Phoebe Heyerdahl is a fictional character in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.
Phoebe is very sensitive, shy and fragile and usually gets emotional when something bad has happened to her or someone else. This makes Helga often take advantage of Phoebe and treat her like a slave, rarely thanking her. Whenever Helga yells at her (sometimes for no reason), Phoebe fearfully apologizes, even if she never did anything wrong. She is one of the most intelligent children out of Arnold's friends.
Phoebe has a huge bun of black hair at the top of her head bound by a small yellow scrunchie, and stereotypes for smart children in animated shows, such as big eyeglasses (in Phoebe's case, with blue monochromatic lenses), a short stature, and squeaky voice. She always tries to be the first one with the answer, and isn't exactly thrilled when someone else does better ("Ms. Perfect", "Phoebe Cheats").
She wears large cat-eye glasses, a blue sweater that is too long for her (which covers what she's wearing for a bottom) and matching shoes.
Now, she wears a white shirt with a blue collar, a blue jacket, a light blue skirt and green shoes. Her hair is now in a short ponytail.
Phoebe was born in Kentucky and, at some point, moved to Hillwood at a young age. She has a sweet, likable personality with a high intellect. She is one of the nicest characters in the franchise, and is said to be Helga's only friend.
Among her most notable moments was when she won the City Academic Bowl ("Phoebe Takes the Fall"), a competition that she shouldn't even have been in, as Helga, in an attempt to win the only trophy her older sister Olga never won, had won her school's spot at the Bowl by forcing Phoebe to miss the final question (ironically, McAfee did not receive credit for the role in that episode). At the opposite end of the spectrum, she was utterly humiliated in front of the entire student body ("Phoebe's Little Problem") when she was caught passing gas into a microphone on stage as she was receiving an award, and subsequently refused to ever go to school again (somewhat ironically, the award was for her perfect attendance). Among her other achievements are winning the Parents Tournament Weekend with her parents ("Parents Day") and the City Go-Kart Grand Prix with Helga and Harold ("Grand Prix").
She's also pretty good at handling a fencing sword ("Phoebe Cheats"), even when it's a flashlight ("Wheezin' Ed"). There is some evidence that she is musically inclined as well; she's carrying what appears to be a string bass in "Helga on the Couch" and is practicing some sort of large horn in "School Dance". (However, music is one of those disciplines where you need creativity, and that seems to be one of few things that Phoebe lacks, if "Phoebe Cheats" is anything to go by.) Just as Gerald hangs around with Arnold, Phoebe hangs around with Helga, who considers Phoebe her best friend (she even says so in "Magic Show", after yelling at her), mainly because Phoebe is probably the only person who likes Helga the way she is ("Helga's Makeover").
Phoebe is Helga's shoulder to cry on, down to the point where seeing Helga cry makes her cry as well. It's also shown that Phoebe has a crush on Gerald.
Crush on Gerald
It is alluded to in several episodes that Phoebe has a crush on Gerald.
- In "Operation Ruthless", there are four hints of her having a crush on him:
- 1.) When Helga goes into the hall of mirror Phoebe is seen smiling at Gerald.
- 2.) Before entering the Tunnel of Love, she smiles at Gerald in a somewhat flirtatious way.
- 3.) Phoebe and Gerald are shown riding the tunnel of love together---Gerald even has his arm around her. When Gerald asks if she's okay after hitting the hotdog stand in the runaway bumper car, she says, "Yeah. I'm okay now."
- 4.) At the end of the episode, they walk away from the Cheese festival together holding hands.
- In "Wheezin' Ed" when Helga assigns Gerald and Phoebe to go together to explore the tunnels, they smile at each other.
- Also in Wheezin' Ed" she jumps in the hole to try to save Gerald
- In the episode, "Roughin' It", she says to Helga with a somewhat dreamy look on her face that she admires Gerald's survival skills.
- They share a desk in "Teachers' Strike".
- They are seen numerous times together at Rhonda's party (including a scene showing Phoebe amused that Gerald is whispering sweet nothings into her ear) in "Hey Harold!"
- She has a picture of him in her locker in "Phoebe Breaks a Leg".
- She gives Gerald an impressed look after his solo in "Gerald's Tonsils".
- If one observes carefully, at the end of "New Teacher", when the last photograph is taken (the one with the kids in front of the entrance to the park) Phoebe can be seen sitting next to Gerald staring at him with a smile on her face.
- They once again look at each other and hold hands in "Arnold's Thanksgiving".
- In "Love and Cheese", she and Gerald are seen walking around together and eating ice cream.
- In "Cool Party", they can be seen dancing together.
- Had the spin-off starring Helga been made, Phoebe and Gerald would have been an official, background couple.
- They are seen together in a deleted scene of "Phoebe's Little Problem" while in her bedroom.
- See also "Phoebe and Gerald: Lovers in the Background" published by Shieldmaiden56 on "Hey Arnold! – A Critical Analysis"
Friendship with Helga Pataki
Helga often makes Phoebe her own personal slave and hardly ever thanks her for anything, no matter what she does. Another reason is because Phoebe is deeply afraid of Helga and cannot stand up to her, since she's shy and Helga is mean to her all the time. Still, Phoebe is around whenever Helga needs someone to talk to. She is also one of the few people who know that Helga is in love with Arnold, (the others being Lila, Brainy, and Dr. Bliss) and sometimes helps her keep her secret safe ("Helga Blabs It All", "Helga's Parrot"). While it's never shown exactly when Phoebe figured out how Helga really feels about Arnold (though it's sometime around Season 4, before "Helga Sleepwalks"), she's also smart enough that she wouldn't let anybody know that. Phoebe seems to be the only person Helga trusts, mainly because Phoebe is the only member of the gang who actually likes Helga.
There seems to be some question as to how her last name is spelled; her school record says "Hyerdahl", but the credits to "Phoebe Cheats" and the award she gets in "Phoebe's Little Problem" say "Heyerdahl".
Not much is known about Phoebe's family, except that her father Kyo is of Japanese descent. In the Episode "Phoebe Cheats", her father said "Kampai!" (which approximately means "Cheers!" in Japanese) and is good at fencing, and her mother Reba has a strong Southern accent and is most likely from Kentucky. Her parents only had speaking roles twice: "Phoebe Cheats" and "Phoebe's Little Problem".
- Phoebe, like classmate Nadine, is of mixed heritage.
- Phoebe is right-handed.
- Few fans of the show wondered if Phoebe wears shorts or not as it implied that her only clothing is her sweater (which is unlikely). However there was an error in "Phoebe Skips" when Phoebe jumps there is nothing underneath her sweater. This rumor is somewhat proven, by her 2017 design.
- Ironically, Anndi McAffe is known for voicing Cera from The Land Before Time and Brittany from Lloyd in Space.
- Phoebe is the only member of the gang who genuinely likes Helga.