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Melman the Giraffe is a main character of the Madagascar franchise, serving as a main character in Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. He also serves as a major character of the specials and a minor character of the short films and the Penguins of Madagascar movie. He also serves as a protagonist in the online prequel series Madagascar: A Little Wild.
Melman is voiced by Zachary Gordon (in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) and Luke Lowe (in Madagascar: A Little Wild) as a child and David Schwimmer (who also portrays Ross Geller in Friends and Jerry Bernstein in Intelligence) as an adult.
Melman appears to suffer from extreme hypochondria, having doses of medicine for meals and doctor's appointments frequently. He even complains about having brown spots on his neck.
Melman is a large, slender cream giraffe with lime green eyes, brown spots, and a slightly torn right ear.
Melman had a residence at the Central Park Zoo, where he would receive constant medical treatment for problems that, oddly enough, were all a figment of his imagination. Melman would undergo MRIs, CAT scans, injections, flu shots, and be put into braces and crutches for no particular purpose at all. In the Central Park Zoo, Melman received treatment, and was so used to his cushy life taking pills and undergoing treatments.
One night, Marty escapes from the zoo and Melman immediately informs Alex of this (one of his doctors is Dr. Munish). When they end up getting spotted by the humans, the four find themselves on a big ship headed to Africa. Unfortunately, they fall off of the ship and end up on the island of Madagascar all because of the penguins.
The rest of the film is about how Melman (who is especially uncomfortable in the wild) and his friends get used to being stuck on this island, and in the end, they seem to be a bit used to it.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
In a flashback in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, there is a hint that he had a crush on Gloria as a child (as he seems uncomfortable when she comments that Alex is cute). When the animals nearly die trying to fly back to New York in a salvaged air plane, he screams that he is in love with Gloria, however she is asleep and does not hear this.
In Africa, Melman is horrified to learn that once a giraffe becomes sick, it has no way to survive and therefore must simply wait in a hole to die. He takes the position of Witch Doctor (but introduces them to modern medicine) to cure sick animals, giving them longer and better lives. While he proves to be very good at this job, he is informed by another giraffe that Melman has a brown spot on his shoulder, one which the previous Witch Doctor seemed to have gotten and "was gone" two days later.
Thinking he only has days to live, Melman initially waits in a hole but then takes King Julien's advice and goes to declare his love to Gloria. He finds her on a date and screams at her date what a wonderful girl Gloria is and to treat her right. When the watering hole dries up and King Julien decides to sacrifice an animal for the water gods, Melman offers himself. He is saved at the last moment, when Gloria tells him that she loves him back, it becomes apparent that the "brown spot" was not fatal (the previous Witch Doctor is found alive and well, the brown spot in fact being a natural giraffe spot), and that Alex is in need of rescue.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Now in a happy relationship with Gloria, Melman is having the time of his life. Now the only thing that could make life even more perfect is returning home. So when the group decides to go to Monte Carlo to find the penguins and convince them to help them return home, Melman is only too happy to join in the cause. Unfortunately, the group gets spotted in the process and ends up becoming chased by animal control. The gang ends up hiding with Circus Zaragoza in order to try and keep from being captured.
The gang soon realizes that this circus just needs to earn a contract for an American tour for them to return home. The group immediately begins to fine-tune the circus by coming up with new routines. Gloria immediately wants to do a dancing routine with Melman, who is happy to do an act with his girlfriend, but is very self-conscious and nervous about his dancing abilities. Instead, Melman tries various tricks from juggling to tightrope walking, which creates an incident where he gets stuck on a tightrope and Gloria has to come and save him. It is during this incident that the two of them find their act, dancing on top of the tightrope, and with a few lessons from his girlfriend, Melman is ready to go. The Circus puts on a great show and ends up earning the contract only to find that when they reach New York City, it is not as great as it is cracked up to be, in fact, there is a big wall in between Melman and Gloria's enclosures. The group decides to run off with the circus instead and decides that is a better life for them after all. Melman won't argue about traveling with the circus either, there's really no better life than touring the world with the one you love.
Madagascar: A Little Wild
Melman appears as a protagonist in this online prequel series, which takes place many years before the events of the films and depicts Melman's childhood adventures in Central Park Zoo.
- Melman's crush on Gloria in the second film is very similar to Schwimmer's character Ross Geller in Friends. Ross was in love with friend Rachel Green for many years and finally told her after Rachel's many love interests came to an end, and would be eventually resolved in the series finale.