|This article is about the original character. You may be looking for the sequel character.|
|First Appearance||The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks (1986)|
|Catchphrase|| "Maybe/I think/knew I should have stayed home today."|
"Does this mean what I think it means?"
|Dislikes||Weird field trips|
|Family|| Mr. Perlstein (father)|
Mrs. Perlstein (mother)
Janet Perlstein (cousin)
Arizona Joan (great-aunt)
Alex (uncle, chapter book)
|Voiced By|| Amos Crawley (Season 1-Season 2 Episode 1)|
Danny Tamberelli (Seasons 2-4)
Miles Koseleci-Vieira (Season 5-)
Arnold Matthew Perlstein is a fictional character in the animated children's series The Magic School Bus. He is voiced by Amos Crawley in season one, Danny Tamberelli in seasons 2-4 and Miles Koseleci-Vieira in The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
Arnold generally dislikes Ms. Frizzle's field trips. Most of the time, he is usually an unwilling participant. Despite his usually timid moments and some nervous breakdowns, he has shown to be brave when he's needed to, and he's very loyal when it comes to his classmates, even taking up a leadership role a number of times. He has a huge interest in rocks and minerals and is the youngest member of an organization called GRANITE (the Great Rock Admirers' National Institute of Tectonics Experts). He also mentions an interest in colors. He has shown interest in conserving the environment, as he wanted to save the rotting log in "Meets the Rot Squad" and have the class collect stuff for recycling in "Holiday Special."
Despite his paranoia for the Friz's field trips, he does love having her as a teacher and deep down enjoys the adventures, but is too nervous to show it and he doesn't usually like surprises. He even stood in her defense when the class went on trial during "In a Pickle" and when his cousin, Janet, tried to show off and say that her teacher is better than his, Arnold interrupted her before she could finish and said, "Nobody is better than Ms. Frizzle" during "Gets Lost in Space". This trait is seen better in Rides Again, as we see more of Arnold's character and he just likes to stay safe because of all the dangerous happenings, but deep down, he genuinely and deeply does care for his friends and teacher and enjoys a wonderfully wild ride on the Magic School Bus (just not too wild).
Arnold has curly reddish-orange hair and wears round glasses, a yellow and white striped long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and navy and white sneakers.
His signature colours are yellow and blue.
For winter wear, he wears either green earmuffs or a red hat, with a yellow jacket, a green scarf, blue trousers, and orange boots.
For beachwear, he wears yellow and blue trunks and white and pink flip-flops.
For rain wear, he wears a blue rain hat, a yellow raincoat and blue gumboots.
For formal wear, he wears a white shirt, a brown tux, a green bow tie and black casual shoes.
For basketball wear, he wears a yellow basketball shirt, blue shorts, blue socks and blue converse sneakers.
In the new series, Arnold's hair is straight and just orange. There are freckles on his face. He wears more squarish glasses with dark frames, green eyes, a yellow shirt in a green sweater, blue jeans, and brown work boots.
His new signature colours are green and blue.
Arnold introduces his cousin, Janet, to his class in "Gets Lost in Space", and he tries to keep the peace when Janet's arrogance sours the rest of the class. It's when Janet talks down on Ms. Frizzle that he shows his loyalty to his teacher and suggests a field trip to the "bigger" planetarium, showing Janet that "nobody is better than Ms. Frizzle." Arnold unknowingly eats the class in "For Lunch". He's happy to have stayed behind while the others go on a field trip, but after finding out where they went, he swears never to miss a field trip...at least, not until after the "next one" (Ms. Frizzle's dinosaur dress foreshadowing their next trip). He and Keesha find themselves in a difficult situation when they forget their partner report in "Gets Eaten". He loses Wanda's bullfrog, Bella, in "Hops Home" and tries to keep her out of harm when they look for Bella, as Wanda's too distracted to realize she's about to walk off of a tree or get swept down a river. In "Meets the Rot Squad", he tries to convince everyone to leave the rotted-out log on the abandoned lot the way it is. Everyone is shocked when he suggests a field trip to the desert in "All Dried Up" after Phoebe declares they need to help the animals there. He feels confident about the trip, thanks to his Field Trip Survival Guide.
While on a field trip to a dinosaur dig in "The Busasaurus", Dr. Carmina Skeledon lets Arnold see the fossilized egg Ms. Frizzle found. He still has it when they go back in time, and when he lets Phoebe look at it, she loses it to an Ornithomimus. He ends up squaring off with a Tyrannosaurus Rex after Ms. Frizzle makes him giant-sized, saving the class. In "Butterfly and the Bog Beast", he's the only one not to side with Janet against Phoebe when the former suggests "Bog Beast" for the school mascot. His main reason is because he doesn't know what a bog beast is. He's caught by his crush, Tiffany, when he and Wanda get water from the girls' bathroom in "Wet All Over". Despite the embarrassment, it's implied at the end that Tiffany likes him, too. He serves as Ms. Frizzle's defense attorney in "In a Pickle". While in the bus' gas tank, Arnold says that he hates the smell of gasoline and was out on the engine telling the class what was going on while they were in the cylinder in "Revving Up".
After losing the heat from his hot cocoa, Ms. Frizzle takes the class to the Arctic ("In the Arctic"). When Ralphie, Phoebe, Liz, and the bus get stranded on an ice flow, Arnold makes it his responsibility to save them while also trying to keep everyone else warm. He and Dorothy Ann compete in the 10th Annual International Show & Tell Competition in "Shows and Tells", but instead of bringing a rare collection of rocks, he brings some artifacts he found in his attic that belonged to his great-aunt, the famous archaeologist Arizona Joan (a parody of the film character Indiana Jones). In "Rocks and Rolls", he fears that the statue he was supposed to carve (not by hand) is ruined, but instead, the rock slide the class caused on the side of a mountain carves a monument of the town founder. For the class' last day before winter break in "Holiday Special", Arnold made the suggestion they collect recycled goods to take to the recycling center. He accidentally puts Wanda's beloved toy soldier in the pile, causing her to blame his "crummy idea" and wish that recycling had never been invented.
