Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Big Nate

Go To

    open/close all folders 

The Wright family

    Nate Wright 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nate_5.jpg

The title character. Nate is a sixth grade straight-C student, self-proclaimed ladies' man and Renaissance Man, and quite short (4'6" to be exact). His crush is Jenny, who hates him, and his sworn enemies are Gina and Mrs. Godfrey.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Believes that he and Jenny are destined together and uses every possible opportunity to pursue her. Jenny, for her part, does not like him back, but she does tolerate him to some extent.
  • Anime Hair: Has very spiky hair. At one point, his friends try to make fun of him by making an ice cream cone with ice cream that looks like his hair. Nate admits that while he's not happy with it, it is a creative use of "Hershey's Kisses."
  • Arch-Enemy: No less than three of them, each one for different reasons:
    • Gina: Him being The Slacker who is Brilliant, but Lazy and her a kiss-up straight-A student, they clash very frequently. Nate's friends see it as a Love Hate Relationship though. They do have a bit of enjoyment in arguing with the other and can get along if circumstances demand they work together.
    • Mrs. Godfrey: His social studies teacher. Mostly one-sided, he does not like her at all and they clash the most frequently. It is mainly from Nate's side, but we do sometimes see Mrs. Godfrey does have a legitimate beef with him at times. Her preferring his older sister when she was in class may play a part in it.
    • Randy Betancourt: One of the school bullies and arguably Nate's Shadow Archetype. The two butt heads alot and he's often the antagonist in stories. This is mainly because Randy is a Jerkass who often messes with the other kids for kicks. Nate, being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, usually steps in to stop him and both of them are unafraid to retaliate against the other when it escalates. Heck, Randy was the one first person Nate ever got in a physical fight with.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gets scared by cats, hurt in sports, fails to impress Jenny... few things go right for this kid.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Notably, mentioning school during the summer or bringing up the possibility that he can be outdone.
    • Also messing with his friends. Despite not being on speaking terms (due to a fight) with Francis, when Randy bullies him, Nate proceeds to go berserk and proceeds to tackle him in beginning a fight. (Nate even mentions it's the first time he ever got into a fight with someone).
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Nate is amazing with random trivia (basketball, Peanuts, etc.), yet earns horrible grades because he lacks the motivation to study properly. He's also a chess prodigy (even going to the occasional state tournament), and only earns horrible grades in Mrs. Godfrey's Social Studies class. Every other class hovers around a grade of C. He is also shown to be a master prankster and creating some of the largest pranks pulled on Prank Day. From letting a flying squirrel and a moose into the school (Rocky and Bullwinkle theme) to setting up a dating profile with Ms. Godfrey and setting her up on a date with a desperate rodeo clown (evening showing up to school with flowers), Nate shows off a commendable amount of planning and logistics for these pranks.
    • In one arc, he's dared by Gina to get a perfect 100% on a Social Studies exam. He proceeds to cram with Peter, learning as much as possible. On the day of the exam, he comments that there's no excitement since he knows all the answers, and decided that studying takes all the fun out of it. (He ended up getting a 99%, since he was so focused on the questions he forgot to write his name at the top.)
    • Another arc had him doing a book report with the top two students in the class. The grade for the book report would have been a combined effort between the three. The two students lay it on Nate that they were serious about their grades and his normal grade of a C wouldn't cut it. The next day, Nate comes back with a perfect report that gets all three of them an A. The two students said to Nate why he would reduce himself to a C when he could get As easy. Nate retorts that getting an A all the time is boring and makes people expect more of him, where if he gets Cs people don't notice as much and he gets bigger rewards for when he gets As.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Doesn't normally have this problem, but when he gets the chance to talk to Ruby, all that comes out is "Blorf".
  • Casanova Wannabe: Downplayed. While Nate considers himself a Kidanova, he usually ends up looking like a fool to girls when he tries to flirt. However, he did have a few girlfriends:
    • He had a girlfriend named Angie in the summer of 1997, who he met at summer school. She broke up with him six months later, on Valentines' Day.
    • During the summer of 2001, he got a girlfriend named Kelly. Unfortunately, he broke up with her the following year, (they met in soccer camp and was seldom seen, going to Jefferson).
    • In 2015, he found another girl named Trudy, a seventh-grader whom he met on a carnival ride. However, he broke up with her the following year as he was often forced to be around her friend group of seventh-graders while she never wanted to be around his friends.
  • Catchphrase: "Spitsy, you idiot" and "Oh, how I hate her."
  • Cosmic Plaything: Oh so much. While he may deserve his misfortune from time to time, usually, the fates are just flatout mean to the kid. Especially when he tries to do something nice for Jenny.
