Format: Animated series
Created by: Tom McGrath
Directed by: Bret Haaland
Starring: Tom McGrath
Composer(s): Adam Berry
Country of origin: United States
The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off of the Madagascar films. The series follows the adventures of four penguins: Skipper, Rico, Kowalski, and Private, who perform various paramilitary-like missions to protect their home in the Central Park Zoo. The penguins often have to deal with problems caused, or made worse, by King Julien XIII (a ring-tailed lemur), Maurice (an aye-aye), and Mort (a mouse lemur).
The Penguins of Madagascar features the four penguin characters from the Madagascar franchise, as well as the two chimpanzees and the three lemurs. Characters new to the franchise include Marlene the otter and Alice the zookeeper, among others.
All four of the penguin characters are designed differently in the cartoon than they are in the movie to make them more unique and easier to tell apart. Skipper's head is flatter in the series, Rico has an unexplained scar over his mouth, a double chin, and a feathery Mohawk, Kowalski is taller, and Private is shorter, younger, and rounder. Their personalities and abilities were also exaggerated. The texture of the characters was also changed to be better suited for television work.
- Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) - Skipper is the leader of the penguins. He devises tactics and gives orders. Calculating and nearly unflappable, Skipper's raving paranoia and tendency to view even the most ordinary activities as a military operation, combined with his experience in covert ops, has driven him to prepare for nearly any situation, no matter how bizarre or unlikely. It is revealed in the episode "Needle Point" that Skipper is afraid of needles.
- Rico (voiced by John DiMaggio) - Rico is the team's weapons and explosives specialist, who mainly communicates through grunts and squeals, but sometimes he can speak rather normally. Slightly unhinged, Rico swallows useful tools, such as dynamite, and regurgitates them when needed, to the point of regularly regurgitating objects that appear to be too large for him to have swallowed in the first place. He has been referred to as a psychopath in several episodes. He is shown in some episodes to be in a relationship with a beautiful, female doll called Mrs. Perky.
- Kowalski (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - Kowalski acts as the group strategist and gadgeteer. Kowalski is a brilliant inventor, but he cannot read (although he does carry around a clipboard which he records drawings of their plans on). He also tends to over-analyze situations and has created many amazing devices which have put the team in danger. It is revealed in the episode Needle Point that he is afraid of going to the dentist.
- Private (voiced by James Patrick Stuart) - Private is the emotionally sensitive rookie of the group. Though younger and less experienced than the other penguins, he is the most down to earth; Private tends to offer simpler, more commonsense solutions in response to Skipper and Kowalski's complex strategies (although he also shows an unusual interest in unicorns on occasion). Private speaks with a middle-class British accent (as opposed to American voices for Skipper and Kowalski), much in the spirit of English-soldier characters in popular World War II films.
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