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).
Not to be confused with the webcomic Kevin & Kell.
Tropes found in this series include:
- Absurd Phobia: Until seeing a hypnotist for a cure, Chris had an irrational fear of sandwiches.Chris: If it wasn't for hypnotism, I would have never gotten over my fear of sandwiches.Kenan: You were afraid of sandwiches?!Chris: Not anymore!
- 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.
- Accidental Misnaming: Kenan is often misnamed Kevin by some characters.
- 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 "Pair-Rental Guidance", 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??
- In the episode with the President, everyone calls him "Kiki". Because while hand-shaking the Presidient he stuttered "Ke-- Ke--".
- 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.
- Alliterative Name: Kel Kimble, Roger Rockmore
- And Starring: Dan Frischman as Chris
- Applied Mathematics: Kenan once uses this trope to explain Kel his plan, Kel then tells him he can't add things that aren't numbers.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: "Yeah! We gotta find the other half of that frog!"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Kenan gets a hospital visit from the President of the United States in the episode "In The Line of Kenan". On his way out, after awarding Kenan for his bravery from an earlier incident, the President takes Kenan's food right off his dinner tray.Cheryl: I can't believe we just met the President!Roger: I can't believe he gave our son a medal!Kenan: I can't believe the man ate my sandwich!
Newscaster: It seems the robbers have demanded a car, a helicopter, $2,000,000 and curiously... some orange soda.
- "Ditch Day Afternoon" had this:
- Artistic License Law: "The Tainting of the Screw" seems to ignore the idea of Tort Reform. Found a screw in your tuna? Sue the company for $10,000,000!
- Artistic License Pharmacology: An episode had Kenan to mixture several random ingredients in his kitchen and give it to Kel, who was sick with the flu. In the next day, Kel was completely healthy and Kenan, realizing that he created the definitive cure to the flu, tries to prepare the remedy again in the kitchen without remebering exactly what he did last night. This time, somehow, he ends up creating a potent sedative capable of putting two adult men (Chris and Roger) to sleep in a matter of seconds.
- Bad Liar: Kenan struggles to lie his way out of many situations. To avoid giving a speech at a job that thinks he's another man who attended Harvard, he tells his boss that he has "a bad case of the termites," he blames his blushing on asthma when Kel spills the beans about a girl Kenan likes, and to get his high-school graduation canceled (he was banned from the ceremony after spraying his principal head to toe with pudding, and didn't want his parents to know), he calls his principal pretending to be the groundskeeper, telling her that the entire field is covered with giant, man-eating cockroaches.
- Benevolent Boss: Chris to Kenan.
- 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 episode "Futurama" (no relation to the adult cartoon): Anything short of an A++ is failing. Kenan laments of the loss of the times when A+s were good things...
- Beige Prose: During the episode "Fenced In", Kenan gets his head stuck in a fence when he and Kel are supposed to be out with two girls on a double date. Kel decides to go to Rigby's for something that can help, and is trying to speak quickly to save time.Kel: Chris! Emergency!
Chris: Kenan's not here!
Kel: No, I know! Two hours before Timid Bride, had to tie shoe, yo-yo came out of pocket, so Kenan got stuck in a fence! Couldn't bend bars! NO PANTS!
- Big "NO!"
- In Diamonds are for Roger Kenan and Kel sit down next to a man asking why he's arrested.Man: I was just fixing a guy's teeth.
Kenan: Ooh, so you're a dentist.
- In "Foul Bull", Roger screams this when he sees on the news that Kenan and Kel are responsible for Ron Harper's injury.Roger: OH NOO!! NO!! NO!!
- Kenan has a tendency to respond to Kel's frequent instances of Comically Missing the Point by shouting "NAW!"Kenan: It's raining, Kel. In the living room, man! It's raining on the inside! Do you know what that means?
Kel: Big harvest?
Kenan: NAW, MAN!
- In Diamonds are for Roger Kenan and Kel sit down next to a man asking why he's arrested.
