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Although they only appear as comic relief in the movies, the penguins have proven to be Ensemble Darkhorses to the point that they received their own show, The Penguins of Madagascar and a recently announced solo movie. After all, Everything's Better with Penguins.

Note that this character sheet applies only to the TV series canon. For tropes related to the characters in the movie franchises, go here.

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Skipper 2 975.jpg


The leader of a Badass Crew of Commando Penguins, voiced by DreamWorks animator/TV series co-creator Tom McGrath. He speaks in a crisp, hard-edged tone like a cool spy from a film noir movie. In the TV series, Skipper is somewhat abrasive with the other three penguins, often chastizing them and Dope Slapping them to keep them in line.

Tropes associated with Skipper:

  • Afraid of Needles: In "Needle Point," he goes well out of his way to avoid getting a shot.
  • Anti-Hero: Type III. A lethal Anti-Hero.
  • Badass
  • Berserk Button: Okay, so he doesn't go berserk, per se, but Skipper really doesn't like it when you call him fat, or any of its synonyms. He likes to claim it's muscle.
    • He really doesn't like Hoboken, NJ.
  • The Captain
  • Dope Slap: Used often on his comrades. Sometimes all three in one swing.
  • Fantastic Racism: He occasionally makes less-than-complimentary remarks towards mammals. He especially dislikes humans.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Technically the penguins are the heroes of the series. Technically.
  • The Hero: Occasionally, though, he and the others do come off as jerks, but they almost always save the day in the end.
  • It's All My Fault: Done twice. The first time was when he poked a hole in Julien's bouncy house causing him to lose his crown; the other, when one of the chimps causes him and the penguins to spin out and loss a race to the lemurs. In the latter episode, also he accepts full responsibility despite the fact he did nothing that caused it. He even said they would have his resignation in the morning because of his shame and guilt.
    • Never My Fault: The one time it was his fault, he pinned the blame on Private.
  • Large Ham: Lots of dramatic closeups and exaggerated gestures accompany his powerful paranoia and give the impression that Skipper has trained at the William Shatner school of acting. His tendency to clutch a flipper to his chest when upset gives one the permanent suspicion that he's suffering from some sort of heart condition.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: He fell for Arlene (Marlene in disguise due to chlorine accident) and became kinda Stalker with a Crush.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Let's see. He's well aware of what is happening in the entire zoo, His plans involving other people go very well and can think on the fly (including the one time that required him to flawlessly switch places with Julien without Julien separately disguising himself as Skipper), has succeeded in missions ranging from escaping a zoo to defeating a giant evil MP 3 player flying over midtown with an evil dolphin at the helm, and everyone will go along with him despite hating him and him hating them. Yep, he fits.
  • The Nicknamer: He almost always refers to Julien as "Ringtail," Mort as "Sad Eyes" and Max as "moon cat."
  • Noodle Incident: The Danes don't like him for some reason.
    • As one episode showed, it apparently had something to do with it ending in a fish-sword fight, among others.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Mostly Officer.
  • Penguin Non Grata: As stated above, he can't set foot in Denmark due to Hans the Puffin making him Public Enemy Number One.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sometimes. Other times, he wears the paranoia cap too long.
    • His tendency to overreact to situations new to him gets subverted in its own right: in one of the specials the show had, he and the other penguins get stuck in Hoboken's Zoo, which has all of their former villains reformed. Skipper's thoughts about this? He comes up with a plot about them being taken over by robot clones. He was right.
File:Penguins of Madagascar - Kowalski 2 7104.jpg


The team genius and gadgeteer, voiced by Jeff Bennett. Kowalski builds all of the crazy technology that the other penguins use (and quite a lot that they don't use) and helps come up with plans.

Tropes associated with Kowalski:

  • Bamboo Technology: Kowalski reguarly builds amazing things out of elastic bands, coffee cups, lollipop sticks and duct tape.
  • Bi the Way: He dated a female dolphin once, but in "Pet Peeved" he shouts out "I love you" to Skipper when he is taken away.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke:

 Private: There's two of you! That's a great trick!

Kowalski: Private, can you recall a time when I have ever played a trick or even told a joke?

