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- "You're saying ‘time zones’, but I keep hearing ‘calzones’. MMMMM!"
- —Ralphie in “In the Zone”
Ralphie is a heavyweight with brown hair that falls across his forehead. He is known for his signature red baseball cap which he wears either backwards or forwards on his head.
In the original series, he wore a lime green T-shirt with his initial on the front, green-rinse black jeans, and a pair of red and white sneakers. His original signature colors from the original series are green and red.
In G1 Rides Again, he wore a white shirt with blue long sleeves, gray shorts, and red sneakers. His cap is now forwards.
In G2 Rides Again, his shirt has changed - he now wears a white short-sleeved T-shirt (based on his "70s look" from The Tales Glaciers Tell) with blue rims on the neckline and sleeves, to make him more recognizable.
For winter wear, he wears a green turtleneck, a red jacket, green-rinse black jeans and green boots.
For beachwear, he wears red and green stripe trunks and white and green flip-flops.
For rainwear, he wears a lime green raincoat and matching boots.
For formal wear, he wears a navy tuxedo, a white shirt, a red and blue striped necktie and black casual shoes.
For basketball wear, he wears a green basketball shirt, dark green shorts, lime green socks and red converse sneakers.
Ralphie loves sports, daydreaming, and snoring the loudest in his sleep. He's outgoing, kind, imaginative and fun loving, and on rare occasions, he can be cowardly. He enjoys a day off from school, but he does respect his teacher and enjoys being in her class.
Ralphie is the class athlete, sleeper, and daydreamer. He plays a lot of sports, and when he's not, he's dreaming about playing sports. He is of Italian descent, and he once mentioned that his mom's calzones "go down like rocks." He has a distaste for anchovies, which his dad puts on pizza to keep him from eating it. He mentions in "Kicks Up a Storm" that he despises roller coasters more than anything and shows to have a weak stomach in "For Lunch". Despite his occasional machismo, he has no hesitation showing when he's afraid. He loves superheroes and comic books, and he appears to be a science-fiction fan (as shown by his pajamas). However, he might be reading too many before bed, as he thinks that Professor Frizzle is a vampire.
The Magic School Bus
Ralphie is upset he hasn't come up with an idea for Walkerville Elementary Broadcast Day as he types on his computer, and he's even more upset when his mom tells him he's staying home due to being sick ("Inside Ralphie"). The class comes to him, and their Broadcast Day becomes about his sick body. Irritated when Dorothy Ann interrupts the class baseball game to talk about her physics book, he sees it would make the perfect home plate ("Plays Ball"). They continue to butt heads when Ms. Frizzle takes the class inside the book to play a frictionless baseball game, but they stop their fighting long enough to get the bus unstuck when the wind blows the book shut. He comes up with a superhero persona in "Kicks Up a Storm" named "Weatherman." He and Keesha argue over who knows how storms are made and using the bus, he eventually makes one, realizing he may have made a huge mistake.
Tired of having to do class chores, which keep him from playing sports, Ralphie decides he wants to build a robot to do all the chores for everyone "Flexes Its Muscles". When the bus acts up, he gets his chance when Ms. Frizzle takes the class to her mechanic. In "Going Batty," he is convinced she is a vampire due to many coincidences, and he fears she plans to eat their parents during the parent-teacher conference, which is taking place not only off-campus but also at night and he frequently argues with Keesha who knows that vampires don't exist. Six hours before the "biggest soccer game of the year," he is aggravated when Phoebe wants to name the team the Butterflies ("Butterfly and the Bog Beast"). He's the last in the class to finally agree to the mascot, though at one point he said he'd rather play for the other team. In Cold Feet, Ralphie is transformed into a turtle when he, Miss Frizzle and some of his classmates help Phoebe rescue Liz.
On a class trip to the Arctic, Ralphie is trapped on an ice flow with Liz, Phoebe, and the bus, and he worries that he'll never hear another bad joke from Carlos and never go on another field trip ("In the Arctic"). In "Goes Upstream," he's in charge of bringing fish to the school's annual fish fry. Unable to catch any salmon at the spot he and his uncle used to fish, the class finds out that the salmon have migrated. Up until realizing what a hard journey it is, he is determined to bring back some fish to the school. He is Ms. Frizzle's trainer for the Teacherathlon in "Works Out." Seeing that her competitor is the heavily muscled gym teacher, Mr. Sinew, he wonders how she'll ever beat him.
The class made a planet from the bus, when it was small it looks like Ralphie, and the rest of the class lost weight, but when it was big, the class get more weight. ("Gains Weight") The class is enjoying a nice afternoon at the beach, but Ralphie wants to move away from their peaceful spot to a more crowded one ("Goes to Mussel Beach"). They find out later that the reason he chose the spot was so they'd be first for ice cream when the truck came. In "Goes on Air," he's upset that their contribution to the Walkerville space capsule is an empty jar of air. When the Magic School Bus turns the students into wild animals, he becomes a Virginia opossum, along with Wanda and Keesha, in "In the City."
Ralphie and Arnold debate on which of Tim's comic book characters is the best: Weatherman or Captain Rock Man. (The Battle for Rock Mountain) He organizes a variety show at Walkerville Elementary School, but after the kids shrink to subatomic size and explore atoms, he wants the show to focus on magnetism, and the kids dance on the ceiling wearing magnet suits, dubbed "The Magnetic Mambo."
In "Kids in Space", Ralphie accidentally uses the Portashrinker to turn a tardigrade into a monster. After the mission, he fell asleep on the way home from the trip. "The Frizz Connection" pits him with Carlos, Keesha, and Friz in the Banana Bus.
