Although they [[OneSceneWonder only appear as comic relief]] in the movies, the penguins have proven to be {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s to the point that they received their own show, ''ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'' and a solo movie. After all, EverythingsBetterWithPenguins.

Note that this character sheet applies only to the TV series canon. For tropes related to the characters in the movie franchises, go [[Characters/{{Madagascar}} here]].
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[[quoteright:286:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Penguins_of_Madagascar_-_Skipper_2_975.jpg]]
!Skipper
The leader of a BadassCrew of Commando Penguins, voiced by Creator/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 Slap}}ping them to keep them in line.
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Tropes associated with Skipper:
* AfraidOfNeedles: In "Needle Point," he goes well out of his way to avoid getting a shot.
* BadAss
* BerserkButton: 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.
*** Or Denmark.
* TheCaptain
* DeadpanSnarker
* DopeSlap: Used often on his comrades. Sometimes all three in one swing.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Has shades of this in ''A Kipper for Skipper''. He subjects his comrades to all sorts of difficult and impossible tasks.
* FantasticRacism: He occasionally makes less-than-complimentary remarks towards mammals. He especially dislikes humans.
** Despite this he genuinely respects Marlene, and has openly said that she's smart, despite claiming that mammals have low intelligence
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The Choleric.
* GoodIsNotNice: Technically the penguins are the heroes of the series. ''Technically.''
** "Technically" nothing, they ARE openly heroic and have good intentions...even if they are usually [[HeroicComedicSociopath needlessly ruthless and have little concern for collateral damage]]
* TheHero: Occasionally, he and the others ''do'' come off as [[JerkAss jerks]], but they almost always save the day in the end.
* ItsAllMyFault: Done twice. The first time was when he poked a hole in Julien's bouncy house causing him to lose his crown (though he blamed part of it on Marlene for provoking him); the other, when one of the chimps causes him and the penguins to spin out and lose a race to the lemurs. In the latter episode, also he accepts full responsibility despite the fact he did nothing to cause it. He even said they would have his resignation in the morning because of his shame and guilt.
** NeverMyFault: The one time it was his fault, he pinned the blame on Private.
* LargeHam: Lots of dramatic closeups and exaggerated gestures accompany his powerful paranoia and give the impression that Skipper has trained at the WilliamShatner 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.
* LovesMyAlterEgo: He fell for Arlene (Marlene in disguise due to chlorine accident) and became kinda StalkerWithACrush.
* TheNicknamer: He almost always refers to Julien as "Ringtail," Mort as "Sad Eyes" and Max as "moon cat."
* NoodleIncident: 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.
* OddCouple / OddFriendship: With Marlene. They are certainly friends and honestly respect and trust one another. Even though Marlene's friendly and level-headed nature clashes with Skipper's raving paranoia
** Also with King Julien. The two were described as ''best friends'' by Dr. Blowhole and Skipper's fellow penguins end up more or less ''agreeing''.
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Mostly Officer.
* [[PersonaNonGrata Penguin Non Grata]]: As stated above, he can't set foot in Denmark due to Hans the Puffin making him Public Enemy Number One.
* ProperlyParanoid: 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. [[spoiler:He was right.]]

[[quoteright:286:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Penguins_of_Madagascar_-_Kowalski_2_7104.jpg]]
!Kowalski
The team genius and gadgeteer, voiced by Creator/JeffBennett. 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.
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Tropes associated with Kowalski:
* {{Adorkable}}: Especially when he's excited.
* BambooTechnology: Kowalski reguarly builds amazing things out of elastic bands, coffee cups, lollipop sticks and duct tape.
* BerserkButton: Skipper learned the hard way what that was in the ep Goodnight and Good Chuck.
* BiTheWay: He dated a female dolphin once, but in "Pet Peeved" he shouts out "I love you" to Skipper when he is taken away.
* BunglingInventor: His invention do have a AWFUL tendency to backfire, with Skipper showing skepticism of them working.
* ButtMonkey: Often receives the brunt of Amusing Injuries, SanitySlippage and just being a BunglingInventor.
* CannotTellAJoke:
-->'''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?
** He ''has'' attempted to tell jokes since that episode... but they tend to fall flat.
* CaptainObvious: "Kowalski, report!" Followed by Kowalski making a blatantly obvious statement.
* TheChewToy: His massive ego always makes sure he has it coming to him every time.
* DeadpanSnarker: He has his moments of this.
%%* ForScience: Please add context before un-commenting
* DitzyGenius: Many of his inventions and plans are...questionable.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The Melancholic.
* GadgeteerGenius: The team's primary source of HomemadeInventions.
* HomemadeInventions: His specialty.
* IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing: Practically his CatchPhrase. Apart from, "For SCIENCE!"
* InsufferableGenius: Kowalski is ''incredibly'' arrogant about how intelligent he is, bordering on narcissism.
%%* IronButtMonkey: Please add context before un-commenting
%%* TheLancer: Please add context before un-commenting
* LargeHam: Not particularly to Skipper's degree, but he's keeping up.
* LoveHurts: his one-sided love of Doris the dolphin.
-->'''Julien''': Ooh, the dolphin-lady who broke him? Yes, he does go on and on about her.
%%* ''MacGyvering'': Please add context before un-commenting
* MadScientist: A more low-key version, but still as mad as it can get.
-->'''Skipper''': Kowalski, have you ''ever'' invented anything that doesn't eventually threaten to destroy us all?
-->'''Kowalski''': Let me think. Uhhhhh... No.
* MagicVersusScience: Is extremely skeptical of anything with a 'supernatural' bent. ''Can'', however, be convinced of its veracity if the problem persists long enough.
* NerdsAreSexy: Arguably, he's the one with the most fans.
%%* NeverLearnedToRead: Please add context before un-commenting
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: The things he does ForScience sometimes result in this, such as his KickTheDog moment in "Friend-in-a-Box" (taking the circuit board from Mort's video game) that earns him a WhatTheHellHero from the others.
* NumberTwo: With the rank of Lieutenant, when Skipper goes AWOL, Kowalski does his best to take charge.
* PapaWolf: To Jiggles.
* PhraseCatcher: 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.
* PuppyDogEyes: Sports a particularly huge pair in the animatic for "It's About Time".
* RedOniBlueOni: The blue to Rico's red.
* SanitySlippage: Is prone to this in most of his ButtMonkey instances.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl
* ShorterMeansSmarter: Inverted, as he's the tallest of the four.
%%* TheSmartGuy: Please add context before un-commenting
* SniffSniffNom: His usual method of handling evidence, including chameleon footprints and a strand of King Julien's fur.

