Hey Arnold Wiki


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Character on Hey Arnold!
Occupation4th Grade Student
(presumably the 7th)

Father: Miles

Grandfather: Phil
Grandmother: "Pookie" Gertrude
Grandaunt: Mitzi
Great-grandfather: Grandpa's father
Great-grandmother: Grandpa's mother
Great-great grandfather: Grandpa's grandfather

Mother: Stella

Grandfather: Arnold (deceased)
Cousin: Arnie

Best friendsGerald
RelationshipsRuth P. McDougal (crush until the episode "Arnold's Valentine")

Lila (crush until episode "Timberly Loves Arnold")

Summer (crush in "Summer Love")

Miss Felter (crush in episode "Crush on Teacher")

Helga (possible love interest)

Voiced byJ.D. Daniels (1993-1994)

Toran Caudell (1995-1998)
Kath Soucie (Screaming Arnold) (1996-1998, 2001)
Phillip Van Dyke (1997-2000)
Spencer Klein (1999-2002)
Rusty Flood (Little Arnold) (1999-2000 or 2002)
Alex D. Linz (2002)

Arnold is a fictional character created by Craig Bartlett. He has featured in claymation shorts and comics, but his main role has been the main protagonist of the Nickelodeon animated television series Hey Arnold!.

His head is shaped like a giant football, thus earning him the nickname "Football-Head".


Arnold's evolution


Arnold was created in 1985 by Craig Bartlett, who was also responsible for the clay-animated Penny shorts on CBS's Pee-wee's Playhouse. The original Arnold was visualized as a rich, prep school kid with a vivid imagination, who always wore a prep-school uniform and his signature cap, and was rendered in clay in a series of shorts, one of them televised in 1991 on Sesame Street, and continued to air there, even after the Nick version debuted.


In 1991, the Hey Arnold comic stories, written and drawn by Bartlett (who's also a comic book artist), were published in Simpsons Illustrated magazine (Bartlett is the brother-in-law of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons).

TV Series

The familiar, cel-animated Arnold came about in the mid-1990's when Nick picked up the new series. In the TV series, Arnold is a 4th grader who lives in a boarding house with his paternal grandparents, Phil and Gertrude. Apart from the animation style, Nick's Arnold now wears a sweater, with his plaid shirt untucked (often mistaken for a kilt). Only Arnold's beloved cap remained from the original wardrobe. He no longer wore a school uniform in the TV series because he attends a public school.


Arnold is a dreamer and an idealist who always tries to see the best in people and do the right thing. Whenever he sees someone in trouble, Arnold goes out of his way to help them, even if it is not sensible to do so (an example being when he tried to protect some of his classmates who had mooned the school principal). He is humble, never bragging or showing off. Arnold often acts as the stable center to those around him, whether he is around his "family" in his paternal grandparents' boarding house - the Sunset Arms, or around his friends at his school - P.S. 118. Despite his kindness, no one necessarily thinks of Arnold actually having problems or lets him be a kid, and thus, he doesn't necessarily have fun. Arnold, being an optimist, sometimes doesn't always face the facts and thinks everything is great.

He has a love for music, particularly jazz. He is seen in one episode discussing with his friends various sound systems, owning an advanced sound system himself. He also taught himself to play harmonica, and has played it a few times throughout Seasons 1 and 2. His room contains interesting technology such as a remote control that controls everything in his room, a powerful computer and a collapsible couch. His entire ceiling comprises of several skylights as well. His favorite color is blue, and his favorite number is 5.

In the future, he and Helga are married and living a wonderful life together.

Arnold is also good at sports, playing both baseball and American football with his friends at Gerald Field.

Arnold also had skills in video editing as demonstrated in the episode "Freeze Frame" and in the final third of Hey Arnold!: The Movie.

Though his religion is never explicitly mentioned on the show, it is implied that he belongs to the Roman Catholic faith in "Arnold Eats His Dinner," an early comic, when he is involved in a prayer which includes a mention of the Holy Ghost. He is also seen attending church in "Arnold Escapes From Church."


First Name

Arnold was named after his mother's father. The name Arnold is of German origin that stands for "the eagle rules" or "strong as an eagle."

