Characters: Pearls Before Swine
A list of characters from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine.
RatThe main character; a very cynical rat who is critical of the strip's work and often schemes to get a quick buck. He believes himself to be utterly superior to everyone around him and constantly antagonizes and trolls everyone around him.
- Anti-Hero: He's not the nicest rat you'll ever meet.
- Babysitter from Hell: The Baby Blues-Pearls Before Swine crossover strip demonstrated that Rat is, bar none, the absolute worst babysitter that anyone can imagine, making even Vicky from The Fairly OddParents seem like a saint in comparison.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: See With Friends Like These... below
- Catch Phrase: When Pig does something stupid: "You dumb Pig!"
- Comic Trio: The schemer of the trio.
- The Cynic
- Cynicism Catalyst: It's heavily implied that his break-up with Fiona caused him to be even more cynical and spiteful than before, when he wasn't even near being so.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Foil: To Pig. See below.
- Go Out with a Smile: In one strip, he literally went nuclear just by attempting to smile, resulting in one of his "deaths."
- Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: When he hijacked the strip once, he wrote himself as a "Raterpillar" who eats every single character in the strip.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath
- Jerkass: Unrepentantly and sometimes proudly so.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rat is a Jerkass, no question, but his anger is occasionally directed at the rude behavior of others and his misanthropy is largely the result of being subjected to hundreds of little annoyances. When the mood strikes him, he's even capable of being nice to Pig, mainly by keeping him from harsh truths. It's also implied that his cynicism is partly due to Fiona breaking up with him, as he wasn't nearly as bad before that.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He sees himself as this, at one point refusing to look his love interest in the eye because he feels like she can see straight into his head and "it's not a nice place in there", though that shifts into Jerk with a Heart of Gold all the same, being aware that he is not a really good person and tends to be mean to everyone.
- Lack of Empathy: Even to his roommate.
- Large Ham...and the fat man is yelling "DIE, CRACKERS, DIE!!"
- Man Child: But is bratty and arrogant in contrast to Pig's innocence.
- Nietzsche Wannabe:
- Obnoxious Snarker: Some of his snarking is downright cruel.
- Odd Friendship: Being a cynical, mean pessimist, he's best friends with a friendly Wide-Eyed Idealist. Huh?
- Rage Against the Author: Often criticizes or threatens Pastis when a bad Pun or Painful Rhyme is let off as a punch line.
- He also just shows up at Stephan's house just to mess with him frequently.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Expressed with Symbol Swearing.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Is this to Stephan and Goat, who he trolls constantly.
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Strawman Political: A very right-leaning conservative.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Once was run over by a car. Died again after exploding from the stress of smiling too much. Was killed once more of a heart attack when Pastis himself died in the strip. He came Back from the Dead each time.
- Troll: He appreciates the internet because it allows him to be anonymously rude.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- Villain Protagonist: Sometimes.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with Pig. He is the primary target of Rat's abuse, but Rat really does care for him and they remain best friends.
- With Friends Like These...: He treats Pig badly, constantly trolls Goat, and has sided with the Crocs whenever it would benefit him.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: He holds lots of jobs just to get some money. He regularly gets fired due to his Jerkass attitude to whoever he's supposed to serve.
- Ultimate Job Security: ...though he often gets hired back thanks to diversity laws, as another talking rat would be hard to find.
- You Dirty Rat: Literally and figuratively.
PigThe second most important character of the strip and Rat's roommate: a good-natured, yet naive and dimwitted anthropomorphic pig who lives with Rat.
- All-Loving Hero: His good nature leads him to make friends with even inanimate objects.
- Butt Monkey: Was this in the early days of the strip, but recently the burden has been tossed to Goat.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He can come up with and say really weird things sometimes.
- Comic Trio: He's often the blind follower to Rat's schemes.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton
- Expressive Ears
- Fat Idiot
- Foil: To Rat. Pig's idealistic view on life contrasts with Rat's very cynical view.
- The Hero
- Idiot Hero
- Kindhearted Simpleton: By far the nicest of the main cast despite being dumb.
- Man Child: His immaturity gets him ridicule from all of his friends.
- Messy Pig
- Nice Guy
- Nice Hat: Wears these on a regular basis.
- Odd Friendship: With Rat. Being a friendly, optimistic Wide-Eyed Idealist, he has no problems being friends with a pessimistic cynicist.
- The Pollyanna: He keeps a positive attitude even when Rat abuses him.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Pastis hints in a strip dedicated to his father-in-law that Pig was based on him, a big optimist.
- Unlucky Everydude
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with Rat. Even when Rat abuses him, he remains best friends with him.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Even when Rat, Goat, and Zebra are all cynical, Pig remains optimistic.
