Move it football heads! Get off your stoop. Class is back in session at P.S. 118. Get your squad ready for a game of stickball. Listen up to this urban legend. I can’t decide on just one way to introduce this one, so we better just get into it, starting with those beloved characters.
Arnold: Born with the same rare head deformity as Stewie Griffin. Has the coolest room, family, neighbors, and friends a kid could ask for, but Arnold still always gets pouty when he doesn’t get his way. Just enjoy your kickass room, pouty child.
Gerald: Arnold’s best friend is a great storyteller and the keeper of the urban legends including an axe-wielding ghost bride, Monkeyman, and the half-bird, half-man Pigeon Man. Despite knowing every outlandish legend, Gerald somehow never heard of the kid, Seymour, who eats a lot in the eating contest episode. Where does a kid his age learn all these urban legends anyway?
Helga: Bully with a tough outer shell who is in a constant struggle to hide her softer side and feelings (obsession) for Arnold. Helga teaches us it isn’t healthy to hide our true emotions. Go tell that person how you really feel. I’ll wait.
Eugene: I could do an entire deep dive on all the characters in this show, but for the sake of brevity, if I’m going to call out one more character, it’s going to be the walking disaster that is Eugene. With all the physical and psychological torment that he has endured, you have to admire Eugene’s ability to stay positive. “I’m okay.”
What Do You Remember?
So many memorable characters. Arnold, Gerald, Helga, Arnold’s grandparents, Eugene, Stinky, Sid, Phoebe, Harold, etc. I knew these characters so well, I always felt like I was a part of the neighborhood. Or maybe I just desperately wanted to be part of it.
Arnold had the room that was the envy of every ‘90s kid. The skylight ceiling. The alarm clock shaped like him that actually said “Hey Arnold!”
“STOOP KID’S AFRAID TO LEAVE HIS STOOP!”
I could probably go on, but those are the pillars that have stuck with me over the years. Let’s look at how the scoring turns out after seeing the show for the first time in ages and hope Wolfgang doesn’t beat me up.
The only thing that bothers me is that the characters’ mouths don’t match up with the words very well. If we can ignore that, I love the look of this show. It’s not just Arnold, basically every character has their own unique head shape. They must have had fun designing those. The city is an awesome setting, always with a new corner to explore. Have I mentioned Arnold’s room?
One of the grooviest theme songs of all time. This funky tune is the good kind of jazz. It’s fun and upbeat, not boring and drawn out. The theme song also gave us the iconic catch phrase “move it, football head!” That type of jazz music in the individual episodes feels right for the city environment too. On top of that, we were given all the hits from the iconic Dino Spumoni. “Darling, you left my heart, in pieces on the floor…”
Listening to Gerald tell stories still gives me chills. Seeing Eugene crash and burn still makes me cringe. I still feel the burning envy of wanting Arnold’s room. This show stays with you over the years. The characters and stories undeniably left their mark on a generation.
The humor isn’t completely juvenile, but I was also surprised that there weren’t more jokes I discovered for the first time when viewing the show as an adult. The level of humor and charm reminds me of a family sit-com. It’s still enjoyable to watch, but more like a show you can have on in the background than one that really captivates you.
Hey Arnold has all the charm in the world. I had a delightful time revisiting this one. Just don’t throw me in a trash can like it’s Trash Can Day if I say it’s not quite the same watching now. Feel free to go back and watch, but don’t put Arnold on the same pedestal that Helga had him on.
Image Credits: Nickelodeon, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks