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Western Animation / Nate Is Late

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"Just another trip to school for Nate and Malika
Adventure awaits, they're ready to shine
Even if they play it cool, will Nate and Malika
Ever, ever be on time?

Principal Prudence: What's your excuse today?"
— The show's Expository Theme Tune (international version)

Nate Is Latenote  is a French-Australian cartoon that premiered in 2018.

The premise is that the titular Nate and his best friend, Malika, are always trying to get to school before the bell rings. Seems easy enough to remedy, right? Not with these two; every time they even attempt to arrive early, they always end up in some outlandish adventure which forces them to arrive late and have to explain their reason to their principal for their tardiness. Though at least along the way, they learn some aesops in the process.


Nate Is Late has the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Usually any episodes that involved Professor Toybus devolve into this when an invention of his goes haywire and gains sentience.
  • Alien Invasion: The season finale (?), "The Invaders" focuses on this when Nate, Malika and Principal Prudence end up kidnapped by aliens who try to tap their memories to invade Earth. After they escape, the aliens launch a premature invasion necessitating Nate and Malika to call on all their friends they made through the season to help fend them off.
  • All Just a Dream: "The Dream" reveals the whole ep was a..well, dream of Nate's. A Dream Within a Dream even.
  • Artifact of Doom: "The Lucky Ring" in which a ring given to Nate grants him good luck...for a while. Then his luck takes a turn for the worst to the point it becomes life threatening.
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  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: "The Mermaid" episode allow Nate and Malika to breathe underwater due to the water being magical to do so.
  • Behemoth Battle: "The Dinosaur" has a dinosaur changed Nate and Maurice getting into this in the climax of the ep.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Subject of the promptly named "The Enchanted Frog". The duo meet a man who got turned into one by a witch to keep her away from her daughter. Nate tries to help by kissing him and ends up turning into a frog himself.
  • Blob Monster:
    • In "The Mermaids" the garbage monster is akin to this.
    • The main threat in "The Superhero" with the supervillain being one.
  • Broken Aesop: "The Mermaid" episode tries to go for a Green Aesop about protecting the environment. Good enough reasoning but yet it also seems to portray humans solely in the wrong for dumping trash in the lake when the mermaids themselves never tried to contact the humans or make an effort to clean the lake themselves. Instead simply blaming Nate (who mind you told them multiple times it was an accident and wasn't trying to dump trash in the water) and forcing him to deal with the trash monster, which, ironically, took efforts from both sides to defeat. Yet the show still went with "Humans need to clean up their mess" with Nate accepting the blame for something that wasn't even in his control while the mermaids get off scot-free from their own responsibility to their home.
  • Bungling Inventor: Professor Toybus. His inventions have a tenancy to not work as intended.
  • Capture and Replicate: In "The Cyborgs", Professor Toybus's rogue A.I kidnaps most of the town's citizens, sleep gasses them and replaces them with cyborg duplicates
  • Cassandra Truth: Every time the duo finally arrive at the school. They have to explain themselves to their principal. Naturally when they tell the truth, she has a hard time believing them. Sometimes they can offer proof if it's reasonable enough (such as someone coming with them and vouching for them or having an object on hand) but other times she just rolls her eyes, chastises them, possibly punish them with an after-school chore and lets them through.
  • Christmas Episode: "Santa's Reindeer" in which the duo run into Santa and have to save his reindeer from Max.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Nate and Malika realize Max was the culprit in "Santa's Reindeer", they remember he likewise gave them problems in "The Dragon".
    • "The Lucky Ring" has quite a few during it's luck montage.
    • "Battle of the Gods" had Nate once more having to float the air while being pulled by Malika on her bike (in this case, from balloons rather then hang glide from butterfly wings) which did happen in "The Carnivorous Plant". He even lampshades the fact that he's doing this stunt again.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The Mermaids force Nate to fight a garbage monster just because he threw some trash into their lake. And even then, it was an accident: it was blown into the lake by the wind and he was trying to retrieve it (though he did briefly intend to leave it, before a Disapproving Look from Malika intimidated him).
    • In "Kid From The Future", the future school puts clock on every student showcasing how much hours a kid has in detention. Near everything seems to make it go up: Forgetting school uniforms, talking too loud, running in the hall, etc.
    • In "Grandpa", an elderly witch turns Nate and Malika old simply because they bumped into her while racing (they even apologized for it).