- Big "WHY?!": This was practically Kenan's Catchphrase on Kenan & Kel, used whenever one of their schemes goes pear shaped. As seen here, it's sometimes used by the other characters as well.
- Birthday Suit Surprise Party: A variation - not completely naked, just from the waist down.
- Bizarre Taste in Food: In "You Dirty Rat", Kenan was making a peanut butter and ketchup sandwich on a sourdough bread.Kel: It needs bologna.
- Black Humor: Kenan and Kel cause bad things to happen to a sweater. This sweater belongs to Kenan's date, and is irreplaceable because it was made by the girl's grandma who passed away.
- Brainless Beauty: The two girls LeAnn and Amy in "Fenced In". They don't remember Kenan and Kel's names.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Kenan wonders what could be in a safe they've discovered via a map in the Rigby's basement:Kenan: It could be full of gold... or coins... or gold coins!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The series finale clip show in SPADES.
- Broken Record: "Time to write! Time to write! Time to write!"
- "I! DROPPED THE SCREW! IN THE TUNA!"
- Butt-Monkey: Roger (Kenan's dad) and Chris.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Almost every episode ends this way. Generally the only times Kenan and Kel succeed is when their scheme is meant to benefit other people rather than themselves.
- 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!
- Catchphrase: "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.
- And of course, "Who loves orange soda?"
- "Kel loves orange soda!"
- "Is it true?"
- "Mmmmmmmhmmmmmmm! I do, I do, I dooo-oooooh."
- Celebrity Star:
- Chewing the Scenery:
- Iii... dropped the screeew.... in the tuna!
- "Open me, Kel! Enjoyyyyy meeeeeeee!" "Nooooooooooooo, I can't!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mrs. Quagmire pretty much disappeared after the first two seasons.
- 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.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Kyra
- 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.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Kel. Some of Kenan's schemes lean him as such as well.
- 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.
- Company Cross References: In one episode, Kenan tries to learn the plot of the episode by reading some TV listings, but ends up finding a listing for fellow Nickelodeon show Rugrats.
- Continuity Drift: Originally Kel loved ham, not orange soda (or, at the very least, in addition to orange soda).
- Continuity Nod:
- Grape-flavored orange soda is seen in "Who Loves Orange Soda?" and mentioned in "Aw, Here It Goes To Hollywood: Part 1".
- At the end of the Clip Show, Kel opens the curtain and reveals he has acquired virtually every single thing Kenan asked him to get for him at the end of previous episodes.
- Then Kenan tells Kel to grab all those stuff and to meet him back on stage.
- A poster of Super Market Cop 3 is seen at the movie theater in "Fenced In", as well as in "Three Girls, a Guy, and a Cineplex". The episode "A Star is Peeved" revolves around Kenan and Kel making life miserable for everyone involved while filming said movie.
- The Couch: Part of the Standardized Sitcom Housing.
- Couch Gag:
- At the end of almost every episode, Kenan tells Kel to go grab three seemingly random items, meet him at some place, and tells him to "Come on, [funny name]!" before leaving the stage. At that point, Kel protests vigorously in the context of whatever Kenan just told him to do, then resigns with an "Awwww, here it goes!"Kenan: Kel... grab some porridge... a surfboard... and some bug spray... and meet me at the secret hideaway. Come on, punchy!
Kel: But Kenan! I don't know where the secret hideaway is! It's a secret! Kenan! Kenan! I don't like [funny voice] porridge. Kenan! KENAN! Awwww, here it goes!
- In Seasons 1 and 2, the gag wasn't as concrete as it would become later; Kenan would tell Kel to get something and meet him some place, but not with the same cadence he used repeatedly in Season 3 onward. There have also been variants where the items aren't entirely random and/or they have some common theme to them:Kenan: Kel... go grab something... something else... and a third thing... and meet me there! Come on, nickname!
