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The Emperor's New School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Emperor's New School
The words "Disney's The Emperor's new School" are shown in various font styles and sizes in a green circle against a white background.
Created byMark Dindal
Based on
Written by
  • Kevin D. Campbell
  • Ed Scharlach
  • Mark Dindal (story)
Directed by
  • David Knott
  • Howy Parkins
Voices of
Theme music composerMichael Tavera
Opening theme"The Emperor's New School Theme Song"
Composer(s)Michael Tavera
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Bobs Gannaway
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network
Picture format1080i (16:9) (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseJanuary 27, 2006 (2006-01-27) –
November 20, 2008 (2008-11-20)

The Emperor's New School is an American animated television series created by Mark Dindal, which originally aired for two seasons from January 27, 2006 to November 20, 2008. It is a spin-off to the 2000 movie The Emperor's New Groove. In it, Kuzco is required to attend the public high school, Kuzco Academy, before he can become the emperor of the Inca Empire. Yzma, Kuzco's former advisor, disguises herself as the school's principal in an attempt to cause him to fail his classes so she can become empress herself. She receives assistance from her henchman Kronk, Kuzco is aided by his classmate Malina and the villager Pacha and his family. The episodes use physical comedy and sections where Kuzco interrupts a scene to directly address the viewer.

The Walt Disney Company developed The Emperor's New School after The Emperor's New Groove received high ratings during syndication. Most of the original cast – Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Bob Bergen, and Wendie Malick – returned for the series, though J. P. Manoux replaced David Spade in the lead role. Brian Cummings temporarily filled the role for John Goodman. Executive producer Bobs Gannaway had received Dindal's approval and wanted to preserve elements from the film in its television spin-off, particularly its art style. Episodes were produced using traditional 2D animation. According to Gannaway, the academic setting and storylines were chosen to explore Kuzco's social ineptitude. Michael Tavera wrote the theme music, though Laura Dickinson and Kitt also contributed to the soundtrack.

Between January 27 and 29, 2006, The Emperor's New School premiered as part of a three-day promotion on the Disney Channel, ABC Kids, Disney Channel on Demand, and Toon Disney. It was the first television series to have a debut across these four platforms; it was broadcast on Fridays and Saturdays at different times. Both seasons are available on the iTunes Store, although individual episodes are unavailable for purchase on any digital platform. Disney and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) distributed the series. The Emperor's New School received a mixed response; Malina's representation was one criticism. The show received several awards and nominations. Kitt won two Annie Awards, while Howy Parkins and Warburton each received a nomination. Kitt also won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, and DiCicco received a nomination in the same category.

Premise and characters

A drawing of a man holding a pencil. It is drawn on lined paper.
In a recurring schtick, Kuzco doodles parts of the episode's plot. Gannaway wanted to play with genre conventions to avoid the stories from being predictable.[1]

The Emperor's New School follows Kuzco who must graduate from the public high school, Kuzco Academy, to claim his throne as emperor of the Inca Empire.[2][3] On his birthday, he learns about this educational requirement of his trust fund and is evicted from the palace.[4] At the academy, he takes courses on talking to squirrels, herding llamas, and "Kuzcology".[4] However, episodes focus more on Kuzco learning life lessons,[2][5] such as the importance of friendship and hard work.[3] While a student, he lives with the peasant Pacha and his wife Chicha and their children Tipo, Chaca, and Cuti.[4] Despite their strained relationship and contrasting lifestyles, Pacha acts as a father figure for Kuzco, helping him with his school projects.[3][4] For instance, he trains Kuzco for a physical education class.[3]

Malina, a cheerleader and the "president of every club", helps Kuzco with his classes.[4][6] Characterized by her intelligence and popularity, she is one of the few characters who scolds him about his attitude.[4][7] Kuzco has a crush on her, frequently referring to her as a "hottie hot hottie".[7] Kuzco's former royal advisor Yzma disguises herself as the academy's principal, Amzy, to prevent him from graduating.[2][3] She schemes against Kuzco in an attempt to become the empress.[3] Her plans often involve turning him into an animal, leaving him unable to finish a school assignment.[4] Her henchman Kronk assists her by posing as a student and Kuzco's friend.[2][4] Other supporting characters include the Royal Records Keeper and Mr. Moleguaco.[4]