  • Deadpan Snarker: What'd you expect from the Yo Mama King/Nickname Czar/King of the Trash Talk?
  • Dirty Kid: He's somewhat obsessed with a racy Superheroine called "Femme Fatality", which got him in trouble when he lend one of her comics to his 1st grade reading buddy, Peter.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the strip in which Jenny asks Artur out, she gives Nate the fateful note. He considers disposing it, before realizing it was a sleazeball move... and then goes to deliver it to Artur, chastising himself for not being a sleazeball.
  • Follow Your Nose: Nate's sense of smell is so keen that at several points he identifies several things to crazy specifics (blindfolded) just by smelling them.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Teddy and Francis put up with him more than they hang out him. Lampshaded in one strip, where Nate loudly wonders why one would hang out with people they don't like, and, in the next panel, Francis and Teddy are gone.
  • Genius Ditz: Is able to plan out complex pranks with precision, but is unable to name a Chinese emperor.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Continuously tries to win Jenny's affection despite the fact that she and Artur are Sickeningly Sweethearts. However, as of the novel Big Nate Blasts Off, he has moved on from her. He has also moved on from her in the comic strips it seems since she moved back.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nate is very self-absorbed and sometimes treats others in ways that aren't always acceptable. However, Nate will do the right thing when it counts, such as sticking up for others who need it (in his own way). Nate is often seen sticking up for those needing it (such as when a student is dealing with someone annoying or that's a jerk, Nate lures them to his locker and opens it, blasting them away with the crammed junk.) It's implied that the main reason he is a jerk (outside of ego) is from frustrations caused by being a Cosmic Plaything.
  • Loving a Shadow: Tends to do this; he at one point considers dating a girl he hardly knows (Daisy) simply because she might like him. It's even shown that he likes Jenny this way, he really doesn't know much about her as a person and, as his dad puts it, "idealizes" her.
  • Luminescent Blush: Whenever he gets embarrassed or angry. Extends to his ears. The fifth book has him mention this as a bit of trivia about him.
  • Missing Mom: His mother divorced his father when he was young, and he doesn't really know her all that well.
  • The Nicknamer: He's a master nicknamer who has come up with at least a dozen of insulting nick names for the teachers (especially Mrs. Godfrey).
  • The Nose Knows: He's able to pinpoint exactly what something is based on its scent, though he has been fooled on occasion-for example, he assumes that a smell of rose-scented soap is coming from a female teacher, when the source is actually his (male) math teacher.
    Mr. Staples might want to consider using soap that's a bit more macho.
  • The Pig-Pen: He's a slob who practically keeps a junkyard in his locker, and the homework he submitted is always in a mess (crumpled up, stained with various food scraps, etc)
  • The Prankster: The best prankster in school, and had always pulled the craziest stunts during Prank Day.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: His attempts to court Jenny frequently involves writing her (lame) poetry, calling her "m'lady", and generally trying and failing to be chivalrous around her.
  • Selective Obliviousness: No matter how many times, ways, or just flat-out statements of hate for him he gets, Nate still believes that deep down, Jenny likes him.
    • The chapter novel Big Nate Blasts Off actually has him move on from this and realizes she never really liked him (romantically, anyway.) It also seems to have happened in the strip after his breakup with Trudy.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Frequently boasts of his own greatness, even though he rarely achieve anything.
  • Stalker with a Crush: It is mentioned that he once played a "Love You Like a Love Song"-esque song in order to impress Jenny.
  • The Napoleon: Originally mentioned to be "the shortest kid in school" (before people like Chad came along) and definitely bigheaded enough. Heck, he even mentioned once that Napoleon would make a good middle name.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Cheez Doodles, which he uses as his #1 subject for poetry writing (when he's not trying to write stupid love poems for Jenny, of course).
    • So much so that he once dressed up as one for Halloween. He got teased briefly only before Angie (his girlfriend at the time) also came in dressed as one.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Often becomes one, such as when he treats Jenny's breakups with a smile and basically grinds her feelings to powder. Despite this, Nate has a moral center despite his moral flaws and self-absorbed attitude, which sets him apart from other Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists, as Nate does ocassionally display traits that will make you want to root for him.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: To Artur. Interesting example of being a romantic version and nonromantic version. Nate's dislike of Artur stems from Artur being with Jenny, being better at chess and him being Born Lucky compared to Nate's Butt-Monkey status. Despite this, he can't bring himself to hate him. He's actually pretty good friends with him when the chips are down. As he once put it:
    Nate: I like Artur okay, but I find it kinda annoying nothing bad ever happens to him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nate has a fear of cats. Often Played for Laughs.
Advertisement:

