Western Animation / Tutenstein


Tutenstein is an Emmy-Award-winning animated television series, produced by Porchlight Entertainment (Adventures from the Book of Virtues) for Discovery Kids that began broadcasting on November 1, 2003. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Jay Stephens (who would later create Cartoon Network's The Secret Saturdays), the half-hour series heavily features Egyptian Mythology.

In the series, the young mummy Tutankhensetamun (based on real-life Tutankhamun and usually called "Tutenstein" as in the title) is awakened about 3,000 years in a museum after his accidental death and now has to face the fact that his kingdom is gone. Helping him out is 12-year-old Cleo Carter, a girl interested in Ancient Egypt, and a magical cat named Luxor, who is both Cleo's pet and Tut's servant. The trio face a variety of issues caused by Tut's inexperience as a pharaoh, but frequently involving figures from Ancient Egyptian legend, most notably Set, the god of chaos, who seeks Tut's Staff of Was — a magical artifact that grants it wielder the right to rule over the world.

The series ran for 39 episodes, ending in 2008 with The Movie "Clash of the Pharoahs".

This show contains examples of:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Cleo's father, (and Cleo at heart, if her dreams are any indication). The trope shows up a few other times during the show's run in minuscule ways.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Most episodes involve Tut learning that he should treat his friends well and/or not use magic for selfish reasons. It never sticks.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Luxor fits the bill, when you see the episode where he and Chloe have a Freaky Friday Moment.
    "Perhaps I could wear that powder blue mini with a matching nehru jacket. I think Jake would find me quite fetching in it!"
  • Bad Boss: Set isn't just an evil god, he treats his minions rather horribly.
  • Big Bad: Set.
  • Black and Nerdy: Cleo, at least when it comes to Egyptology.
  • Blessed with Suck: Arguably, Luxor. The scepter's magic made him intelligent and able to speak, but also forced him to become Tut's Extreme Doormat Beleaguered Assistant. Luxor also counts as a Butt-Monkey and a Woobie.
  • Brain Food / Horror Hunger: Discussed early in the series, when Cleo and Luxor watch a mummy movie together.
    Cleo: Luxor, this movie is so cheesy it's great! What are you so scared about?
    Luxor: That mummy eats brains!
    Cleo: Luxor, get real! Tutenstein's a mummy, he doesn't eat brains!
    Luxor: So far.
    • Ironically, the Ancient Egyptians believed the center of one's personality and knowledge was the heart, not the brain.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted with Luxor, who's one of the most good-natured characters in the series.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did you just trap Apep with a fishing net?
  • Disappeared Dad: Cleo's father. It's never clear exactly what happened to him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's hard to blame the gods for being annoyed with Tutenstein, but threatening a ten-year-old child with eternal damnation for crimes like vandalizing a wall or cheating at a board game seems a little harsh. Cleo even points this out, mentioning that in spite of his position, is just a kid.
  • Downer Ending: "The Comeback Kid". Not only does Tut turn back into a mummy, he will never get the chance to become flesh and blood again. Fridge Logic makes the whole series kind of a downer from then on.
  • Elvis Impersonator: The characters visited a convention of them in "The King of Memphis".
  • Eternal English: Tutenstein and the Egyptian gods all speak modern English, though Tut has Just a Stupid Accent. Presumably the Scepter of Was did it.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: In "Day of the Undead," Tut walks among mortals on Halloween, impressing trick-or-treaters with how much his costume looks and smells like a long-dead Egyptian mummy.
  • Jerkass Gods: Most of the Egyptian Gods are shown to be as temperamental, arrogant, and dangerously and randomly vindictive as Tut and often are the cause of many problems in different episodes (e.g. the Goddess of Love Hathor becoming offended that an obnoxious Tut wasn't getting respect and having a pyramid built for him so she turns into Sekhmet to kill some construction workers, the God Ra being furious at those who deny his authority, the Goddess Isis trying to eternally damn Tut for vandalizing a wall and cheating at a board game, etc.) Set happens to be the worst of the bunch.
  • Large Ham: Tut
  • Losing Your Head
  • Magic Skirt: in this case it's Tut's shendyt.
  • Magic Wand: The Scepter of Was functions as one.
  • Mean Boss: You probably wouldn't want to work for Horace Bedhety, but he's mostly just vain and petty.
  • Meaningful Name: Cleo's full name is Cleopatra Carter. The first part is obvious, while "Carter" alludes to Howard Carter, the archaeologist who found the original Tutankhamun's tomb.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Tut is not and never has been a merciful person.
  • Nice Hat: Tut's gigantic nemes headress. He only takes it off a few times in the entire series.
  • Not a Mask: "I wear no mask. This is the face of royalty, of authority, of magnificence."
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: An occasional source of angst for Tut. It comes to a head in "Old Man Tut", when he uses magic to grow into a teenager so he can cut off his sidelock of youth, but then has to deal with Rapid Aging.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Cleo's pink hoodie and a pair of sunglasses are the only precautions Tut ever takes.
  • Power Trio:
    • Id: Tut
    • Ego: Chloe
    • Superego: Luxor
  • Princess in Rags: With a dash of denial.
  • Pulling Themselves Together
  • Rip Van Tinkle: Tut's first act after being brought back from the dead is to run to the bathroom.
  • Royal Brat: Tut acts like a spoiled little Jerk Ass most of the time.
  • Scales of Justice: The episode Curse Of The Pharaoh has Tutenstein go through the weighing of his heartnote  again in order to get rid of Ammut.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Well, he is the Pharaoh...
  • Servile Snarker: Luxor, so very much.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Cleo and Tutenstein's relationship is full of this. Enter Squick here.
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: Strangely, Tut has been referred to as "rotting" many, many times during the series, and it's a running gag. But the definition of mummy is a dead body that in fact does not rot. It's never revealed whether or not Tut can heal (though the evidence points to: no).
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Tut has quite an extensive vocabulary, excellent manners, and an affinity for modern youth slang.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Initially averted. Tut accepts his undead-ness as part of his identity almost immediately. Later, when he begins to realize he'll be this way forever, it's played with. He mourns his flesh-and-blood body, and the fact that he'll never "grow up".
  • Status Quo Is God
  • Talking Animal: Luxor.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Presumably the reason Tut keeps himself hidden. It's never stated directly, but it's frequently said that for Tut being out in the open is not "safe", and it's hard to imagine anything else that would convince him to stay quiet.
  • Time-Freeze Trolling Spree: In the episode "The Boat of Millions of Years" has Tut wishing a movie night would last longer. This causes Ra the Sun God to get captured on his journey through the underworld and time stops altogether. Later when Cleo and Luxor wake up they first get everyone frozen on the street out of harm's way. However when they find Walter in the museum they decide to prank him. They replace the burgers he is about to eat with skulls and a sword, puts a wig on his head and a skirt on him. When time unfreezes, Walter bites the skull and thinks he's being messed with by aliens.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: As with Aang and Katara, Cleo is taller because she's two years older.
  • Undead Child
  • Undeathly Pallor: Afroasiatic Tut, in death, is somehow a pale green color (the dark color of his exposed hands and feet make this kind of confusing.)
  • Undeath Always Ends: Averted - by the end of the series, Tutenstein is still a living mummy.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tut and Cleo.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian: Naturally.
  • Zombie Gait: Tut pulls this in the show's opening, and every once in a while in the show as well.