The series is a spin-off of the 2000 movie The Emperor's New Groove and its 2005 direct-to-video sequel Kronk's New Groove.[2] Despite being a sequel, Kuzco retains his narcissistic personality,[7] causing some critics to associate him with the phrase "it's all about me".[3][7] The show includes references to the original film, including Kronk's spinach puffs, and Yzma being flattened by a large object whenever he pulls the lever to the secret lab.[3][8]

The series uses physical comedy with a "self-aware" approach.[3][4] Some examples of the recurring schticks are Kuzco stopping a scene to either make a sarcastic comment or doodle his ideas on ruled paper. Executive producer Bobs Gannaway referred to the show as having "postmodern touches" due to these interactions with the audience. Taking inspiration from the Austin Powers films, the series also includes awkward pauses in conversations as part of its comedy.[1] Jeanne Spreier, writing for The Dallas Morning News, described the show's humor as based in one-line jokes that aimed at an older audience. Speier noted that the storylines frequently dealt with "the more common problems of adolescence" and the school setting was grounded in "decidedly contemporary American attributes".[6]


Originally titled Emperor's New Skool, the Walt Disney Company developed The Emperor's New School as "another heritage property" for its television scheduling.[1][9] According to Disney Channels' Worldwide president Gary Marsh, the show was commissioned after The Emperor's New Groove attracted high ratings on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.[4] It was first announced in 2004 for a 2006 release.[9] Mark Dindal, who directed the original film, approved of Bobs Gannaway as executive producer based on their friendship and work together on the 1997 animated film Cats Don't Dance. The Walt Disney Company first approached Gannaway about the series "a few years" after The Emperor's New Groove was released. He had previously worked with the company on various spin-offs, including the television programs Timon & Pumbaa and Lilo & Stitch: The Series. These helped establish his reputation as the "go-to guy" for expanding on pre-existing films.[1] Howy Parkins and David Knott are the show's directors, and Dindal is credited as its creator.[4][10]

A man with a black shirt and baseball cap is smiling towards the camera.
Patrick Warburton (pictured in 2010) was one of the voice actors who reprised his role for the show.[1] He received an Annie Award nomination for his performance.[11]

The series is set in a school to emphasize Kuzco's lack of social etiquette. Gannaway said that episodes include "socially redeeming stories", with the character working through problems with teachers and students. Comparing The Emperor's New School to other animated shows, he attributed the main difference to it having a comedic character as the lead rather than a sidekick.[1] While Gannaway acknowledged viewers might initially dislike Kuzco because of his attitude, he hoped the series would portray him as a "sympathetic jerk" who "really doesn't know any better".[5]

J. P. Manoux replaces David Spade as the voice for Kuzco for The Emperor's New School.[1][4] Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton reprise their roles as Yzma and Kronk, respectively.[1] Kitt jokingly said about her attachment to the character: "[Children] know my name ... I love it! ... There [can be] no other Yzma!"[12] Brian Cummings voices Pacha,[1] although some media outlets mistakenly reported that Fred Tatasciore did so.[2][10] Cummings was hired for the part since he had done "advance voice work" for the character as part of The Emperor's New Groove's development.[13] The original voice actor, John Goodman, would eventually return to portray Pacha in the television show.[14] Bob Bergen and Wendie Malick also returned to voice Bucky the squirrel and Chicha, respectively.[2][15] The rest of the main cast includes Jessica DiCicco as Malina, Shane Baumel as Tipo, Rip Taylor as the Royal Records Keeper, and Curtis Armstrong as Mr. Moleguaco.[10][1] Guest stars include Miley Cyrus as Yatta, a waitress and Joey Lawrence as Dirk Brock.[16][17][18]