GoatA goat who lives near Pig and Rat. He is much more intelligent than both of them, but his intelligence is usually not acknowledged by either of them.
- Bookworm: He is often seen reading while at the diner that he and his friends go to.
- British Stuffiness: Sometimes falls into this, as he has a British accent in the official animated shorts.
- Catch Phrase: Check Please
- After reading Rat's latest work: "You cannot put this in X!" (usually a children's novel) or "You really should stop writing X."
- "I give up", "Why do I even...?"
- Character Filibuster
- Comic Trio: He's the smart yet powerless one between Rat and Pig.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Face Palm: Or occasionally an Eye Take.
- Ineffectual Loner: Prefers to kept to himself and his books for the most part. This may be because many of the other characters are irredeemably stupid in spite of Goat's efforts to correct their misconceptions. He seems to get along best with the level-headed Zebra.
- Momma's Boy: Averted. Goat himself admits that he hasn't talked to his mother for a period of some years, though there is later a week-long arc when he does visit her.
- Only Sane Man
- No Respect Guy
- The Smart Guy
- Stage Names: His real name is Paris, he claims Goat is a stage name.
ZebraA friend of Pig, Rat, and Goat. He's also quite intelligent and also very kind and gentle. At first, he was seen patching relations long-distance with his relatives back home and a pride of lions. Later, he primarily tries to avoid the schemes of the crocodile fraternity Zeeba Zeeba Eata.
- Breakout Character: He was supposed to be a one-shot, but fan demand brought him to major character status.
- Deadpan Snarker: Towards the crocodiles, anyway.
- Hypocrite: While he doesn't want the crocs or lions to eat him, he has no problem with eating lobster.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Much to the chagrin of his lion friends.
- Only Sane Man: Usually, but not as often as Goat.
Zeeba Zeeba EataA fraternity of crocodiles whose fraternity house is next door to Zebra. Their primary goal is to kill and eat Zebra, but due to their stupidity, they are unable to accomplish this.
- Arch-Enemies: Of Zebra, but they aren't on good terms with the rest of the cast.
- Catch Phrase: "Hullo, zeeba neighba."
- Critical Research Failure: Invoked. If any of their plans involves a famous person, odds are they not only get the person's history completely wrong, but the person is most likely dead.
- Dropped a Bridge on Them: Their plans constantly get their own members killed.
- Failure Is the Only Option: They will never eat Zebra.
- Funetik Aksent: See their Catch Phrase above. They also occasionally lapse into You No Take Candle.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Their plans mostly kill their own members rather than Zebra.
- Hidden Depths: They can swim. Yes, really. For all their idiocies, they can swim to save their lives.
- Painting the Medium: They speak in a unique, properly capitalized font in contrast to the Bold Inflation used by the rest of the cast.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: A frequent part of their schemes, Zebra is never fooled.
- Red Shirts/Mooks: All of them, with the exception of Larry.
- Too Dumb to Live: Literally, as noted above.
LarryA member of Zeeba Zeeba Eata, Larry lives in the house behind Zebra and is even dumber than his fellow Crocs, though not by much. He also has a wife, Patty, and a son, Junior.
- The Alcoholic: Often is seen drinking beer.
- Birthday Hater: He's revealed to really hate his birthday. He tries some strange tricks like hiding from his birthday cake, and covering his ears(?) and saying "Me can't hear you!" more than once when his name is called in the "Happy Birthday" song. He does these things because he thinks he won't grow a year older if he does them. He wants to think of himself as 26 years old, when he's apparently twice that age.
- Bumbling Dad
- Butt Monkey
- Education Papa: Inverted. He doesn't want Junior to go to school, and instead just wants him to stay home and play Wii, at one point even tackling Junior to keep him from going to school.
- Jerkass: When Patty got kidnapped once, his first instinct was too beg for food until he realized she was gone and if it wasn't for Junior begging him, he probably would have let Zebra keep her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his greedy nature, he loves his son.
- The Load
- Man Child: He believes that tofu comes from a "Tofu Cow" (which he sculpts the tofu into), and will follow any Simon Sez order without question for example.
- Mauve Shirt
- Never My Fault
- Small Name, Big Ego
- They Killed Kenny Again: Has died at least once.
PattyLarry's wife and Juniors mother. Puts up with a lot from Larry and is constantly disappointed in him.
- Damsel in Distress: Zebra kidnapped her for a few weeks in an attempt to get Larry and his fellow crocs to stop trying to eat him. He eventually returned her when he realized Larry really didn't care and Zebra was only hurting Junior.
- Fantastic Racism: Does not like her son dating a zebra and wants Larry to kill Zebra. Justified in that Larry's a predator. Later Subverted in that while she still wants Zebra dead, she's willing to put differences aside so Junior would come home for Christmas.