 Skipper: Kowalski, have you ever invented anything that doesn't eventually threaten to destroy us all?

Kowalski: Let me think. Uhhhhh... No.

  • Magic Versus Science: Is extremely skeptical of anything with a 'supernatural' bent. Can, however, be convinced of its veracity if the problem persists long enough.
    • Once attempted to deny magic when it worked in an episode. He fails miserably.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Arguably, he's the one with the most fans.
  • Never Learned to Read
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The things he does For Science! sometimes result in this, such as his Kick the Dog moment in "Friend-in-a-Box" (taking the circuit board from Mort's video game) that earns him a What the Hell, Hero? from the others.
  • Number Two: With the rank of Lieutenant, when Skipper goes AWOL, Kowalski does his best to take charge.
    • Subverted; he feels terribly lost without Skipper around, and even had to ask once if the remaining wanted to hear his options.
  • Phrase Catcher: In early episodes, Skipper would often say "Kowalski, options." or "Kowalski, report." to him. This catch phrase has cropped up again halfway through season 2.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Rico's red.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Inverted, as he's the tallest of the four.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: His usual method of handling evidence, including chameleon footprints and a strand of King Julien's fur.
File:Penguins of Madagascar - Rico 9011.jpg


The big, dumb guy of the team, voiced by John Dimaggio. Usually, he speaks in short grunts, but his speech has become a little more coherent in later episodes of the series. Rico's main job is to spit up any sort of device that the other penguins need. Look closely and see that Rico actually has a scar over his beak, possibly from too much hacking up of stuff.

Tropes associated with Rico:

  • Allergic to Love: In one episode, it's stated that he has "mushy love sensitivity."
  • Anti-Hero: Type III. Lethal, like Skipper.
  • Ax Crazy: Rico really loves Stuff Blowing Up and anything else that's destructive.
    • Taken to the extreme in "Kaboom and Kabust"; the other three penguins have to constantly keep him under control (which is why they almost never let Rico explode things,) otherwise Rico loses it completely and destroys everything he can find.
  • The Big Guy: He's a bit sturdier than the other three.
  • Bi the Way: Lots of characters suggest this, but as well as having a toy doll girlfriend, Rico probably has the most moments of being attracted to the other penguins.
  • Chainsaw Good: As Private said in one episode, "Oh, Rico! Chainsaw's Your Answer to Everything!"
  • Dumb Muscle: The episode "Friend In A Box" has Kowalski make a mind-reading device. When the other two penguins are disgusted with Kowalski (and he with himself), Rico thinks only "Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiish". When the other two penguins are proud of him, Rico still thinks, "Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish". There are many other examples of Rico not being too bright...
  • Flanderization: In the movies, the only thing Rico ever spits up is a paper clip. Somehow, this got magnified to him being a Stomach of Holding. Not that this is a bad thing - on the contrary it's hilarious.
    • Admittedly in the second movie Rico does start pulling other things - like a switchblade, for example - out of nowhere, and then putting them away again, and regurgitation is as good a reason as any. But nothing particuarly lol-worthy comes up - it's still majorly flanderised.
      • A recent promo for the third movie has him smoothly vomiting up a match. Maybe they are starting to take cues from the show?
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine.
  • Ho Yay: "Kaboom and Kabust" very blatantly ships him with King Julien.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: At times, his speech can be understood fairly easily, especially in later episodes. Either way, if what he's saying is important to the plot, the other penguins will usually provide some sort of translation.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Or crazier. See "Hello, Dollface" or "Kaboom and Kabust".
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Rico is perfectly happy with things that give the other penguins nightmares. Like serenely munching away on popcorn while watching a brutal Nature Documentary with penguins getting gobbled up by leopard seals. And when Kowalski and Private are clearly horrified/nauseated at Skipper's broken flipper in "I Was a Penguin Zombie," Rico looks… a little too interested.
    • In "Roger Dodger", as Roger is being pummeled offscreen by the rats, Rico stares at said beatdown, a blank smile on his face, his left eye twitching, and licks his beak at the end.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Possibly concealed within the Stomach of Holding most of the time.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: So very much.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni; The red to Kowalski's blue.
  • Stomach of Holding: Exaggerated; he can spit up almost anything he or the other penguins need. In one episode, Mort requires an elevator to get to the bottom of his stomach to remove a bomb.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: In "Needle Point", after Rico gets his shot, he actually doesn't seem to mind the pain too much, scooching his butt around on the floor. Or perhaps he just likes comforting the pain. Either way he looks really kinky.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!
File:Penguins of Madagascar - Private 2051.jpg