The Emperor's New School uses traditional 2D animation.[4] Flash animation had been dismissed as incompatible during the show's development.[1] In an attempt to preserve The Emperor's New Groove's art style, Gannaway kept its focus on the characters. He explained that the original film had made the characters appear "flatter" against "solid washed-up backgrounds", which "helped [them] pop"; his intention was that the show continue this technique.[1] Each episode took roughly nine months to complete, and between 16 to 17 were developed at a time.[5] Michael Tavera wrote the theme music, a "rocking march number" and "pastiche college fight song" featuring Kuzco bragging about himself.[19] Laura Dickinson also contributed to the show's music, performing the songs: "Let's Brock", "Kuzco Dance", "Our Academy", and "Kronk For Hire".[20][21][22] Kitt had also recorded a song and a "special intro" for the episode "Yzmopolis". Discussing her part, Kitt said "the added dimension of a singing voice gives [her] character an added and vital layer".[23]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
121January 27, 2006November 11, 2006
231June 23, 2007November 20, 2008

Broadcast history and release

The first episode of The Emperor's New School, "Rabbit Face", was broadcast as part of a three-day schedule between January 27, 2006, and January 29, 2006.[2] It was shown on the Disney Channel, ABC Kids, Disney Channel on Demand, and Toon Disney.[4] AllMovie's Hal Erickson considered this an example of a "typical Disney super-saturation" broadcast practice.[2] It was the first series to debut across these four television platforms.[4] On the Disney channel, the series was shown on Friday and Saturday afternoons at 5:00 pm EST. It was broadcast on ABC Kids on Saturday mornings at 9:30 am EST, and on Toon Disney on Friday afternoons at 3:00 pm EST.[4] The Emperor's New School premiered roughly a month after the release of Kronk's New Groove.[1][14]

Each episode runs for 30 minutes[1][8] and carries a "suitable for all ages" TV-G parental rating.[24] In January 2007, the series was part of Toon Disney's "Great Toon Weekend" programming block.[25] The series finale aired on November 20, 2008.[26] The show was released on the iTunes Store,[27][28] and is unavailable on any other online platform.[24] It was distributed through Disney and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).[10]

Critical reception

A black-and-white photograph of a woman signing on a stage. She has short hair and is wearing a dress.
Eartha Kitt (pictured in 2007) received two Annie Awards and two Daytime Emmy Awards for her performance as Yzma.[11][29][30]

There were some positive critical reviews of The Emperor's New School. Rotten Tomatoes' Fred Topel cited the series as one example of how The Walt Disney Company has "a good track record" translating its films to television.[31] Sarah Baisley of Animation World Network said "the color palette is striking for TV with simple but attractive background designs that work well for TV delivery".[4] Karen MacPherson, writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, praised the show's "irreverent good humor" as appropriate for its target audience, citing the "Kuzco's Doodles" portion as a highlight.[3] Despite his negative response to the show as a whole, David Perlmutter praised Kitt and Warburton's performances.[10]

The Emperor's New School also received negative reviews. MacPherson criticized the clarity of the premise, since the first episode initially said an education would help Kuzco become an emperor and later that it was necessary for him to remain in that position. She also questioned how the school storyline could continue without becoming monotonous.[3] Perlmutter wrote that the show had destroyed the charm of the original film and criticized Disney for turning all their movies into television programs.[10] Common Sense Media's Pam Gelman wrote that the show had "lackluster animation and annoying characters", and questioned why anyone would choose to help someone as selfish as Kuzco.[32] Kevin McDonough, writing for the United Feature Syndicate, dismissed The Emperor's New School as "the kind of kid's cartoon that gives kid's cartoons a bad name". McDonough criticized the characters as manic and wished the show would take "lessons in restraint".[33]

The Malina character was criticized.[3][7] Bustle's Kadeen Griffiths called her characterization as Kuzco's love interest sexist, but noted the character was given some depth.[7] MacPherson was critical of the show's representation of women through Yzma and Malina. She felt that Malina's figure-hugging clothing emphasized her attractiveness over her intelligence.[3]