- Only Sane Woman
JuniorLarry and Patty's son. He tries not to be like the rest of his race and is not only friends with Zebra but a vegetarian. He has a zebra girlfriend named Joy, who happens to be Zebra's niece. Larry and Patty are not happy about any of this.
- Carnivore Confusion: Does not eat meat, yet Crocodiles cannot digest plant matter in real life.
- Interspecies Romance: With Zebra's niece Joy.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much
- Odd Friendship: With Zebra.
- White Sheep
Guard DuckPig's, well, Guard Duck that he bought when he and Rat couldn't afford a guard dog. He is highly paranoid and his first solution to most problems is to shoot like the dickens. He occasionally works as a soldier of fortune and is usually off on his own adventures separate from the group these days.
- Acrophobic Bird: He never learned to fly.
- Badass: And how!
- Berserk Button: Don't insult him or talk down to him It won't end well.
- And as the Crocs learned, don't mention Maura leaving him if you don't want to become a pair of boots.
- Breakout Character: Was originally just another week of one-off strips but the fans liked him enough that Stephan brought him back.
- The Caligula: During his brief reign as Mayor he used the city's funds to get revenge on his enemies list, build a giant statue of himself, and saw All the President's Men as an instruction book on how to run the city.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Eventually comes to the conclusion that cows are in control of the world and he tries to convince Pig and his friends about this.
- Heartbroken Badass: During the times Maura has left him he's made one of the Crocs into a pair of boots, and killed one with a copy machine.
- Heroic BSOD: After Maura, his non-anthropomorphic duck girlfriend leaves him again he proceeded to stalk other couples in paris and tell them how long he thinks the relationship will last and burns down the greeting cards section of a store.
- He's Back: After his Heroic BSOD after Maura left him to be a AFLAC spokesduck, he takes out the last member of the Crocs "Fantastic Four" and destroys a puppet Rat had been using to torment Pig into obeying him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his violent tendencies, he did genuinely love Maura, is friends with Snuffles, and cares deeply about Pig.
- Killer Rabbit
- Morally Ambiguous Ducktorate
- Perma Stubble
- Psycho for Hire: Worked as one of these before coming back to Pig and Rat.
- Put on a Bus: Granted we still saw snapshots of his life with Maura, but he left the main cast for a while to live with her.
- Smoking Is Cool
- Trigger Happy: Seriously so. His first response to almost anything is a rocket launcher.
Stephan PastisThe creator of the strip. Frequently visits, or is visited by Rat to his never ending frustration.
- Author Avatar
- Author Guest Spot
- Butt Monkey: He's criticized and threatened by Rat all the time. He doesn't get much love from the other characters, either.
- Characterization Marches On: He used to be He Who Must Not Be Seen, then an arrogant douchebag, and many other appearances until he settled on one modeled after himself.
- Interestingly enough, the cartoon design for his wife Staci (the rare times she's been drawn in the strip) has always been pretty consistent.
- Only in It for the Money: His motivation for creating "Licensable Bippy" (see down below).
- Smoking Is Cool: Averted. Not only does the real Stephan not smoke, but Stephan is shown as an out of shape middle aged pudgy guy. Pastis' author commentary reveals that this is because he intended to make himself look like a loser.
- Writers Suck
FarinaPig's sister and the love of Rat's life.
- Bubble Girl: By choice, as she's really germaphobic.
- Interspecies Romance: All her romances have been this, except when she was briefly married to another pig.
- Neat Freak: Hence being germophobic.
- Really Gets Around: Has dated both Dilbert and Hagar the Horrible while apparently with Rat and then left him for Ziggy. She's also apparently dating someone else now.
PigitaPig's on-and-off girlfriend of many years. She is constantly frustrated with his immaturity.
- Mood-Swinger: She didin't used to be called moody Pigita for nothing.
- What Does She See in Him?: She only sees the bad in Pig and threatens to break up with him constantly but never does for long.
SnufflesA cat that the Crocs bought to maim Zebra, but ended up as Zebra's pet. Does shady activities including terrorism, selling stolen watches and running a gambling ring. Also Guard Duck's best friend.
- Bash Brothers: With Guard Duck
- Cats Are Mean: Subverted, despite his shady activities, he loves Zebra, as he let himself get arrested when Zebra got blamed for one of his activities.
- The Dragon/The Lancer: To Guard Duck
- Friend Versus Lover: Would not leave Guard Duck and Maura alone when they were in Paris to the point of chaining himself to the toilet and then threatening to blow himself up when asked to leave.
- The Ingenue
- The Unintelligible: Only says Meow.
MauraA non-anthropomorphic duck and the love of Guard Duck's life. Left him to go south for the winter and later came back for him, only to leave him again to be a spokesduck for Aflac.