[[quoteright:286:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Penguins_of_Madagascar_-_Rico_9011.jpg]]
!Rico
The big, dumb guy of the team, voiced by JohnDiMaggio. 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.
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Tropes associated with Rico:
* AllergicToLove: In one episode, it's stated that he has "mushy love sensitivity."
* AscendedExtra
* AxCrazy: Rico ''really'' loves StuffBlowingUp 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.
* BerserkButton: His berserk buttons are messing with his dolly or hurting his friends, especially Skipper.
* TheBigGuy: He's a bit sturdier than the other three.
* BiTheWay: 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.
* ChainsawGood: As Private said in one episode, "Oh, Rico! Chainsaw's YourAnswerToEverything!"
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: See DumbMuscle below.
* DumbMuscle: 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 StomachOfHolding. [[TropesAreNotBad 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 promo for the third movie has him smoothly vomiting up a match. Maybe they are starting to take cues from the show?
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The Sanguine.
* HoYay:[[invoked]] "Kaboom and Kabust" very blatantly ships him with King Julien.
** I always thought it was him being shipped with explosions.
* IntelligibleUnintelligible: 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 [[RepeatingSoTheAudienceCanHear provide some sort of translation]].
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Or ''crazier''. See "Hello, Dollface" or "Kaboom and Kabust".
* MadBomber: He has periods when his first response to ''anything'' is to cough up a stick of dynamite and a match.
-->'''Rico''': ''Kaboom kaboom kaboom?''\\
'''Skipper''': ''Rico, '''enough''' with the dynamite already.''
* NightmareFetishist: Rico is perfectly happy with things that give the other penguins nightmares. Like serenely munching away on popcorn while watching a brutal NatureDocumentary 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.
* OverlyLongTongue: Possibly concealed within the StomachOfHolding most of the time.
* PersonOfMassDestruction: So very much.
* RedOniBlueOni; The red to Kowalski's blue.
* SingingVoiceDissonance: Later episodes add a running gag of him randomly singing "Fiiiiiiiiiissssh!" in a deep and clear voice.
* [[SilentSnarker Unintelligible Snarker]]: Frequently.
* StomachOfHolding: 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. There's also a staircase, but the elevator is faster.
* TokenEvilTeammate
* TooKinkyToTorture: 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.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: ''Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!''

[[quoteright:286:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Penguins_of_Madagascar_-_Private_2051.jpg]]
!Private
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.
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Tropes associated with Private:
* {{Adorkable}}: There seems to be an in-universe consensus on this, with both Skipper and Kowalski reassuring him of being "Adorable!" on separate occasions. They also use this trait as a tactic once in awhile, and it even features as a plot point in one of the episodes, wherein he becomes jealous that his "title" has been handed over to someone else.
* BadassAdorable: His cuteness is actually ''weaponized'' in "Cute-astrophe".
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Private can pull off a MomentOfAwesome just as easily as any of the other penguins. Betraying his belief that [[RousseauWasRight all animals are basically good]] also serves as a BerserkButton for him.
* BishieSparkle: Parodied, his weaponized cuteness includes a spontanously generated ''rainbow''.
** In High moltage where he was molting, it had the opposite effect of REALLY grossing people out.
* CheerfulChild
* CloserToEarth
* TheConscience: Though usually holding the moral high ground, he also tends to be rather timid when first voicing his concerns, gradually losing his patience as HilarityEnsues.
* CutenessProximity: Honed to the point of becoming an incredibly effective weapon in "Cute-astrophe".
* DarkAndTroubledPast[=/=]TheGunslinger: Parodied when Private's {{backstory}} is revealed in "Mr. Tux". He used to be a hardcore miniature golf player in Florida.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: The cause of his crush on student nurse Shawna.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The Supine.
* TheHeart: Spelled out in "Command Crisis."
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: His crush on HospitalHottie Shawna in "LoveHurts" led him to deliberately injure himself. When the others threaten to come between them, he improvises a [[WoundedGazelleGambit Wounded Penguin Gambit]].
* NiceGuy: According to Julien, he's the nicest guy in the zoo.
* SanityBall: Most often, it's in his flippers. "Skorca!" inverts the situation by having him paranoid about the title character and the other penguins not believing him.
* SweetTooth: See below.
* TokenGoodTeammate
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Peanut butter winky. Also butterscotch lollipops.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: He's afraid of badgers, and not fond of cockroaches.
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!Jiggles
A gelatinous Green Cube creation of Kowalski that nearly killed the penguins twice

* BlobMonster: Well he more gelatinous than a blob but he does fit it.
* DubNameChange: "Flubbi" in the German dub.