Arnold's Valentine is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.
It's Valentine's Day and Arnold must navigate his way between two dinner dates at French restaurants directly across the street from each other.
The episode begins at P.S. 118, with Arnold gazing longingly at Ruth in the hallway, shortly before entering Miss Slovak's 4th grade classroom. Miss Slovak announces that today they are to make valentines for someone special. Helga is having trouble coming up with a valentine's card for Arnold. Arnold invites Ruth to dinner at Chez Pierre. Gerald claims that Arnold has guts, only to second-guess himself after Arnold signs his letter anonymously. Gerald advises Arnold not to sign it anonymously, only for his advice to be quickly brushed off.
Miss Slovak then announces that while everyone is working on their valentines, that she will hand out their letters from their overseas Pen-Pals. Just as Miss Slovak is about to give Arnold his letter from his Pen-Pal, Cecile, the bell rings and everyone heads outside for recess. At recess, Arnold slips his letter for Ruth into her book bag without her seeing. Helga meanwhile, is concocting a plan to steal Arnold's heart. She sneaks inside and grabs Arnold's letter, and alters it so that she can go on a date with him, under the guise Cecile. Little does she know that Cecile is actually flying out to see him.
Arnold reads the letter and is worried because he already has a date with Ruth. Gerald suggests that he get tables at both restaurants (seeing as they are right beside each other). Arnold decides to go along with his plan.
Helga decides to get her hair done for her date, not knowing that the salon she went to was for dogs. Later, Gerald attempts to coach Arnold on his date, to apparent success (even moving Gerald to tears at one point). We cut to Helga, leaving the hair salon, not knowing about her ridiculous hairdo. Meanwhile, Gerald is briefing Arnold for his date. Helga gets dressed for her date, while listening to a tape on speaking French.
At the restaurant, Arnold is surprised to see that "Cecile" doesn't look much like her picture, and that she has an American accent. His date with Ruth however, does not go as planned, as she thinks Arnold is a busboy and is constantly going on about herself. He switches between restaurants several more times, in which time Helga unknowingly orders cow brains and eggs (because the menu is in French) and is stuck vomiting in the bathroom. Ruth and a Busboy find that they have common interests until "Cecile" catches him across the street with Ruth. At that moment, the real Cecile arrives, and Gerald saves Arnold, while Gerald pretends to be Arnold and leaves with Cecile. Ruth goes to get milkshakes with the Busboy.
Arnold asks "Cecile" who she is, to no avail. They then share a moment and they bid each other a farewell, and the episode ends with Helga debating with herself about Arnold's affection towards her, and Arnold wondering who that mystery girl was.
- Ruth is voiced by Lacey Chabert. She also starred in Party of Five as Claudia and voiced Eliza in The Wild Thornberrys. She also voiced Meg Griffin during the first season of Family Guy.
- There's no such place as "Baghdakistan". It's a blend between Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and Pakistan, a country between Afghanistan and India.
- According to Arnold, Cecile lives on a farm in the Loire Valley, France.
- Despite being a Valentine's Day special, the episode aired 2 days before the day itself.
- This is one of the first times Arnold kisses Helga (albeit on her hand).
- This is the first episode where we see Helga with her hair down.
- Helga's hair ends up going from poofy to being worn down while she is vomiting in the bathroom for unknown reasons.
- For many fans, this is the first episode of the series that hinted that Helga and Arnold are meant for each other.
- The plane that Cecile and her parents travelled in looks similar to a real-life Boeing 747.
- This is the first half hour episode to not play special music in the credits.
- As of this episode, Arnold is no longer in love with Ruth (he later fantasizes about Ruth in What's Opera, Arnold?).
- This is Ruth's first speaking role.
- P.S. 118's ZIP code is 96374-0171, which in reality is listed as an Army Post Office code. Also, a number beginning with 96 usually means it's somewhere in the Pacific or Asia.
- Before they leave, Arnold tells Helga, "We'll always have Chez Paris." This is a reference of the famous line in the 1942 film Casablanca, when Rick says to Ilsa before she leaves him: "We'll always have Paris."
- Arnold keeps one of Helga's shoes. A reference to the story of Cinderella.
- When Ruth is walking down the hallway, Maria can be seen but she has caucasian skin and blonde hair. She also has a different dress on.
- When Peapod Kid is talking, the two other kids in the scene aren't regular characters, but after that, neither Peapod Kid nor the other two kids are in the class anymore.
- Also, Peapod Kid's hair is a lighter shade of brown than usual, and his shirt is blue.
- In the scene after Peapod Kid's, Nadine has caucasian skin.
- Ruth P. McDougal lacks her braces in this episode.
- When Arnold is describing Ruth, he says that she has 'soft BROWN eyes that sparkle', but Ruth is seen to have BLUE eyes in the episode.
- Even though in other episodes, Ruth has black eyes like everyone else.
- When Helga first enters in the restaurant, the man sitting behind her is dressed in white and has white hair. However, when they close-up on her, the same man is now wearing black and has brown hair.
- At first, when Helga's disguised as Cecile, she's wearing red lipstick (which she put on when getting ready) but at after she falls in the restaurant and Arnold picks her up, her lipstick is gone and isn't seen again for the rest of the episode.
- In the scene after Helga runs to the bathroom, and before Arnold runs out to see Ruth again, he is holding a spoon full of pink food, similar to Helga's meal, although he is eating steak tartar.
- When Arnold and Helga lean to pick up the second red shoe at the end, the lower part of their animation cels is visible.
- There's no credit for Carla, the girl Gerald talked to who gave him the brush-off. Nor is the girl calling out to Ruth at the beginning, which is to be expected, seeing as her role is extremely minimal.
- Animaton director George Chialtas is credited as "George S. Chiatas".
- Arnold's Valentine (book), based on this episode
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