AlphonseA suicidal porcupine, though he mainly plans it for attention.
- Attention Whore: Most of his plans for suicide are for sympathy.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Anti-Suicide groups were not amused.
Annie MayPig's arch enemy who's also a sea anemone.
- Back from the Dead: Became two Sea Anemones after Rat killed her the first time.
- Hurricane of Puns / Sublime Rhyme: Annie May, Pig's sea anemone enemy.
- Sit Com Arch Nemesis: To Pig
LeonardA man who worked at an amusement park. Wore his costume all the time and moved in with Rat and Pig. Was eventually killed off.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Got his head stuck in a toilet and died. Justified in this case as Rat was put in charge of deciding how he died.
- Killed Off for Real
- Sixth Ranger
- Undignified Death: He got his head stuck in a toilet and drowned.
- Unlucky Everydude
Wee BearA young bear and social activist
Chuckie the Non-Anthropomorphic SheepA sheep. That's about it.
- The Unintelligible
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Subverted. Though he's non-anthropomorphic, he does stand on his back legs a lot. Otherwise, he can only say "Baa!" and it's not certain that he understands what's going on around him.
Miss BootyworthA syrup bottle that Pig feel in love with until Pigita and Rat killed her.
Toby The Agoraphobic TurtleA turtle who never leaves his shell. Drinks from a beer bong into it.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He never really caught on.
Angry BobA fictional character made by Rat. Dies at the end of every story.
- Back from the Dead: Or as Rat puts it "Angry Bob undied."
- Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what he does to try and find happiness, no matter how good his motives, he will always get killed for his troubles.
- They Killed Kenny Again
AndyA dog tied up to a chain in his owner's backyard, but that doesn't stop him from trying to follow his dreams. Not anymore, it would seem.
- Parental Neglect
- The Pollyanna
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Had a girlfriend who was also chained up in the backyard for a while. They couldn't reach far enough to touch each other. She escaped in the middle of the night and did not try and help him. Ouch.
The Killer WhaleA killer whale who tried to trick a family of seals by befriending them so he could eat them. Eventually died, but later "un-died".
- Back from the Dead: Made a brief appearance at a strip from October 28, 2008 (lampshaded by Rat in the strip afterwards) and again at the conclusion of the "Killer Dolphins" arc.
- Blatant Lies: Most of his attempts to get into the seals' house.
- Killed Off for Real: Seemingly was this at first, but then subverted in that Pastis decided to "un-die" him in a later strip.
JeffyFrom Family Circus
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: "So I'm battling a few demons."
Controlling ConnieA girl rat dated. Very very controlling.
- Control Freak: Taken to the point where she was timing Rat's sneezes and tried to give him a different mother.
- Distracted by the Sexy: The only reason Rat put up with her is because he thought she was cute.
Christmas Tree GirlA girl who sells Christmas trees and ocasinally dates rat.
Connie The Judgmental CowA cow that shouts insults from a distance.
HobartA train conductor for toy trains. Got laid off, then had his wife leave him and things just kept getting worse from there.
- Humiliation Conga: Lost his job, lost his wife, had her move the new guy into his house, got stepped on, was forced to move to the microwave, was almost cooked alive in said microwave, and then finally held on to Pig's balloon and got sent into a ceiling fan.
- The Pollyanna
Dickie the CockroachA comic strip character that rat made that came to life. Kindaps people who he dosen't like.
Danny DonkeyA children's book charicter created by Rat. Like to drink to forget his problems.
- The Alcoholic
- Evil Counterpart: To Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Morals to his stories have included "Never Share", "If you can't feel good about yourself, make everyone else feel worse." and "Only hit Billy while the Principal isn't looking."
- Living Toys
Ellie the ElephantAnother one of Rat's creations, Ellie is an elephant that has a terribly thoughtless boyfriend, Henry the Hippo.
- The Dog Bites Back: Her response to Henry's thoughtlessness is to stomp him on the head.
Max and ZachA pair of Lions who live next door to Zebra. Despite being Zebra's predators, they are actually on quite good terms with him since their wives do all the hunting and even warn him when their wives sense weakness in Zebra.
- Anti-Villain: Really, they have no reason to antagonize Zebra since their wives catch plenty of other animals for them, but they still eat other zebras and antelopes.
- Beware the Nice Ones: They are usually friendly and harmless, but when the Crocs steal their meat, they proceed to viciously hunt them until the one responsible (or at least the one Larry framed) was caught.
- Nightmare Face: Max demonstrates one after their first set of wives leave.
- Polyamory: As it is in nature, the wives are really not assigned to either of them and are free to mate with whichever one they feel like at the moment and vice versa.
- Spanner in the Works: Help Zebra avoid being eaten.
- Totally Radical