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 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 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, 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.