Hey Arnold! was a Nicktoon which debuted in 1996. It starred Arnold and various other characters as they dealt with city life. A reboot is planned.


  • Arnold Shortman- an average kid with a football-shaped head (leading Helga to refer to him as "football head"). Always wears a plaid shirt (which is often mistaken for a skirt) and a hat. He has several pets. His surname is never officially revealed in the series and is a running gag regarding what it is, but it was eventually stated that his last name is Shortman, a name he is often referred to by his grandfather.
  • Gerald Johansen- an African-American kid with tall hair (similar to Marge Simpson)
  • Harold Berman- a fat, somewhat dimwitted bully. He is Jewish, and one episode features his Barmitzvah.
  • Helga Pataki- a bullying girl with broom-shaped pigtails, who (despite her aparent annoyance with Arnold) is secretly in love with him. She is apparently of Polish descent.
  • Grandpa Phil- a wily old man running a boarding house, where Arnold and his grandparents live. In one episode, it is revealed that he is 81 years old
  • Grandma Gertie- a lively, albeit strange, old lady.
  • Phoebe Heyerdahl- Helga's nerdy friend, who is much kinder to everyone. She is half-Japanese.
  • Sid- an easily-paranoid member of the group, but always creating unrealistic plans. He wears a leather jacket and a green baseball cap (always backwards).
  • Eugene Horowitz- a weird, red-headed kid whose hairstyle resembles a soup can. He is extremely unlucky. He is of Jewish ancestry.
  • Stinky Peterson- an optimistic and kindly Southern kid
  • Rhonda Lloyd- a snooty girl who tries to keep up with the latest fashion trends
  • Nadine- Rhonda's best friend; is an entomologist
  • Brainy- a weird kid who appears to be attracted to Helga. He breathes weirdly, prompting Helga to punch him in the face
  • Lila Sawyer- a girl whom Arnold has a crush on
  • Torvald- a thirteen-year-old bully who was held back for several years. He is named after the grandfather of Leif Eriksson.
  • Dr. Bliss- a humble psychologist. She and Phoebe are the only two people to whom Helga has ever admitted her crush on Arnold.
  • Mr.Simmons- The second fourth grade teacher in the show. He believes that teaching is best approached in a sensitive manner and has a tendency to make quotation gestures for strange reasons.
  • Principal Wartz- the strict school principal at PS118

Boarding House MembersEdit

  • Ernie- a New Yorker who works for a wrecking company
  • Mr. Hyunh (pronounced "whin")- a Vietnamese immigrant with a very thick accent, but a beautiful country singing voice (provided by actual singer Randy Travis). His name may be a reference to the actual Vietnamese name Nguyen, which is usually pronounced "win".
  • Oscar Kokoshka- an annoying Czech immigrant
  • Mr. Smith- a mysterious unseen character, always seen in a trenchcoat

Other CharactersEdit

  • The Johansens- Gerald's family. They are African-American.
    • Mr. Johansen- Gerald's father, who is easily stressed.
    • Mrs. Johansen- Gerald's mother.
    • Timberly- Gerald's little sister
    • Jamie- Gerald's older brother
  • The Patakis- Helga's family. They are of Polish descent.
    • Robert (Big Bob) Pataki- Helga's oafish, ambitious entrepreneur father. A successful beeper salesman
    • Miriam Pataki- Helga and Olga's inattentive mother.
    • Olga Pataki- Helga's extremely gifted sister
  • Mai Hyunh- Mr. Hyunh's daughter whom he hasn't seen since the Vietnam War and was taken from him during Opereation Frequent Wind. Mai is reunited with her father during the Christmas episode.
  • Arnie- Arnold's weird cousin who enjoys such things as reading the ingredients off food packages, collecting lint, and chewing plain flavored gum. He falls in love with Helga.


  • One episode features Arnold participating in an eating contest, controversial as it involves rapid overconsumption of food.
  • One part of an episode involves Sid having to give Arnold a swirly, which is a controversial prank as it can lead to drowning.
  • In one episode, two characters moon the principal.


The first two seasons were released onto DVD through Amazon's burn-on-demand service.


The show is available on iTunes.


A movie was created in 2002. It centers around the city in which arnold lives. A film entitled Her Arnold: The Jungle Movie debuted in 2017 as a part of the reboot.