The youngest member of the team. Voiced by James Patrick Stuart, he tends to be the most sane and logical — at least in comparison to Skipper's paranoid delusions, Kowalski's mad science, and Rico's love for explosions. Sometimes he's also got a little bit of childish naïveté. He has a tendency to get the sucker jobs.

Tropes associated with Private:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - King Julien 101.jpg

King Julien XIII

A ring-tailed lemur and (apparently self-proclaimed) king. Egomaniacal and ditzy, he's the closest thing the show has to a recurring antagonist. But at the same time, the penguins tolerate him when he's not being that big of a jerk. Julien "rules" over a small empire also comprising Maurice and Mort (see below). Voiced by Danny Jacobs.

Tropes associated with King Julien:

  • Ambiguously Gay/Bi the Way: He likes to dance; he's obsessed with his own booty; he gives bedroom eyes; he's dressed in drag on occasion (though that may be even less significant to his actual sexuality than in Real Life crossdressers, as he normally wears nothing but his crown); despite his attempts at maintaining a ladies' man image, he was unfamiliar enough with females that he didn't know where mammal babies come from, and was disgusted to find out the truth (though that may just be simple Cloudcuckoolander status); and one episode blatantly ships him with Rico. Oh yeah, and he even said that he has a Girlfriend in Canada. On the other hand, he "courted" Marlene twice and has hit on Rico's Ms Perky doll. Wild Mass Guessing has also pegged him as Ambiguously Transsexual, thanks to the Animal Gender Bender mentioned below.
    • Taken to its limits with Julien in "It's About Time," when he sees Skipper and Private wrestling over the episode's MacGuffin and begins poking Maurice.

 Julien: Ah, look at them Maurice. Why can't we play affectionately like that?

  • Animal Gender Bender: Real Life lemur groups are ruled by females. Then again, now he's in a zoo with only two other lemurs, both of which are male, and he's probably the nearest thing they've got. Also, when he claims Eggy is his, Kowalski says mammals can't lay eggs and asks if he's part platypus, without mentioning that males don't lay eggs either. (Then again, see above.)
  • Anti-Hero: Type IV or Type V. The closest thing the show has to a recurring antagonist - but he also repeatedly helps out the penguins when it benefits him.
  • Anything That Moves: Forget Ambiguously Gay or Bi the Way, it's easier to believe that Julien just loves to be admired, and doesn't care whether that admiration is sexual or otherwise.
  • Attention Whore
  • Berserk Button / Hates Being Touched: NO ONE MAY TOUCH THE ROYAL FEET!
    • "Friend-in-a-Box" suggests that a Freudian Excuse may be involved. After Mort becomes obsessed with a portable video game, Julien goes out of his way to try and force Mort upon his feet, claiming that he wants to experience the joy of kicking Mort off. Eventually, he even goes so far as to beg Maurice and the penguins to pay attention to the royal feet.
    • He freaks out when no one does what he tells them on King Julien Day.
  • Buffy-Speak: A normal part of his speech pattern, along with Malaproping; he frequently makes comments like "What is up with the unbig tiny-littleness of my royal estate?"
  • The Caligula: Parodied by his existence.
  • Casting Gag: When the celebrity voice actors were replaced in the transition from the Madagascar films to the series, celebrity voice actor Sacha Baron Cohen (the voice of King Julien) was replaced by Danny Jacobs. Jacobs previously played an impersonation of Cohen's Borat character in Epic Movie.
  • Clingy Jealous King: Thanks to his believing that It's All About Him, he quickly gets jealous when somebody/something else is getting the attention he thinks he deserves.
    • He also doesn't like that Marlene is crushing on Fred rather than him. He doesn't give a reason why this makes him so upset, other than that Marlene was "in love with Julian" the whole time before... which was another lie.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Part of King Julien's regular speech pattern.
  • Distressed Dude
  • Evil Laugh: Not as amazing as other Nicktoons, but pretty close. Usually Played for Laughs, much like most of the tropes on this page.
  • Fat and Skinny: Skinny Julien is the silly one, and fat Maurice is the Straight Man.
  • Flanderization: A bit more of a Jerkass than in the movies, but he still has his moments (such as saving Skipper's life in one episode). His dialect is also noticeably stronger.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Skipper. The two spend most of their shared screentime arguing and generally being annoyed by each other, but Skipper will go out of his way to help Julien, and Julien has gone to Skipper to have his problems fixed. They were actually mistaken as 'BFF's by Skipper's Arch Nemesis Dr. Blowhole... and the other penguins said he had a point.

