When we think of The Emperor’s New Groove, we think funny buddy pic, things about levers, and uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. Maybe a little bit also about squeakin’ squeak and shoulder angels. But all inside TENG jokes aside, the film is actually very fable-y and loaded with wise, wise wisdom.
Here’s a lesson from The Emperor’s New Groove: be nice.
Seems pretty obvious, but if there’s one thing to be learned from Kuzco it’s that you need to be nice. No one was even going to notice Kuzco was sacked away (literally) and sent off into the jungle, because he was so spoiled and mean. He literally ends up in the cold, alone, crying, because he’s isolated himself in a fortress of jerkiness. This is why he needed to have his groove thrown off and replaced by a new, nicer groove.
Another lesson for the Pachas amongst us: don’t give up on your pals.
Since it took Kuzco a while to learn the first lesson of this post (to be nicer), Pacha had every reason to just leave said llama emperor in the dust. But did he do it? Nope, he kept trying to help Kuzco learn, ultimately believing in him more than Kuzco even believed in himself. That’s the friendship stuff that buddy movies are made from.
Obvious but worth noting: read labels.
Be nice to kids, they are actually very smart even though they’re little.
If you think you’re fooling kids just because they are young, you’ve got another thing coming. Kids are observant little sponges, and they can spot an evil, conniving Disney Villain and henchman from a mile away.
Also worth noting: don’t have levers that you don’t even need.
When facing a shoulder angel and shoulder devil, probably listen to the angel.
And finally, most importantly: people are more important than pools.
It took a few near-death experiences and reality checks, but Kuzco finally realized that having friends is much more important than having the perfect pool at Kuzcotopia, your birthday gift to yourself. In fact, one might even venture to say that the whole morale of the film is that all the stuff in the world can’t make you as happy as having (and being) a good friend.
Before we get too sappy with the TENG lessons, here’s a really funny llama gif.