexplicably, halfway through the intro, Kenan is able to hear Kel's thoughts and proceeds to tell him what to do while in Kel's head. Kel is left wondering why he can't actually talk back, then opens the episode anyway.
Chris: Kenan, please don't forget. Kenan: Don't worry. You just have fun on your little vacation with... mother. And trust me, I will not forget. 6 days later Kenan: Kel, I think I'm forgetting something.
Jail Bake: In "The April Fools" Kel tries to smuggle Kenan a very obvious saw in a cake. It doesn't work.
Large Ham: Both characters have notable bouts of this, particularly when they're playing for the cameras.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Kel being banned from Kenan's house from "Get the Kel Outta Here" is handwaved away for the status quo as Roger hitting his head against a tree when he jumped after Kel from a window, making him lose all memory of what happened during the episode.
Lethally Stupid: Kel. Poor Mr. Rockmore is lucky to be still alive. Ironically, Kel's idiocy has saved him at least twice, from robbers.
Kenan's plans are sometimes as goofy as dangerous, especially the ones he makes at the end of the episodes (though they are never actually shown). And involving Kel in his schemes makes them even more destructive.
Locked in a Freezer: One episode had everyone in the restaurant locked in the restaurant's freezer.
Love Letter Lunacy: It was actually a love poem Kenan wrote for class naming his crush (he didn't know they were going to read it out loud) and carelessly threw away. Said poem reached his good friend's girlfriend, who subsequently thought her boyfriend had feelings for someone else, Hilarity Ensues.
Misplaced Wildlife: In "Natural Born Kenan", Kenan dreams that his "real" parents are snow-people from the north pole, and they have a pet penguin. Justified since it is a dream.
Good Burger was essentially a spiritual film version (though it was more associated with All That, since the idea for the movie came from a recurring sketch on the show, similar to what Saturday Night Live has done to some of its sketches), since both Kenan and Kel star in it with similar roles.
My Sister Is Off Limits: Subverted. Kel doesn't like Kyra and Kenan shoos his sister off since she's bothering them. He uses Kel to get her to leave or keep a secret.
Oh Crap: A rather notable one in "The Cold War": after Kenan and Kel learn that their recreated cold remedy knock people out, Kenan begins freaking out after remembering that they gave his father, an air traffic controllernote "The man lands airplanes!", that very same formula.
And then they experience it again when he does pass out.
"Rashomon"-Style: The recounting of how a botched robbery ended in the robber unconscious on the ground. Kel's recounting consists solely of his inability to open a gigantic bottle of orange soda that coaxes him to open it, much to his heartbreak.
Police officer: What does that have to do with the robbery? Kel: Nothing. It's about orange soda. You have to pay attention!
Refuge in Audacity: The last act of ''Two Heads Are Better Than None," where they chow down on a human dinner with five other guests, three of whom are murdered off-screen during the course of the dinner, their severed heads later found on a table in the basement, next to other two in stocks, seemingly ignorant of their surroundings. Just...wow.
Yet, they're starting to something is just wrong here.
Sheldon (husband): We're starting to think he might not be the nicest guy after all.
She Who Must Not Be Seen: Chris's mother. Kenan even lampshaded it in one episode, where Chris show him and Kel family photos, and in all of the photos, Mother's face is blocked whatever Chris is holding.
Kenan: That's not a really good picture of your momma, you can't even see her. Chris: What are you getting at? Kenan: Come to think of it... I've never seen your momma, Chris. [Silence] Chris: Well, she's not here right now.
Shout-Out: Kel tries to learn an episode's plot by reading the TV listings, but reads a description for Rugrats instead.
In "Foul Bull", Kenan tried to change the channel to My Brother And Me, his favorite character is Goo.
In "Safe and Sorry", Dave thinks mixing together peanuts and butter makes peanut butter.
Kel: Cool! We can mix em together and make peanut butter. Kenan: Good idea! Dave:(to Chris) I told you.
In "The Raffle", both Kel and the delivery man confuse "raffle" with "waffle".
Sweet and Sour Grapes: On a Christmas episode, Kenan gets a job as a department store Santa to save up and buy himself a new mountain bike. When one boy asks for a gift for his sister and nothing for himself, Kenan is so moved that he instead uses the money to buy the siblings bikes of their own. At the end, the real Santa is shown placing the bike Kenan wanted under his tree.
Take That: In Diamonds are for Roger, Kenan and Kel turn on the TV to Steve Urkel saying "Did I do that?", this is followed by Kenan laughing mockingly at the TV before telling Kel to change the channel.
The Show Goes Hollywood: There's an episode when they catch the wrong plane and end up in Hollywood. They were trying to go to an orange soda convention.
Throw the Dog a Bone: During her birthday party in "Clownin' Around," Kyra has to put up with an Alpha Bitch that's obnoxious to her and crushing on Kel. Kyra eventually stands up for herself, but Kel then plays the trope straight - making a point of siding with Kyra and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
Subverted at the end of the same episode. Kenan quickly ends the show and is about to walk off, but Kel interrupts the credits to ask about the lack of a final wacky plan. Kenan said he was intending to give Kel a break this time... only to then think of a new plan.
Title Drop: Subverted. Kel holds a camera in front of him and Kenan with a red curtain behind them: "It's like we have our own show: The Kel and Kenan Show!"
In "Natural Born Kenan", in Kenan's dream Kel said he and the Rockmore's "real" son Kevin are going to have their own show: Kevin and Kel.
To Be Continued: Kel says this at the end of "Bye-Bye Kenan: Part 1" and "Aw, Here It Goes to Hollywood: Part 1" instead of his usual catchphrase.
Trail of Bread Crumbs: Kel leaves some of these while he and Kenan climb up the stairs of the tallest building in Chicago. Kenan reminds him they're just going upstairs and they'll come back downstairs.
Verbal Tic: In the earlier episodes, Chris had a habit of pronouncing his preterites with a 'be' before them. Ala:
Chris: Kel! You be-bruised my bananas!
Wham Line: When an Alpha Bitch trash-talks Kyra at her own birthday party. Even Kyra can't believe her ears!
Wholesome Crossdresser: Kel, on occasion. Including one example from the memorable "Foul Bull" episode, where he disguised himself as a pregnant woman about to go into labor, so he and Kenan (as a doctor) can apologize to Ron Harper.
Kenan?! How am I supposed to get a picket fence?! The other wiki, I don't even know about the first wiki! And who can I get the power of love from? Isn't that the crazy future song?! KE-KENAN?!?! AWWWWWW, HERE IT GOES.