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Students of P.S. 118
Voiced by: J.D. Daniels (original pilot); Toran Caudell (season 1 and "What's Opera, Arnold?"); Phillip Van Dyke (seasons 2 and 3); Spencer Klein (seasons 4, 5, and The Movie); Rusty Flood ("Helga on the Couch" and "Parents Day"); Alex D. Linz ("The Journal" and "April Fool's Day")
- Adorkable: Occasionally.
- Badass Adorable: He can be kind and sweet to every person, he may have mortals for learning every sports.
- Characterization Marches On: He was more eccentric and naive early on.
- Chick Magnet
- Determinator: When he's on a mission, don't except to give easily until he review all options... and rarely does he run out of them.
- He mostly would stand up for others who are looked down upon and prove one's innocence like he did for Eugene in "False Alarm".
- Even Arnold has Standards: In "Helga and the Nanny", Helga confessed how she got Inge out by stealing Bob's belt and planting it in Inge's room. Arnold was upset with this and promptly leaves along with Stinky, Gerald, and Phoebe.
- Dogged Nice Guy: When he realizes that he likes Lila.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Phlegmatic.
- Hair of Gold
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
- Flanderization: His natural desire to help people and incorruptible personality really took over.
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Gerald.
- Likes Older Women: Up until Lila showed up, he had a crush on an older girl, and in one episode was infatuated with the substitute teacher.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Helga's Masculine Girl.
- Nice Guy: His defining character trait.
- Nice Hat
- Oblivious to Love
- Only One Name: The creator almost confirmed that his last name is Shortman, and it's Played for Laughs.
- Only Sane Man: Amongst his class mates, though Gerald isn't that far behind.
- The Other Darrin: Take a look at that big list of names above. Arnold is the only character who was not voiced by a single actor for the majority of the show's run.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Gerald's Manly Man.
- Parental Abandonment: Living with his grandparents, Arnold's Disappeared Dad and Missing Mom are not even alluded to for a good portion of the series. We eventually learn they disappeared during a jungle expedition while Arnold was a baby.
- Tragic Keepsake: His hat, which was given to him by his parents. When he loses it in one episode, he's determined to get it back.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: To the point that just about everyone on the show, including adults and even authority figures, have come to him for advice.
Helga G. Pataki
Voiced by: Francesca Marie Smith; Katie Bartlett ("Helga on the Couch")
- Abusive Parents
- Because You Were Nice To Me: The reason she's so devoted to and obsessed with Arnold.
- Beneath the Mask: She pretends to hate Arnold to hide her true feelings for him, and only expresses said feelings when she's alone. Or she thinks so, and Brainy teleports behind her.
- Berserk Button: Don't make fun of unibrow!
- Cannot Spit It Out: And when she did it in The Movie... she took the chance Arnold give her to deny it.
- Cerebus Retcon: Much of her background becomes unfunny after "Helga On The Couch".
- Clingy Jealous Girl: She often tries to ruin Arnold and Lila's time together because she wants to be the one going out with Arnold.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Even Evil Has Standards: Does some nasty things to Arnold, but takes major offense to her father calling Arnold an orphan within ear shot of him.
- In "Curly's Girl", Helga calls Rhonda for dumping and embarrassing Curly after pretending to be his girlfriend.
Rhonda: May I borrow the black paint?
Helga: Perfect... it'll match the color of your heart. (She paints a ehart with black paint)
Rhonda: Excuse me!?!
Helga: You heard me Cruella.
- Evil Laugh: Has a very impressive one. Not as impressive as Curly's (but then, who could be), but she gets points for once doing it in a theatre, with ominous music and everything.
- Evil Plan: She explicitly refers to them as such, and she has a ton of them. They nearly always fail in ways that harm her and help those she schemes again.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Her Anguished Declaration of Love in The Movie. Arnold ends up confused about it.
- Foil: To four characters.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Choleric.
- Hair Decorations: She always wears her trademark pink bow, presumably because Arnold complimented it when they first met.
- Hair of Gold
- Hates Being Touched
- Hidden Depths
- Hypocrite: What Helga feels and how Helga acts are always opposite things.
- The Ladette: A pre-teen version.
- Loving Bully: The poster girl.
- Mysterious Middle Initial: What precisely the "G" stands for is never revealed in-series; it's actually short for "Geraldine", as a tribute to then-Nickelodeon executive Geraldine Laybourne.
- Considering how many times she's diminuatively called Gerald "Geraldo"...
- The Nicknamer: She has a name for everybody.