  • Driven by Envy: In "The Living Portraits", the villain of this episode is envious of a portrait that is admired by the public and tries to sabotage it by stealing a vital piece (a pearl earring) to get her discredited and taken down so she herself can become the main attraction.
  • Easily Forgiven: The duo usually aren't one to hold grudges to those that cause them trouble if they're sympathetic enough and will forgive before helping then. For example: The mermaids despite them forcing Nate to fight a monster, the genie despite him trying to trap Nate in his lamp, the envious portrait despite her trying to ruin another for a petty reason and a faun despite him bewitching Malika to constantly party just to keep up the entertainment for a party he was hosting.
  • Everyone Hates Math:
    • In "Kid From The Future", kids in future school are punished by being given math questions constantly by the robots monitoring the school. Even worse in detention where they put them on exercise bikes and go faster with every wrong question.
    • In "The Dream", Nate's nightmare is haunted by creatures made up of multiplication problems.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Zig-zagged. The duo will save the day in whatever situation they're in, but they'll always fail to make it before school starts a majority of the time. Though some eps do have them manage to get to school before the bell. Ironiclly the one time they actually do manage to get to school without incident (on the last day no less), a UFO abducted their Principal and they had to do an about face to try and save her, leading to the events of the episode.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Spore" involved the duo having to enter their gardener friend, Violet, to destroy a spore that was literally turning her into a tree, using Toybus's shrinking machine.
  • Floating Continent: The promptly named "City in the Sky" episode in which the duo stumble upon a ladder that leads to a floating city.
  • Ghost Pirate: The subject of "The Pirate" where the duo meet a pirate captain named Bonebeard. It's later revealed he's Malika's Great (x4) Grandfather.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: "The Invaders" had Nate and Malika call for help for near all their friends they made over the season when aliens invade the town, leading to an all out battle.
  • Good All Along: Mr Multiplication of "The Dream" turns out to be a good guy, he was just trying to help Nate learn his multiplications for his test.
  • Green Aesop:
    • The Mermaid episode is centered around this as the mermaids of the lake are mad about people throwing trash into it.
    • "The Tree People" is likewise though ironically it's the tree people themselves that end up causing the problem when their leader ends up taking up too much sap that it withers the tree to the point it nearly dies and gets the city to come tear it down. The duo have to convince them to give the sap back to save the tree.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: "The Pocket Watch" focus on the duo getting rewound back to before they leave the house every ten minutes thanks to Nate's grandfather's watch. Forcing them to try get to their current point and get it fix before they're rewound again.
  • Haunted House: The duo end up going into one in one episode when trying to deliver a letter and get trapped inside it. Turns out it was crabby because it hadn't been cleaned in awhile. Nate figures it out when he accidentally sweeps some dust trying to find off some appliances. Once they clean the house, it becomes more docile.
  • Heli-Critter: In "The Tree People", most of the younger tree sprites can fly thanks to the pair of leaves atop their heads turning like a rotor.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In "The Lucky Ring", when the duo get trapped and are set to be run over by a steamroller. They figure if the ring changes good luck to bad, then the reverse is true as well. So Nate willingly throws himself in front of a steamroller in the hope it works. Which indeed it does and redirects the steamroller toward the ring, finally destroying it.
  • Involuntary Dance: In episode "The Faun", Malika is bewitched by a faun's Magic Music to party with them, and she keeps dancing non-stop until the spell is lifted, at which point she slumps down, exhausted.
  • Jackass Genie: Kinda, the episode where the duo run into one has him trick Nate into wasting his last two wishes, with the third in which he tries to get Nate to take his place. Malika manages to fix things with her wishes. But afterward they do help the genie by getting someone to wish him free.
  • Jerkass Gods: "Battle of the Gods" had to the duo come across a feuding Zeus and Posidon who were trying to see who was the strongest to rule Olympus and forcing the two to judge. Naturally they're not very pleasant, end up chasing the two when Nate tries to calm them down and end up causing major property damage during said chase. It's when it's pointed out what they're doing that they realize the error of their ways, agree to rule together and fix everything
  • Keep the Reward: In "The Pirate" after finally convincing Bonebeard that Malika and he are related. Bonebeard hands over the treasure he was guarding. However Malika puts the treasure back in it's hiding place claiming she wants her descendants to have an adventure looking for as Nate and she did. Only hanging onto the telescope which lead them to it in the first place.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: In all episodes, Malika typically wears her hair tied up in a ponytail. However, in "The Faun", after being bewitched into a party animal, she lets her hair down to show this shift in her personality.
