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Western Animation / The Emperor's New School

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K, U, Z, C, O! Kuzco, Kuzco! GO-GO!

The Emperor's New School (2006-2008) is a Disney Channel show based on the Disney Film The Emperor's New Groove.

Kuzco, the main character, is still an obnoxious self-centered emperor (in spite of how The Movie ended) who has been temporarily dethroned and must attend The Kuzco Academy and pass all his classes to become Emperor, as you can't become one without finishing school. The Kuzco Academy is run by Principal Amzy, a Paper-Thin Disguise for Yzma, the series villain, which fools no-one except her handsome but dim lackey Kronk.

Yzma wants to usurp Kuzco's throne which, given her controlling personality, wouldn't be good and thus schemes to prevent Kuzco passing his classes—at first by transforming him into all sorts of different animals. In Season 2, she finds an evil hall of evil machinery. Luckily for Kuzco, he has Malina — straight-A student, cheerleader, and "Hottie-Hot-Hottie" — as well as his foster family of Pacha, Chicha, and the kids to help him out. Occasionally Kronk, too.


Usually the episodes center around teaching Kuzco some sort of Aesop, though it started to get away from that later in the run. The show has also been known for recycling gags from the movie.

It has the honor of being one of the last Disney animated shows for ABC before they switched to educational blocks. This was also one of the last works of Eartha Kitt, who, sadly, passed away just over a month after the show ended.


