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Headscratchers / The Emperor's New Groove

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     The Emperor's New Timeline 
  • Does the film take place in a Flintstone-like anachronistic past, or does it take place in a village of present-day Native Mexicans?
    • The Inca empire exists, so definitely the past.
      • Word of God from the director is that, as the film says at the beginning, it takes place Long Ago In The Jungle. Any more then that, and you're overthinking it.
      • Native Mexicans? The Incas are from Peru, which is 4000 kilometers away from Mexico.
      • Didn't the movie made it clear that it was set in the Incan Empire before the Conquistadors arrived?
      • The Bob's Big Boy-esque resturant might be what's throwing them off. Assuming everyone should remember that it's just an animated movie, though.

     "It Just Bugs Me, Literally" 
  • So Tipo feels the need to tell his dad he ate a bug and Pacha then makes a joke that implies this is, in fact, not a normal thing. Then they go to a restaurant and Pacha digs into a bug as if it's a delicacy.
    • Perhaps the bug that Tipo ate wasn't actually meant to be part of the meal.
    • Or he was joking that his wife's cooking is no better than you can get at a greasy spoon (as the place where Pacha was eating the bug in was hardly a four-star restaurant).
    • Pillbugs are in fact crustaceans (like lobsters and crabs) that live on land, not insects, so...

     Coming Full Circle 
  • Why were they near Pacha's house around Kuzco's Heel Realization? Didn't they travel at all?
    • At the end of the scene where the bridge collapses, Pacha mentions they'll have to take the long way to Kuzco's palace. Perhaps the route involved doubling back to near where they started.
    • After Pacha reunites with Kuzco he specifically mentions that they need to head back to the house for supplies. As for what supplies these were and why they were worth wasting an entire trip to go back and get them- you've got me.
    • The supplies Pacha is referring to, are the harness and arrow that Pacha uses later so they can safely cross the cliffs (due to the bridge having been destroyed).

     Dinner Time! 
  • Where are all those servants at the dinner scene? You'd think the palace dining hall would have many people to cook and serve to Kuzco, let alone witness his llama transformation. And even if we assume that dining room is in Yzma's quarters of the palace, why would Kuzco go there for dinner without suspecting she was up to something, considering that he just fired her?
    • Maybe since Kuzco Hates Being Touched, it could be that he doesn't like having his dinnertime crowded up with a bunch of unnecessary servants when it's really just him who's there to eat. And as Yzma spells out, only she, Kronk, and Kuzco know that she was fired earlier, so to everyone else in the palace, she would still have the authority to tell them to stay out of the dining area in order to ensure there were no witnesses.
    • The room they're eating in is too small to be the palace dining hall. It's Yzma's personal quarters. As for why he wouldn't suspect anything, it is literally a plot point that he could not comprehend that Yzma would want him dead until he heard it from her own mouth, even if he did fire her. After all, she's the closest thing to a parent he has, and he IS still letting her live in the palace.

     Villain Teleportation 
  • How did they get there?...
    • Yzma hitched a ride from her Friends On the Other Side.
    • By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
    • Maybe what happened is it took quite awhile for Kuzco and Pacha to sneak into the palace just to get to Yzma's lab. It's just that part was entirely skipped over, giving Yzma and Kronk ample time to get in before the heroes did. Maybe the river they fell into also rushed them close to the palace beforehand.
      • Yzma also has the benefit of being the acting empress who can order people to do pretty much anything she wants. No doubt she would have an easier time getting into and through the palace than some peasant and his llama.

     "Why Does She Even Have That Lever?" 
  • Why does she even have that lever?
    • It's always assumed it was in case of an intruder and that Kronk constantly pulling the wrong lever was just Rule of Funny.
    • Yeah, but Kuzco and Pacha get through the crocs with ease, which makes that lever even more useless.
      • It would assume after getting dumped down there so often the crocs are used to humans now and have become more playful than vicious. Basically Kronk ruined the trap.

     Disappearing Dynasty 
  • What happened to Kuzco's parents?
    • Yzma raised Kuzco and was planning to use him as her Puppet King, so there's no doubt that she, er, removed them from the picture.
      • It's confirmed in the cartoon. Kuzco's mother died in childbirth, and his father died at sea a few months later, it's implied Yzma caused it somehow. And served as Kuczo' s regent until he came of age (which might explain him being upset over her "doing his job", espically with him being an adult). There's also a small hint that Kuczo worries about living up to his dad, who was a fantastic ruler.