    Ellen Wright 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ellen_9.jpg

Nate's older sister, who drives Nate crazy. While originally one of the main characters, she has grown less significant as the strip goes on.


    Martin Wright 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dad_6.jpg

Nate's dad. The epitome of a Bumbling Dad, who is divorced, sucks at sports, and on the occasions that Nate is not the Butt-Monkey, expect Dad to be.


  • Berserk Button: It's not a good idea to mention college money to him. He's also rather volatile while working his taxes.
  • Bumbling Dad: Hits pretty much every single note, and seems to have "Epic Fail" written on his attempts to do anything.
  • Butt-Monkey: If Nate isn't the one getting the Butt-Monkey treatment, it's usually his father who takes up the role.
  • Dirty Old Man: Enjoys Nate's Femme Fatality comics, and has an Anna Kournikova screen saver.
  • Fan Disservice: He's a balding, middle-aged guy with a pot belly and has the tendency to walk around shirtless or in shorts.
  • Generation Xerox: Big Nate In the Zone reveals that as a sixth-grader he was actually a lot like Nate, making jokes and goofing off instead of doing his homework.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Guy with ambiguous (probably brown) hair color gets a raven-haired kid and a blonde kid.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Quite a bit. Examples include: Confiscating Femme Fatality when he's a Dirty Old Man himself, telling Nate to eat healthy when in fact he has a rather decent-sized sweet stash, etc.
  • Parental Favoritism: Clearly favors Ellen over Nate. Nate lampshaded it once with a Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" comic about a "witty prince" (Nate), "evil and hideous princess" (Ellen), and "absent-minded king" (Nate's dad), where in arguments the king would always take the princess' side.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Doesn't seem to notice how much Ellen bullies Nate, and if he does, never is seen doing anything about it. There's even a time where he sees Ellen forcibly noogieing Nate while sitting on top of him...and walks right past, saying to Nate "You're on your own."
  • The Talk: Had one with Nate once, and was so nervous and mixed up that Nate found it amusing and invited Francis and Teddy to come listen.

    Ted Wright 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/uncle_ted.jpg

Nate's lazy uncle who still lives with Nate's grandparents.


  • Basement-Dweller: He lives with his parents and spends most of his time watching Battlestar Galactica.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Has shades of this, such as when he tried to flirt with one of Nate's neighbors when she was visiting. She didn't really catch on, and Uncle Ted was disappointed when it turned out she was married.
  • I Need to Iron My Dog: He's the king of lame excuses, and managed to completely get out of helping Nate paint his grandparent's house with such excuses as "I feel a touch of malaria coming on" and "I probably wouldn't even know what to do with a paintbrush".
  • Lazy Bum: Hoo boy. As if "still lives with his parents" wasn't enough of a hint.

Advertisement:

Students of P.S. 38

    Francis Butthurst Pope 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/francis_5.jpg

Nate's best friend, a bookish, school-loving, at times borderline butt-kisser. He's, among other things, a Neat Freak, Nice Guy, and Deadpan Snarker.


    Teddy √ Ortiz 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/teddy.jpg

Nate's other best friend, who matches Nate in prankster tendencies. On the rare occasions that anyone agrees with Nate, it will most likely be Teddy. His parents are mathematicians, as evidenced by his middle name being the square root symbol.


  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: The fact that his parents are math teachers doesn't mean that he enjoys math any more than Nate does.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He enjoys making wisecracks.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: The square root symbol (it's mentioned that his parents are math teachers).
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He can be rather gross, as Nate first opened up to him when he played around with a squid's leg to pretend they were boogers during a science class. He has also more than once disgusted his friends when he started to discuss about his eating habits, such as when he ate so many gummy bears that he threw up.
    Teddy: One bear came out my nose.
  • Only Sane Man: He's the most normal of the trio — he's not as wacky or stupidly reckless as Nate, but is far more socially adept then Francis.
  • The Prankster: Which is one of the reasons why Nate got along with him so quickly.
  • Shout-Out: In terms of looks, Teddy is essentially Franklin.

    Dee Dee Dorcas Holloway 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dee_dee_2.jpg

A Canon Immigrant from the books who eventually became a character in the comic strip. She's a member of the drama club and a fellow cartoonist.


  • Ambiguously Brown: She's somewhere between Nate and Teddy in terms of skin tone, but her ethnicity hasn't been confirmed.
  • Ascended Extra: She did not have any major appearances in the chapter books until the fourth book, where she becomes part of Nate's group of friends. She was used as a "President of the Drama Club" joke before then.
  • Canon Immigrant: She appeared only in the books for a while before becoming one of Nate's friends in the comic strip as well.
  • Catchphrase: "Fabulous!"
  • Drama Queen: Part of the drama club, so it is a given.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Her middle name is Dorcas, though she seems to have crossed over into Never Heard That One Before territory by the time she mentions it to Nate.
  • Large Ham: Deliberately, as she take her drama club activities very seriously.
  • Meganekko: She wears glasses.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Subverted. In the fourth chapter book she thinks Nate is asking her to the dance when he tires to recruit her to the cartoonist club (and then shouts it out for the whole room) but as Nate tries to think of a way to gently tell her (and anyone else in earshot) he just sees her as a friend (at best) it turns out that Dee Dee feels the same way, and says so when Randy taunts them.
  • Nice Girl: One of Nate's best friends, and for good reasons.
  • No Indoor Voice: According to Nate, Dee Dee has a very loud voice that he says sounds like "a jackhammer on steroids" and could "blow a hole in a battleship".
  • Only Sane Man: Is the best one of Nate's friends to talk to if you need to resolve something, and she's good at figuring out relationships. Also sees herself as this — she's the one who rolls her eyes the most in response to the other characters.
  • Race Lift: She was originally white in the books, but got a darker skin tone when she made her comic strip debut.