The Emperors New School provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: In the episode "Yzmopolis", the Temple of the Sky God has one of these. Kuzco, lazy bum that he is, naturally complains about this.
  • The Ace: Ramon.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Kuzco just wouldn't be Kuzco without his personality. He's still a jerk who thinks of himself first, others five hundredth.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Kronk. Remember what series you're trying to make sense of before you attempt to make sense of it.
  • Anachronism Stew: Even more so than the movie, and that's saying something! The series gets away with this by utilizing Bamboo Technology at its fullest.
  • Animation Bump: For the first season the credits gags just consisted of animation recycled from the episode with new dialogue recorded over it. For the second season the animation budget was raised, so they were able to make credits gags with original animation.
  • Arranged Marriage: Kuzco and Princess Lalala, right after Kuzco and Malina planned for a date.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The Moon Beast episode—there are magic potions that can change people into animals and objects, there are gods that grant wishes, but there are no man-eating monsters.
  • Art Shift: Kuzco's doodles. Occasionally other characters join in.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: "Don't worry sir. I won't rest until I— HEY! There's that monkey with the funny hat! Here, monkey-onkey-onkey!"
  • Averted Trope: One episode has the Running Gag of Yzma telling Kronk to "pull the lever". Usually the lever is pulled and something comical regarding Yzma happens. In one episode nothing happens, as in literally nothing; they take the stairs instead. Another episode, rather then physical harm to Yzma, the fire alarm gets set off.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: In the Series Finale, a machine is lowering the crown on Yzma's head when Kuzco shows up, pushes Yzma out of the way and finally reclaims his rightful position as the Emperor.
  • Bad Future: In the season 1 finale, Kuzco wishes that he'd never been Emperor, causing one of these where Yzma was always Empress.
  • Baleful Polymorph: It is (initially) Yzma's intention to use this trope to turn Kuzco into something useless in order to get him to fail school (and thus, lose the kingdom). It never works out, no matter how often she tries.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Double subverted in "Too Many Malinas." There's a gassy Malina, but we only hear her, never see her.
  • Benevolent Genie: Every Giftmas, Papa Santos grants one wish to each person in the "nice" list. Kuzco wishes to become the Emperor again but he's at the top of the "naughty" list.
  • The B Grade: "Girls Behaving Oddly."
  • Big "NO!": Kronk in "Eco Kuzco" when he fears that he'll never receive his Patch Patch.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Princess Lalala.
  • Broken Aesop: In-universe—after his students complain over their hard (easy) work (mostly Kuzco, Kronk just wanted a piñata). Mr. Moleguaco summons his Sadist Teacher cousin to teach them that you can't skip work. After successfully teaching the lesson he throws a vacation. When Malina points out the lack of education value, he handwaves it blatantly.
  • Buffy Speak: See "hottie-hot-hottie" for one example. Plenty more (usually from Kuzco) where that came from.
  • Burping Contest: Between Kuzco and a manatee.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Painfully and sometimes Anvilicious.
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: A Running Gag with Yzma's switches.
  • Character Exaggeration: Kuzco's intelligence, big time. In the movie, he's sheltered and spoiled, but savvy enough to know that Yzma is trying to do his job behind his back and that she has a secret lab, in addition to being manipulative enough to play Pacha for a sap twice. In the series, he's often Book Dumb or a straight-up Idiot Hero, but he's at least smart enough to know when Kronk is trying to potion him.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Kuzco in "The Emperor's New School Spirit", when he gets thrown into a wastebasket head first and his skirt flips up, revealing light blue under-shorts with rainbow-colored hearts that Guaka got for him as a birthday present.
  • Couch Gag: Basically how the episodes opens with Kuzco calling for "Theme Music." One point Guaca tried to sub for Kuzco who was in the shower. Before he got the chance, Kuzco runs in still wrapped in a towel just to do the call.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Guaca.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Kuzco usually, and Malina when it comes to Kuzco.
    • Kronk all the time when he and Yzma are scheming together.
  • Dean Bitterman: Surprisingly subverted with Principal Amzy (Yzma in disguise). Aside from plotting against Kuzco, Yzma actually seems to make a decent principal.
  • Death Glare: The "Malina Stare."
  • Depending on the Writer: Again, Malina can sometimes be a reasonable or even flawed character in episodes, while in others she's near perfect.
  • Different in Every Episode: Something different happens every time Kronk is asked to pull the lever to the secret lab. Hilariously lampshaded in one episode:
    Yzma: Okay, let's see. "To the secret lab." "Pull the lever, Kronk." Something goes wrong. Then the wall spins."
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Whenever Kronk points out a very obvious flaw in the first Zany Scheme Yzma comes up with.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Kuzco and all the other characters from this show previously appeared in House of Mouse (due to The Emperor's New Groove being released before it) before making their official televised debuts here.
  • Egopolis: Everything is named after Kuzco.
    • There was also an episode where everything was named after Yzma, and another where everything was named after Guaca.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Inverted. The team is really good...until Kuzco joins in.
  • F--: In "Kuzclone," Kuzco's clone does so poorly that he gets a G-.
  • Fly in the Soup: In "Working Girl."
    Mr. Moleguaco: Excuse me, there a fly in that man's soup.