Ralphie teases Arnold in "Meets Molly Cule" after the famous rock star, Molly Cule, calls him "Sugar.", this caused Arnold to blush. However, this is what helps him figure out that her hood ornament was made of sugar. In "Cracks a Yolk", Arnold helps hatch the chick the class planned to replace Mr. Ruhle's lost rooster, Giblets, and the success prompts Dorothy Ann to kiss him. When Giblets returns, Mr. Rhule gives the chick to Dorothy Ann and Arnold, the latter suggesting they name it "Arnold Jr." In "Goes Cellular", he's completely orange on the night he's to receive GRANITE's Rocky Award. The class tries to compare his skin to Phoebe's, only to learn his favorite snack food made him turn orange. He's happy when Ms. Frizzle's electrician wants to buy all the light bulbs the class was trying to sell for Valentine's Day ("Gets Charged"). He becomes a fox along with Phoebe and Tim in "In the City", and he's partners with Phoebe in "Takes a Dive". .
- His parents first appear in "Going Batty," his father voiced by Elliott Gould. They make another appearance in "Rocks and Rolls" and "Goes Cellular". Mr. Perlstein also appears in "Holiday Special". Arnold seems to take after him, since in "Going Batty", he said "Maybe we should've stayed home tonight."
- His only cousin is Janet. She's bossy, arrogant, and manipulative, the complete opposite of him.
- His great-aunt is the famous archaeologist Arizona Joan ("Shows and Tells").
- In The Magic School Bus to the Rescue: Forest Fire, he has an uncle named Alex, who is a firefighter at a national park.
- He mentions his sick grandmother in "Holiday Special". Assuming because his mother is already with her, she's his maternal grandmother.
- Arnold is the shy kid in Ms. Frizzle's class.
- His middle name, Matthew, is revealed in Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle.
- His favorite color is orange, unless it's on his skin. ("Goes Cellular")
- He is Jewish. ("Holiday Special")
- Bruce Degen mentioned that a friend of his son's was the original model for Arnold.
- Two things make him sneeze: pollen and pepper. ("Goes to Seed")
- He loves the cold weather, mainly because this means he gets hot cocoa. ("In the Arctic")
- The book The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System reveals that he weighs 85 pounds when he did the fortune scale inserts. Phoebe also mentions that in The Magic School Bus Explores the Human Body CD-ROM.
- While crushes are only hinted at, he's had affection shown to him for and from four girls: Wanda ("For Lunch" (him fantasised himself breaking a record and her hugging him), "Holiday Special" (she was his secret Santa), "Hops Home" (they teamed up), "Meets the Rot Squad" (she imagined herself sitting under a tree with him) and "Gets Charged" (they were cupids at the end of the producer segment)), Phoebe (The opening credits (he held onto her shoulders and she smiled while they were rafting a river of lava) "The Busasaurus" (she swooned over his bravery) and "Goes Cellular" (she helped him when he was orange)), Tiffany ("Wet All Over" (he helped her up and held her hands at the end and blushed)), and even Dorothy Ann ("Gets Ready, Set, Dough" (he hugged her after she and Carlos got them out of the cake), "Shows and Tells" (They were supposed to do a show and tell together, but he managed to do it without her help, and they held up the trophy upon winning the Show and Tell competition) and "Cracks a Yolk" (she kissed him out of gratitude and he proceeded to blush).
- He's the only main kid to have been kissed by another kid around his age. The kiss he received was from Dorothy Ann.
- While he's cautious and nervous about field trips, he hasn't had a phobia revealed, unlike Carlos and Phoebe.
- He flew on an eagle. ("Taking Flight")
- He's been shown to be a big eater with Cheezie Weezies, Sea Wheedies, and Mallowblasters being among his favorite snacks.
- It's possible he had some fight lessons, considering the boxing stance and martial arts he uses in "The Busasaurus".
- He doesn't like the smell of gasoline. ("Revving Up")
- In the TV show and books, he has red hair, but in other media such as games and artwork, he has blonde hair. The same applies to Janet.
- He is mentioned a lot of times in the producer segments.
- In the Spanish dub, his name is Arnoldo. In the German dub, his name is Andy.
- He and Tim are the only main kids in the original series to have had their voice actors changed in the 2nd season. Arnold had been voiced by Amos Crawley in the 1st season. He was voiced by Danny Tamberelli in the 2nd-4th seasons due to Amos going through puberty after production for the 1st season ended and sometime before the 2nd season was in voice production, his voice was already too deep for him to continue voicing Arnold. The difference between the two voices is that Amos is Canadian, and Danny is American.
- His second voice actor, Danny Tamberelli, also played Little Pete in The Adventures of Pete & Pete. He would later move on to working as a cast member of the sketch comedy show All That, and even later voiced/mocapped Jimmy in the Grand Theft Auto V.
- In the last few episodes of the original series, Arnold's voice was noticeably getting deeper and nearly teenager-like despite being 8-9 like everyone else in his class. The reason for this is because Danny was starting to go through puberty at the time.
- It's been strangely known for quite some times over the years that fans believe that he bears a strong resemblance to an older character named Wheeler from Cartoon Network's Captain Planet.