  • Living Toy: The premise "The Plush Toy" in which toys come to life when no one around and set to be re-sold when their owners abandon them.
  • Mama Bear:
    • The mother dragon in "The Dragon" episode. Not at all happy when an animal catcher named Max threatens her young. Naturally when it gets free thanks to Nate and Malika, it doesn't take long to unleash Max's way.
    • The witch in "Enchanted Frog". Despite being My Beloved Smother, she just does it out of worry for her daughter and gives a fair warning to her boyfriend not to mistreat her when she finally relents to let them be together.
  • My Beloved Smother: The Enchanted Frog episode had the witch be the mother of a very beautiful girl but wouldn't allow her any suitors, claiming they only wanted her for her beauty and nothing else. The one guy who obviously saw her more then that was turned into a toad because of this belief and, after Nate and Malika help defeat the witch, her daughter puts her foot down and tells her mother to let her decide for herself and live her own life. The mother finally relents after hearing this and realizing the two really do love each other. Albeit threatening the man if he ever mistreats her daughter.
  • Mummy: The duo end up waking up a mummy princess in "The Mummy". She turns out to be friendly however and aids the two in defeating two burglars trying to steal her amulet before returning to her slumber.
  • Never Mess with Granny: In "The Tree People" the duo help an elderly tree sprite try to convince the others they're killing the tree by taking its sap. When Nate and Malika have to pull a lever that'll return the sap to the tree and get into a struggle with the greedy leader to do so. The elderly sprite comes to their aid by knocking the leader back, much to the duo's shock.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nate can usually be the cause of the problems in certain episodes, usually when he messes with something he wasn't supposed to.
  • Ninja: The subject of, of course, "The Ninja" in which a ninja tries to recruit Nate and Malika to pass off as his students so he can show his master that he's a worthy teacher. And quickly tries to teach the two so they can pass the master's sparring test with his student.
  • Once an Episode: The show runs on it with the duo having to arrive at school or at least a school function (such as a field trip or sporting day) and having to explain themselves and always ending with them high-fiving each other with an "Oh yeah".
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • The "Adorable Monster" the duo befriends at first doesn't seem to be much scarier then his normal form will permit. But when the owner of the dark house ride / final monster exam threatens the duo, he morphs into a much bigger and more intimidating form to get her to back off. Ironically in doing this, this allows him to pass the exam and receive his diploma.
    • In "The Faun", said faun turns into more monsterous form when Nate and Malika refuse to continue helping him.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "The Werewolf" features one that can change without needing a full moon just by the scent of food. Though the transformations can be contained by a special necklace. She can still pass on her lycanthropy by a bite or scratch, but that can be cured with medicinal plants and a werewolf's saliva.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Attempted in "The Shooting Star" when Malika comes up with a plan to feed a bully shooting star, who was trying to steal the light of a smaller one, sunlight in the hopes it'll make her too full to eat anymore. It backfires as it ends up turning said bully star into a black hole!
  • Quirky Town: The town Nate and Malika reside in is just utterly nuts. Among other things it had a Roman coliseum under it, a haunted house, the sewer has goblins living in it, a candy store is run by gnomes, the lake is home to mermaids, no less then three witches have appeared in the show, a giant oddly leaves there, etc and that's not even counting all the stuff that passed by the town (dragons, monsters, shooting stars, Santa). Yet oddly Nate and Malika are the only ones who keep encountering this stuff.
  • Rapunzel Hair: The witch's daughter spots this in a spoof of the main story. Ironically she models as a day job for a shampoo company.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The engineer of the flying city had Nate and Malika assume she was their age. At the end, she reveals she's 200 years old much to their shock.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Naturally with all the adventures the duo get into before school time, it prevents them from getting to school on time.
    • In "The Ninja", said ninja the duo meet tries to train them to pass his master's test. However it's only a short amount of time before said test and they can't learn techniques that take years of practice in a matter of minutes.
    • In "The Shooting Star" Malika turns to feed the bully star sunlight in order to get it to become full enough to stop pursuing the smaller one. Forgetting that when a star grows big, it burns out and can sometime turn into a black hole when it goes supernova, which unfortunately for Nate, the little star and her, is what happens.
    • In "The Flash", Nate and Malika try to prevent Terry from taking their picture with the magic camera by hiding behind a trash can lid so it won't make a negative of them. It fails and make a negative Malika since, as her negative points out, it's a trash can lid, not a mirror.