- Parental Neglect: Suffers from this.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Never shows the slightest interest in anybody but Arnold.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: More episodes focused on Helga than any other character except for Arnold, and that's not including the many Arnold/Helga episodes.
- Stalker with a Crush
- Tsundere: Type A. Oh so much, until The Movie.
- The Unfavorite
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with Phoebe
Voiced by: Jamil W. Smith
Best friend to Arnold.
- Adorkable: He has his moments.
- Beehive Hairdo: It's apparently an exaggerated hi-top fade, a style that was popular in the 90s.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Yeah, make fun of him failing singing "Moonlight Bay", he
- Black Best Friend
- Deadpan Snarker
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine.
- Soul Brotha
- The Lancer
- Only Sane Man: At times.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Arnold's Sensitive Guy.
- The Smart Guy: Generally is one of the most informed and competent of the kids.
- The Storyteller: Whenever an urban legend or old story needs to be told, Gerald fulfills this role. He is "the keeper of the tale" for many tales.
Voiced by: Anndi McAfee
Best friend of Helga. Half Japanese girl who was born in Kentucky but moved to the city at a very young age.
- Asian and Nerdy
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pushing her around too much is not a good idea.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Alternates between Melancholic and Supine.
- Knight Templar: As a hall monitor. Snaps out of it at the end of the episode.
- Sidekick: Though she hates being treated like one, she often fills this role. As her character is fleshed out more it's shown more clearly that it is due to her being an extremely loyal - and patient - friend
- The Smart Girl
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Helga's Tomboy. (One of two)
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with Helga (receiving end).
Rhonda Wellington Lloyd
Voiced by: Olivia Hack
One of the most popular kids in school and self-proclaimed "fashion queen", Rhonda is spoiled, rich, obsessed with fashion, and is a bit of a snob, but she does have a friendly side that comes out quite often. Her best friend is Nadine, but she's often seen hanging out with Arnold and the gang. It's implied that she and Harold like each other, and Curly likes her too... much to her chagrin. She's also a surprisingly good football player.
- Alpha Bitch: Very often.
- Break the Haughty: All the freaking time, but most notably Rhonda's Glasses and Rhonda Goes Broke.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Fallen Princess: This is the subject of a couple episodes (most notably "Rhonda's Glasses" and "Rhonda Goes Broke"), but she's always back on top by the end.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
- Heroic BSOD: When her family goes poor in "Rhonda Goes Broke" - specifically, when everybody finds out that she's poor - Rhonda has a major one, spending all her time in her room miserably crying. Luckily, Arnold reboots her when he talks some sense into her and asks if being rich is all she's about.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She does have a good heart under her vain, self-centered exterior.
- Large Ham: She's pretty prone to this when she breaks into histrionics, especially in the episode "Rhonda Goes Broke".
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Despite often being a typical spoiled rich girl, she does have a kind side. Not only does she always do the right thing in the end, but her best friend - Nadine - is middle-class.
- Meganekko: In "Rhonda's Glasses".
- Rich Bitch: On her worst days.
- Shiny Midnight Black
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Nadine's Tomboy.
- Tsundere: For Harold.
- Unwanted Glasses Plot: Gets them in Rhonda's Glasses, but later replaces them with cooler glasses, and eventually contacts.
Voiced by: Lauren Robinson
Nadine is Rhonda's best friend, even though they couldn't be more different. She is fascinated by bugs and arachnids.
- Darkskinned Blonde:
- Freaky Is Cool: Yay, bugs!
- Girlish Pigtails: Though they're meant to resemble spider legs.
- Hair of Gold
- Satellite Character: To Rhonda.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Rhonda's Girly Girl.
Harold Chaim Berman
Voiced by: Justin Shenkarow
A fat kid who's been held back a few grades. Occasionally, a bully.
- Berserk Button: Yeah, keep calling Patty "Fatty Patty." That's a good way to induce Harold's biggest screaming meltdown of the series.
- Big Eater
- The Big Guy
- Catch Phrase: "Madam Fortress Mommy!"
- Ditzy Genius: He can be unintelligible, he has his moments in Harold the Butcher and On the Lam.
- Dumb Muscle
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Alternates between Choleric and Sanguine.
- Informed Judaism: His Jewish background wasn't mentioned until the episode in which he tries to run away from his own bar mitzvah, though prior to that, it was established he had a mom who acted like a Jewish Mother.
- Large Ham: MOMMY!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- No Indoor Voice
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His given Hebrew name is Chaim, But he preffers to be called Harold.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Along with Sid's Manly Men to Stinky's Sensitive Guy.