    Malina: (acting rude) Oh, and I suppose you want one too?
    Ipi: (to Topo) That joke is older than you.
  • First Kiss: Malina and Kuzco in "The Emperor's New Musical."
  • Fountain of Youth
  • Giftmas Episode
  • Gender Bender: Kuzco and Kronk turned into girls in "Girls Behaving Oddly."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Once when Kronk pulls the lever and a gigantic bust statue of Yzma falls on top of her, he says "I found your big bust."
    • Malina, under the effects of a love potion, gives us this radar-busting gem of a pick up line: "you, me, biology homework! Only, let's skip the homework."
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied lots of times. In the first season, ALL THE CHARACTERS had small Kronks on their shoulders.
    • Inverted in one episode, where Kuzco's angel/devil decide to switch it around for once.
  • Grand Finale: "Graduation Groove".
  • Growling Gut: Happens twice to Kuzco throughout the series.
  • Held Back in School: An extreme example has him forced back into "Kuzcogarten."
  • High School: Kuzco has to graduate high school before becoming the emperor.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Yzma. Would you believe it?. Likely a reference to Kingdom Of The Sun where Yzma's primary motivation was to retain her youthful good looks.
  • Idiot Hero / Book Dumb: Kuzco, intermittently. It comes and goes, depending on the episode.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Malina, to a certain extent—while she's certainly very pretty as far as physical appearance goes (as well as the art style), but that still doesn't change the fact that they feel the need to mention she's a "hottie" in the show's theme song. As well as most episodes.
  • Inventional Wisdom: Carried over from the movie.
  • Iris Out: Nearly every episode ends this way.
  • It's All About Me: Kuzco, of course. As noted above, the show really tries to have it both ways.
    • Heck, it's in the theme song. Verbatim. Delivered by Kuzco.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The "Yzmopolis" episode, in which Kuzco wishes not to have been emperor so he can fit in. Unfortunately, his wish causes him to never have been born, period.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kuzco.
  • Karma Houdini: In "The Emperor's New Tuber", Malina cheats to win a largest potato contest and gets away with it because the foot of Yzma's giant stone robot crushed it into mashed potato, and she instead gets 1st place for the best tasting category and doesn't confess to cheating.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Nicely toyed with. Kuzco was a nasty kid, but the other kids are just defending themselves.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: So much so. Kuzco even has a remote that he uses to affect the show as if it were DVD content.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Changed in season 2, in which Kuzco had three or four sets of clothes. In the first season, all he wore was the school uniform.
    • Season 1 would also fit in the School Uniforms Are the New Black trope.
    • The family picnic episode, it's interesting to note that his earrings are gold instead of his usual blue, only for that one episode though.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Brad Bowllama.
    • Brad Bananastaircasehat.
  • Literal Split Personality: Kuzco decides to use one of Yzma's machines to remove all of Malina's undesirable personality traits, i.e. all of them except for being attracted to him. Since the machine removes them one at a time, there are dozens of Malinas running around causing havoc, while Kuzco finds himself creeped out by the lengths "Loves Kuzco Malina" goes to show her affection since she has no other personality traits to balance it out.
  • Merit Badges for Everything: The Junior Chipmunks.
  • Mood Dissonance: The "Kuzco Mambo," a cheery sing-a-long with flashy colors and praise about how awesome Kuzco is. Right after Kuzco was bemoaning how few friends he had and got captured by Yzma.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kuzco, believe it or not, is capable of feeling remorse whenever he realizes that his Jerkass attitude has gone too far.
    • In "Evil and Eviler," Yzma saves Kuzco at the last minute from an emperor exterminator.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the subplots of the episode "Project Poncho" involves Yzma being tricked into believing that she got a poncho that only the intelligent could see, culminating with Tipo pointing out, from the middle of the crowd for the fashion show, that "the Empress is in her underwear". This side of the story was all referring to The Emperor's New Clothes, the story that loosely inspired the original movie. (Well, the title, if nothing else.)
    • Malina bears a slight resemblance to Mata, Kuzco's love interest in the originally planned Kingdom of the Sun.
  • No Fourth Wall: Well of course, it wouldn't be a spin-off show without Kuzco stopping a frame.
  • Not a Date: This was a running gag. Whenever Kuzco and Malina would end up doing something together, Kuzco would call it a date, and Malina would tell him "it's not a date." In the series finale, they finally go on an actual date and become an official couple.
  • Once an Episode: "Pull the lever, Kronk!" "Wrong lever!"
    • Also Kronk forgetting Amzy and Yzma are the same person. The concept is, of course, lampshaded in "Yzma Be Gone."
    • "It's time for Kuzco's Doodles! That's the part of the show where I [insert some "explanation" about the situation at hand]." As the show went on, this got played with more and more—Malina sometimes took it over, and a whole episode was centered around it once where almost everyone got a turn.
  • Only One Name: Everybody.
    Pacha: "I'd be more surprised if you did."
