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Series / Kickin' It

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L to R: Jerry, Rudy, Jack, Kim, Milton, Eddie.

We swear by the light of the dragon's eye,
to be loyal and honest, and Never Say "Die".

Kickin' It is a Disney XD martial arts comedy TV series created by Jim O'Doherty that ran for four seasons from June 2011 to March 2015.

The series focuses on the Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy, located in a Seaford, CA strip mall, which has the unfortunate reputation of being the worst dojo in the already-underperforming nationwide Bobby Wasabi chain. To improve the dojo's image, a group of underdogs — including a newly-recruited high school student named Jack — bands together, learning lessons about life, friendship, and karate along the way.

This series provides examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: In Wedding Crashers, Bobby Wasabi learns that he doesn't need a girlfriend or wife to cure his loneliness, but friends can suffice. By Win, Lose, or Ty, he seems to have forgotten that, mostly the fact that he has Rudy and the gang as friends.
  • All Just a Dream: The 70s episode, where Jack falls asleep while watching a Bobby Wasabi movie, and in the episode "Wasazombie Warriors" which Kim fell asleep watching a Zompire Movie and woke up like the one in the movie.
  • Almost Kiss: Twice in "Karate Games" where they are supposed to kiss in their first scene but both are uncomfortable with and used Fake lips thinking there kissing. Another was in the top of the Hollywood Sign which is supposed to be their First Kiss until it's Ruined by Dolph yelling that he cut his leg.
  • Alpha Bitch: Claire
  • Alternate Reality Episode: In "You Don't Know Jack" Jerry was suspended and canceled his black test. He gets upset about it and plays an Arcade game which results in him being Electrocuted Unconsciously and woke up in an Alternate Universe where the Wasabi Dojo didn't win the tournament giving it to the Black Dragons as well as Jack being a part of it with Kim, Rudy being a Spa worker, and Milton quit school because of bullies and works as a Token Jockey at Phil's.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Ty and Frank from the Black Dragons and Jack's cousin Kai.
  • Artistic License – History: The U.S. and France did fight (a very brief) war around the time period of the events of "The Battle of Seaford Hill" but it was in 1805, not 1814 (around that time America was busy fighting a war with England). Furthermore that war was almost fought entirely by naval battles and in either case against France or England, California was still in the hands of the Spanish (who were, granted, allied with the French against the English). Largely forgivable as the French are funnier.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Common, but it doesn't distract from the fun of the show.note 
    • Belts are not "won" in tournaments.
    • In the very first episode, Rudy lets Jack compete with an injury; this could count as Two Decades Behind because while that's now a major no-no in youth sports, that level of awareness is a pretty recent development.
    • In "Sensei and Sensibility", there is a scene where Rudy warns Jack about the latter's next opponent, who is a master of muay thai. What is a muay thai fighter doing at a karate tournament?
    • In "Kickin' It in China", when Jack is attacked by masked people with staves, he blocks a strike from a staff with his bare hands without any trouble. Mind you, he didn't block at the staff fighter's wrist or forearm, as is often the case with unarmed defence techniques against a weapon, but rather took the staff strike on his forearms like one would normally block a punch in boxing. This is despite the fact that when he gets hit in the hand with the staff a few moments later, that strike breaks his hand, which leaves him unable to compete in the tournament.
    • In "Dueling Dojos", Jack is temporarily left in charge of Rudy's dojo, and he teaches students a technique that inolves an Unnecessary Combat Roll.
  • Assumed Win: The Wasabi Warriors once entered a dance contest. When the winner of individual category was to be announced, an arrogant cheater was readying himself to accept it. Then one of the warriors was announced the winner.
  • Badass Santa: In "Oh, Christmas Nuts!", Santa helps the warriors defeat a group of Christmas con artists.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Averted(!); the Christmas elf uniform is just a polo shirt and khakis with a Santa hat. This is in a series that loves putting funny costumes on people, even by Disney Kid Com standards.