Last Name

Arnold's last name has never been revealed on the show. With the exception of a few secondary characters (including Sid and Brainy), the only other notable characters whose surnames are unknown are Arnold's grandparents. They presumably have the same last name as Arnold, since in "Parents Day" and "The Journal" it is revealed they are his father's parents. The mystery surrounding Arnold's full name became a running gag on the show, by the last name almost being revealed, then someone or something interrupting or otherwise preventing it from being heard (much like the Timmy Turner's parents' first names on The Fairly Odd Parents, the location of the "secret spot" on Rocket Power, the country Fez is from on That 70's Show, and the state Springfield is in on The Simpsons). Some notable occasions when the name is almost revealed include:

  • In a commercial for the show that aired in the early part of the show's run, Arnold talks to the viewer to straighten out some facts about himself (such as the revelation that his notable red outerwear is a shirt, not a skirt). He ends with, "And yes, I do have a last name. It's..." at which point the screen turns into static and the sound cuts off, because the camera's batteries runs out.
  • In the episode "Fighting Families", Arnold wins the school's raffle drawing for the chance to be on the game show Fighting Families. The lady doing the drawing announces, "The winner is Arnold...hmm, there seems to be a smudge over the last name." Here it is revealed that Arnold is the only one in the school with this first name, thus making his surname somewhat unnecessary.
  • A similar instance to the one above occurs in "Eugene, Eugene!", where Tim Curry's character is casting the school kids for an upcoming play, and says, "I can't read my own handwriting", when he's casting Arnold as the villain. However, that scene did at least reveal Lila's last name (Sawyer, as mentioned above).
  • In one episode, "Crush on Teacher", in which Helga does one of her many passionate monologues about her love for Arnold, she says that she would one day like to become "Mrs. Arnold...wait, what is his last name?", revealing that she is just as clueless as the viewers.
  • In the episode "The Journal", Phil is reading the part of Miles's journal that recounts his and Stella's wedding. He gets to the part when they are pronounced "Mr. and Mrs...." at which point Grandma interrupts with a loud belch.
  • In the episode "Married", Helga dreams that she is married to Arnold, and that she is the president. In her opening speech, she introduces Arnold as "Arnold Pataki."
  • Series creator Craig Bartlett had been planning to finally reveal his last name in a second feature film for the series, which would also deal with his search to find his parents. Craig mentioned in a subsequent online chat: "I had an idea for the Jungle Movie (how Bartlett refers to the planned film), in the opening scene, a man comes to the door of the boarding house, and Arnold signs his name. Right, that's how you find out." However, problems between Bartlett and Nickelodeon, as well as the low gross of the first film, led to the cancellation of this second film.

In 2006 in an online chat with Hey Arnold! fans, Bartlett revealed that Arnold's grandpa used his last name throughout the series, almost confirming that Arnold's last name is "Shortman". (A transcript of this chat can be found here.)

  • In some episodes other characters can be seen referring to Arnold as Shortman (In the beginning of Arnold Visits Arnie, Helga is telling the other characters their positions in a game of baseball she is quoted saying "Looks like you're on Shortstop, Shortman"
  • In a commercial for Hey Arnold, where Bartlett is interviewed, Bartlett promises that Arnold's last name will be revealed, and that the audience has been hearing his name throughout the entire series. Grandpa frequently calls Arnold "Shortman."
  • "Shortman", if it is assumed to be Arnold's surname, is an actual surname.  Its origin is English, with the earliest known variant of the surname recorded in Dorset in 1176. [1]

Arnold's second name probably is "Phillip" (See the chat transcript).


Arnold was born in San Lorenzo, in a temple of the mysterious Green-Eyed People during a volcanic eruption. His birth "silenced all of nature" and the volcano.

According to the episode "The Journal", Arnold was born while his parents were on an earlier expedition in the jungle to bring medicine to the natives. His birth coincided with the eruption of a nearby volcano, which the locals believed to be an indication that Arnold would one day become a messiah of sorts who would save the world from a great danger. Arnold was not told of these events until later in the series when it was revealed by his grandfather. It is unknown how the "prophecy" may have fit into the series had it continued.

In a chat, Craig Bartlett mentioned that he was supposed to be semi-worshiped by the Green-Eyed people, and that a football-headed figure is an important symbol for their culture.

He was born on the 7th day of an unknown month ("Married"). Some fans agree that he was born on October 7th, the day the first episode of the series aired for the first time. But that would create a flaw on the history, since Arnold's parents left him on October 5th, and they celebrated his 1st birthday some time before leaving the Boarding House once and for all. Though others believe that Arnold's parents may have disappeared before his second birthday.

Additionally, in a logged chat Craig Bartlett said, "...Arnold is like me in that he has to think things over a long time, before coming to a decision. That I believe is a Libra characteristic. Go Libras." (See the chat transcript) This implies Arnold being a Libra, which would make his birthday fall sometime between September 24th to October 23rd. It is most likely on October 7, as in ("Married"), he mentions his birthday is on the 7th of a month.



Arnold has had two major crushes in the series: 6th-grader Ruth P. McDougal (through most of Season 1), and with a classmate named Lila Sawyer (who was introduced in Season 2). His crush with Ruth ended in "Arnold's Valentine" when, after going on a date

Arnold and Ruth

with her, he decided that she was not really interesting and came to realize he never knew much about her himself. His crush on Lila ended when she overheard him say he used his best friend Gerald's younger sister, Timberly, to get her to like him in "Timberly Loves Arnold". In the episode "Crush On Teacher" Arnold develops a crush on his substitute teacher Miss Felter, and thought she had a crush on him too. The crush on her ended at the end of the episode when Arnold found out that Miss Felter didn't actually have a crush on him, and it was just a misunderstanding.

