Rodney J. Squirrel is the main protagonist of the series. He is voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz and is Andy Johnson's best friend. He is a dimwitted squirrel who lacks good judgment and critical thinking, and often finds himself in many sticky situations due to his irrationality.
Rodney is a small red squirrel with buck teeth, a light orange stomach and mouth, and red nose.
Rodney is full of crazy ideas. His low intelligence makes him a frequent victim of exploits that take advantage of his weakness, which was best seen in "Born to Be Mild" in which he has trouble using something as rudimentary as a can opener and subsequently causes a house fire, ultimately showing that his stupidity is lethal. Additionally, Rodney lacks common sense and tends to jump to the most asinine of conclusions, like in "A Line in the Sandwich" in which he assumes that his and Andy's raised business profits are a result of the tacky pirate hat he's wearing rather than the quality of the sandwiches, when in reality there is no proof of such consensus. This episode also cements an arrogant side to him, as he persistently brags about his attention and puts his affairs above his best friend, a trait of his which carries on later in the series. Likewise, part of his stupidity, he frequently acts on eccentric impulses in the name of attention.
While he's presumably an adult, he behaves like a child in that he exhibits frequent impulsiveness, desperately seeks attention, does not handle the truth very well, uses many manipulation tactics, and concocts the most ridiculous of plans in pursuit of his ideals, which usually backfire on him. He is quite clumsy, as seen when he knocked down Mr. J's entire collection of clown statues down by simply turning around at the end of "The Big Haggle Hassle". In addition, Rodney exhibits little strength and seems to have as little courage as a coward; in "Born to Be Mild" he goes on an adventure with Leon to perform many increasingly risky stunts, which Rodney screams in the sight of.
Rodney tends to act rather condescending and purposely irksome to his acquaintances, primarily because he has a fondness for provoking others and seeing the look on their faces. He lacks manners and tends to act before thinking, which is best exhibited with his devours of food samples in "The Big Haggle Hassle" and "Screw-Up in Aisle Six". In the latter, he is even responsible for Andy's allergy development due to not reading the ingredients of the Nugget Nuggets prior to consumption. Despite his blatantly troublesome antics, Rodney lacks responsibility for his actions and tends to blame-shift, but tries to fix his problems nonetheless.
While generally idiotic, Rodney has an occasional inclination to make intelligent observations every now and then. For example, in "Harried Treasure" he instantly recognizes the Johnson house on the Puffy Pirate Shirt Puffs Cereal map, whereas Andy couldn't even with two magnifying glasses. In "Stranger Than Friction", Rodney detects Salty Mike' ulterior motive behind his newfound friendship with Andy and points out to the latter that he's being used, which Andy doesn't seem to realize (although even though he and Salty return to bad terms near the end, they unexpectedly reconcile when witnessing a fight between Kyle Finkster and Rodney).
Underneath all his flaws, Rodney has a good heart and cares very well for his family and friends. He is in fact the character most subject to the receiving end of the episode's morality tale, be it having to open his eyes to see the truth or suffering some form of punishment. He even tries to act genuinely nice to his enemies only to get turned down on belief of him being manipulative. That aside, he has shown many acts of selflessness over the course of the series, ranging from trying to make up for forgetting Andy's birthday in "Birthday Boy", trying to prevent Andy from getting in trouble for something he didn't do in "The Rod Squad", trying to cure Mr. J of his severe illness in the short "Bedside Matters", and willingly fixing the latter's broken clown statue in "The Big Haggle Hassle". This reaches its epitome in "Be Careful What You Fish For", in which Rodney is motivated by a talking fish decoration in Mr. J's office to do good deeds for others, ultimately warping his personality into nothing but kindness. Although, he returns to his mischievous ways in the end.