  • Berserk Button: Apparently, implying/saying Kim is a Dumb Blonde is NOT a good idea. She was ready to hurt Milton (who was pretending to be Jerry as part of a plan) when he said "Forgot I was talking to a blonde."
  • Big Bad: Sensei Ty, but Frank is The Heavy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Oh so many characters.
  • Blackmail: In one episode, the bully Truman blackmails Eddie into pranking the other dojo members. Once the gang finds out, they go all out to turn the tables on Truman.
  • Black Sheep: Kai is this, according to Jack.
  • Black Widow: Bobby Wasabi almost married one.
  • Butt-Monkey: Particularly Jerry and Rudy, but pretty much everyone but Jack and Kim (and sometimes even they) have their moments of this.
  • Catchphrase: The whole team has "Wasabi!", Jerry has "Wooooh!", and Milton has "Holy Christmas nuts!"
    • And to a lesser extent, whenever Jack catches a punch in his palm, he'll say some variation of "You probably shouldn't have done that."
  • Christmas Episode: "Oh, Christmas Nuts!"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Eddie's the most obvious example having once been one of the main characters. Other examples include Lonnie (odd, since his Reptile World store is still around), Julie, and Mika (which is justified due to Oana Gregory being too busy with Crash & Bernstein).
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: When told she can't race against male competitors due to being female, every time Kim screams a tirade at the chauvinist who enforces the rule, Bobby Wasabi activates a wheel gun. He tells them he's doing this on purpose because he doesn't want them to hear all the impolite words Kim is using.
  • Crossover: Dale Davis, a recurring character from Zeke and Luther, once interviewed Kim and Milton about a beach at the mall.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The fight scenes in the show are typically one-sided bouts in favor of the Wasabi students. You won't be seeing the main characters on the receiving end of violence very much, especially not Kim.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: This is evident in Jack Stands Alone, while knowing how bad Frank and the Black Dragons are, Frank was framed for stealing the school's turtle, and knowing that Erica hates Frank a lot, it was quite easy for the characters to overlook the idea that she framed Frank, but some viewers are Genre Savvy enough to know that she did it.
  • Disneyfication: Most obvious in Temple of Doom: they're 15/16 in Season 3 and planning a huge party in a place they're housesitting. Surely "talk Rudy into buying beer for us" would be on the list, but nope. In the same ep's B plot, there's a run-in with gunless scary rednecks.
  • Dressed to Heal: in Breaking Board, Kim wears an old-fashioned "candy striper" uniform as a hospital volunteer.
  • Dwindling Party: Cast wise, it started with six main characters. Went down to five after the first two seasons, and now to four as of season 4. Unlike Eddie however, Kim was Demoted to Extra.
  • Economy Cast: I dare you to name an episode featuring (or even mentioning for that matter) any of the Wasabi Warriors's Parents. You'd think that at least one of them would show up to a Karate Tournament every now and then. While it is true that some parents are reluctant to watch the kids compete in some of the violent sports, such as football, boxing or wrestling as opposed to baseball or basketball, that is still a small percentage of all parents.
    • Milton’s Dad was in the first episode and one in the third season. Jerry’s Mom was in Boo Gi Nights and mentioned his Dad would be watching him fight in The Great Escape, although it’s unknown if he ever did show up. Eddie’s Mom was in one episode where he won his orange belt and she’s been mentioned in a couple of other episodes.
    • The dojo couldn't possibly stay in business with only five (later four) students, there have to be other groups that train at different times/on different days. Apart from the pilot and that one episode in Season 3 where Jack recruited a couple new students, we almost never see them. Later episodes show there are even more students than we have seen.
  • Elaborate University High / Two-Teacher School: Seaford High has elements of both. The Establishing Shots show a sprawling multi-building campus while the indoor sets are much more limited.
  • Enemy Mine: Jack with Frank in "Jack Stands Alone"
  • Evil Versus Evil: Erica gets back at Frank for ruining her dances by stealing the turtle and framing him for the theft.