Voiced by: Sam Gifaldi; Taylor Gifaldi ("April Fool's Day")
A paranoid boy in a backwards hat.
- Berserk Button: If you ignore him from his help from gangster stealing his beatle boots, he would angrily blame you.
- Catch Phrase: "Boy howdy!"
- Deadpan Snarker
- Ditzy Genius: As shown in Sid and Germs.
- Gag Nose
- Hollywood Voodoo: Thought he once killed Principal Wartz with a voodoo doll made of soap.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Alternates between Melancholic and Choleric.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His spotlight episodes tend to display him as a paranoid Large Ham who frequently lets his imagination get the best of him or digs himself in too deep and needs Arnold to save him. That said, he does try to make amends for the things he does when he realizes he's gone too far.
- Large Ham: Episodes centering around him bring this out, especially "Sid the Vampire Slayer" and "Sid's Revenge."
- Nice Hat
- Only One Name: The second most prominent example on the show, behind only Arnold himself.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Along with Harold's Manly Men to Stinky's Sensitive Guy.
Voiced by: Christopher P. Walberg
A kid from Arkansas with a thick Southern accent.
- Adorkable: When he is not with Harold or Sid, he has his moments.
- Beware the Nice Ones / Beware the Silly Ones: Do not mock him for lemon pudding, or else!
- Catch Phrase: "This really bites."
- Cool Loser: When he hangs around with Sid and Harold.
- Country Mouse
- Everyone Calls Him Stinky: Even if his family and the school calls him Stinky... it's possible it's his real name.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Phlegmatic.
- Gag Nose
- Jerk With A Heart of Gold: He can be obnoxious when he's around Sid and Harold, but his spotlight episodes show that he's more civilized when they're not around.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Harold and Sid's Manly Men.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Lemon pudding
Voiced by: Ashley Buccille
A poor country girl who transfers to the school.
- The Chick
- Country Mouse
- Foil: To Helga, big time. A great deal of Lila's appearances, and the nature of Arnold's relationship with both, play up how Lila is everything Helga isn't.
- Not only that, but according to Craig, Lila had a repressed dark side. So, while Lila was sweet and innocent on the outside, but emotionally disturbed on the inside, Helga was mean and crazy on the outside, but kind and sophisticated on the inside.
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Not So Above It All: Not shown too much in the series, but in an interview Craig Bartlett said she had a hidden dark side.
- The Pollyanna
- Secret Keeper: Due to events in "School Play," Helga is forced to confide in her that she loves Arnold. (Naturally, before telling Lila, Helga threatened to strangle her if she ever told anyone.)
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Helga's Tomboy.
- Verbal Tic: "Ever so", "oh so", and "I'm certain that..."
- Youthful Freckles
Thaddeus "Curly" Gammelthorpe
Voiced by: Adam Wylie; Steven Hartman ("Downtown as Fruits"); Haley Joel Osment ("Deconstructing Arnold"); Michael Welch ("Curly's Girl" and "Ghost Bride")
Psychotic kid with black hair and glasses
- A Day in the Limelight: "Curly's Girl"... even Helga felt sorry for him after Rhonda dumps him.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Rhonda.
- Ax Crazy
- Creepy Child
- Disproportionate Retribution
- Embarrassing First Name: "Thaddeus."
- Forceful Kiss: Just loves giving these to Rhonda.
- Large Ham
- The Other Darrin: An interesting example in that they replaced, then reinstated Curly #2, Adam Wylie twice.
An extremely unlucky kid.
- Ambiguously Gay: His bedroom is decorated with rainbows and unicorns and he seems to enjoy dancing and musicals.
- Badass Adorable: He tries to be bad, as shown in Eugene Goes Bad.
- Born Unlucky: He was also born on a Friday the 13th.
- Butt Monkey
- Catch Phrase: "I'm okay", said after something bad happens to him.
- The Chew Toy
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Leukine.
- The Jinx: the other kids think he is one of these, and Arnold often gets dragged into trouble when he tries to help Eugene or prove that he isn't a jinx.
- The Klutz
- Ironic Name: His name means "born lucky", a trait he wasn't blessed with.
- Nice Guy
- The Other Darrin: Played by four actors. Ben Diskin, Eugene #3, lasted the longest at three seasons.
- The Pollyanna: he is almost always freakishly happy and optimistic, despite his luck issues.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Arnold often tries to invoke this, but each time life tends to yank the chain.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
- Youthful Freckles
Voiced by: Craig Bartlett
An otherwise taciturn mouth-breathing nerd who seems to have a thing for Helga.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Helga.