Arnold and Lila


Arnold and Helga

Arnold's most catalytic relationship is with his classmate Helga Pataki. Unbeknownst to Arnold, Helga is secretly in love with him, though to keep these feelings secret she verbally abuses Arnold so he will never come to that conclusion. As such, Arnold has a more or less tolerant feeling towards Helga. He states throughout the series that even though she acts bad, she really is a good person. Examples of this are shown in "Married" - near the end of Arnold's dream when he confronts Helga, in "School Play" at the beginning in the lunch line, and "Helga vs. Big Patty" - whereby Arnold explains to Patty that the reason Helga is mean is that she's insecure of her own feelings, hoping she won't beat Helga up. Also in "Big Sis" we see that after Helga's attempts at foiling Olga and Lila's newly found sisterhood fail, Arnold tells Helga that she must be either "crazy or extremely jealous." Yet in "Summer Love" after Helga is found to be behind all the misfortunes that happen to Arnold and his new love interest Summer, Arnold confronts Helga by saying, "if you're done being mean to me and Summer for no reason..." This may hint at the fact that he is in denial of his true feelings for Helga, due to her outer mean nature. Arnold has said he likes Helga when she is nice multiple times throughout the show. As noted by episodes, "It Girl", "Helga's Masquerade", "Dinner for Four", and especially "Arnold Visits Arnie" where he likes the alternate universe Hilda (who is really just Helga without the mean front she puts up). Another episode where his emotions are shown ever so slightly is in "The Flood"; when Helga falls out the window, he miserably yells "Noo!", while Helga calls his name "Arnold!"

In the movie, Arnold finds out that Deep Voice, a stranger who helps Gerald and him throughout the movie, is actually Helga. This surprises him, as her father was poised make a lot of money from the demolition of their home town, making her rich. So after constantly questioning her, Helga admits her feelings to Arnold and kisses him. At the end of the movie, the two of them agree it was all just in the "heat of the moment", although apparently Arnold knew it wasn't.

According to series creator Craig Bartlett, had the cancelled "Jungle Movie" sequel been animated, Arnold would've returned Helga's feelings with a kiss of his own, with his Gerald interrupting the moment. The two would've also dated prior to the proposed, but ultimately aborted MTV spin-off The Patakis, where they would've broken up, though they would remain friends, with Helga sending Arnold letters. Considering The Patakis was cancelled, it remains unclear whether or not this development remains canonical.

Craig Bartlett has confirmed on several occasions that Arnold and Helga are meant for each other, and that they do end up together, get married, and have children. He has hinted at it through out the series as well, and pointed out at the end of the episode "Married" when Phoebe's imagining what Arnold and Helga's future might be like together, that it never fades back to Phoebe, hinting that its real.


Arnold's best friend is Gerald Johanssen, whose relationship dates as far back as pre-school. The pair have a distinct handshake consisting of putting two thumbs-up fists together and wiggling the thumbs back and forth.

Arnold has other notable friendships with Eugene (which goes back to their play school days) HaroldSid and Stinky.


Over the course of the series, Arnold has had a handful of voice actors. In the pilot, Arnold's voice was provided by J.D. Daniels, though when the series came to fruition, Daniels was not brought on. During Season 1 and "What's Opera, Arnold?" Toran Caudell provided the voice of Arnold, though he left the show after the first season due to his voice changing, returning soon after as his rival, Wolfgang (though some of Caudell's work as Arnold became part of the second and third seasons). Phillip Van Dyke was brought on as the voice of Arnold for the second season and part of the third season. However, like Caudell, Van Dyke's voice also underwent changes, causing another change in voice actors (though Van Dyke would return during Season 5 to voice the bully Ludwig in "New Bully on the Block"). Late in Season 3, Spencer Klein started voicing Arnold, and continued to provide his voice all the way through Season 5 (including the theatrical movie based on the show), although the episodes "April Fools Day" and "The Journal" featured Alex D. Linz as the voice of Arnold instead.

