I feel comfortable in saying that Hey Arnold was one the best cartoons of the ’90s. Yes, there’s plenty of great competition, especially in the world of Nicktoons, but Hey Arnold probably comes out on top when it came to kid’s shows. Why? Not only was it funny, but it was also touching. It was full of characters who were absolutely unforgettable and episodes that were formative. Come on, who doesn’t know the Pigeon Man episode like the back of their hand?
But, er, speaking of Pigeon Man, none of this is to say that Hey Arnold didn’t have its fair share of episodes that made us go “WTF?” Yes, even the best of the show’s episodes had plot lines or one liners make us wonder how they were ever allowed on television. And some were just straight up…odd. Without further ado, take a stroll down one effed up memory lane with these 10 effed up episodes of Hey Arnold.
Helga's ParrotsHelga writes some poetry about how Arnold makes her "girlhood tremble." Girl, turn down. We didn't need to know about the state of your vagina...you're, like, in fourth grade!
Weird CousinOh God...this episode is so twisted. Arnold's weird pseudo-doppleganger cousin arrives in town for a visit. This is a kid who is a walking horror show: He collects lint and has a weird snort/blink thing going on and he's just generally creepy. Let's put it this way: You would be weirded out if you ran into him in both a dark alley and broad daylight. Anyway, Arnold's ultimate crush, Lila, falls in love with Arnie. Arnold is jealous and Helga decides to take advantage of his ill feelings and decides to help Arnold make Lila jealous...by flirting mercilessly with Helga herself. This obviously works out in Helga's favor because she forces Arnold to be affectionate toward her while he's under the delusion that this is having any affect on Lila. But after all the food sharing--they shared gum!--and foot massages the only thing that happened was Arnie developing a massive crush on Helga. Yikes.
Curly SnapsCurly was always a weird dude. I mean, this is a kid who released animals from the zoo and rode on a giraffe through town. But when he decided to hold the school hostage after he wasn't chosen as ball monitor, he really loses it. Seriously, this kid steals all the kickballs that are used during recess and locked himself into the principal's office. That's it. That's the episode. Someone get Curly some therapy.
Back To SchoolGrandpa reveals that he never graduated elementary school, so he attends Arnold's school to make up for lost time. After a while, Gramps becomes the school rebel, going so far as to take two sixth graders out on a date. The date? Sneaking into a PG-13 movie. This grown man...took these sixth grade girls...on a date. Um, no, bye.
Student TeacherOlga and Helga have a pretty dysfunctional family life, with an overbearing, aggressive father and a pseudo-alcoholic mother. Still, Olga has always been treated like a perfect angel, unlike Helga. Helga has a lot of understandable resentment towards Olga for this reason, but it reached new levels when Olga became a teacher at Helga's school. Helga hated it, so she eventually tries to convince Olga to teach in Alaska instead, telling her that the only way for them to be closer as siblings is to be farther apart from each other. We even see Olga writing Helga a letter while she's shivering in an igloo at the end of the episode. I hate to be full of puns, but damn Helga, that's cold.
Sid's RevengeSo Sid gets an unfair detention from Principal Wartz and, in revenge, decides to make a voodoo doll out of his image...with a bar of soap. I mean, aside from how awkwardly aggressive Sid was about making this doll, can we talk about how intensely Sid wanted this dude to suffer? Like, calm the hell down, Sid. It is not that serious.
Pigeon ManOkay, don't get me wrong. "Pigeon Man" is an amazing episode. Super humbling, super thought provoking, super beautiful. But I don't think it's possible to get over the weirdness of this dude literally flying off into the sunset at the end of the episode...propelled entirely by pigeons. How far do you think he got?
Crush On TeacherIt's amazing the conclusions people will jump to and the lengths they will go to see their conclusions materialize. What do I mean by that? Well, Arnold had a crush on a substitute teacher, Miss Felter, and it's a huge crush. He even thinks he sees her driving home and tries to follow her home on the bus. When his BFF Gerald hears Miss Felter talking about a dinner date with an "Arnold" that night, Gerald and Arnold are convinced that she means with him. So they get Arnold all spruced up for his date and Arnold eventually arrives at Miss Felter's apartment. She let's him in and he tries to seduce her. Yes, seduce her. I mean, to be fair, the range of his seducing was saying, "You set a beautiful table, my fair señorita" but still...what? Later, Miss Felter's fiance, also named Arnold, appears...ready for that dinner date. Whoops. This episode isn't effed up as much as it is bizarre. I mean, the lengths Arnold went...thats some serious thirst, dude.
Phoebe CheatsA guilty conscious is one thing. A guilty conscious with a side of creepy Emily Dickinson statue haunting you is another level of creep. Phoebe plagiarized from a Dickinson quote and won a prize: A statue of the poet herself. Well, that was fine until the statue started calling Phoebe a cheater and would always manage to find a way back into Phoebe's bedroom even after she does everything within her power to get rid of it. She even buried the damn thing in a sandbox! Nope.
Veteran's DayGrandpa Phil claims that he beat up Hitler during his time as a soldier in WWII. We see a flashback of him giving Hitler a wedgie. HITLER. WEDGIE. WHAT?
What other episodes of Hey Arnold really disturbed you? Which episodes in general stand out to you? Tell us in the comments!