Kel: Kenan! Where am I gonna find a third thing? Kenan! Why are you so... [funny voice] vague? Kenan! Awwww, here it goes!
- At the end of almost every episode, Kenan tells Kel to go grab three seemingly random items, meet him at some place, and tells him to "Come on, [funny name]!" before leaving the stage. At that point, Kel protests vigorously in the context of whatever Kenan just told him to do, then resigns with an "Awwww, here it goes!"
- Creator Cameo: Dan Schneider appears in Baggin' Saggin' Kel. He plays Angus, the owner of a grocery story that is a rival to Rigby's.
- 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. They both also happen to have the same unusual sneeze.
- Crossover: With another Nick show Cousin Skeeter.
- 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, actually.
- Darker and Edgier: The TV movie, Two Heads Are Better Than None, is definitely this.
- Deathbringer the Adorable: Chris' guard dog Bloodbath in Clowning Around, who shows to be very meek to Kel... until Chris calls Bloodbath a bad dog because he was not supossed to be friendly and the dog attacks Chris.
- Demoted to Extra: Kyra in Seasons 3 and 4. She still made appearances, but not in every episode and her absences were quite noticeable.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In "Three Girls, a Guy, and a Cineplex", Kel is excited to see a movie called "Martians From Mars in 3D".
- The Ditz: The stand-in mom in "Pair-Rental Guidance", who manages to surprise Kel with her stupidity.
- Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project: It ended up flooding Kenan's basement.
- Don't Explain the Joke: In the episode "Dial O For Oops", Roger's boss, Mr. Dawson (along with his wife), visits the Rockmores. Kenan and Kel walk into the scene, and after Cheryl introduces Kel:Kel: [to the Dawsons] What's up?
Mr. Dawson: Well, many airplanes are up.
Kenan: ... huh?
Mr. Dawson: You asked me what's up. I said "Many airplanes are up." See, I work at the airport. That's an airport joke.
Roger: [forced laughter]
Kel: I... I don't get it.
- Downer Ending: The situations which Kenan and Kel get into almost always ends bad for both of them, mainly Kenan, although their misfortune is played for laughs. This is averted in very few episodes like Baggin' Saggin' Kel and also in the TV movie.
- Everybody Cries: In "Bye Bye Kenan, Part 1", Kenan and his family are about to move to Montana after Kenan's father gets a new job as a mountain ranger. At Rigby's, Kenan breaks the news to Chris, who rushes off crying just as Kel arrives. When Kenan also breaks the news to Kel, both of them try to be strong, but they end up crying and hugging each other. Moments later, Chris reappears and joins them in the hugging and crying.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: "We Are The Chimpions".
- Expecting Someone Taller: In "The Contest":Kel: I kinda expected Macho Mike to be...
Kel: No, I just thought he'd have darker hair.
- The Faceless: Chris's mother.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.
- Fat and Skinny:
- Kenan and Kel, of course.
- The policemen in "Attack of the Bug Men". They even act like Kenan and Kel.
- Finagle's Law: The show wouldn't exist without it.
- 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... I had to get my balloon back'. Why the HELL Kenan didn't just snap and punch 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 freaking 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 three 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'.
- Fly Crazy: "Housesitter" begins with this. Kenan was reading a magazine while working when suddenly a fly shows up. Kel shows up to swat it, making a mess of the store.
- 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.
- Genre Savvy: In "Safe And Sorry" Kenan thinks a man is after them to get their map and horrified by a movie he saw the other night, he thinks the man will kill them. He decides to keep the map because as long as they have the map the man still needs them.
- G-Rated Drug: One episode had Kel try and give up orange soda (he suffered from hallucinations and other withdrawal symptoms). It didn't take.
- The Ghost: Chris's mother and Kel's parents.
- Ghost Story: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.
- Great Big Book of Everything
- 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.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners
- Honest John's Dealership: Crazy Betty! Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo!