Leon is Rodney's second closest friend. He lives in a treehouse in the Johnsons' backyard, making him the closest to reach out to. Leon is one of the very few people who Rodney doesn't exhibit rudeness towards, and due to the former's harmless demeanor, he naively goes along with many of the latter's selfish schemes without questioning his integrity. Leon is essentially Rodney's go-to guy in the quandary of Andy's absence or aggression. Their first interaction is in "Born to Be Mild", also Leon's debut episode. In it, Leon imparts survival skill and knowledge into Rodney to prevent him from becoming a victim of any fates or even death.
Darlene is Rodney's love-interest-then-girlfriend. They first interact in "Tree for Two", where Rodney becomes increasingly infatuated with the squirrel and as a result tries to ask her out, leading them into a relationship which becomes a plot point of many later episodes. Darlene is overly nice sometimes to the point of being a pushover, and while she often finds herself annoyed with Rodney's over-the-top antics, their love is nonetheless mutual.
Kyle has made it abundantly clear that he unrepentantly despises Rodney and Andy, although his distaste is more prominent towards the latter than the former. While the duo rarely has any one-on-one interaction, their solo relationship was limited explored in "Family Crude" in which Kyle torments Rodney by pinning him to a steering wheel and spinning him around to induce amnesia in him. That aside, he also pulls a mean prank on him in "Stranger Than Friction" in which he makes him chase after a flying piece of paper with a remote control. Later in the episode, however, when Salty Mike bonds with Andy over a strange rock collection, both parties feel betrayed by their best friends and agree to play a scheme in order to get back them back, which involves fighting in a gigantic robot suit.
As Kyle's owner, Salty Mike plays a vitriolic role to Rodney like his owner does to Andy. Salty's first appearance in "Scout's Dishonor" involves him engaging in numerous slapstick violence with Salty Mike, ultimately proving to him that the latter is unfriendly. Their dynamic reached its peak in "Islands in the Street", in which the duo finds one another stranded on a desert island in the middle of a highway, both of whom having a similar backstory as to how they got there. Two weeks later, the pair bonds in a relaxing paradise where passerbys throw their used belongings in the middle of the island. Although they return to bad terms at the end, Rodney selfishly gives Salty advice on how to return to the island as he desires.
Rodney has an ongoing dynamic with Mr. J that consists of disdain on the latter's part. Robert frequently finds himself extremely irritated with Rodney's inconvenience and impulsive behavior and isn't afraid to show his distaste in ways such as excluding him from family vacations and making cruel drawings of him suffering mishaps. While Mr. J utterly despises Rodney, he doesn't give him up for adoption because he knows how much he means to Andy.
Despite Mr. J's contempt for him, Rodney genuinely likes and cares for the former and usually doesn't mean to antagonize him. He shows his care for him in the short "Bedside Matters" by trying to cure him of his condition, even though he accidentally used the wrong list. He also saved his life in "Andy Had a Little Squirrel" by crashing into his stomach during the Cheesy Cheese Log Eating Competition and preventing him from choking to death.
Mrs. J and Rodney rarely interact one-on-one, but they never seem to mind each other's company. Due to the former's pushover personality, she usually tolerates the latter's vexatious antics and laughs them off, like Rodney playfully kissing Mr. J at the end of "Andy Had a Little Squirrel". Mrs. J also joins Andy in treating Rodney like a king in "The Endangered Species Twist" when the latter receives an entitlement forum.
Due to his nerdy nature, Rodney often views Oscar as a nuisance despite his friendly nature. This is especially evident when he carelessly tosses a statue of him across the street in "Birthday Boy" and cringes after shaking his hand in "Andy Had a Little Squirrel". However, in the same episode, they briefly develop a friendship when Andy is convinced by a group of bullies that Rodney is a lame pet; Oscar bonds with Rodney over his favorite subjects and even makes a special spacesuit for him with soda bottles strapped to it.
- There is a Happy Meal toy of Rodney from 2007 part of a Cartoon Network tie-in.
- Rodney and Andy appeared on Cartoon Network's 20th anniversary poster in 2012.
- Rodney made a cameo appearance in the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode, Crossover Nexus, as one of the Cartoon Network heroes that were summoned and defeated by Strike.