  • Screw Destiny: In "The Magic Book" the duo are sucked into a story book and find out the protagonist is meant to die via drowning stopping the villain. They manage to change the outcome by saving her at the last second which changes the ending.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Future Kid episode had said character trying to prevent Nate from causing an accident that destroys their school in the past which in turn would impose stricter punishments in his timeline when the school is rebuilt.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "The Insects", Nate, Malika and said insects are running from Toybus's pet iguana, George. They run for a sprinkler in hopes of activating it and knocking George back. Roach ends up getting caught by George's tongue and tries to hold on to the edge of the facet. As everyone looks on in shock, he tells them to "Run, you fools!"
    • ''The Enchanted Frog": When the witch's daughter goes to distract her mother so Nate, Malika and her frog transformed boyfriend can get into the house. She calls she needs help with her hair due to it being "tangled again".
    • In "The Cyborgs", after Malika's jam fall on a computer console making cyborg duplicates of Nate...
    • "The Robot" has one to Dragon Ball Z when Toybus tries to stop his creation from overloading himself.
      Toybus: [in regards to his robot trying to overload the city] No you can't, it's over 5,000!
    • In "The Superhero", Miracle Girl's design is very similar to Tracer's.
    • "The Video Game": "Pipe Runner" is obviously based on Super Mario Bros.. There's even a sly nod in that the villain is a toad. What's more the game console Nate plays it on is a Game Boy and the music that plays from it is surprisingly similar to Super Mario Land. Heck, they even use the "Yoshi Trick", where one hops off another to get to somewhere higher (in this case Malika on Nate, a willing case though) to beat the game.
    • "The Tree People" has some to Star Wars with the elderly tree sprite being Yoda in a sense, Nate carrying her just as Luke had did to Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.
    • "The Lucky Ring" : A cursed ring that brings bad luck to it's user? Hmm where've we heard that before? Heck the ring even glows when Nate and later, Malika grab it and the two having a bewitched look about them when it does. So much so, Nate has to snap the latter out of it when she gets a hold of it.
    • In "The Caveman", the cave girl's design looks strikingly similar to Amethyst.
    • In "The Concert", Nate gets hit with a voice sampler that changes his voice into that of a trombone.
  • Shrink Ray:
    • The premise of the insect episode kicks off when Nate accidentally triggers a shrinking machine which zaps both Nate and Malika to bug size.
    • It returns again in "The Spore" (apparently having been recovered from the trash dump or rebuilt), this time to shrink Nate and Malika to small size so the can enter Violet's body and rid her of the spores on the verge of turning her into a plant.
  • Spirit World: The premise of "The Totems" in which Nate and Malika help a shaman and go into the spirit world, inhabit their spirit animals (in this case, a puma for Malika and a skunk for Nate) to calm a bear that was rampaging around and making people grumpy. Ironically said bear was the spirit animal of Prudence.
  • Taken for Granite: In the Leprechaun episode, Nate and Malika aid said leprechaun named Shawn who explains that if a leprechaun gold is completely stolen, they'll turn to stone. Sure enough this does happen to him, but luckily Malika had some money on her to revive Shawn and allow the three to finish their objective.
  • Time Stands Still: Happens in "The Pocket Watch" when the duo manage to get said watch to the clock repairman. He manages to fix it but just as he goes to wind the watch, it freezes everything around save for them. The duo have to finish fixing the watch themselves and get time moving again.
  • Trapped in Another World: "The Magic Book" has the duo sucked into a storybook Malika was reading.
  • Trapped in TV Land: "The Video Game" had a portable game console glitch out when dropped in water and transport the duo into the game
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: In "The Dinosaur", Maurice gets turned into a T. rex due to coming in contract with a spray that turns people and animals into dinosaurs. Nate turns himself into one to confront Maurice and give him the antidote.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Nate and Malika can't seem to go two steps without getting caught up in something odd.
  • Wicked Witch: The main big bad of the Enchanted Frog episode, though it's revealed she's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

"What's your excuse today?"

Video Example(s):


Nate is Late [Monster Instructor's Warning]

Scene from "Nate is Late" Ep 6B - "The Adorable Monster". Nate and Malika come across a dark house ride in the park which the owner lets them ride for free and go through a few jump scare save for a monster near the end. They soon find out that the ride was a test for monsters to scare people and the last one failed his attempt. The duo help out by asking the owner/instructor to give him one more chance. She agrees... with one stern warning however.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

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