     Kronk's New House 
  • Where does Kronk live after he (presumably) got kicked out of the palace? According to Yzma during the sequel, he doesn't even own a fixer-upper.
    • Maybe he rents a place in town, or perhaps there's some sort of extra room at the diner where he works that he managed to spruce up and move into.

     Can't Keep a Good Cook 
  • During the diner scene, we witness Kronk's first working day in Mudka's Hut's kitchen. Despite being busy with Yzma and their mission to find Kuzco, it seems the restaurant finally found a cook much more skilled and lighter than the previous one. Despite the good news, he leaves the diner a few minutes later along with Yzma, her new sombrero hat and a birthday cake slice, leaving Mudka's Meat Hut without a cook and no one to replace him any sooner. It's just a wonder how the diner managed to keep its business running without Kronk's aid, at least before he would have decided to restart his cooking career after the ending of the first movie.
    • The sequel reveals that he actually kept his job there.
    • It must not have been that long between Kronk leaving and then the end of the first movie.

     Karma Houdini Kid 
  • In the sequel, Kronk tells the story of how he lost both the house and the girl his father had always wanted him to have, but that he did so by choosing to do the right thing instead...but in the case of the girlfriend he lost, Ms. Birdwell, did he really need to sacrifice their relationship in order to protect Tipo? His reasoning for it is that he insisted that his troop members "do whatever it takes to win", but Tipo really should've known the difference between giving it everything he had and cheating by sabotaging the competition. Even worse is that Kronk doesn't even reprimand Tipo for what he did - he just seems to accept complete responsibility for it even though it wasn't his fault.
    • It's worth noting that Kronk is very docile and is an Extreme Doormat. Plus, Tipo didn't break him like Yzma.
    • Maybe Kronk feels that Tipo's misunderstanding truly is his fault, since — as the scout master — he's supposed to set an exemplary example and be an ideal role model for his troopers.

     Yzma Can't Say Goodbye 
  • Just what was Yzma still doing inside the palace at dinnertime (DINNERTIME!), if Kuzco had already fired her earlier that day?
    • Well, since she was a royal advisor—if not THE royal advisor—it's assumed she just lived in the palace like most of the other servants. She probably made some excuse about needing time to get her things, clear out her old room, etc.
    • Just because she's fired doesn't necessarily mean she's kicked out of the palace. She just has no authority anymore.
    • The Saturday morning cartoon (which is actually good for what it is) implies that Yzma was Kuzco's regent, as well as advisor to his father, who died in a sailing 'accident' shortly after Kuczo was born (his mother having died in childbirth). This relates to her clear puppet-king intentions with Kuzco, and why he was upset she was "doing his job". So it's most likely she'd lived within the palace for decades.
    • Considering how casual Kuzco is about the whole thing, even talking to her about what she'll do now that she's been put out to pasture, it doesn't seem like he had any intentions of kicking her out. He just wanted her off his big fancy chair.

     Never Found the Body 
  • How did Yzma manage to get Kuzco declared dead without a body? Not saying she had to hold an open-casket funeral, but surely at least the royal physician would have liked to have seen what the emperor died from?
    • This is explained as Kuzco overhears Yzma and Kronk discussing their plans to assasinate him as they're leaving the restaurant - Kronk notes that nobody even seemed to care much that Kuzco was gone, which is further cemented by how quickly they all ditch the funeral earlier in the film. Basically, Kuzco was such a selfish jerkwad that nobody saw fit to really mourn too much for him. They just took the news of the loss and didn't bother questioning it.

     Rudy's Reasons 
  • What was that old man that got thrown out the window doing in the palace to begin with? Everyone else we see is either a servant of some kind, a guard, or a potential bride, and he'd probably be ill-suited for all of those positions. And there seems to be a designated room that isn't the one they were in for meeting with peasants.
    • Maybe he got lost on his way in?
    • He's probably a peasant who got an appointment to voice his problems to the monarch, like that other peasant Yzma threw out of the throne room.
    • He's a self-professed rebel. He came in because he wasn't supposed to be there.

     Off-Center Labeling 
  • Why would one of Yzma's potions have an upside-down image of the top half of a skull on the reverse side of its label?
    • Maybe the upside-down top-half skull is actually half of another label, and Yzma just reused the paper because she was really cheap.
  • How the heck did Kronk even mix them up in the first place, when he literally had the right potion IN HIS HANDS just a few hours (probably, give or take) earlier? Though on the other hand, this IS Kronk we're talking about...