- Author Avatar: Word of God has confirmed Brainy is his voice's actor other self
- Beneath the Mask: Brainy knows who Helga truly is.
- Be Yourself: Brainy is in love with Helga, and no matter how many OffhandBackhands he gets, he never denies it.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Literally, the Vader Breath asthma never let say anything more than "Hi Helga" before the Offhand Backhand
- Determinator: Nothing can dissuade him to be near to Helga.
- Hidden Depths: As confirmed by The book six of the series Hey Arnold! Arnold's E-Files Brainy is as eloquent as Helga… only that he cannot talk because his Vader Breath. Also, he is pretty good manipulating Arnold, loves poetry and is allergic to cats.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Word of God says this is how Brainy ultimately feels about Helga.
- Interrupted Declaration of Love: It's implied this is what Brainy is trying to say Helga before the usual Offhand Backhand.
- Offhand Backhand: Helga frequently does this to Brainy.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Being offscreen most of the time, it's pretty easy for Brainy to do this. Lampshaded in several episodes where he shows up behind Helga in the most improbable. places, such as on Elk Island, the Supposedly haunted train, and even in an Alley that Helga made sure was empty.
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- Everyone Calls Him Brainy: His real name is never reveal.
- The Quiet One
- Satellite Character: To Helga.
- Stalker with a Crush: On Helga.
- Shadow Archetype: Helga is an Hypocrite with Hidden Depths who denies her feelings. Brainy is a guy with Hidden Depths who always try to say her feelings (but cannot for the asthma). Brainy is the one thing Helga wants and fears to be. Brainy is Helga's Satellite Character because Brainy is Helga's self, and Helga is Brainy's Shadow Archetype.
- Vader Breath
Voiced by: Francesca Marie Smith
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Genki Girl
- Gentle Giant: She's the tallest girl in her class, but also the meekest. Plus she hates violence.
- Granola Girl
- Huge Schoolgirl: Easily the tallest girl in class; towers over many of the adult characters at only nine years old.
- Nice Girl
- Satellite Character
Voiced by: Nika Futterman
Helga's older sister and the parental favorite, much to Helga's dismay (and Olga's too, as revealed in "Olga Comes Home"). At first glance, Olga appears perhaps too perfect: Successful, pretty, smart, and sweet and kind to everyone. But she's actually dangerously neurotic, melodramatic and out of reality, due to having to constantly live up to her parents' (well, her father's, anyway) constant attention and ridiculously high standards.
- Bare Your Midriff
- Broken Ace
- Cool Big Sis: In the aptly-named episode "Big Sis", she becomes one to Lila through volunteer work. With her biological sister Helga, however...not so much, but only because Helga can't stand her. However, Olga's come through for Helga on several occasions.
- Hair of Gold
- Parental Favoritism: On the good end of it, which turns out to not be so good.
- Sexy Schoolwoman
- Stepford Smiler
- The Perfectionist: Hasn't received an A- since third grade. In the "Olga Comes Home" episode, she cried for days in bed because she saw a B+ on her report card. Turns out, it was Helga who intercepted her college report card and changed her grade out of jealousy.
- Zettai Ryouiki
"Big" Bob Pataki
Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche
Father of Helga and Olga. Runs a local business aptly named "Big Bob's Beepers".
- Abusive Parents: Emotionally to both daughters, but in completely different ways.
- Gasshole: He belches and breaks wind on occasion.
- Humiliation Conga: Helga was so disturbed by the "Orphan boy" line (see below) that during a gladiator-style event, she told Phil what Big Bob's weakspot was. Basically, she told him to go for the ankles, which sent Big Bob into a tub of gelatin - costing him the event and the overall win.
- Basically any episode that accentuates his Jerkass qualities ends with him getting a solid block of hilarious karma dropped on his head. "Roughin' It" is another good example, where he ends up alone in his RV stuck with sunburn, swamped with bugs, and itching from poison ivy (not to mention having been electrocuted by his own faulty products earlier) while everyone else enjoys camping the old fashioned way.
- Jerkass: Most of the time, he's this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he rarely shows it, he does love and care about Helga, and in some instances can help out other characters when needed.
- Kick the Dog: His "orphan boy" line (referring to Arnold) in "Parent's Day". It's so mean it would be a Moral Event Horizon if he'd said it directly to Arnold (as it stands, he was talking to Helga and was just characteristically loud and uncaring about anyone else overhearing.)
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Consistently calls Helga by her sister's name, and almost always gets Arnold's name wrong.
- Parental Favoritism: To Olga.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: While he would go for verbal attacks, Bob has his limits on bodily harming children, especially his daughter, Helga.