    Chad Applewhite 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chad_54.jpg

A Tiny Schoolboy who is amazingly cute and friendly, so he gets the attention of all the girls without even trying. Is a member of Nate's modern group of friends.

Note that there have been a lot of one-time characters named Chad over the years; this is the first one to be a major part of the cast.


  • Ascended Extra: In the books, his first appearance was at the cafeteria in the first book (Nate mistakes him for "Todd"). He eventually becomes part of Nate's group of friends by the fourth book.
  • All-Loving Hero: He can't really hate anyone unless they specifically bully him.
  • All There in the Manual: Chad's last name, Applewhite, is only mentioned on a chart in Big Nate Flips Out.
  • Berserk Button: The only real way to tick him off is to comment on his height or weight.
  • Big Eater: He loves food, especially sweets. Hey, that chub has to come from somewhere.
  • Black Bead Eyes: One of the few characters to have them.
  • Chick Magnet: Really, just about every girl in the school thinks Chad's adorable. Even Gina.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: He occasionally drops in just to deliver a line on his train of thought.
    Nate: (after being told that his outstanding detentions have been removed from records) I like to think of all my detentions as outstanding.
    Chad: I like to think of chocolate donuts!
  • The Cutie: Definitely! There's a reason why he can easily get any girl to pay attention to him. Though he drops this if you push his Berserk Button.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Well, in a non-gay way. When Chad describes how he gets a girl's signature in his yearbook (by going up to them and saying in his cute way "Will you sign my yearbook?"), Nate notes that even he wants to hug Chad.
  • Hidden Depths: Owns a Peruvian snake venom extruder, which Nate finds in his locker once. Nate even lampshades it, saying, "There's more to Chad than meets the eye."
  • Nice Guy: He's awfully humble and nice for being the Chick Magnet that he is, and really doesn't dislike anyone unless they are mean to him specifically. Nate even references this when Chad asks Nate to make him a super-villain in his comic.
    Nate: Chad, no offense, but... I don't think you're the super-villain type. (gives Chad a noogie) You're too nice!
  • Tagalong Kid: To Nate's group of friends.
  • Youthful Freckles: Adds to his "cute" appearance.
Advertisement:

    Jenny Jenkins 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jenny_1.png

Nate's long-running crush who is often annoyed and angered by him. Despite this, she manages to have something of a friendship with him. Is currently dating Artur. Moved to Seattle for awhile in 2013, but ended up returning. Nate also seems to have gotten over her after his breakup with Trudy.


  • Alliterative Name: Jenny Jenkins.
  • Berserk Button: Can get rather violent when Nate makes advancements or accidentally messes her up when trying to do something.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When dealing with Nate.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: She's blonde, popular and is Nate's biggest crush.
  • First Love: Nate's first crush, dating all the way back to first grade.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Uses a (toned down) version of this technique to beat Nate at Monopoly.
  • Odd Friendship: Although Jenny frequently shoots down Nate's advances with either violence or harsh words, she still frequently hangs out with him and the rest of his friends for swimming or Monopoly. She also appeared more often early in the strip as just one of Nate's friends whom he had a crush on.
    • Nate's Odd Friendship with her boyfriend Artur may be a reason. In a chapter book, she goes to Nate when Artur is an uncharacteristically bad mood (inadvertently caused by Nate, though only he knows that) and when he asks why she came to him, she mentions that Artur trusts and respects Nate.
  • Official Couple: Artur is her best-known boyfriend, but she's also had several other boyfriends before him.

    Artur Pashkov 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/artur.jpg

A transfer student from Belarus, who is Nate's Foil. While he is probably the nicest character in the strip, he has a one-sided rivalry with Nate (from Nate's point of view). Very blind to sarcasm.


  • Always Someone Better: He is better at drawing and chess than Nate, two skills that Nate values the most about himself. Artur's superiority in chess bothers Nate to no end. Subverted with the drawing, likely given the subjectivity of art.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Has these instead of lines like the other characters.
  • Born Lucky: One of his traits that bothers Nate's, contrasting with his Butt-Monkey status.
  • Foil: To Nate. While Nate is a Casanova Wannabe, Butt-Monkey, and Deadpan Snarker, Artur is probably the nicest person in the strip, a Chick Magnet, Born Lucky, and seriously Sarcasm-Blind.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: He's an exchange student from Belarus.
  • Funny Foreigner: He is from Belarus.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Due to his somewhat poor English skills, he occasionally says offensive stuff without actually understanding what they mean.
    Nate: ...Did you just call me your "chump," Artur?
    Artur: You betcha!
    Francis: I think I meant "chum."
  • Literal-Minded:
    • When asked if he wants to play table football, he jumps on a table.
    • When asked if he had ever played soccer, Artur responded that no, he hadn't... because he isn't from America, and it was called football there.
  • Metaphorgotten: See Literal-Minded.
  • Nice Guy: Negative emotions are practically nonexistent to Artur, though Nate annoyed him once or twice.
  • Odd Friendship: With Nate. Despite Nate's one-sided rivalry, Nate means a great deal to Artur. In fact, when Artur was upset (accidentally due to Nate and known only by Nate, Teddy and Francis), Jenny says she went to Nate because of how much Artur trusts him. Of course, Nate does care abotu Artur the same as well.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Partly due to being a foreign student and serves as a good Foil to Deadpan Snarker Nate.
  • Unknown Rival: Nate is sorta of this to Artur when it comes to chess. The fact he's modest about it also basically adds into it.