     "Nobody's That Heartless"? 
  • "Hey, you coulda let me fall..." "C'mon, nobody's that heartless!" So if Kuzco's not that heartless, why was he willing to leave Pacha suspended from the ropes of a broken bridge, above a gorge filled with alligators?
    • Probably it just doesn't register to him as a murder as long as he doesn't have to see Pacha die...which actually makes sense, given that it's a quirk shared by people in general, not just those who are like Kuzco. Check out variations of Milgram's experiments or the Trolley Problem.
    • Also possible is that Kuzco wasn't actually as heartless as he'd implied when he threatened to leave Pacha tangled in the bridge ropes. He might've reasoned that Pacha would be able to free himself without any help, and decided that a struggle of that caliber would be a worthy-enough punishment for Pacha "kidnapping" him.

     Good-For-Nothing Positioning System 
  • How did Yzma and Kronk know where Pacha lives? When Kronk realizes that the "peasant at the diner" is the same guy he saw kart Kuzco away, he reasons that he must have taken him to his home village, but how did they know which village? Does Kuzco's empire only have one peasant village? If so, why didn't Yzma and Kronk go there in the first place?
    • Pacha went to the palace on Kuzco's orders. There must have been some paper trail for Yzma or Kuzco himself told her since he still trusted her to the point he kept her around as his advisor back then.
    • But how would they know Pacha was ever in the palace? They never saw him there, and Kronk clearly didn't know who Pacha was when he first saw him take Kuzco away on his cart. The film presents Kronk's "Eureka!" Moment as being when he realizes that the "peasant at the diner" is the guy with Kuzco on the kart, but by all rights this realization should be totally useless, since he still has no way of knowing who Pacha is or where he's from.
    • Odds are they didn't. They just went around between different villages claiming to be his relatives and kept looking until they found someone who could direct them to Pacha's house.
    • How would that even work, though, given that they don't know Pacha's name? Did they just go around asking for a "big guy in a poncho"? That... an awfully vague description for this setting. And also, Yzma said earlier in the movie that they'd already been to every village around the palace. Why didn't they ask around for Pacha in the first place, then, if that's what they ended up having to do?
    • Just because Kronk didn't know who Pacha was at the time doesn't mean that Yzma wouldn't know him. To recall, Pacha was a village chief, so there might possibly have been records on him and she might know him by description, as well as that he was summoned to the palace on the same day that she turned Kuzco into a llama. If that's the case, Kronk could describe him to her (especially since he was able to get a good look at him this time) and she would be able to connect the dots. Then Kronk's "Eureka!" Moment is less that they know exactly where to go at that moment and more that the peasant who carted Kuzco off was still with Kuzco, and would be easier to track down with their resources than a stray llama.
    • Kronk's kind of an idiot. He probably didn't think to tell Yzma HOW Kuzco got out of the city, and Yzma probably never bothered to ask. Once he realized that if he found that peasant, he'd find Kuzco, it was as simple as finally telling Yzma what happened and her going "Bet it was that fat guy from that place Kuzco wanted to tear down."

     Just Between the Three of Us 
  • Yzma claims that only herself, Kronk, and Kuzco know that she was fired. However there was an aide writing down what Kuzco was saying and even gave her a note with all the different ways she was fired.
    • Maybe Yzma has done something to the aide...
    • She probably just considers the aide too insignificant to worry about, especially since the word of the emperor's adviser would definitely be taken more seriously than the word of a random aide.
    • Or, going by the previous Fridge Brilliance, maybe the aide liked Kuzco out of obligation and would be rather indifferent if he just disappeared randomly.
    • Or, since the aide was only present while Kuzco was rattling off euphemisms — not a second earlier, and not a second later — he may not have gotten enough context, or even paid the slightest bit of attention to what he was writing, to actually have any clue what was going on.

     What was the point of the bride scene? 
  • Maybe more of a Doylist question, but what was the point? It comes right after a big song number and sets up a love plot point that never happens before cutting away. If the idea was to set up Kuzco to be a jerk it seems a little belated, considering he just had a man thrown out of a building.
    • It would be assumed that it sets up a subversive jab at how romantic subplots are to be expected from most Disney movies. The film sets up the introduction to the brides like at least one of them will wind up being important, but Kuzco doesn't show an ounce of attraction to any of them and none of them ever come back into play again. It's the movie letting the audience know early on that this won't be the typical Disney film.
    • It helps to establish how normal Kuzco's jerkishness is. It's not just towards peasants, it's not the first time he's made such a blatant moral mistake, and it's something he feels no guilt for and immediately goes back to jerkishness afterwards. This is something that everyone around him has had to put up with, for a long time. It doesn't surprise any of them in the least. Also, the window-throwing was played at least slightly for Black Comedy. The brides thing is more personally hurtful, and can't be handwaved by Deliberate Values Dissonance. It has more of an impact on the viewer. The filmmakers wanted to cut off any possibility of Ron the Death Eater.

