Quote1 You're a bold kid, Arnold Quote2
Gerald's catchphrase

Gerald Martin Johanssen is the tritagonist of the Nickelodeon animated television series Hey Arnold!

He was voiced by Jamil Walker Smith throughout the entire run of the series, even as Smith went through puberty (the voice change was explained away when "Gerald's Tonsils" were removed). Gerald is Arnold's best friend — which usually means he's on the scene when Arnold's latest escapade happens. Gerald is also the occasional voice of reason (just when Arnold needs it). Gerald has a good deal of knowledge of many legendary stories in the city, or "urban legends" as he calls them ("Stoop Kid" was the first he told, while "Ghost Bride" was the last). He apparently gets these myths from a source he has nicknamed "Fuzzy Slippers", mentioned in many episodes as his reliable assistant. Until Arnold taught him, Gerald did not even know how to ride a bicycle ("Gerald's Secret"). In the episode ("Ransom") Gerald is seen riding his bicycle before episode ("Gerald's Secret"). Gerald's catchphrases usually were "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?", "You're a bold kid". But Gerald's interest in urban legends gave him a fright in one episode ("Four-Eyed Jack") after Gerald said there's no such thing as ghosts, but at the end of the episode while Gerald is asleep, the ghost awakens him and says a simple "boo" before Gerald screams loudly. The ghost disappeared afterwards.

At school, Gerald is the class president ("Cool Party", "Mr. Green Runs"), and considers himself very cool, and apparently, so do his friends. When it was revealed that Arnold was on Rhonda's so-called "Cool List", and that Gerald was on her other list known as "The Geek List" (due to a grudge Rhonda had against him over running for class president), many classmates were surprised to find this out ("Cool Party"). He seems to know a great deal of children's street culture.

Gerald may be beginning to notice that Phoebe is paying more and more attention to him — and the feeling could be mutual, although Gerald does accept a date to a dance from an older girl in "6th Grade Girls". (There weren't any "Gerald and Phoebe" scenes in any of the second season episodes, but Phoebe has "that look" after Gerald's solo in "Gerald's Tonsils", and they're together throughout Rhonda's party in "Hey Harold!".)

Gerald's last name is spelled "Johanson" in the first season and "Johanssen" in the second season, although it's spelled "Johannsen" in the credits for "The High Life" and "Johansson" in the credits of the "Urban Adventures" tape; since Gerald signs it "Johanssen" in "The High Life", that's the spelling used here.

Gerald's most distinct features are his hi-top fade (classmate Helga often calls him "Tall Hair Boy"), and his shirt with the number 33 on it (he also wears 33 on sports uniforms, a reference to Scottie Pippen). Now, he wears a red sweatshirt with the same number on it.

In the episode "Gerald's Tonsils" Gerald is a soloist of chorus, and in the episode "Arnold As Cupid" he's briefly seen playing violin.





  • Timberly Johanssen — Gerald's little sister. She is usually causing trouble due to her desire for attention or naturally childish behaviour. Unlike all the other children on the show, Timberly seems to get older throughout the series: At her first appearance, she is mentioned to be four years old, but she already attends the first grade in "Timberly Loves Arnold".
  • Jamie O Johanssen — Gerald's older brother, who while he causes trouble for him, ultimately cares for him, their relationship becoming more amicable after the events of "Jamie O in Love ".
  • Martin Johanssen — Gerald's sometimes strict father, complains about wasting electricity.
  • Mrs. Johanssen — Gerald's very kind mother, keeps family together.

According to the comics "Gerald's Haircut" Gerald has a bald uncle named Maurice.


  • Connie — A sixth-grader who was Gerald's "date" at the school dance in "6th Grade Girls", but it turned out that all she wanted was to make her boyfriend Burt jealous. She was the first girl to kiss Gerald.
  • Chloe — an older girl who recently moved into the neighborhood, who hung out with Gerald, but only to get closer to his older brother Jamie O. Gerald felt betrayed after the truth was revealed.
  • Phoebe — Although not much is confirmed, they have shown signs of possibly like-liking each other. Their first interaction was in "Operation Ruthless" when they were riding swan boat together and walking home while holding hands. Then it was shown by Phoebe that in "Roughin' It" she admired Gerald's camping skills. Also, in "Gerald Moves Out", a portrait of Phoebe is shown in Gerald's daydream. Then in "Wheezin' Ed" when they were paired up together to head in a direction in one of the tunnels, they looked at each other in a romantic way. Also they are seen dancing together in "School Dance". In "Arnold's Thanksgiving", Gerald and Phoebe can be seen walking on the stage together holding hands. In the planned spin-off show, The Patakis, Gerald and Phoebe would have been a couple. However, the show never went ahead. In the episode Phoebe Breaks a Leg, when Helga cleans Phoebe's locker there is a picture of Gerald on the inside.


  • His hair looks similar to Marge Simpson from The Simpsons.
  • In later episodes, his voice actor, Jamil Walker Smith's voice was digitally mastered to a higher pitch by using sound audio.
  • Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie is the first and only time Gerald will have a new voice actor.

Appears in

Main or secondary role - s

Minor role - m


See also

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