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Ruth P. McDougal is a minor character in the TV show, Hey Arnold!.

She is a sixth-grade 11-12-year-old student at P.S. 118. It's unknown what class she's in. Ruth is Arnold's crush in the first season of the show. Arnold was completely in love with her, but Ruth had no idea that Arnold even existed. Although Ruth didn't know much of Arnold's existence throughout the show; however, in the episode "Operation Ruthless", she did indeed express some interest towards Arnold by smiling at him when they're both on the Go-Karts, as well as in "Snow" when she smiled at Arnold after he scores a goal in ice hockey.


Ruth from the episode "Operation Ruthless"

Ruth is a sixth-grade girl. She appears to have a tall skinny model with a semi-football shaped head and is pubescent. Her feet seem quite large. She wears a sky blue sweater with a pearl necklace. Her skirt is plaid, and she wears saddle shoes. She has a medium-length brown hair styled into a flip. She wears pearl earrings. Her most distinguishing feature is her smile (she had to wear braces).

Relationship with Arnold

Arnold spends a lot of time trying to come up with ways to get closer to Ruth. In "Arnold's Valentine", he finally gets his chance. He gives her a valentine and sets up a blind date with her at a restaurant. The only issue is that his French pen pal Cecile is meeting him the same night. Arnold has to juggle back and forth between Ruth and Cecile (Their restaurants are right across the street from each other.). Ruth treats Arnold like nobody's around in the episode, and finally falls for a busboy instead and leaves with him. Arnold realizes that he doesn't really know much about Ruth and lets his crush get the best of him. He realizes that Ruth was not who he thought she was and that they were never meant for each other.

Ruth effectively left for unknown reasons after season 2, (most likely due to the fact that her main purpose on the show was that she was Arnold's crush, but since he got over her that ended her role) but makes appearances every now and then like being shown in awe at Arnold's geek party in "Cool Party". She makes an appearance in "Hey Harold!" where she is hit on by Sid at Rhonda's party. She is replaced by Lila Sawyer as Arnold's crush and Helga's envy.

At the end of the episode "Love and Cheese", Ruth is seen with a boy leaving the cheese festival. She looks back and sees Arnold with Lila and smiles seeing that he found another girl.


  • Ruth is shown walking with Helga, Phoebe, Rhonda, Nadine and Sheena in the title sequence, even into the fifth season after she left from the show. It is also ironic because she did not walk with the main girls of the show.
  • Ruth is friends with Maria. In "Arnold's Valentine", Maria is heard calling Ruth over, and in "What's Opera, Arnold?", she is seen conversing with Maria as well as Connie.
  • Though she's in the sixth grade, Ruth is never shown in Mr. Frank's class in the episodes "Back to School" or "Phoebe Skips". Presumably, she's in another class.
  • Ruth is sort of like a female doppelganger of Arnold. She has a football-shaped head, the same shaped eyes, a blue shirt with a plaid skirt (like Arnold's plaid undershirt resembles a skirt.). Her hair hangs down in two wisps on both sides of her head, likes Arnold's does when it is slicked back.
  • Sid also has a crush on Ruth, as he's the one who gets placed with her in the Tunnel of Love Ride in "Operation Ruthless". He explains he's well-known saying when messing with girls "So, nice night huh?" and puts his arm around her. He again flirts with her at the punch bowl at Rhonda's party in "Hey Harold!", saying his pickup line once again, though she ignores him and walks away. Both times she looks annoyed at him, suggesting that she hates him or she unimpressed by his advances.
  • Even though Arnold likes her, the rest of the characters (without Gerald and Sid) don't seem to know about her (or the fact that she even exists) and they seem indifferent towards her, but she is despised by Helga (due to the fact that she was Arnold's crush).
  • In the Valentine's Day episode, Arnold tells Gerald how Ruth gave up her own seat on the bus. For a woman who was carrying a watermelon.
  • It's unknown if she and the waiter from "Arnold's Valentine" are still dating, but it is presumed that they broke up when Ruth was shown in "Hey Harold" and "Rhonda's Party" (never appeared with him).
  • In "Love and Cheese", she's briefly seen in the cafeteria as one of the people staring at Helga for laughing very loud in front of everyone. Also later on, in the episode near the end when Arnold and Lila are heading out of the cheese festival, she is seen walking in front of them. When Arnold asks if Lila likes him, she stares at them briefly then turns around. However, Arnold and Lila are not paying attention to her.
  • Ruth, in some episodes, appears to have blue eyes. She is the only character to have colored eyes.
  • In the Hungarian dub, Ruth's name was changed to Roze in some episodes due to the word "rút" means ugly in Hungarian.
  • When Ruth is seen laughing in The Jungle Movie, however, her braces are finally removed, meaning she had gotten them off at some point before the events of the movie.

Appears in

Early characters designs for Ruth