  • Expy:
    • Rudy is still Jackson Stewart but as a sensei.
    • The Black Dragon dojo is basically the Cobra Kai Dojo whose sensei forces them to cheat in tournaments and bully the main characters.
    • Truman who is played by Reed Alexander, couldn't be any more similar to Nevel Papperman. Even Truman's last scene in the episode mirrors Nevel's last scene in his debut episode with both characters are told "Get out of here!" by their victim.
    • Milton's character "Milty Moondust" in Jack's 70's dream in the episode "Kung fu Cop" is one of Ziggy Stardust
  • Farts on Fire: Jerry did this in "The Chosen One" to the eternal flame, a fire that can never be extinguished, its really from the natural gas underneath the temple and flew into the air and crashed into some acrobatic monks.
  • Flynning: There are some instances where the characters fight with weapons, and very little effort is made to hide the fact that they are aiming their attacks at each other's weapon.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kim just LOVES animals. Although it's subverted with ugly animals like springing jellyfish.
  • Gang of Bullies: The Black Dragons.
  • Groin Attack: At the end of "Rock'em Sock'em Rudy", the Wasabitron 3000 ends up breaking down and is finally defeated by Rudy with a kick to "the motherboard", as put best by Bobby.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Phil shocks himself on an electrical cricket trap. Also, Lonnie uses an electric fence (triggered by remote) to shock Rudy twice.
  • Hate Sink: While Frank, Ty and the Black Dragons zig-zag this. Some of the time their evil is played for laughs but other times they can be super unlikable.
    • A specific example is Arthur from the episode "Dojo Day Afternoon". He is an annoying, stuck up, arrogant, spoiled Jerkass who even picked a fight with Jack and has no redeeming qualities. He went as far as trying to smash the dojo with a wrecking ball even if it meant killing Jack, Rudy, Eddie and Jerry. It was satisfying to see his father finally ground him and get kicked out of the dojo at the end of the episode.
    • Duke Evans from the episode "Breaking Board" is none other then a self-absorbed Jerkass who mocked Jack for his love of karate and when he revealed Jerry was in the hospital. It's super satisfying to see Jack finally break Duke's record.
    • Also, Leona in the episode "Wedding Crashers". She seems nice at first but is actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who is planning to kill Bobby Wasabi with a poisonous ring so she can steal all of his money. She at least admits she was bad after getting arrested. But she is probably the most vile character on the show.
  • Heel–Face Turn: A very loose example, but in his first appearance, Coach Funderburk was a hybrid Jerk Jock/Sadist Teacher who made Rudy's one week back at school a living hell. Later, he is seen promoted as a vice principal and while he does act immature sometimes, he has become much less of a jerk and a slightly more competent authority figure.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Kim to Jack. Mentioned in the pilot and a couple episodes since, but not many.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In one episode, Falafel Phil gives Jerry a cup full of a strange yellow liquid. It turns out to be yak urine. Cue Spit Take.
  • Karma Houdini: When Rudy, Milton, and Kim have to take care of an orphan for 2 days, he causes quite a lot of trouble and doesn't get punished for his actions apart from knowing the Wasabi Warriors don't like him. He at least apologized for destroying Rudy's diorama and built him a figure after the company they came from no longer produced them.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: At the end of "Rock'em Sock'em Rudy", the Wasabitron 3000 breaks down from being unable to process the fact that even though the dojo members (and Bobby) can't win against it, they still won't give up. Rudy then approaches it and says, "Something else about us humans: we don't hit a man when he's down. The thing're not a man." He then kicks the robot in "the motherboard", as described by Bobby.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Leona, the "Black Belt Widow" is this. Her actions include covert murder of billionaires she marries just to get their money,and for no other reason. Her agenda later included wanting to kill Jack and Jerry later on. All this makes the Black Dragons look like a joke.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Every antagonist in the show receives some sort of comeuppance for their actions. The dangerous ones even get arrested.
