Western Animation: Tutenstein

Tutenstein is an Emmy-Award-winning animated television series, produced by Porchlight Entertainment for Discovery Kids. It also airs on Jetix in Turkey. It began broadcasting on November 1, 2003. The half-hour series features young mummy Tutankhensetamun (based on real-life Tutankhamun and usually called "Tutenstein" as in the title) who is awakened about 3,000 years after his accidental death and now has to face the fact that his kingdom is gone.


  • 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.
  • 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
  • Five-Man Band: Sort of....
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Never Say "Die": Completely averted.
  • 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.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Cleo has her moments.
  • 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.
    • Cleo even gets a He Is Not My Boyfriend moment at one point.
    • YMMV of course, but she compares him to a little brother at the beginning of the series, and there are more than a few references to babysitting throughout the rest of the series. This show can truly be praised as one of the very few in which a male and female duo of main characters do not, in fact, have any romantic ties.
  • 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.
  • 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.