- Hope Spot: In "Mo' Sweater Blues" Kenan is able to get all the stains out of Brianna's sweater, second later Kenan & Kel accidentally burn, rip, then deep fry the sweater.
- How Much Did You Hear?: Kyra managed to get her way when she eavesdropped into one of Kenan's schemes.
- Idea Bulb: Parodied in one episode; Kenan is standing in front of a lamp when he has an idea.Roger: I fixed it!
- Identity Amnesia: The basis for the episode "Girl-Watchers," where the boys go to the airport to pick up Eric's girlfriend Melissa. As they greet Melissa (*a* Melissa, not *the* Melissa) at the gate, Kel accidentally knocks her unconscious. When she wakes up, she tells them she doesn't know anyone named Eric, making them think she has amnesia (and knock her out some more in the hopes of jogging her memory).
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Scenes usually transitioned from one to the other uniquely, often using elements related to the previous or next one.
- 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.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: During the episode "Three Girls, a Guy, and a Cineplex", Kenan inadvertently makes two dates for the same night at the same movie theater. Kel tries to help by setting himself and Kenan up on a double date with two other women, giving Kenan a third date at the same time at the same place. Naturally, he tags along with Kenan while he's waiting at the movie theater for his dates to arrive, the first of whom is Sharla.Sharla: [sees Kel] What's he doing here?
Kenan: His being here has nothing to do with us. He's going to see the Martians from Mars in 3D, alone, all by himself.
Kel: [at the ticket window] Let me get four tickets, that's four tickets, to see Martians from Mars in 3D! Now, don't confuse the "3-D" with the "4"! Four tickets!
- Insult Backfire: Kenan spends the first few minutes of the episode "Mental Kel-epathy" suspecting that Kel might be psychic. When he asks Kel how he knew all the things he seemingly had no plausible way of knowing, Kel gives a rational, mundane reason for each one.Kenan: See, I knew there had to be a logical explanation to all this... 'cause a boy can't have extra mental abilities without having regular mental abilities!
Kel: Awwwww, thanks man!
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Kenan and Kel did a crossover in the two part Cousin Skeeter episode "The 'Hoo, I'm Wild' Wild West".
- Ironic Echo
- In "Mental Kel-Epathy", Kenan tries to get Kel to make the "Psychic Stare". In his first try, Kenan tells Kel he looks like he's going to throw up.Kel: I saw it... in my head... just now. [makes the "Psychic Stare"]
Roger: Oh no, Kel's gonna throw up!
- In "Poem Sweet Poem", Kenan tells Allison that Kel wrote the letter to Sharla (which Kenan actually wrote). Later:Kel: Maybe I wrote it. Nah, I couldn't have!
- In "Mental Kel-Epathy", Kenan tries to get Kel to make the "Psychic Stare". In his first try, Kenan tells Kel he looks like he's going to throw up.
- Ironic Echo Cut: The inverted kind in "Housesitter".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.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: In "Poem Sweet Poem," Philip (one of Kenan and Kel's school friends) is played by their old pal Josh Server.
- It Makes Sense in Context: When Kel told the police officers that Kenan accidentally killed all of Chris' friends.
- Except for Norman, he was upstairs in the bathtub.
- 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.
- The boys think this happens to Eric's girlfriend in "Girl Watchers" after Kel knocks her out at the airport with her suitcase and she claims not to know Eric when coming to. It turns out to be the wrong girl, however.
- 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.
- Limited Wardrobe: One must wonder if Kenan and Kel ever change their underwear.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: Kenan's dad Roger is an air traffic controller. "Roger" is also a common slang term used by air traffic controllers and other occupations involving two-way radio communication.
- 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.
- Momma's Boy: Kenan's boss, Chris.
- Motionless Makeover: Kel does this to Kenan's parents when they realize their expensive TV was replaced and become so shocked that they freeze.
- The Movie:
- Two Heads Are Better Than None
- 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.