    Sheila 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sheila.png

A popular girl who is Francis' girlfriend. She doesn't appear much nowadays.


  • Flat Character: She really only exists in the strip as Francis' girlfriend and as an extra, without much character.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: She goes out with Francis, the resident Smart Guy.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Sometimes shown as a reporter for the school newspaper.
  • Nice Girl: Her main character trait. She never really got much character development other than that, which is probably what led to her being Out of Focus.
  • Only One Name: Her last name is never revealed, though one comic referred to a character named "Sheila Stapleton", which may or may not be her.
  • Out of Focus: Sheila was most common early in the strip, but hasn't been in many strips as of late.

    Gina Hemphill-Toms 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gina_4.jpg

Nate's other arch-enemy, Gina is the polar opposite of Nate, getting straight A's and never letting him forget it. Basically, she's Ellen all over again, just a whole lot less ditzy.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Has a rather predatory crush on Chad that he does not reciprocate at all. It goes so far that Chad gets hypnotized to be a jerk so Gina won't like him anymore.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Takes pride in her academic achievements, and generally treats other people like shit.
  • Flanderization: In her first appearances, Gina was simply a good student who liked to challenge herself, and got on Nate's nerves simply by being as smart as she is. But nowadays, she's an Insufferable Genius and Academic Alpha Bitch.
  • I Have Brothers: She apparently has some knowledge of hockey thanks to having four (unseen) older brothers.
  • Insufferable Genius: She likes to show-off her knowledge by trying to answer any and every question Mrs. Godfrey asks in class. She once had a knowledge show-down with Francis to determine which of them is smarter.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After all that she did in the second book (such as naming NATE'S team "Cuddle Kittens"), she gets detention for yelling in the Library.
    • After Nate flings her shoe (see above) which hits Ms. Godfrey, Ms Godfrey gives her FIVE detentions for the whole ordeal (she gives Nate two).
  • Kick the Dog: Nate's not a nice person, but tattling on Nate for the way he breathes is just weird.
  • Not So Above It All: Gina was quite annoyed by Nate's weird habit of hitting his head with a plastic bottle as stress relief. He then had the moxie to hit her head with it... which prompted her to do it and it relaxed her as well.
  • The Smart Guy: One of the smartest kids in the school.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: She wears glasses and, along with Francis, is one of the smartest students in Nate's year.
  • Teacher's Pet: She's one of Mrs. Godfrey's favorite students (the other being Ellen) and appears to enjoy being in her company. Once, an unusually friendly Gina meets Nate & co. in the beach and asks if she can hang around with them. Nate drove her away by pointing out that Mrs. Godfrey is also at the beach, and wouldn't Gina want to be with her instead? It worked.

    Randy Betancourt 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/randy.jpg

The main bully of P.S. 38, not counting Chester. Nate and his friends are often targets of his antics and thus, he and Nate butt heads alot. He's stopped being a bully by the end of Big Nate Blasts Off, at least in the books.


  • Arch-Enemy: He's an unofficial third one to Nate though unlike the sitcom-esque bickering between Nate and Gina or the most one-sided antagonism with Ms. Godfrey, the two are never really acknowledged as proper enemies to one another. However, Nate clashes with Randy alot. Nate is unafraid to call Randy out on his rotten behavior and both of them are unafraid to retaliate against the other.
  • The Bully: Not in the physical sort of way, but he's got a mean streak who does stuff for kicks. It's why he and Nate clash alot.
  • Freudian Excuse: As revealed in Big Nate Blasts Off, his parents don't live together and by the time he tells Nate this, they're getting divorced. Randy says that every week he moves "from [his] mom's house to [his] dad's. And back again." As such, it's implied part of his antagonistic attitude is him lashing out from his dysfunctional family situation.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Becomes Nate's friend at the very end of Big Nate Blasts Off after winning the Mud Bowl. Unfortunately, we've yet to see this happen in the comics.
  • Jerkass: Does alot of mean-spirited stuff to kis peers for fun, like stealing Nate's clothes during a dance in Big Nate Goes For Broke. Little wonder why he's often an antagonist to Nate.
  • Karma Houdini: He rarely, if ever, gets punished for his actions.
    • Laser-Guided Karma: In Big Nate Strikes Again he does get punishment for his actions constantly. first Nate tricks him into opening Nate's locker (which is stuffed with trash) covering Randy with garbage which the principal then forces him to clean up due to thinking that it was his messy locker. Then Randy accidentally gets a bloody (or even broken) nose by running into a blackboard Nate was moving while he'd been running away with something he stole from Chad, and when Randy tries to claim Nate broke his nose on purpose he gets called out as a lair by a teacher sho saw the whole thing and is given a detention slip. And finally, he loses the softball game to Nate's team (despite some nasty cheating) due to Gina hitting the final home run, which couldn't have done much for his ego.
  • Shadow Archetype: He can be viewed as one for Nate. They're both trickster-like characters, but Randy has less scruples and thus his actions are more mean-spirited and petty. He also doesn't have much consideration for others while Nate cares for his friends and knows his limits. They also both come from differing homes (Nate lives with his dad and sister while Randy alternates between his parents). Furthermore, while Nate gets his comeuppance, Randy usually doesn't get his. As such, it's unsurprising that the two would come to butt heads alot, usually by Nate calling out Randy.
  • Signature Laugh: "Nya ha ha!"
  • Swirlie: Apparently, this is one of his favorite methods of payback.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Often shown to play this trope during clashes with Nate, especially in the book "Big Nate Flips Out".

