Hey Arnold! (1996-2004), Do you ever take time to relive your childhood?

Hey Arnold! (1996-2004)

So, ratings for my posts are focused on my overall experience. This isn’t a critique for this show but rather a review of my thoughts and feelings. If you are interested in understanding this particular review system Click Here.

I recently finished watching this entire series and the movie, Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (2017). It was such an enjoyable experience for me, and it made me rethink things from my childhood. It was weird to think the me who watched this show from 6-14 years old is grown up and now sees it through adult eyes. How time flies. 

I’ll go over some of the highlights from my experience.

Poster from for the Hey Arnold! Movie (2002)

I. Arnold

Arnold is a multidimensional character. He likes reading, sports, science, and the arts. There seems to be very little he doesn’t dabble in just once. He was Romeo in a school play, a villain in a local musical, and also (very very grudgingly) a dancer in a swim team.

I also liked seeing how much Arnold tried to help neighbors, friends, family, and others. Sometimes they repeatedly insisted he help them or begged. But all the same, Arnold was always willing to be there for them. He would go check up on kids who stayed home from school, sit down with those he felt needed a friend, and helped many rebuild their lives.

I think this was so important to portray in the main character. So many protagonists from Kid’s Shows now are irresponsible, abrasive, and crude. It was refreshing to count on Arnold to do the right thing or encourage others to do the same.

Lastly, Arnold was incredibly honest. If ever there was a person his family and friends could trust, it was him. I truly admire characters like that.

This is from the episode “Helga on the Couch”.

II. Helga

Now, Helga is the polar opposite. But honestly, she is my second favorite character because of how openly real she is. For those who grew up with this show, the story always showed her speaking to her prized Arnold locket, pining away, and lamenting about her real feelings behind the scenes. (Which were usually feelings of profound, eternal love and devotion.) She is the prime example of what young kids are like when they like someone, but hide that affection by tormenting them.

The famous bubblegum shrine from “Arnold’s Hat”
Oh Brainy…….

One cannot easily forget her bubblegum shrine or impressive Arnold video collection. (She is a genius Arnold fangirl, to be sure.) She also has a knack for hitting Brainy whenever he comes up behind her creepily.

Helga is undeniably imperfect, tormented, and ruthless at times. But whenever she makes mistakes, even as Arnold gives her advice and Helga (supposedly) doesn’t appreciate it, she eventually tries to do the right thing.

Looking back, I’ve realized how hard Helga’s childhood to that point must have been. Her mother was basically drunk most of the show on “smoothies”, her father was a workaholic who never remembered her name, and her sister, though outwardly attentive towards Helga, was self absorbed and insensitive to what Helga really needed. At times her family members realized what they were doing, but more often than not, they overlooked her because of Olga.

She was smarter than she looked, with good grades in math and English. (Unsurprisingly, she loved poetry.) She memorized all the lines for Juliet in ONE NIGHT and brought the audience to tears during her performance. She was also good-hearted. One example is when she secretly helped Arnold find another character’s daughter instead of buying Arnold a fancy gift to impress him.

I certainly don’t have a lot in common with Helga personality wise, but I admire her for her grit, determination, sensitivity, and ingenuity.

Also, I never realized this but she and Arnold do get together in the end. Wow, wonders never cease.

Picture of Arnold’s house

III. The neighborhood

I really liked the feeling in Arnold’s neighborhood. All the neighbors were close to one another and friendly. I never really experienced that in my life. As a child, I lived on a street called Horseshoe Lane that was very far apart from the other houses. Granted, we knew everyone on the street by default… Because there were four of us.

Besides that, I guess I’ve wonder what it would be like to live on a street like Arnold’s.

Ahhh…. Video cassettes. I remember them well.

IV. The Music

Surprisingly, one of the show’s highlights was the music. I really enjoyed the smooth jazz and funky songs Jim Lang added to each episode. Dino Spamoni, much like Dean Martin, was also a fun watch for me. Also, the episode “What’s Opera, Arnold” was so funny to me I wanted to go and listen to the entire opera Carmen

Characters from the show.

V. The overall cast and humor

I loved the subtle humor in this show. Much of it came from cooky characters like Arnold’s grandparents or eccentrics like self-proclaimed hero monkey man. But many other scenarios were common ones we all could have faced when we were young. We all understand the fear of humiliation, liking someone else, changing familial situations, and even facing classmates’ teasing.

But in each episode, there was always this underlying theme we know so well: everything will work out.

The infamous Arnold locket.


I am so glad I went back and watched this show again! I had such a good time telling friends and family members about episodes I liked and many lessons I learned. The funny thing was I didn’t feel childish at all doing so. Hey Arnold! is a great example of why I connect better with kid’s shows. I like remembering my life through these stories and also looking back on a more innocent time. 

Thank you for reading! Удачи на пути!

Rating: 3/4