- Ralphie's mother is a doctor and appears in "Inside Ralphie," "Going Batty," and briefly in "Rocks and Rolls." She appears to have a playful relationship with him, such as remarking "Even your jokes are sick" when he makes a lame joke when he's sick and telling him with a smile to stop being "a pain in the neck" before she goes to talk to Ms. Frizzle. Ralphie seems to take after his mom, especially with "Is it just me, or..." He mentions her in "Ups and Downs", "Frizzle of the Future", "The Magnetic Mambo", and "Kids in Space".
- He mentions his father in "Gets Eaten," telling about how he puts anchovies on pizza to keep Ralphie from eating it, and he mentions him again in "The Good, the Bad, and the Gnocchi".
- His grandfather is mentioned in "Inside Ralphie," being at the house while Ralphie is sick and his mother is at work. He is the first major character whose grandparents were revealed, the second being Keesha.
- In "Shows and Tells", he makes a side comment about there being around photo of his Uncle Ed in his house, as he says, "[whose] Uncle Ed's head is kind of pointy".
- In "Goes Upstream", he mentions going fishing with his Uncle Brian.
- He owns a pet dog named Noodles.
- The Flying Tennellis consist of his aunt, and his two cousins, Terresina and Tony.
- In In the Zone, he mentions his grandmother, whom he affectionately calls his nona.
- His stepbrother is mentioned in Meet the Class.
- He plays multiple sports (baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey).
- The captions for Inside Ralphie misspell his surname as Tinelli. However, in Going Batty, The Magnetic Mambo, and Ralphie and the Flying Tennellis, the correct spelling (Tennelli) is used.
- As of In the Zone, he and Tim are tied with the second most number of voice actors (3), behind Arnold, who has 4.
- Another thing he has in common with Tim is both Matthew Mucci (Ralphie from Kids in Space–present) and Kaden Stephen (Tim) voiced characters in the 2015 Disney Channel series PJ Masks.
- His signature colors for field trip suits are blue, green, red, and white.
- He's a believer in aliens and mythological monsters, such as vampires.
- He appears to have a weak, somewhat large stomach at times, and his secondary catchphrase in the TV series: "I think I'm gonna be sick!"
- His most dominant appearances without his hat are in four original series episodes: "Ups and Downs", "Cracks a Yolk", and "All Dried Up".
- It is implied many times that he likes pizza, but clearly without anchovies. He also appears to like his mom's calzones. He also seems to like sweet things, like candy, ice cream (especially space ice cream), MallowBlasters, cookies, etc.
- Despite displaying a laid-back and sometimes careless attitude, he is dedicated to his commitments.
- His legal name in English is Ralph, which he was also referred by in the earliest books.
- In the Latin American localization of The Magic School Bus books and media, his name is Rafa, a diminutive of Raphael. Raphaël is also his name in the French localization, but the only difference is the E has an umlaut.
- His voice, as well as Carlos', grew deeper in later seasons sounding more teenager-like, despite that they're 10 years old along with the rest of the class. This is due to their voiceovers Stuart Stone and Daniel DeSanto respectively going through maturity & puberty at the time. In the second season, some of their lines in some episodes happen to be re-recorded which can explain their voiceovers' progression in maturity & puberty.
- Ralphie's original voice actor, Stuart Stone, previously voiced characters such as Cousin Arthur and Alexander #2 in Babar, Bentley in The Raccoons, Darryl in Wish Kid, and Ramon in Beetlejuice. He would later voice JT in Da Möb, Sheldon a Scritter in Cyberchase, Taylor in Braceface, and Carl in Carl Squared. He also plays Jack in The Independent, Einstein in Mutant X, DJ Tanner in Kickin' It Old Skool, and characters in a few horror films. He would also later be the producer of, and have voice roles in the new Magic School Bus series.
- He was the first character to speak in the TV series, but in the books, Amanda Jane and Arnold are the first to talk.
- It's implied in "Kicks Up a Storm" that he has a crush on Keesha, as he blushes over her sarcastically waiting for the thunderstorm.
- He was the second character (the first being Arnold) to be a body location.
- He was the only character to have a throat inflammation, as mentioned in "Inside Ralphie."
- His superhero alter-ego in "Kicks Up a Storm" and "The Battle for Rock Mountain" is Weatherman.
- He resembles to Disney's Recess character T.J. Detweiler who wears the red hat in several episodes.
- He seems to have a crush on Jyoti, as seen in Three in One, where he keeps trying to help her with her entry on Gizmos That Go: Three In One. This prompts the fanbase to ship the two, similar to Carlos and Dorothy Ann.
- Ralphie is the third major character to have different voice actors due to puberty, happening late in Rides Again. The first being Arnold and second being Tim.
- Ralphie is the second major character that is shown to have cousins in Ralphie and the Flying Tennellis, the first being Arnold in the book Lost in the Solar System.
- It's revealed in DA and the Deep Blue Sea that he is 10 years old.
- Ralphie is the 1st major character revealed to have grandparents, with his grandfather being mentioned in Inside Ralphie.
- He is the first major character revealed to have a step-sibling. That being his unnamed stepbrother in Meet the Class.
- He is the third shortest kid in the class (in Rides Again), the first being Arnold and the second being Dorothy Ann.
- He occasionally rivals Carlos when it comes to making jokes.
- Ralphie is one of two male students to have played a female character in a play, the other being Arnold.
- Ralphie's Variant is Tim
|Major: Ralphie • Dr. Tennelli (mother) • Aunt Tennelli • Tina (cousin) • Tony (cousin) • Noodles (pet)|
Minor/Mentioned: Mr. Tennelli (father) • Nonna Tennelli (grandmother) • Grandpa • Brian (uncle) • Ed (uncle) • Ralphie's stepbrother