- Never Win the Lottery: Kel wins the Illinois State Lottery for $64 million, with a legit ticket, and even agrees to split the money with Kenan. However, just before they go to claim the money, Kel accidentally puts the winning ticket into an old lady's groceries.
- Nice Hat: Kel is always seen wearing a hat every episode. Usually a baseball cap or a beret.
- Noodle Implements:
- Once an Episode, as a Couch Gag. Notably, at the end of the final episode, the curtains open, showing every single item Kenan had requested over the years.
- In the episode "Three Girls, a Guy, and a Cineplex", Kenan impulsively makes a date with Sharla even though he has a date with Caitlyn the same night. When Caitlyn comes in to the store while Sharla is also there, Kenan tells Kel to keep Sharla busy in the back office. Eventually, Kel and Sharla enter the scene from the back, and Kel is holding a teddy bear and wearing a pair of comically oversized sunglasses.Kel: Kenan, I'm done entertaining Sharla.
- Noodle Incident
- In the episode "Pair-Rental Guidance", Kenan is trying to figure out why his principal asked to see him and his parents:Kenan: [to self] What did I do wrong? Let me see... maybe she knows about the pigeons... no... or maybe she knows about the exploding sandwich!
- Kel gives Kenan a Long List of things he was talked into doing:Kel: You talked me into wearing pantyhose, you talked me into tickling that policeman, you talked me into getting bat mitzvahed...
Kenan: It's bar mitzvahed!
Kel: ...you talked me into drinking fish grease... you talked me into selling my kidney, you talked me into gluing myself to that train—you remember that?
Kenan: Oh, yeah; you ran pretty fast!
Kel: I HAD to!
- In "I'm Gonna Get You Kenan", right after Kenan turned on the TV:Newscaster: ...and that pickle never swam again.
- Kenan tries to get Kel to turn around because Ron Harper is in the store.Kel: You just want me to turn around so you can put a raw egg in my pants again. And then break it against my buttocks.
- Kenan trying to convice Kel to skip school.Kenan: It'll be fun.
Kel: The last time you said that I ended naked at the zoo.
Kenan: (chuckled) Was the first time I saw a giraffe laughing.
- In the episode "Pair-Rental Guidance", Kenan is trying to figure out why his principal asked to see him and his parents:
- Nuclear Family
- Once an Episode: "Who loves orange soda?"
- Kel loves orange soda!
- Is it true?
- I do! I do, I do, I do, I do-ooooooooh.
- This trope just gave me an idea. Grab a flashlight, some glitter and a flare gun and meet Me at the cemetery. Come on, slappy!
- Kenen! What color glitter should I get? Kenan! Isn't the cemetery closed this late? Kenan! Where am supposed to find a flare gun? KE-KENAN!? Awwww, here it goes!
- One-Word Vocabulary: In the episode "Foul Bull", three men challenge Kenan and Kel to a game of basketball. One of the men does the majority of the talking for the group, while one of his friends repeatedly says "Yeah!" in agreement with him.
- Only Sane Man: Gender-flipped. Sharla is level-headed, honest, rational, and a good person, in contrast to Kenan and his zany schemes and weird behavior (usually related to said schemes), Kel's stupidity/permanent residence in cloudcuckooland, and Chris' social ineptitude plus his strange relationship with "Mother."
- Offscreen Crash:
- 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 , that very same formula.
- And then they experience it again when he does pass out.
- Also in "Dial O for Oops", when Kenan calls a girl he likes that happens to be the daughter of his dads boss, he gets the answering machine instead and doesnt know what to say. He gives the receiver to Kel, who puts it down without hanging it up, and the two go on to talk about the horrible things Roger thinks about his boss which end up on the answering machine as a result. Kenan has his Oh, Crap! moment when he finally notices.
- Or My Name Isn't...: In "Natural Born Kenan":Kenan: (in a bad Swedish accent) I have un geeft for you. And I'm sure you goona like eet, or my name eesn't Yorson.
- Ow, My Body Part!Kyra: You're squeezing my liver!