    Kim Cressly 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kim.jpg

A stout, stoic girl who has a thing for Nate (though Nate doesn't like her). Nowadays she's going out with Chester.


    Chester Budrick 

Another bully who clearly has some... issues. He's described to be six and a half feet tall, three hundred pounds, and has five o' clock shadow. He has a extremely short temper, so beware of pushing his Berserk Button. Is currently dating Kim Cressly.


  • Barbaric Bully: Has given Nate huge wedgies, stuffed him into garbage cans, and just plain beat him up multiple times.
  • Berserk Button: Really, just about anything can offend Chester. One kid got a hot dog shoved up his nose for refusing to share his lunch with him.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Over Kim, which she casually mentions to Nate. Chester doesn't want Kim even talking with other guys (and is hinted to beat up boys that she talks to), Kim goes ahead and chats with Nate anyway.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: To the point that Nate mentioned in one of the books that he beat up his anger management counselor.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Kim, but mostly would just look this way due to his massive size.
  • Shout-Out: Chester's method of speech and his size can remind a reader of The Hulk.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Occasionally speaks like this.
    Chester: You called me a beast. That makes me want to hit you.
    Nate: No, I... (coughs) I said beets! I'm pro-vegetable!
  • The Voice: Chester's almost always shown completely off-panel; if we do ever see him, it's generally his fists. The most we've ever seen of him is his body from the neck down, in Big Nate On a Roll.
  • Younger Than They Look: As mentioned above, he's over six feet tall and has five o' clock shadow, and yet he's still in sixth grade. Though he might not be as old as Nate and his friends, given the hints that he's been to summer school and might have been held back several years for anger issues.

    Angie 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/angie.gif

Nate's first girlfriend. Nate met Angie when he was going to summer school; she had moved into town late in the school year and had to go to summer school to catch up. She shares some of Nate's interests, like art, soccer, and Cheez Doodles. Angie broke up with Nate after she just lost interest in their relationship, leaving Nate crushed.


  • Birds of a Feather: Angie has plenty of things in common with Nate; she loves drawing cartoons and Cheez Doodles seem to be her favorite food as well. She also likes soccer, though she seems to be a lot better than Nate.
  • The Bus Came Back: After dumping Nate, Angie made two other appearances in the comic strip: one where Nate helps her resolve an argument with her boyfriend, and one where she runs for school president against Nate (and wins).
  • Official Couple: With Nate until they broke up.
  • Second Love: Nate's second major crush after Jenny, and he fares a lot better with Angie than Jenny.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: During Halloween, Nate was dressed up as a Cheez Doodle and planned to meet Angie during the night to go trick-or-treating. Francis figured that Angie will dump Nate on the spot when she sees the ridiculous costume, but it turns out that Angie's wearing the same costume.

    Gertrude 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trudy.gif

Nate's third girlfriend, nicknamed Trudy. Nate met her at a summer fair and instantly developed a crush on her. It took some time to discover that she was a new student and also a seventh grader. Nate broke up with her when she refused to hang out with his friends.


  • Embarrassing First Name: Her name—Gertrude—seems a little old-fashioned and out of place. Therefore she goes by her nickname, Trudy.
  • It's All About Me: Shares this attitude with her boyfriend. She forced Nate to go to her party and skate with her instead of going to events he wanted, and later made Nate sit with the seventh graders even when she refused to sit with the eighth graders. Nate ultimately dumped her over this.
  • Official Couple: With Nate, until they broke up.

    Breckenridge Puffington III 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/breckenridge.png

A new kid introduced in Big Nate Lives It Up. Is obsessed with botany.


  • The Bully: Used to be this when he and Nate were toddlers.
  • Demoted to Extra: After being a major character in Big Nate Lives It Up, Breckenridge only gets a minor cameo in the next book, in an Imagine Spot, no less.
  • Karma Houdini: Breckenridge was a bully to Nate as a toddler, but he always got away with it. Later, though, Nate forgives him and they remain friends.
  • Nature Lover: His extensive knowledge about plants and flowers makes him annoying at times, but remains a positive person.
  • Nice Guy: He is like this now, but as a toddler, on the other hand...
  • The Smart Guy: He knows everything about flowers.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He knows lots about botany, and wears glasses.
  • Unfortunate Names: Not like most examples, but come on. Would you want his name? It's clear that Breckenridge isn't a big fan of his name either, considering the many cruel nicknames that stem from it.