Gaming Edit

Video games were released based on the film.


Pop CultureEdit

  • Arnold's favorite baseball player is Mickey Kaline.
    • His name is a possible reference to Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline.
      • The secondary logo on his jersey indicates that he plays for the Chicago White Sox, although Mickey Mantle played for the Yankees and Al Kaline played for the Tigers.
        • However, the Cardinals faced the Yankees in the 1964 World Series and the Detroit Tigers in 1967.
    • He indicates that he faced Bob Gibson in the World Series. Gibson played in the 1964 and 1967 World Series, winning both with the St. Louis Cardinals. As the episode debuted in 1996, Kaline would have to have been playing for at least thirty years.
  • Grampa Phil's first love interest was actress Hedy Lamarr.
  • Grampa Phil drives a Packard, from a company which manufactured automobiles from 1899 to 1958.
  • The character Dino Spumoni is a parody of jazz vocalist Frank Sinatra. Spumoni, incidentally, is the name of a type of Italian ice cream.
  • Mayim Bialik, later known for her role as Amy on popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory, appeared in a few episodes as a sixth grader.
  • One episode is based around opera. The title, "What's Opera, Arnold?", is a reference to Looney Tunes cartoon "What's Opera, Doc?". Helga references this in the episode with her "golden magic slingshot", a reference to Elmer Fudd's "spear and magic helmet". Gerald even comments that he thought it was "spear and magic helmet".
    • Arnold represents Don Jose from Carmen. His singing voice is provided by Toran Caudell, who had since been replaced as his voice actor by Phillip Van Dyke. This was due to Van Dyke being uncomfortable with singing.
    • Helga represents Brunhilde from Die Walkurie
    • Harold represents the sad clown from Pagliacci
    • Gerald sings "Figaro" from The Barber of Seville. It is miscredited as being from Mozart, a common misattribution to The Marriage of Figaro.


  • In 2002, the story of Arnold's lost parents was revealed.
  • In one episode, one street has a pothole big enough for a car to fall into. This is actually a sinkhole.
  • In one episode, Phoebe is rehearsing to perform the popular vocal standard "Moonlight Bay".
  • In one episode, Arnold and his friends are combining their talents to set the world record for the world's biggest pizza puff. The recipe calls for 150 teaspoons of baking soda, which is 3 cups. Considering the size of the puff, that would still be way too small an amount.
  • The late, great Tony Jay had some minor roles in the series.
  • In one episode, Grampa Phil is mocked as being the "oldest living American". Phil then "defends" himself as the "second oldest", calling his wife "the oldest". Incidentally, the actual oldest living American at the time was Sarah Knauss of Pennsylvania, age 116 at the time of the show's debut.
  • Arnold attends P.S. 118. There is a real P.S. 118 in Queens. This may indicate that Hey Arnold takes place in Queens.
  • In one episode, Helga accidentally leaves a message expressing her passion for Arnold on his answering machine. Arnold's grandmother misinterprets this message as being from "Helen of Troy", a historical figure, "trying to sell a passion fruit drink over the phone" (i.e. telemarketing).
  • Eugene's idol is a superhero named The Abdicator. To "abdicate" means to "step down" or "resign".
  • During a political campaign, one candidate is described as "using fancy words" to get support. These "fancy words" likely refer to jargon.
  • The minor character Stoop Kid was voiced by Danny Cooksey, who also played Budnick on Salute Your Shorts
  • In one episode, Grandma Gertie sings The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • When popular internet reviewer Nostalgia Critic reviewed the show as a part of his Nicktoons episode, he had little to say besides his observations of the intro due to his never having seen any episodes. He incorrectly states that Arnold is wearing a skirt when it was made clear many times throughout the show's run that he is wearing a shirt. He interprets Helga showing her fist and calling it "Old Betsy" as strange when it is actually a typical toughness cliche. He doesn't like the simple plots.
  • In one episode, Eugene goes to the hospital, but due to his usual bad luck, the charts on the doors get swapped and the surgeons mistake his room for a tonsilectomy. This is not how things would happen in real life. Each surgery has a specific room with already-prepared equipment. Surgeries also usually have a notable amount of staff members, so the chances of him being the wrong patient would be high. If he was in there for treatment, the staff would already have several copies of paperwork and would notice the mismatch on the door.