Kenan: Your liver?
- Pepper Sneeze: They tried using pepper to confirm the identity of a criminal dressed as a clown but they had run out and ended up using Chris' mom's "foot crust dust".
- Polar Bears and Penguins: In "Natural Born Kenan", Kenan's second dream has him meeting his "real" parents as snow people (Eskimos), they have a pet penguin which Kenan has to walk.
- Plot-Based Voice Cancellation: In "Happy B-Day Marc", Kenan was curious about why Marc didn't invite him to his birthday party that he didn't want to go.Kel: Maybe he didn't invite you because—[he turns on the vacuum that's drowning his voice]
Kenan: What?! Whatcha say?
Kel: [turns of the vacuum] Did you say something?
Kenan: Yeah, I can't hear what you saying about Marc not inviting me.
Kel: All I was saying was—[resumes vacuuming]
Kenan: Same problem! I can't hear what you're saying! Kel! Ah, never mind. Why were you vacuuming in the first place?
Kel: [tangled up by the cord] I was pretending I was an astronaut and I was sucking up rock samples from the surface of the moon.
Kenan: [beat] ... Wow.
- Precocious Crush: Kyra on Kel.
- Prepare to Die: "You have angered Chimpy..."
- "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!
- Road Sign Reversal: Kel accidentally knocks down the arrow in a restaurant pointing to the bathrooms and puts it back up the wrong way, causing everyone who was looking for the bathroom to end up getting trapped in the restaurant's walk-in freezer instead.
- Running Gag
- At the end of each episode, Kenan would ask Kel to fetch three random and seemingly unrelated items and meet him at some random place. See Couch Gag above.
- Every few episodes: Chris says some kind of odd, usually very old slang. Kenan and Kel share a glance, raise their arms in the air, and then mock him by confusedly repeating it in stereo.
- In "The Contest", Kel and Chris does it.Kenan: No, Huckleberry!
Kel and Chris: Huckleberryyyy...
- The two robbers in "Ditch Day Afternoon".Kel: I got all discombobulated.
- Kel and his pet monkey Charles inexplicably do it in the episode "We Are The Chimp-ions".Kenan: A grocery store is no place for a primate!
[Kel and Charles raise their arms]
Kenan: How did the monkey know how to...
- In "The Contest", Kel and Chris does it.
- Say My Name:
- Kenan is often on the receiving of this from either Roger or Chris.
- Kel, meanwhile, often finds himself of the receiving end of this from Kenan.
- Schemer: Kenan.
- Serious Business: After Bulls guard Ron Harper slips on some spilled orange soda, injuring himself, all of Chicago is out to get Kenan & Kel. And Chris.
- Anything orange soda related, for Kel.
- The donut shop Kel worked at in "He Got Job". Friends of employees aren't allowed to hang out, and they aren't allowed to give their family and friends free samples. (This is actually Truth in Television, but nowhere near as serious as the show depicted it to be.)
- 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.
Chris: Well, she's not here right now.
- 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 the same, Ron greets Kenan (disguised as a doctor) with "What's up, Doc?".
- Kel Kimble in: Drinkin' Orange Rain
- "Did I do that?"
- In "Present Tense", Kel says "Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?"
- In "Who Loves Orange Soda?" Kel finds out that his insides are bright orange due to all the orange soda he drinks. Kenan remarks that they're "oranger than a Nickelodeon logo."
- Something Completely Different: "Futurama," the Zeerust episode.
- Spanner in the Works: Kel, occasionally Kenan.
- Stacy's Mom: In the episode "Mental Kel-epathy", Kenan tells Kel that Mrs. Rockmore was once suspended in college for streaking. When Kenan explains what streaking is, Kel can't keep from grinning.Kenan: Way back in the 70s, streaking was when people used to run around all naked in public.
Kel: [sits up excitedly] Your mother did that?! [smiles]
Kenan: Yeah— stop smiling, nasty!