     Why don't you just shoot him? 
  • If Yzma is so ambitious and so old, why hasn't she attempted to usurp an emperor before? Yeah, Kuzco is an obedient puppet, but she seems much happier when the murder makes her supremacy explicit.
    • Could be that being the "emperor's assistant" affords her just as much influence and luxury as being empress does, but without having to worry about the actual responsibility for things that go wrong, since that would technically fall to Kuzco. But when Kuzco fires her, that means she loses all that power, and thus, killing him before anyone finds out he fired her is the only way for her to keep her position. It was basically a matter of not acting before she absolutely needed to.

     Why did Kronk suddenly grow a conscience? 
  • He took issue with throwing Kuzco into a river and letting gravity do the killing, but had no qualms with actually serving him a cup of poisoned wine? Why didn’t his shoulder-angel-and-devil show up at any point during the dinner scene?
    • The movie makes it pretty clear that Kronk’s a bit slow on the update. He only felt guilt after he had already thrown Kuzco in the river. He also exclusively focuses on the dinner when they’re plotting to kill Kuzco. This could interpreted as apathy, but the fact that his Shoulder Angel says “You’re not just gonna let him die out there, are you?” may imply that he didn’t really understand that he was murdering Kuzco.
      • He does take time during the dinner scene, though, to ensure that Kuzco gets the poisoned drink and discreetly warns Yama not to drink hers after he divides the poison among the three cups. So he knew what he was doing on some level.
      • Plus, after he throws Kuzco in the river he says a quick remark (mission accomplished) and then starts to feel guilt. When Kuzco passes out, he also gives a quick remark. If Kuzco had actually been poisoned, and then he started to “get rid of the body” like Yzma said, his Shoulder Angel and Devil might have appeared.
    • And Yzma is PRESENT at the dinner scene! Who wants to double cross their boss right under her nose?!
    • Kuzco is kind of a horrible person, so Kronk may not have felt all that bad about it until he really started to think about it. Alternatively, or maybe even tying in, Yzma's a very dominating personality and she clearly has to keep him on track with her evil schemes. Could be that once he was away from her, he actually started to think of the moral implications of what he was doing.

     Kuzco never suspected Yzma? 
  • It's peculiar that it never occurred to Kuzco that Yzma was the one who turned him into a llama. There were actually quite a few hints before he found out at the diner. He fired her earlier, and it's easy to conclude that she might be angry at him for doing that. Plus, he even knows about her secret lab and transformation potions and focuses on relying on her to change him back. Also, he original blamed Pacha for transforming him. But how could Pacha have done it? He's a peasant and would probably not have access to anything that could transform him.
    • It doesn't seem as though Kuzco was completely serious when he accused Pacha; rather, it's just an empty threat he throws around when he's feeling particularly mean-spirited. But beyond that, that's the point. Kuzco is so self-centered that he automatically assumes that what he says is right and anyone else who goes against him is wrong. It's not so much that Pacha and Yzma both had motives for revenge, it's that Pacha tried to argue against Kuzco's verdict about destroying his home, whereas Yzma did the bare minimum to make it seem as though there were no hard feelings. As Kuzco says, Pacha is the only one who doesn't seem to "get the point" that the whole world revolves around Kuzco, so to Kuzco, he's the most obvious person to want to do him any harm. Add in the fact that Yzma "practically raised him", according to her, and that she was beneath suspicion to him should be a lot easier to grasp.
    • In the conversation where Pacha tells him Yzma and Kronk are trying to kill him, Kuzco says 'Kill me? Their whole world revolves around me.' It literally never occurred to him that Yzma meant him harm until he's hit with it shortly after. When he wakes up in Pacha's cart earlier, he can't seem to remember anything up to a point, not even the dinner, maybe his memories, or lack thereof, prevented him from connecting the dots.
    • Kuzco recalled how his last interaction with Pacha ended with a (unsuccessful) protest against the farmer's plan to terminate the latter's village in favor of Kuzcotopia. And now Kuzco is with Pacha in his village in the form of a llama. He jumps to the conclusion that Pacha turned him into a llama and smuggled him to the village without contemplating the plausibility of how he did it. As for Yzma, Kuzco gives her the benefit of a doubt throughout this whole movie. Sure, he fired her after years of going behind his back with her authority, but (as far as he knew) she was still loyal to him with virtually every bone in her body.

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