  • Open Secret: Everyone knows that Yzma and Principal Amzy are the same person, despite her (very bad) attempts at hiding. Also, Malina reveals in the series finale that everyone knew that Kronk worked for Yzma, but he's such a nice guy everyone is friends with him anyway.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Yzma as Principal Amzy. Kronk is the only one that can't figure it out and she has to repeatedly remind him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kuzco, just like in the movie. One episode even deals with a sort of "family Olympics," and he immediately goes to join Pacha's family. He himself claims he was "birthed from a glorious union between the Moon and the Stars." It's even painted Renaissance-style on the school's ceiling. It's implied in another episode that Yzma is behind the disappearance of Kuzco's parents (or at least his dad).
  • Pet the Dog: Yzma has a few moments.
    • In "Evil and Eviler," she hires an emperor exterminator to get rid of Kuzco, but saves his life at the last minute.
    • In "The Prisoner of Kuzcoban," she tells Kronk that his favorite superhero, Pajama Llama, is not real, which leads to Kronk breaking down in tears and becoming depressed. At the end of the episode, Yzma dresses up like Pajama Llama and sings the theme song to make Kronk happy again.
    • In "Cornivale," Yzma disguises herself as a relative of Pacha's to get to Kuzco, and it turns out she enjoys playing with the kids. When Kuzco does show up, he gives Yzma a big hug and so she can't bring herself to carry out her plan. Her disguise wears off, but Pacha's family lets her stay as a guest.
      • During that episode's end credits, Kuzco has to remind the audience that Yzma's not really that nice.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Yzma is Kuzco's head royal advisor, but doesn't actually give him any advice—she's initially under the impression that, since Kuzco has to graduate from high school in order to officially become the Emperor, she doesn't have to do her job until then. She's told otherwise by a board of people in charge of reviewing her work in "Take My Advice."
  • Playing a Tree: Yzma used to play a tree at school plays back when she was a student.
  • Playing Sick
  • Popular Is Dumb: Averted—Malina's one of the most popular kids in school, but is said to be a straight-A student. Also, it would seem that the cheerleaders at Kuzco Academy are required to maintain straight-A averages.
  • Power Trio: Kuzco (Id), Kronk (Ego), Malina (Superego).
  • Punny Name: Mr. Moleguaco and Guaka, both named for guacamole.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era
  • Poor Man's Substitute: It's pretty obvious that J. P. Manoux sounds like David Spade doing a very bad impersonation of David Spade doing get the idea
  • Put Me In, Coach!: Even when Kuzco learns how to play the game...he never actually scores.
  • Rage Against the Author: Rage Against The Animators, really. As per the absence of the fourth wall in this series, when Kuzco becomes The Caligula and starts abusing his power in one episode, he fires the colorists (leaving the show penciled in black and white until he rehires them).
  • "Rashomon"-Style: "Oops All Doodles".
  • Real After All: Yzma used fake aliens on a failed attempt to become Empress and she constantly told Kronk aliens didn't exist. In the end, Kronk met real aliens but didn't believe them.
  • Reality Warper: Kuzco is basically an animated Zack Morris for the mid/late-2000's.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: "Unfit to Print"
    Malina: Look, when I ran the Scroll, I had a motto: "News that's real, is our ideal."
    Kuzco: Yeah, yeah, mine is "Mottos that rhyme should be a crime."
  • Running Gags: Most of them are gags continued from the movie.
  • The Rival: Ramon.
  • Role Reprisal: Patrick Warburton and Eartha Kitt reprised their roles as Kronk and Yzma respectively, as did Bob Bergen as Bucky. Wendie Malick came back as Chicha and Season 2 saw John Goodman return as Pacha. JP Manoux reprises the role of Kuzco from House of Mouse .
  • Rule of Three: When Papa Santos shows his naughty list, the viewers only get to see the three top names: Kuzco, Yzma and Amzy.
  • Small Reference Pools: The "Kuzco Dance" segment of the Musical Episode includes a Shout-Out to the The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Yzma/Amzy, and Kronk/Knork.
  • Spelling Song
  • Straw Character: Kuzco is the living embodiment of this trope.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: Kronk.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Yzma's lab.
    Kuzco: To the not-so-secret lab!" (effortlessly sneaks in) "They really need to put a lock on this place."
  • Tsundere: Malina. Especially Towards Kuzco
  • The Unintelligible: Yzma's mother, Azma, who communicates through a series of coughs and wheezes that Yzma seems to be able to understand perfectly.
    Kronk: I think your mother's getting impatient. She keeps saying (wheezes).
    Yzma: Watch your language!
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Kuzco.
  • Villain Song: Yzma gets Yzmopolis in the Bad Future episode, explaining what she's done with the kingdom...rename literally everything after herself.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last episode has Kuzco providing this over the end credits:
    • Kuzco invites Pacha, Chicha and their kids to live in the palace with him, which they gladly accept.
    • Guaka's his lead publicist, telling the public about what Kuzco's doing as emperor.
    • He and Malina are (presumably) still a couple, with Malina also now working as a reporter for the Kuzconian Times.
    • Kronk is Kuzco's lead royal advisor.
    • In a nice bit of karma (and revenge), Kuzco forces Yzma to work as Kronk's assistant.
  • Whole Plot Reference: One episode is a trilogy of The Twilight Zone-like tales.
  • Wild Teen Party: Kuzco tries to persuade Malina to throw one while her parents are out of town. She refuses. In the end, he ends up throwing one. At her house. For a bunch of manatees (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Wonderful Life: "Yzmopolis"
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Averted. The show's title was originally going to be spelled The Emperor's New Skool; perhaps Jhonen Vasquez threatened to sue.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Kuzmas (and Kuzcoween and whatever other holiday they feel like parodying). The most painful is that in the Christmas episode a kid's wish is to see snow...and Kuzco freezes to near-death in the same episode.
  • Zany Scheme: Just about any plot Yzma comes up with to get rid of Kuzco.


Example of: