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  • Cargo Ship: Skipper marries a bobble head. It was originally played for laughs, but then one thing lead to another...
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Alex vs the Old Lady in the second movie.
    • The angry Meadow Run
    • Also, from the sequel, King Julien in first class is very funny:

 Julien: You, in-flight slave... (to Private, while hanging upside down from a chandelier) Bring me my nuts, on a silver platter.

Julien: Excuse me, this is first class, it's nothing personal, it's just that we're better than you.

    • As well as that, look at the movie he's watching. It's crammed full of plane crashes, which he's laughing at. Maurice doesn't look so happy.
    • Also there's the crash scene with the penguins. All four of the penguins are calm, King Julien is having fun, and in stark contrast, Alex, Marty and Melman are terrified out of their minds. Meanwhile, Gloria is asleep.

 Skipper: (with the plane in a death spiral) When it comes to air travel, we know that you have no choice whatsoever, but thanks again for choosing Air Penguin.

    • Beforehand, Private explaining airline safety: "... place the mask over your face to hide your terrified expression from the other passengers."
    • When stealing the All-Terrain-Vehicle for parts, the penguins are great.

 Skipper: (to Kowalski) Reverse. (to Rico) Gas. (to Private) Music. (More Than A Feeling plays)

  • Contested Sequel: Some people say that Madagascar 2 is an Even Better Sequel, while others dislike and accuse it of ripping off The Lion King.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Will.i.am's "I Like to Move It" and the melancholy "The Traveling Song". Hans Zimmer did the music for the first film, and teaming him up with will.i.am, who is largely a hip-hop producer and singer, is the musical equivalent of Kingdom Hearts.
    • "Firework" playing during the triumphant circus act.
  • Ear Worm: "I like to move it, move it! I like to move it, move it! I like to move it, move it! We like to..."
    • "Move it!"
    • "I like em big, I like em chunky"
    • Da da dada dada dada CIRCUS, da da dada dada dada AFRO, circus afro, circus Afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot, AFRO!
      • And the ads. Never. Stop. Playing it.
      • And it got worse - both the ads and the end of the 3rd movie combined that AND Move It.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The Penguins and King Julien XIII. The Penguins were only a sub-plot to start and keep things rolling, and King Julien was only intended to have two lines, but they became so popular that not only did they get extended roles, but they also got larger roles in the sequel, and then they got a hugely popular spin-off even though nobody knows how they got back to the Zoo in that continuity.
    • From the third film, Capitaine Du Bois.
  • Even Better Sequel / Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The first movie got mixed reviews, but each sequel improved on its predecessors according to critics, especially the third movie.
  • Fridge Horror: So Alex was the only one protecting the lemurs from the fossa, right? Well, considering that Alex and his friends left the island in Number 2...
    • The lemurs honestly believe that the sacrifice of the shark brought the water back. So does this mean they're going to sacrifice somebody every time there's a drought now?
  • Growing the Beard: The third film seems to be this way so far; in keeping with Dreamworks Animation's consistently good quality from Kung Fu Panda-on, it seems to be one of the rare threequels that are more well-liked than their predecessors.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Alex threatens to clone Marty, after killing him and then kill all his clones. In the sequel, while Alex doesn't harm them, Marty encounters a herd of zebras, that are absolutely identical to him, which causes Alex to confuse Marty with other zebras.
    • In the second movie, Julien gets the line "I would invade a neighboring country and impose my own ideology on them, even if they didn't want it!" His voice actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, later played The Dictator.
  • Ho Yay: There's a scene in Madagascar 2 where Julien is giving Melman romantic advice while climbing all over his head and stroking it repeatedly. Not to mention he assumed, or pretended to assume, Melman was going to tell Gloria he hated her... He's also rather touchy-feely with Maurice in the first movie.
    • Alex has his fair share with Marty. In the first film, he gets very upset and concerned when Marty leaves the zoo to find the wild, bites him on the butt when he reverts to his primal instincts and in the second one, he confuses Marty with the other identical zebras multiple times, causing a strain on their friendship and finally there's their reconciliation near the end, where Alex finally manages to tell Marty from the rest of the zebra herd, by his bite mark on Marty's rear from the last film.
  • Nightmare Fuel: For kids however, Teetsi.
  • Magnificent Bastards: The Penguins and King Julien to an extent.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-CIRCUS! Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-AFRO!" In no small part to the fact almost every commercial used it.
    • I like to move it move it! I like to move it move it! I like to move it move it! Ya like to...
      • And it's rather telling the credits to the third movie (along with the ads) uses a mashup of both.
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