Your Childhood is Complete, Welcome Back Hey Arnold!
If you’re a fan of “Hey Arnold!”, then you know how depressing it is that the show never got a proper farewell. The final episode of the series (Parents Day) left us with a major cliffhanger that left many a viewer clamoring for what would happen next. Unfortunately, we never got the answer to that question, because the original plans were scrapped. Thankfully Nickelodeon decided that fans deserved a proper ending to the show. They’ve enlisted the show’s original creator, Craig Bartlett, to see out his vision for the show’s ending. Thus, “Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie” was born. The movie will answer some the most pressing questions fans have had since the show ended and will put a nice bow on one of the greatest Nicktoons of all-time. In honor of Arnold’s return, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most memorable episodes from the show’s illustrious run.
Helga on the Couch
Helga G. Pataki served as the lovable antagonist of the show. Her bullying tactics made her an easy target for hate but her unrequited love for Arnold made her oddly endearing. This episode sees Helga talking to a therapist, at the behest of her school. The therapy session sheds a bit of light as to why Helga is the way she is (mom is oblivious, dad is an egomaniac, sister is a perfectionist), and why she’s in love with Arnold in the first place. Turns out the first person to ever be kind and show Helga any sort of attention was a young Arnold.
When you think about memorable “Hey Arnold!” episodes we all fondly remember Stoop Kid. Arnold and his pals tell the legend of Stoop Kid (a young boy who harasses passers-by from the confines of his stoop). After finding out that the boy refuses to leave the stoop out of fear, Arnold helps him conqueror that fear and Stoop Kid finally leave his stoop.
Mr. Hyunh Goes Country
Creator Craig Bartlett did an amazing of creating narratives around supporting characters. One of the more popular members of the supporting cast was Mr. Hyunh who was a tenant in the boarding house that Arnold’s grandparents ran. In this episode, Arnold and Gerald discover that Mr. Hyunh has a heck of a voice and loves to sing country music. With their help Mr. Hyunh puts out a hit record (titled “Simple Things”), but eventually gives up the opportunity for fame and fortune after realizing he preferred singing as a hobby.
Having a nine-year old get mugged, might seem like a bit of a dark plot for a kids cartoon, but the episode did a great job establishing a deeper meaning. After getting mugged Arnold seeks the help of his grandma to learn self-defense. Once he learns to adequately defend himself, Arnold becomes a bit trigger-happy to show off his newfound skills and even ends up almost hurting someone that just wanted to ask for directions. It’s after this moment that Arnold realizes that needs to let his own mugging go and not seek out confrontations.
What’s Opera Arnold?
This episode was directly inspired by the infamous “Looney Tunes” episode: “What’s Opera, Doc?” A class field trip to see the opera “Carmen,” leads to Arnold and Helga falling asleep. While sleeping, both have very different dreams about the play, each involving their classmates. Hilarity ensues as we get to see the visions that Arnold and Helga have of the play. In Arnold’s, he ends up chasing after his crush Ruth (dubbed Don Carmen in the opera), and in Helga’s she abducts Ruth and gets Arnold all to herself.
This is the episode where we learn about Arnold’s parents for the first time. Using a school parent’s day as a backdrop, the episode shares that Arnold’s parents were explorers who set out to do one last adventure before retiring to raise Arnold. Unfortunately, after they dropped Arnold off at his grandparents’ house they never returned. Over the years Arnold’s grandpa would tell him more lavish and grander tales of what actually happened to his parents, but this was the first time that Arnold learned the truth. That is his parents went on a exploration to help a small village and disappeared. While admitting the odds are bleak, Arnold and his grandpa both still hold out hope that his parents might still be alive.
One of the more thought-provoking plots in the show’s history comes from the “Pigeon Man” episode. After his carrier pigeon, Chester, becomes sick, Arnold enlists the help of the legendary Pigeon Man. All of Arnold’s friends think Pigeon Man is some sort of worm-eating weirdo, it turns out he was a normal guy, named Vincent, who simply prefers the company of pigeons to that of humans. As a thank-you for his help, Arnold takes Vincent for pizza. While the two are chatting over their meal, three of Arnold’s friends trash Pigeon Man’s roof where he keeps his pigeons. When Arnold and Vincent return to the roof they are shocked to see the damage. The moment confirms to Vincent that he’s made the right choice by surrounding himself with Pigeons instead of humans.
This is actually the last episode of “Hey Arnold!,” it was meant to serve as a precursor to the “Jungle Movie” (which it does, but as you know that took a bit longer than expected). The episode starts with Arnold having a dream about sailing with his parents, the dream turns into a nightmare and Arnold is left alone in the dream. He awakes and we find out that it’s the anniversary of the day that his parents left for their expedition. Sad and miserable Arnold tells his grandpa that he’s given up hope that his parents are alive, so he packs up everything reminder of them he has. While putting the stuff away Arnold stumbles upon an old journal that his father kept, excited he and his grandpa read through the journal together. The journal fills in many of the blanks that viewers had about the whereabouts of Arnold’s parents and provided a deeper context as to why they left in the first place. After coming to the end of the journal, Arnold finds a map in the very back (presumably leading to the last known location of his parents), he quickly runs into the house to show his grandparents. That’s how the show ended, and that’s why we’re here today. This is where Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie will resume.
Thanks for taking this stroll down memory lane, be sure to check out Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie November 24th at 7pm EST on Nick, Nicktoons and TeenNick.