    Ruby Dinsmore 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/screen_shot_2018_09_07_at_103623_am.png

A new student and Nate's crush in Big Nate Blasts Off.


  • Dude Magnet: She attracts both Nate's and Randy's attention.
  • Nice Girl: One of the first things Nate mentions about her.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Doesn't get much characterization besides being a pretty nice person.

Faculty of P.S. 38

    Clara Godfrey 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrs_godfrey_3.png

Nate's social studies teacher and Arch-Enemy. While not as evil as Nate often describes her (because only Umbridge could be that evil), often shows blatant favoritism.


  • Arch-Enemy: She is one of Nate's least favorite teachers (after Coach John). Mrs. Godfrey, on her part, detests Nate for his lack of effort and disrespectfulness, and is shown to be very pleased when Nate is assigned to another teacher during the school's temporary "visit" to Jefferson.
  • Does Not Like Spam: As stated below, she hates jelly beans.
  • Evil Smells Bad: According to Nate, her breath stinks of dead fish.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She might favor Gina as a teacher's pet, but when she does not give proper visual aids for the Ben Franklin project (she printed them off of the web), she is very disappointed in her.
    • She was also appalled that Gina made Nate tie her shoes after winning a bet that they made. Nate had to be nice to her for a week. Godfrey even tells Gina that she should have been nicer to Nate as well.
  • Fat Bastard: She's a Sadist Teacher who is fat.
  • Hidden Depths: As it turns out, Mrs. Godfrey loves Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: In an old yearbook she is shown to be quite attractive. Nate and Teddy don't initially know that it's her since she's labeled as "Ms. Lessard" (her maiden name), and faun over her until Francis tell them who the attractive teacher really is.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Her favoring of Gina and clear dislike of Nate may seem unfair, but Gina's obviously a very good student, while Nate is lazy and clearly doesn't care about school at all.
  • Parental Favoritism: Quite blatantly favors Gina over Nate. A recurring gag is that Gina will answer a question (without raising her hand and usually with a loud "OOH!", but when Nate does the same thing, she shoots him down.
  • Pet the Dog: When Nate tells her he's unable to do homework because of a family emergency, she turns sympathetic and excuses him from the homework, and even advises him to find someone compassionate to talk about his problems with. Too bad said family emergency was a lie.
    • A better example is in the second chapter book. She accepts Nate's Ben Franklin comics as visual aids for his and Gina's project. She even calls them "delightful". This is because Ben Franklin himself was a Cartoonist.
    • After Nate hits her with Gina's shoe (which he was tying), she only gave him two detentions after Nate explained why he flung the shoe.
  • Sadist Teacher: While Nate does bring a lot of it on himself, Ms. Godfrey is usually unfair to him. For example, when Gina complains about Nate's loud breathing, Mrs. Godfrey immediately ordered Nate to stop breathing, even though he's not really doing anything wrong.
  • Skewed Priorities: At one point, Nate sneaks into her desk to see if he can find his research paper topic. Mrs. Godfrey catches him, but the first thing she notices is that Nate ate her Skittles.
  • Sweet Tooth: Loves candy (but can't stand jelly beans), and has been mentioned to have Skittles and Junior Mints hidden in her desk.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: At one point, Mrs. Godfrey gets sick and Coach John becomes the substitute for the social studies class. Nate is happy at first that Mrs. Godfrey is gone, but quickly realizes that Coach John is even worse as a teacher. As such, Nate is ecstatic when Mrs. Godfrey returns.

    Ken Rosa 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_rosa_2_6.jpg

Nate's art teacher (and favorite teacher). Often regrets his choice of job.


  • Berserk Button: Do not tell Mr. Rosa that it's easy to be a teacher, or he'll probably start laughing maniacally.
  • Cool Teacher: As a guy who teaches Nate's favorite subject, manages and motivates the chess team, and even helps Nate with his personal issues, he's a pretty cool guy. Heck, he even nicknames teachers (read: his colleagues) and seems to hate Mrs. Godfrey like Nate does!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Falls into this occasionally, especially when stressed from his job.
    Nate: You [teachers] get to use an electric pencil sharpener while we [students] get this crank model! This thing is a total dinosaur! I mean, you might as well make us whittle our pencils!
  • Meaningful Name: "Rosa" is another word for the color pink, and Mr. Rosa is an art teacher.
  • Nice Guy: He's one of the nicest people in the school to Nate, even as an overworked teacher.
  • Not So Above It All: He secretly nicknames the other teachers, as shown when he slips and calls the (unseen) teacher Mr. Granger "Granger the Stranger". He also thinks of Mrs. Godfrey as a "tyrant".

    Miss Clarke 

Nate's English teacher. She's supportive of Nate and generally nice to all the students, and also one of Nate's favorite teachers.