  • Laser Hallway: Jack and Milton find one on the way to a security office. Jack does some acrobatics to traverse it and disables it for Milton. For some reason, the door to the security office itself was unlocked.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Jerry does this in one episode while talking to a girl in a school hallway. He sees a painting of a forest on the wall and a locker, so he comes up with "Forrest Locker".
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: In "Dojo Day Care", Jack finds himself gripping a construction bar with one hand and holding onto the school principal's son with the other.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Karate King Dojo offered free wall clocks to people who called within the next 30 minutes. Those who ordered the free clocks had to pay 99 dollars for wrapping and delivery.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Falafel Phil gets himself tangled in Christmas lights, and when they begin smoking, he calmly says, "I'm cooking." A few milliseconds later, the Delayed Reaction finally kicks in.
  • The Mall: Nearly all scenes take place there or at the school. Note that in Real Life a karate dojo doesn't rely on impulse traffic and thus has little need for a prime retail location, so the presence of one is a sign the mall is going downhill.
  • Martial Pacifist: The Bobby Wasabi dojo, especially the dojo's sensei, Rudy.
  • Monster Clown: The Black Dragons' getup for the fight in "Boo Gi Nights". Special mention goes to the clown that pulled off Jack's blindfold.
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: Rudy seems to be under the pressures of both a franchise owner (he's said to own the dojo and the money he has invested in it is an issue) and a corporate employee (Bobby Wasabi can close the location and lay him off at will), with the rights and privileges of neither.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In order to help Milton get over his fear of kissing, Kim grabs Milton and kisses him on the lips as soon as Julie walks into the dojo.
  • Only Sane Man: Both Jack and Kim seem to be the least goofy characters on the show.
  • Out of Focus: Kim and Jerry in Return of Spyfall.
  • Pacifist Dojo: Bobby Wasabi dojo.
  • Pet Heir: When Bobby Wasabi was told something he didn't believe, he said it was rich like his dog will be once he dies.
  • Pinocchio Nose: Jerry's voice getting high-pitched whenever he lies.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Rudy continually stumbles into the antiques around the edges of the room in which the China tournament is held. Yes, that's right, priceless artifacts in a room where a martial arts tournament is being held.
  • Punch Catch: Jack's signature move.
  • Real After All: In "Oh, Christmas Nuts!", Bobby dresses up as Santa to help Eddie. Later in the episode, Jack, Jerry, Rudy and Milton fight a group of Christmas con artists disguised as Santa and elves, with the Santa conman being defeated by another Santa that's part of the main group. Jack, Jerry and Milton think that this Santa was Bobby, even going up to him afterwards to compliment his fighting, but Bobby has no idea what they're talking about and says he was actually stuck in the dojo bathroom the whole time. We then hear an offscreen "Ho-ho-ho!" and the sound of a sleigh as everyone looks up at the sky in awe.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Black Dragons. Their uniforms are mainly red and black.
  • Rival Dojos: Bobby Wasabi and the Black Dragons.
  • Sadist Teacher:
    • Ty towards the Wasabi Warriors when Rudy retired and became a business man by taking away Jack and Kim's black belts, turning Jerry into a punching dummy, and made Milton and Eddie drink excessive amounts of water, forces them to fight each other and only allow the winner to use the restroom.
    • In "Kickin' It Old School", Coach Funderburk basically made Rudy's life a living hell when he had to return to high school for a few days in order to receive an award simply because his love interest and the health teacher, Ms. Applebaum liked Rudy instead of him.
    • Even Ms. Applebaum wasn't immune to this trope. She made her class write an essay depicting the similarities between a man and a lying snake just because Rudy forgot her birthday and lied to her and when Rudy lied about climbing a mountain and carving a heart with their initials in it, she wants to see it, in order to stall her, Rudy points out she's still teaching class at which point she yells at them to get out.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In Gabby's Gold, Milton states that he and Julie broke up, but in the next episode, The New Girl, Milton and Julie broke up in the middle of that episode (albeit off-screen).