Appears in


  • Arnold is a big fan of Dinoland.
  • Arnold is the only character to appear in every episode of the series, although some of them, he had only a minor appearance in.
  • Arnold appears to be gifted with artistic talent, as mentioned in "Part time Friends" and "Rich Guy".
  • According to "Aptitude Test", Arnold would make the perfect ambassador for a foreign country.
  • Arnold is capable of perfectly mimicking Grandpa Phil's voice as shown in "Hooky" because he has spent so much time around his grandfather.
  • Any girl Arnold has had a crush on throughout the series has either not returned his affection or has turned out to be a jerk.
  • Arnold has an emotional attachment to his hat as shown in "Arnold's Hat". He states that it is because it is a part of him. In "Parent's Day" it is shown that as a baby he was still wearing the hat when he was still with his parents. It is possible that his attachment to his hat is actually because it is a gift from his parents who he still loves and misses dearly.
  • He and Gerald have been friends since at least preschool, as shown in "Helga on the Couch".
  • Arnold may be subconsciously in love with Helga as seen in episodes like "Arnold's Valentine", "Arnold visits Arnie", and "Married".
  • Arnold loves watching sports and playing them, but appears to favor baseball, as shown in "The Baseball", "Dangerous Lumber", and "Rich Guy". He appears to specialize in baseball but also appears to be good at football, especially with coming up with plays as shown in "Mud Bowl".
  • Arnold appears to be the stable center of the boardhouse as he helps to stabilize the relations between the boarders.
  • As shown in "Gerald Comes Over", Arnold collects the rent and breaks up the fight between the boarders when dinner comes.
  • Arnold's room is accessible via ladder and appears to be the biggest room in the boarding house and is a part of the attic with its own panorama view.
  • According to "Married", his favorite color is blue and his favorite number is seven, which is also the number on his jersey in "Benchwarmer"
  • Arnold appears to wear a kilt but in actuality it is his shirt that is left untucked.
  • Arnold's compassion extends to animals, as shown in "Field Trip" and "Big Caesar".
  • Arnold has won an eating contest in "Eating Contest".
  • Arnold is shown in multiple episodes to like tapioca pudding, which Helga also likes.
  • Arnold has a foldable couch in his room.
  • Arnold has an alarm clock that looks like him and wakes him up by saying "Hey Arnold" consecutively as it clasps the upper half of its head up and down like the cymbals of a drum set.
  • Arnold is close to his pet pig, Abner and when Abner went missing in "Abner Come Home" he searched throughout the entire town to look for him.
  • The only person Arnold seems to hate in the series is Iggy due to his actions in "Arnold Betrays Iggy" that caused Arnold humilitation and disgrace due to a misunderstanding.
  • It is shown in "Friday the 13th" that Arnold is not superstitous.
  • There have been a few episodes where Arnold always does something that brings misfortune to Eugene, such as "Eugene's Bike", "Eugene's Pet", and "Eugene's Birthday" and when Arnold tried to make it up to Eugene, his efforts went terribly wrong. However, he did prove to also bring him good luck, as he helped prove his innocence when he was accused of pulling the fire alarm in "False Alarm", when he resuced Eugene from getting mugged in "Mugged", and cooperated with him to fix the play Eugene, Eugene in the episode "Eugene, Eugene" that they both participated in which was changed by the scriptwriter.
  • Despite the two not having an "official" relationship throughout the series, Helga and Arnold have kissed multiple times. All of these kisses were instigated by Helga and they occurred in "School Play", "Summer in Love", and Hey Arnold: The Movie. They also kissed mulitple times in "Married" although all the kisses happened in their dreams.
  • Arnold always seems to come across something that would expose Helga's feelings for him and Helga always has to sneak into his house to prevent him from finding out. These episodes include "The Little Pink Book", "Helga's Locket", "Helga Blabs it All", "Helga Sleepwalks", and "Helga's Parrot".
  • Helga has attempted to confess to Arnold in "Helga Sleepwalks", "Helga Blabs it All" and "Monkey Business" but was interrupted each time by Phoebe.
  • Arnold became aware of Helga's feelings in Hey Arnold: The Movie but agreed with Helga that it was just part of the heat of the moment. However, he seemed to be aware it was not part of the heat of the moment. This appears to be true as he flirted with her in "April Fool's Day" which is supposed to take place after the movie.
  • Whenever Arnold tried to get back at Helga for bullying him and pushing his buttons too many times, it tended not to work out as shown in "Girl Trouble" and "April Fool's Day".
  • Arnold appears to be a good tango dancer, as shown in "April Fool's Day".
  • Helga has stated that Arnold smells good in the episodes "April Fool's Day" and "Save the Tree" and in "Hey Arnold!:The Movie."
  • In "Helga's Parrot", Helga apparently saw Arnold naked as Arnold was getting undressed and Helga was hiding behind his foldable couch. She closed her eyes for a few seconds before opening them up again and fainted while smiling.
  • Arnold has gotten stuck in a high place with Eugene twice, once in "Stuck in a Tree" (with Harold as well) and in "Roller Coaster.
  • His favorite baseball player is Mickey Kaline and his favorite author is Agatha Caulfield, both of whom he met in person in "The Baseball" and "Crabby Author".
  • Arnold likes hot chocolate.
  • In "The Sewer King" Arnold is shown to be extremely good at chess.

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