  • Cool Teacher: One of the few teachers at school that Nate likes.
  • Hot Teacher: In an early comic that had Nate rap about school, he described Miss Clarke as "hot", suggesting that he thinks of her this way.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Occasionally uses phrasing like this, but that's mostly for teaching.
    Miss Clarke: For a nonrestrictive clause or phrase, but not for independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions...
    Nate: Say what?

    Mr. Staples 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_staples.gif

Nate's math teacher. He has a passion for math and bad jokes.


    Mr. Galvin 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_gavin.jpg

Nate's science teacher. He's pretty old and very boring, so his class isn't the most exciting.


  • The Bore: There's not a lot of action in his classes. Mr. Galvin is boring to listen to, makes the kids do lame experiments, and has earned the nickname "Fossil Face" for having almost no sense of humor.
  • Collector of the Strange: He collects potatoes shaped like president's faces.
  • Dirty Old Man: Believe it or not, Mr. Galvin is one. Nate once bribed him into not giving him detention by giving him a swimsuit photo of Greta Van Susteren.
  • Opaque Lenses: You can't see through his glasses.
  • Vague Age: He's old, but we're not sure just how old. When Nate asks Mr. Galvin how old he is, Mr. Galvin replies "I was born in the Holocene epoch," though that isn't any help, considering that it's the time period we currently live in and began millions of years ago.

    Coach Calhoun 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/coach.gif

Nate's gym teacher, coach, and health teacher, except when Coach John fills in for him.


  • Foil: To Coach John. They're both gym teachers, but Calhoun is rather friendly to his students and congratulates them for trying their best, while John is Drill Sergeant Nasty to the students and only cares that they win games.
  • Nice Guy: Like Mr. Rosa, he sometimes takes the time to help Nate with his personal problems.
  • The Pollyanna: He's pretty positive, seeing the best of everyone and preferring to stay on the bright side even during a hopeless baseball game.

    Coach John 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/coach_john.jpg

The other gym teacher and coach in P.S. 38. He's a bit old-fashioned with his coaching tactics, and prefers to yell at kids and make them run wind sprints.


  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: He treats kids like they're in a boot camp. "Training" for sports mostly involves lots of wind sprints and push ups. Nate even says that if you take away the uniform from a stereotypical drill sergeant, you'll end up with Coach John.
  • Fat Bastard: He's cruel to the students, and so fat he can't see his own feet.
  • Foil: To Coach Calhoun, given that one is kind and positive and the other is mean and demanding.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: When he's not being a harsh gym coach, Coach John does other jobs. He's been a substitute school nurse, lifesaving instructor, substitute teacher for Mrs. Godfrey's class, and yoga teacher.
  • No Indoor Voice: He tends to raise his voice quite a bit.
    Coach John: LET'S GO, LADIES! STRAP 'EM ON!

Students of Jefferson

    Nolan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nolan_2.jpg

The main bully of Jefferson that harasses P.S. 38 students.


  • The Bully: Picks on anyone from his rival school.
  • Canon Foreigner: He has yet to appear in the comic strips.
  • Irrational Hatred: To everyone from P. S. 38.
  • Jerkass: Just like nearly every other Jefferson student, he bullies P. S. 38 kids for no good reason other than they're from P. S. 38.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's beaten spectacularly in the Ultimate Snowdown by the P. S. 38 kids.

    Kelly 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kelly.gif

One of Nate's former girlfriends whom he met at a summer soccer camp. She's a little more on the tomboyish side, liking soccer and football. She's notable in that she's the only named student we've seen from Jefferson that doesn't show Irrational Hatred to any P. S. 38 kid. Nate ended up breaking up with her through a note that he delivered to her house. Unfortunately, Kelly saw him as a jerk for not breaking up with her face-to-face, dumping him.


Animals

    Spitsy 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spitsy.jpg

A dog belonging to Nate's neighbor and is probably the closest thing to a pet Nate could ever have.


  • Big Friendly Dog: Often greets Nate by glomping and licking him. Nate regards this gesture as either touching or annoying (usually the latter, though).
  • Cone of Shame: Spitsy is never actually seen without his collar, and it enhances his goofy appearance. Fitting, for a dumb dog like him.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Nate constantly calls him an idiot for getting beat up by squirrels and going out for parties with Francis's cat.
  • Glomp: His preferred way of greeting people, especially Nate.
  • Interspecies Romance: Is dating Francis's cat, Pickles. Don't think on that one too hard.

    Pickles 

Francis' cat. As cats go, she's basically a prodigy (especially compared to Spitsy).


    Sherman 

Nate's class hamster who spends his days snarking at the class' antics.


  • Deadpan Snarker: His only "lines" consist of him making snide commentaries about Nate and his classmates, especially when they start fussing about him. Here's one of his gems:
    Nate: Quite the adventure, huh, buddy? You have something to tell your grandchildren about.
    Sherman: Unless my living situation changes significantly, grandchildren are a remote possibility.
  • Silent Snarker: Well, he isn't a Talking Animal, so nobody in-universe can actually hear his snark.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report