    • In Fawlty Temple, Jerry says he mistook a cannon for a toy and pulled the string blowing a hole in the mall's pawn shop, referring to the first season's Dude, where's my sword? however, Milton was the one who activated the cannon, what's more, Jerry wasn't even in the pawn shop.
    • In The Wrath of Swan after seeing their dates for the dance are actually really hot, Milton says he and Jerry now have hot girlfriends. But Milton already has a girlfriend, Julie. Who appears in the very next episode, talking about taking things to the next level from holding hands.
  • Ship Tease: There is a lot between Jack and Kim to the point that there's been a few episodes in Season 2 that has it as the main plot.
    • Milton and Kim get some teasing as well.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Kim is the only girl in the main cast.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: In the sub-plot of the episode "Fawlty Temple," Jack, is going to meet Kim's father for the first time. He unintentionnaly spills a drink in Kim's fathers lap and it's made clear that he does not like Jack. Throughout the episode Jack tries to set up more dates with Kim's father to make a better impression on him. He does in the end after Kim fakes in injury to get Jack to substitute for her in a laser tag game. It kind of is justified because if you are dating a girl, you must impress her father so he can approve of you dating his daughter.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Milton and Julie, as Julie is the niece of Black Dragon Sensei Ty.
  • Start My Own: Jack and Jerry were once in charge of Rudy's dojo. When Jack decided to ignore Jerry's ideas, Jerry opened his own dojo at Falafel Phil's. Also, Phil inspired Jerry by telling about his cousin, who used to work with Phil but decided to start his own because Phil refused to use real meat in the food he sold.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the first episode, when Ty tried to convince Jack to join the Black Dragons Dojo, he gave Jack a bo staff, claiming it was the kind astronauts would use, if they used bo staffs. Later, when he entered Rudy's dojo with the staff, Rudy asked Jack where he got the astronaut-style bo staff.
    • In another episode where Ty tried to convince Jack to join the Black Dragons, one of the arguments was the fact the Black Dragon uniform highlighted Jack's eyes. Later, when the Wasabi Warriors saw him as a Black Dragon, Jerry guessed it was for that reason Jack agreed.
  • Student–Master Team: Jack and Rudy entered a tournament where each team had to be this.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Taylor to Kim in Season 4.
  • Thug Dojo: The Black Dragon Dojo.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: In Season 1, Jack was not only the most skilled student in the dojo, but he was usually the one who would come up with a plan to the gang's current situation. In Season 2's "The Chosen One", Jack was more concerned about his hair being shaved than saving the Grandmaster Monk. In "Wedding Crashers", Jack picks up one of Bobby's movie props and accidentally shoots Jerry in the mouth paralyzing him.
  • Umpteenth Customer: Phil tries to fake this contest by having his sister become the millionth customer at his falafel place but Rudy beats her into becoming the umpteenth customer. Because of the attracted publicity, Phil must let Rudy eat for free. When Phil declares he had enough, Rudy decides to boycott Falafel Phil's and eat at Captain Corndogs', where he also becomes the umpteenth customer and ends up going to a hospital for eating too many corn dogs.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Jack gets this a lot.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Jack's cousin Kai. He disguised his teammates as ninjas to ambush and injure Jack's wrist so he can't compete in the China tournament. Jack figures this out when he notices one of Kai's teammates has the same tatoo as one of the people who ambushed him and calls Kai out on it. Kai then attacks Jack for no apparent reason other than being provoked. The two fight, but Jack saves Kai from nearly falling off the Great Wall. Rather than thank Jack for saving his life, Kai states that Jack is weak for saving him and continues the fight.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Counts for every single guy (usually a Black Dragon or thug) that tries to fight Kim. They aren't exactly picking on the helpless.
  • Would Hurt a Child See above. Except with the other 4 characters as well.