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Gerald's Tonsils

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Episode of Hey Arnold!
Gerald's Tonsils
Gerald's Tonsils
Season 3, Episode 50b
Air date: September 7, 1998
Don Del Grande's

Gerald's Tonsils is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.


At the time, Gerald's voice actor Jamil Walker Smith was going through puberty and his voice changed dramatically. The production staff had faced this issue before with voices for Arnold and Eugene and simply replace them. However, they could not find a suitable replacement for Gerald.

Instead, Craig decided to write this episode in order to explain Gerald's dramatic voice change and keep Jamil in the cast.


The kids are practising the song "Moonlight Bay" for their performance at the Spring concert in two weeks. Mr. Simmons is especially impressed by Gerald's enthusiasm. Gerald is awaiting the concert eagerly. After school he tells Arnold how great he finds that nearly everyone is coming to the concert. On their way home they meet Harvey the mail man who recommends Gerald to take care of his voice.

The next day, Gerald has a sore throat. Dr. Steiglitz suggests that to take out his tonsils would be best. Gerald recovers pretty fast from the surgery, unlike his voice which now sounds totally different. When he calls Arnold, his friend doesn't recognize his new voice. At practice Gerald sounds even worse, so that Stinky offers to take on Gerald's solo.

However, Gerald doesn't give up so easily. He gargles a mixture of water, lemon juice, honey and salt, practices his scales for hours and takes a vapour-bath. However, nothing helps. Gerald is desperate and doesn't want to go to the spring concert anymore. Arnold suggests that they ask Dr. Steiglitz for advice.

The doctor says that he remembers only one person who has had exactly the same problem before: Harvey the mail man. So the boys ask him and Harvey tells them that at that time he felt just like Gerald. However, he then decided to follow the example of his favourite blues singer and started to accept his new raspy voice.

Gerald is finally confident in himself again so that he can sing at the concert, and his performance at the Spring concert is a huge success.


Jim Lang - A Freak Of Nature (Remix)00:46

Jim Lang - A Freak Of Nature (Remix)

"A Freak of Nature Remix" by Jim Lang

  • Brainy, Eugene, and Nadine aren't in the class singing group.
  • Prior to the removal of his tonsils, Gerald had never undergone an operation.
  • Harvey never misses P.S. 118's Spring Concert.
  • Martin had his tonsils taken out when he was 8 years old.
  • Arnold has 23 volumes of Purdy Boy mystery novels, according to Gerald.
  • Helga is shown as the hall monitor in one sequence.  A Season 2 episode titled "Hall Monitor" focuses not only on her role as P.S. 118's hall monitor, but also how Phoebe is chosen for the job and how she subsequently handles it.
  • This episode was shown before the episode "Rich Kid", so Lorenzo (who is standing between Helga and Iggy) wasn't identified the first time the episode was shown.
  • Gerald's operation is at the Drymon Medical Clinic. Derek Drymon is one of the show's "regular" directors.
  • Instead of the normal credit music, Jim Lang did a remix called "A Freak of Nature".
  • This episode was made due to explain Jamil Walker Smith's changing voice due to him going through puberty at the time. Another reason was that the producers were unable to find a suitable voice actor to replace him. So the producers had no other choice but to keep Jamil to continue the role of Gerald which was still good, because Jamil started making his voice a character voice for the show, and his voice for Gerald Martin Johanssen was digitally mastered to a higher pitch by using sound audio.
  • This is not the only time "Moonlight Bay" would be sung in the series. It was also sung in the episode "Big Sis".
  • Before Mr. Simmons class goes on stage, Patty performs a song on the accordion alongside Chocolate Boy on the tuba.


  • Lorenzo is shown with the other 4th graders in the choir.  However, this episode aired before "Rich Kid", which introduces Lorenzo, causing a continuity error.  So technically, although not chronologically (within the series), this is the first episode to feature Lorenzo.
  • Lorenzo's vest was red (instead of blue) when Mr. Simmons told Gerald he has lots of enthusiasm.
  • Gerald's doctor's name is spelled "Murray Stieglitz" on the sign, but "Steiglitz" in the credits.
  • When Mr. Simmons was talking about giving the part away to someone, the word "AUDITORIUM" above the doorway was white, and once Stinky came out, the word was blue.
  • Gerald's mouth isn't moving when the kids first started laughing at him on the playground.
  • Rhonda's shoe switched from a low heel shoe to a wedge heel, and then back to low heels.
  • Lorenzo was wearing a blue suit (instead of black) as Harvey was coming in to sing the solo.
  • At the ending when all the kids were with Harvey, Lila and Iggy switched each other's skin color.
  • Francesca Marie Smith is credited only as Helga, even though Sheena speaks as well.

See also

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