 Julien: So I face danger and the adventure of a lifetime and nobody will ever know about it?!

Skipper: Welcome to my world. That makes you an honorary penguin.

Julien: Does that mean I am your BFF?

Skipper: Eehh... we'll keep that code on the QT.

  • Incidental Villain: Being a spoiled ego-maniacal control freak, he's the most common antagonist on the show, with his schemes often being the catalyst for larger plots or being the main threat of the episode. But, despite being something of a Jerkass, he is only casually disliked by the rest of the cast. The other characters tolerate him when he's not doing anything antagonistic, since he's not generally a bad guy, just a spoiled jerk who occasionally screws with people to get his own way.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Ringtail."
  • It's All About Me: He is the King, and so obviously is more important than any non-kingly animals, right?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has his moments of being... less mean to the others.
  • Large Ham: With a side of Keet
  • Malaproper: He is a bit of a word mangler. Examples include "These stitions are very super!" and "No one will be sucking seed!"
  • Man Child: He has a tendency to throw childish tantrums, and on one occasion starts talking to his cuddly toys when he's depressed.
  • Narcissist: To the point that he has distinct ho yay with a robot copy of himself.
  • Nakama: Among himself, Maurice and Mort. Arguably.
  • Nice Hat: His crown. He loves it a lot.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Nothing major, but the end of his short Congaga song in 'Eclipsed' is rather impressive, especially considering his usual voice is not all that pleasant.
  • Sixth Ranger: When the squad is lacking in numbers, Julien often comes in as a substitute.
  • The Sociopath: King Julien displays far too many of the typical sociopathic qualities to ignore this trope.
  • Token Evil Teammate
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
  • Upperclass Twit
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The same general quasi-African accent in the movie, only (as mentioned above) more exaggerated.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: He dressed as a cheerleader in the episode "Miracle On Ice" and was jealous of Skipper's "pretty pink bow" in "Miss Understanding". The "wholesome" is debateable, but his un-wholesome characteristics are not related directly to the crossdressing.
File:Penguins of Madagascar - Maurice 8740.jpg


An aye-aye who serves as King Julien's right hand man and advisor, although Julien rarely follows his advice. Although he seems easily annoyed by Julien's antics, Maurice isn't above saving his life. Voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

Tropes associated with Maurice:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Mort 6622.jpg


A mouse lemur who is also part of Julien's nakama. He is pretty much there to be the victim of physical comedy, although Marlene in particular seems to care for him. Voiced by Andy Richter.

Tropes associated with Mort:

 "Which of the colours is blue?"

 "I'll get the glue."

"To eat?!"


File:Penguins of Madagascar - Mason and Phil 5765.jpg

Mason and Phil

A pair of chimpanzees. Mason is a stuffy British-accented one (voiced by Conrad Vernon), while Phil is mute and communicates only through sign language.

Tropes associated with Mason and Phil:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Marlene 4743.png


A female otter who tolerates the penguins. Playful and kind, she tries to see the best in others and is one of the only characters who cares for Mort's well-being. Voiced by Nicole Sullivan.

Tropes associated with Marlene:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Alice 6370.jpg


Voiced by Mary Scheer. She is a zookeeper who doesn't seem to care too much for her job, and expresses annoyance at tour groups.

