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Hey Arnold! Showed Us Important Issues

Written by Dominic Wright, May 19th, 2017, at 1:28 p.m. Tweet to @Groovycap

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You know you are a true 90’s kid if you grew up with shows such as Hey Arnold! Whether you were a child or a teenager. In some shape or form, you turned on the iconic series.

For some of us 90’s kids, we enjoyed kicking back watching our favorite characters navigate through city life. From the innocent child play, life-lessons, and friendship; the show highlighted important issues. Oh, we can’t forget the iconic handshake that we all tried to imitate with our best friend.

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One of the best things about the show was that it didn’t hold back. It showed us important issues that hold relevance today. Creator Craig Bartlett and writer Steve Viksten showed viewers important issues. Through each character, there was an issue they dealt with in every episode.

Rejection/Abandonment 

Hey Arnold!

Our seemingly tough character, Helga, is one of the most interesting cartoon characters in the show. At first, we see her love obsession with Arnold and see her as a bully. Helga was seen as a bully in the show by her rude/aggression in the way she talked to people and the way she resorts to physical violence. As an adult, I see Helga in a different light.

Helga’s living situation at home is pretty rough (as a kid we never picked up on this), her mother is an alcoholic (smoothies was a censored version of alcoholic drinks) and her father usually insults her and relates her to Olga. The way Helga is talked to by her father is irritating, he usually calls her “girl” or “Olga”. For those who don’t know, Olga is the name of Helga’s perfect sister. We learn about Olga when Helga talks to the therapist in the episode Helga On The Couch, saying “She gets straight A’s at Bennington College, all the boys want to go out with her, but she has to stay home and practice the piano”.

Helga’s facing constant rejection within the show, from her dysfunctional family and within the feelings of Arnold. When it comes to Arnold, she shows a fierce side of her by calling him names and often threatening him but when he leaves, she pulls out a locket of him and shows a more “feminine” side. Being the tough character, she usually bounces back and forth between being lovely to tough. Usually, after Arnold leaves we see a poetic side to Helga even when she is praising the shrine of him.

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Honestly, the way Helga treats people is how her dysfunctional family treats her. We could even make the assumption that Helga is similar to her mother, depressed. More often than not, we see Helga use her verbal aggression towards people. Key the way she talks to Arnold, calling him “football head” because she thinks that is how people show their love for one another.

It seems like Helga’s facing constant rejection within the show, from her dysfunctional family and within the feelings of Arnold. Key the way she talks to Arnold, calling him “football head” because she thinks that is how people show their love for one another.

In the episode titled Helga On The Couch”, the school’s new psychologist shadows Helga. Which in turn schedules Helga to have meetings with her twice a week. Helga’s dad receives a call from the school informing him about the meetings. Shortly after, he says “this would never have happened to Olga”. We also see the alcoholism that Helga’s mother faces when she “forgets” to make her lunch for school. While pulling a lunchbox out of the oven, Helga opens it and sees disappointment. It’s crackers, moist towelettes, and a can of shaving cream.

Within the same episode, we see the rejection Helga faces when the therapist asks her about her father. We then make another flashback into Helga’s memory where it was her first day of pre-school. Throughout the flashback, we see her family ignoring her and paying her no mind. This shows us, why Helga is the way she is.

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