The Emperor's New School received several awards and nominations. At the 34th Annie Awards, Eartha Kitt won the award for Voice Acting in a Television Production for performance in the episode "Kuzclone". Patrick Warburton received a nomination for the same category and episode.[11] In the 35th Annie Awards, the episode "Emperor's New Musical" received two nominations. Kitt won the award for Voice Acting in a Television Production, while Howy Parkins was nominated for the award in Directing in a Television Production.[29] Kitt also won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role at the 34th and the 35th Daytime Emmy Awards.[30] Jessica DiCicco was also nominated in this category for the 35th Daytime Emmy Awards.[34]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zahed, Ramin (February 2, 2006). "Out of the Inca Well". Animation Magazine. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Erickson, Hal. "The Emperor's New School [Animated TV Series] (2006)". AllMovie. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m MacPherson, Karen (January 26, 2006). "On the Tube: Kuzco takes the limelight in 'Emperor's New School'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Baisley, Sarah (January 27, 2006). "Disney's The Emperor's New School Premieres on Four Platforms". Animation World Network. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Mason, Crystal (July 21, 2007). "Jenks graduate gets animated for Disney Emmy-winning producer excels in his new groove". The Oklahoman. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Spreier, Jeanne (February 1, 2006). "OnScreen: The Emperor's New School". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved May 25, 2019 – via (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b c d e f Griffiths, Kadeen (July 28, 2014). "7 Nick & Disney Shows From Your Childhood That Were Pretty Sexist". Bustle. Archived from the original on September 6, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Brooks & Marsh (2009): p. 419
  9. ^ a b Ball, Ryan (November 18, 2004). "Disney Channel in New Groove". Animation Magazine. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Perlmutter (2018): pp. 181–182
  11. ^ a b c "34th Annie Awards". Annie Award. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  12. ^ Messer, Kate X (July 21, 2006). "Just an Old-Fashioned Cat". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Aberdeen man gives voice to animated characters". Rapid City Journal. September 24, 2012. Archived from the original on September 26, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Graff, Michael (November 9, 2015). "16 Things You Never Knew About The Emperor's New Groove". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on October 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Wilcox (2014)
  16. ^ Hischak (2011): p. 53
  17. ^ "Cast". TV Guide. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  18. ^ Jeunesse, Marilyn La (September 20, 2018). "28 celebrities you didn't realize voiced Disney characters". Insider Inc. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018.
  19. ^ Hischak & Robinson (2009): p. 48
  20. ^ Takahama, Valerie (October 4, 2018). "Singer and Versatile Entertainer Laura Dickinson On Her Start In O.C." Orange Coast. Archived from the original on November 3, 2018.
  21. ^ Writer: Campbell, Kevin. (December 3, 2007). "Emperor's New Musical". The Emperor's New School. Season 2. Disney Channel.
  22. ^ Writer: Stein Johanna. (June 23, 2007). "Room for Improvement". The Emperor's New School. Season 2. Disney Channel.
  23. ^ Baisley, Sarah (November 7, 2006). "Eartha Kitt Sings Special Song & Intros The Emperor's New School Episode". Animation World Network. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "The Emperor's New School". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 1, 2018.
  25. ^ Ball, Ryan (January 12, 2007). "Toon Disney has 'Great Toon Weekend'". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017.
  26. ^ "Season 2 Episode Guide". TV Guide. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "The Emperor's New School, Season 1". iTunes. 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  28. ^ "The Emperor's New School, Season 2". iTunes. 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  29. ^ a b "35th Annie Awards". Annie Award. Archived from the original on August 28, 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Eartha Kitt". TV Guide. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  31. ^ Topel, Fred (March 24, 2017). "11 Must-See Animated Shows This Spring and Summer". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017.
  32. ^ Gelman, Pam (2006). "The Emperor's New School". Common Sense Media. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018.
  33. ^ McDonough, Kevin (January 27, 2006). "Emperor's New School needs lesson in restraint". United Feature Syndicate. Retrieved May 25, 2019 – via (subscription required)
  34. ^ Hazen, Samantha (June 21, 2012). "Letting your career find you". Syracuse University. Retrieved January 21, 2019.

Book sources

External links

This page was last edited on 10 August 2019, at 01:36
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