Tropes associated with Alice:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Dr Blowhole 3797.jpg

Dr. Blowhole

A mad scientist and primary antagonist to Skipper. At first, he was only mentioned in passing by Skipper, leading to Marlene's belief that he didn't exist. The half-hour "Dr. Blowhole's Revenge" showed him to be real. Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris.

Tropes associated with Dr. Blowhole:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Fred 4217.jpg


A not-too-bright squirrel who lives in the park. When the penguins leave the zoo, they often cross paths with him. Voiced by Fred Stoller.

Tropes associated with Fred:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Joey 6171.jpg


An ill-tempered, violent kangaroo with a stereotypical Australian accent. Antagonist to both the penguins and the lemurs most of the time.

Tropes associated with Joey:

  • Animal Gender Bender: He has a pouch.
  • Australian Accent: He shares a voice actor with British-accented Private.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Inverted - he's a maniac who makes things worse.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He'll beat up other animals just for being in his habitat... and deliberately keep them there so that he can beat them up some more if they try to escape.
  • Stupid Evil: When fighting the "skorca", he beats off the penguins first because he doesn't want them to win against it. Skipper calls him out on it, but Joey dismisses him on the grounds that "Joey doesn't share".
  • Third Person Person: Lampshaded in "Kanga Management".
  • The Worf Effect: Officer X and Eggy have pulled one on him.
File:Penguins of Madagascar - Max 1399.jpg


A stray cat whom the penguins first meet in a failed attempt to fly to the moon. Max has reappeared in several episodes, often seeking help from the penguins. Voiced by Wayne Knight.

Tropes associated with Max:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Officer X 5953.jpg

Officer X

An animal control officer who has made repeated, failed attempts to capture the penguins while they're out on the town. After getting thwarted by the penguins in one episode, he loses his job and reappeared later on as an exterminator and then again as a zookeeper. Voiced by Cedric Yarbrough.

Tropes associated with Officer X:

 Alice: X, eh? Is that the name your mommy gave you?

Agent X: Mother never told me my real name. Said it was classified.

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Rat King 5961.jpg

Rat King

A large, muscular sewer rat with a heavy East-Side accent and a tendency to say "Dude!" and "Awesome!" a lot, who often antagonizes the penguins. Voiced by Diedrich Bader.

Tropes associated with Rat King:

File:Penguins of Madagascar - Roger 2579.jpg


A large, friendly alligator. Although the others are terrified of him at first, they grow to like him once they find that he is pacifistic and friendly. Eventually he moves into a habitat in the zoo. Voiced by Richard Kind.

Tropes associated with Roger:


The resident elephant at the zoo. Though normally an easygoing guy, he's easily annoyed by anyone messing with his food. But if you do manage to set him off...

Tropes associated with Burt:


A paranoid koala who first appears in "Night and Dazed". He is rather afraid of the penguins in their attempts to be nice to him, mainly because he's often the target of unintentional injury. Voiced by Dana Snyder.

  • Australian Accent: Strangely averted.
  • Not So Different: as seen in "Kanga Management". Because he's nocturnal and Joey's diurnal, Joey is angered by Leonard always doing something when trying to sleep...but at the end, they bond when they realize that they both hate the penguins.
  • Properly Paranoid: You would be too, if the penguins accidentally blew up your habitat.


An adorable little duckling whose egg came under the penguins' care during "Parental Egg-Stinct". After hatching and being returned to Mama Duck, he showed an innate talent for Skipper's style of leadership.

Tropes associated with Eggy:


A falcon who crash-landed in the zoo, setting off the events of "The Falcon and the Snow Job" and serving as Skipper's Temporary Love Interest as he fought to clear her good name.

Tropes associated with Kitka:


A puffin who has a dark history with Skipper. Whatever happened in Denmark is between Skipper, him and the Danes.

Tropes associated with Hans:

 Hans: --And I kissed your sister! On the lips!

Skipper: I don't have a sister. And if I did, she wouldn't have lips.

Hans: ...Oh. Then who did I kiss?

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