Posted by: Tendra | January 24, 2009

A New Arnold; A New Helga (Post-movie)


I’ve just recently watched “Hey Arnold! The Movie” and, considering that the plot was supposed to be only 22 minutes long, I thought it was pretty good.  The main plot was simple, right?  A large corporation threatens to tear down Arnold’s neighbourhood, and Arnold/Gerald (and in the background, Helga) manages to save the neighbourhood.  What is less simple is the large turn that Arnold and Helga’s relationship has taken. 

The confession only took up a fraction of the movie’s time, but it was indeed a very important scene regarding Arnold and Helga’s relationship.  She finally confessed (although not in the best manner) and in the end, both agreed that the confession was just “in the heat of the moment”.  Some people hated the part where Arnold and Helga denied the confession, saying that Arnold should have reciprocated Helga’s feelings.  But, in a way, Arnold did.  He didn’t reject her.  During that conversation, Arnold did not mention anything along the lines of “I hate you” or “I don’t like you at all”.  Arnold, who led the last half of the conversation, allowed Helga to take back what she said at the top of the FTi building to save her dignity.  Keep in mind that the main reason that Helga keeps her love for Arnold a secret is because 1) she fears Arnold might reject her and 2) other kids might make fun of her crush (this belief was reinforced when her classmates in preschool laughed at her when she showed a sign of liking Arnold as a toddler).  The confession incident has shown that Arnold won’t reject Helga, but has not disproved the latter.  It would be best if they were both more emotionally mature and older before they got into a romantic relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend.  The thing that makes Hey Arnold! very unique from many other cartoons is its realistic element.  Arnold, who is a patient person, would be very out of character to impulsively love Helga back after the confession incident.  Instead, it is mature of him to allow Helga and Arnold to (somewhat) return to their status-quo relationship so they can be more ready before moving onto the next step of their relationship.

And this take-back-of-Helga’s-feelings is what would give a 6th season of Hey Arnold! a new twist.  How would Arnold and Helga’s relationship change now that Arnold is aware of Helga’s feelings for him, and Helga knowing that Arnold is aware of her crush?  The following is my opinion of how Arnold and Helga have grown from the confession incident:

1. As said earlier, Helga’s main reason for keeping her crush a secret was due to fear of rejection by Arnold and her peers.  Now knowing that Arnold hasn’t rejected her after confessing, her reasons have now shifted to fear of humiliation from her classmates.  This means that Helga would most likely act like her true self (i.e. the kinder, artistic romantic) more frequently when she is alone with Arnold, compared to when is around with others.  When around others, Helga would probably bully Arnold like she would before “Hey Arnold! The Movie” to avoid being made fun of by her classmates.  In other words, Helga would most likely bully Arnold less often, but only when she is alone with him.

2. In regards to Helga’s soliloquies, there’s most likely to be less “why does Arnold have to be so dense?  Can’t he see that my actions are so that I can get him to like me?” because Arnold now knows why Helga acts that way.

3. Because of the confession, Arnold has gained some insight into Helga’s personality.  Which means that Arnold can’t ask, “I don’t know why she [Helga] picks on me, in particular” or “why does Helga have to act so mean?” without knowing the answer in the first place.  I can’t say that Arnold knows exactly why Helga kept her crush a secret, but I’m sure that he has some suspicions about it, given his mature response to allow Helga to take back her confession until she is more emotionally mature.  Therefore, I don’t think that Arnold would completely retaliate at all of Helga’s bullying, because he knows why Helga bullies him.



  1. There were episodes made after the Movie – the last few of season five, such as April Fools

  2. Suekay is right. The Journal and April Fools Day were made after the movie and it’s always sort of been implied that both episodes also took place after it in a canon sort of way even though the timeline doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. But then it’s kind of like how Simmons is there for Thanksgiving but they had Miss Slovak for Valentine’s Day.

    And well, while I LOVE the idea that Helga would get sort of nicer around Arnold when she’s alone with him, it doesn’t seem like that’s happening anytime soon. Actually she seems to do the opposite – she has very little remorse in April Fool’s Day then she usually does when she acts like a terror in earlier episodes.

    Arnold is… Arnold for the most part, except when he finds out he’s been duped and then he gets revenge and sort of seems to taunt her a bit? They actually banter about ‘…have something I’ve been meaning to tell you.’

    It seems like he’s sort of matching her stride just a bit more? She’s upping the cruelty, but he’s not backing down?

  3. Touche. Those are very good points. I like them, they make me think. 😀 I won’t talk much about Arnold and Helga’s relationship in “The Journal”, but with “April Fool’s Day”? Oh yeah, there’s lots to talk about.

    I won’t be using Arnold and Helga’s behaviour in “April Fool’s Day” to dictate 100% on how they’re going to act like for the rest of the 6th season (if there was one), mainly because of the context of the episode.

    Everyone on April Fool’s Day had somewhat of a meaner stride. People who are typically nice and polite either pulled pranks on others or laughed out loud at other people’s misfortunes. Sheena pulled a prank (although somewhat mild) on Eugene. Phoebe, Lila, Brainy, Sheena, and Eugene laugh out loud at Helga when she went blind, when they could have felt some level of sympathy for her at that moment instead.

    “April Fool’s Day” kind of reminds me of how the class/students would occasionally let their instincts go wild and go into a state of anarchy (e.g. in “Principle Simmons”, “The Flood”, and “New Teacher”). You kind of just do things without thinking.

    Ack, I think I’m rambling. What I’m trying to get at is “April Fool’s Day” is one of those episodes where the characters have some liscence to be out of character, which is why I’m a bit reluctant about basing Arnold and Helga’s post-movie behaviour purely on this episode. Of course, it’s practically the only episode after the movie that deals with Arnold and Helga’s relationship specifically, which makes predicting their behaviour a bit hard.

    This is where looking at their pre-movie relationship, putting it in the context they are in now, and doing a heck load of comparisons is important. Many of my interpretations about Arnold and Helga’s relationship will be based on how they acted before the movie, and how the movie changed that. But of course, I need to look into “April Fool’s Day” and “The Journal” as well. Thanks SueKay and Squirreltamer for reminding me that! Very appreciated!

    I’m not going to say anything close to semi-solid about my interpretations of how Helga and Arnold’s relationship, nor my interpretations of some of the episodes, in this comment because, truthfully, I’m not sure about it myself.

    Anyhoo, continue to feel free to comment, because all opinions are valid points. Thanks for the input! They’re great and it gives everyone something to think about!

    – Tendra

  4. “I’ve just recently watched “Hey Arnold! The Movie” and, considering that the plot was supposed to be only 22 minutes long” — I always thought that it had to be a triple episode, kinda like The Jounal is a double episode.

  5. Hmm…pretty interesting. Yup, what would happen in the sixth season (I would very much like one!)? It’d be nice if Helga were to act nicer around Arnold. And, I didn’t look into the “April Fool’s Day” episode.
    One thing I agree with is that in that episode everyone was pretty much out of character. For one thing Helga wasn’t obsessing over Arnold doing stuff for her as she would normally. I mean, look at “Beaned” where she did the same thing – pretended to be hurt to capture Arnold’s attention.
    I guess the whole point of April Fool’s Day was to show the pranks and stuff and it can’t be counted on to provide much insight on Arnold’s and Helga’s relationship despite the fact that its the only episode which deals with their relationship at all.
    I think I just said the same things as you did!

  6. Probably in the April Fool’s Day episode Helga was not obsessing over Arnold, but they both were shamelessly flirting with each other. I believe that’s what we would have seen in the sixth season: ten-year-olds’ flirt.


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