Voiced by: Kath Soucie
Mother of Helga and Olga, Miriam is a depressed, constantly sleepy, seemingly ditzy housewife with an addiction to "smoothies". It's not uncommon to find her sleeping in strange places. However, she can be very competent and intelligent, but unfortunately it seems that being married to Big Bob has really brought her down.
- Alcoholic Parent: While they couldn't state it outright, Miriam is obviously a heavy drinker, with the show using smoothies as a metaphor for booze.
- Hidden Depths: She was once a world-class swimmer, won a bull-riding competition as a girl and can run the family business better than Bob can if she wanted to.
"Steely Phil" Shortman
Voiced by: Dan Castellaneta
- Badass Grandpa
- Cassandra Truth: In "Girl Trouble," he flat-out tells Arnold that Helga constantly teases him because she likes him. Arnold naturally doesn't believe him.
- Cool Old Guy
- Generation Xerox: "Girl Trouble" reveals Phil was teased by Gertie the same way that Arnold is teased by Helga.
- Genre Savvy/Meta Guy: He often describes the plot templates in play.
- Noodle Incident: Phil was apparently an acrobat in a Russian circus.
Grandma Gertie (aka Pookie)
Voiced by: Tress MacNeille
- Bully Hunter: Wolfgang and Edmund didn't stand a chance against Gertie with her clowder of black cats.
- Cool Old Lady
- Generation Xerox: In "Girl Trouble," she and Phil had a relationship very similar to Helga and Arnold when they were younger. As part of the gag, Gertie in the flashback is voiced by Helga's voice actor.
- Never Mess with Granny
- Obfuscating Insanity: There are rare times where she behaves in an odd fashion - only to then imply it was just an act.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Usually referred to as "Grandma," "Pookie" or other nicknames. Her first name is mentioned as part of the Generation Xerox twist in "Girl Trouble."
- OOC Is Serious Business: In "Parents Day," she acts like her usual fun-loving, crazy self. After seeing Arnold so depressed over his Parental Abandonment, however, she snaps out of the role she was playing and acts far more subdued.
Voiced by: Dan Butler
Fourth grade teacher at P.S. 118 starting in the second season, replacing the original Living Prop, Miss Slovak. Thinks of everyone and everything as "special".
- Ambiguously Gay: Played by an openly gay actor, loves the theatre, and has a very delicate, effete personality. In fact, a character who may or may not be his partner even appears in the Thanksgiving episode.
- Confirmed by Word of Gay.
- Ink Suit Actor: A very glaring example on a show with otherwise very outlandish character designs; Simmons strongly resembles his voice actor, Dan Butler.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest adults in the series.
- Only One Name: It is strongly implied, but never explicitly stated, that his first name is Robert (in the Thanksgiving episode, he wrote a play that was based on his own life; we meet every character from the play in person later on except for him).
Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck
Voiced by: Paul Sorvino
The CEO of Future Tech Industries, Scheck is a greedy and heartless businessman who wants to tear down Arnold's neighborhood to build a gigantic, immaculate shopping mall. Only appears in The Movie, where he is the Big Bad.
- Affably Evil: Appears to be this at first, but it fades over the course of the movie.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Not only is he not above burning a document declaring the neighborhood a national landmark, the whole reason he wants to build the mall in the first place is to get revenge after his family name was sullied over the "Tomato Incident" that happened in front of Sunset Arms.
- Evil Overlooker: On the poster and DVD cover of The Movie.
- Green Eyes
- It’s Personal: Though at first it appears that he’s trying to bulldoze Arnold’s neighborhood simply out of greed, he ultimately reveals that he’s part of a British family who lost control over the neighborhood following the Tomato incident and wishes to reclaim it.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: A small running gag has Gerald voice admiration for Scheck's suit.
- Mean Boss: Scheck isn’t too fond of his employees.
- Slasher Smile: Most notably when he's burning the document declaring the neighborhood a national landmark.
- Smug Snake
- Soft Spoken Sadist: His voice is pretty unassuming and even somewhat soothing for a villain, but he tends to lose this when he gets mad.
- Villainous Breakdown: He starts out appearing as an affable but very weaselly businessman, but ends up as a raving madman who is perfectly willing to run over several people, including children, with his car.
- The Von Trope Family
Voiced by: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Only appearing in The Movie, Bridget is a sort of spy girl/superheroine who helps Arnold and Gerald save the neighborhood by supplying them with equipment and providing them a VCR to play the security tape exposing Scheck.
Voiced By: Steve Viksten