- Standardized Sitcom Housing
- Stand-In Parents: Kenan once felt the need to hire stand-ins for a conference with his school principal. Only to learn that the principal just telling them that Kenan is doing so well in school.Stand-in mom: We're so proud of you, Kelvin!
- Starstruck Speechless: In one episode,they are informed that the President wants to buy a shake and to remain calm, when the president enters and try to chat with them; Kenan, Kel, and Chris simply cannot even say their names properly, Kenan accidentally stuttering that his name is Kiki, Kel saying his name is Sharona, and Chris showing off he has radio on his car.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
- 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".
- In "Safe and Sorry", Dave thinks mixing together peanuts and butter makes peanut butter.
- 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.
- Thanksgiving Episode: "Turkey Day", which involved Kel eating the Rockmores' entire turkey before dinner started and he and Kenan desperately trying to get another one before Roger and Sheryl get home, with catastrophic results.
- The Moving Experience: The two-part episode "Bye Bye Kenan" has Kenan and his family moving to Montana after Kenan's father gets a job as a mountain ranger.
- 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.
- The Unseen: Chris' mother. Even in pictures of the two of them, her face still manages to be obscured everytime.
- 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.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: Or a fish in a restaurant refrigerator in this case.
- Token White: Chris Potter, the duo's eternally beleaguered boss.
- In later seasons there's Marc, the nerdy neighbor of Kenan, who also fills this role ocassionally.
- Too Many Halves: One introduction has Kel attempt to change his character in the show, and his first suggestion is that he can be "Half-Human, Half-Robot, and Half-Kangaroo". Kenan is quick to point out that you can't be three halves.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Kel progressively gets stupider as the show progresses.
- Totally Radical: The messenger in "Ditch Day Afternoon".
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery
- Trademark Favorite Food (with overtones of Cargo Ship): "Kel loves orange soda!"
- Is it true?
- I do, I do, I do, I do-OOH!
- It's also one of the policemen's favorite in "Attack of the Bug Men".
- Is it true?
- 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.
- Ultimate Job Security: Kenan constantly goofs off at Rigby's, always allows Kel to take free orange soda, and leaves whenever he wants, even when his shift isn't over. If his boss were anyone other than Chris, he would have been fired his first day.
- Unimpressive Progress Reveal: In "Two Heads Are Better Than None", Kenan's family and Kel get stranded in the desert and Kenan volunteers himself and Kel to search for help, we get a time skip of Kel almost passing out of walking while begging for water, and Kenan just turning around asking his family for a water bottle.
- 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!
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The Headless Knight in the Made-for-TV Movie series finale is a cannibalistic serial killer who beheads people and uses their heads for his body. While he does have some humor to him and isn't entirely played straight, he is still a serious threat.
- We Could Have Avoided All This: 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 and think Marc doesn't like him.Kenan: Why didn't you invite me?
Marc: Because Sharla told me all about you getting your ears reduced.
[Sharla shrugs and laughs nervously]
Kenan: Kel, you said that Marc didn't invite me because he didn't like me!
Kel: I only said that because I didn't want to hurt your feelings.
Kenan: Well that makes perfect sense.
- Wham Line: When an Alpha Bitch trash-talks Kyra at her own birthday party. Even Kyra can't believe her ears!Kel: Hey! Don't talk that way to my girlfriend!
- Whole Plot Reference: One episode's plot almost exactly mirrored that of The Secret of My Success.
- 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.
- You Answered Your Own Question: In "Clowning Around".Kenan: Quick! What's the number for 911?
Kel: (long pause) I forget.
- You Dirty Rat!: The title of one of the episodes.
- Zany Scheme: Kenan was fond of these. They never, ever worked out.
- The occasional bandit either used these, or had their simple plans cooked up into convoluted conspiracies by Kenan and Kel.
- Zeerust: The episode set in the future, which distinctly had elements from the future envisioned in the seventies and fifties, played for laughs.
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.