[[WesternAnimation/HeyArnold Main Page]] | [[HeyArnold/TropesAToI A to I]] | [[HeyArnold/TropesJToP J to P]]
| '''Q to Z''' | ''[[WesternAnimation/HeyArnoldTheMovie The Movie]]'' | ''[[WesternAnimation/HeyArnoldTheJungleMovie The Jungle Movie]]''

* RabbleRouser: [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] during a major HeatWave. The [[{{Jerkass}} Jolly Ollie Man]] tries to charge the kids outrageous prices for ice cream, and Arnold convinces the crowd of kids to make a bunch of noise and give him no peace until he relents and sells ice cream at a reasonable price. Then Helga climbs on top of the truck and starts taking it even further, urging them to flip the ice cream truck over. Arnold then has to turn around and try to calm them down.
* RaisedByGrandparents: Arnold is a pretty positive example. He does miss his parents to an extent but he's perfectly happy living with his grandparents and their weirdo tenants.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: The Sunset Arms boarders are all very eccentric and weird, but still can't bear to be without one another.
* RawEggsMakeYouStronger:
** Harold tried drinking raw eggs while training for an arm-wrestling match in "Harold vs. Patty", but they made him want to throw up.
** Subverted in "Old Iron Man" when Grandpa is trying to get in shape. He is shown cracking raw eggs into a glass...and then pours them from the glass into a frying pan to cook them.
* RealityEnsues: In "Timberly Loves Arnold", Arnold fears that rejecting Timberly will hurt her feelings. When he finally does, Timberly just goes off into a tangent about waffles, goes inside for a snack and off-handly tells Arnold that he doesn't have to be her "boyfriend" if he doesn't want to be. She may have been super insistent on her infatuation, but it was still just that: infatuation. From a first-grader. It didn't matter ''that'' much to her.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech:
** Helga delivers one to her mom in the episode "Road Trip".
--> '''Helga''': Well, you've done a great job so far, Miriam. You lost the map, you ran us off the road, you left your purse on top of the car again and we're stuck in the middle of nowhere. I'm nine years old, mom. You're the parent. You're supposed to take care of me, but you couldn't even do that. Face it, Miriam. You're a lousy mom.
** She also delivers an even more scathing one to Harold in "Buses, Bikes, and Subways".
---> '''Helga''': Everything that happened today is your fault! You can't do ANYTHING right. Take the bus for example. Why do you think we missed it, Harold? Oh, let's see. Hmmm...maybe was it because you were too busy eating twice your body weight in chocolate num nums! Oh, how about this one? "Let's take the subway! I think it goes to Lincoln." Oh, wait! No, it doesn't! It goes straight to the bowels of the underworld. Population? Homicidal, toothless midget clowns! I know, "Let's steal their bike. They won't mind!" Now you'd think that would be enough to fill any moron's day, but you're not just any moron, are you, Harold? You're the KING, your day's just getting started. So, because of your AMAZING curiosity about the world around us, YOU PULLED THE PLUG OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF OUR GETAWAY BOAT! (sighs) You idiot...
** Helga herself got one in "Helga and the Nanny". When Inga the titular nanny was framed for theft, and got fired for it, Helga ended up [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone feeling guilty about it]] and [[WhatTheHellHero was called out by her friends]]. When Helga goes to confess to Inga, the nanny reveals she already knew, and tells Helga that she [[JerkassWoobie is a sad and troubled child]] [[{{Tsundere}} who takes it out by being a]] {{Jerkass}} to others, and pushes away anyone who tries to help her. Cue the DownerEnding...
** Susie gives one towards Oskar in "Baby Oskar" and Oskar just kind of sits there and agrees with her.
---> '''Susie''': You're a grown man. When are you going to grow up and act responsible?\\
'''Oskar''': I'll do it tomorrow.\\
'''Susie''': Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow! That's all I ever hear from you!\\
'''Oskar''': What's wrong with tomorrow? It's a good day.\\
'''Susie''': Tomorrow's a good day for you! Tomorrow's a grand day, because tomorrow's the day you'll get a good job! Tomorrow's the day you'll pay the bills! Tomorrow's the day you'll grow up and start acting responsible. But tomorrow never comes for you, because it's always so conveniently a day away. \\
'''Oskar''': That's right, it's only a day away [[ComicStrip/LittleOrphanAnnie just like that song the little orphan girl sings!]]\\
'''Susie''': What about today Oskar, and what about yesterday? When I needed your help you just loafed around the house! When I had to take care of the cleaning, the bills, and the baby all you could do was whine and moan, and ask me to make you a sandwich!\\
'''Oskar''': That's right and you never did!\\
'''Susie''': Because I was busy! You expect everyone else to take care of you!\\
'''Oskar''': [[ItsAllAboutMe Susie I don't expect everyone else to take care of me.]] [[ComicallyMissingThePoint Just you!]]
** Everyone in the boarding house gives Oskar one in "Oskar Gets a Job". Including NiceGuy Arnold.
---> '''Arnold''': That's it. I'm tired of all your excuses.\\
'''Oskar''': Arnold, you seem a little cranky. Maybe you should take a nap.\\
'''Arnold''': Look, I only helped you because you said you were desperate. You said you wanted to change. I guess I was wrong. Mr. Kokoshka, I'm sorry but you're a huge loser!\\
'''Ernie''': I told ya, that Kokoshka is a Class-A bum. A Class-A bum!\\
'''Mr. Hyunh''': He just no good! \\
'''Ernie''': I'm telling you Hyunh, that bum will never work a single day in his life.\\
'''Mr. Hyunh''': No!\\
'''Susie''': I'm sorry about Oskar, Arnold. I just wish for once he'd do what he says he's going to do. But I guess that just won't ever happen.\\
'''Arnold''': I know. I thought he really wanted to change. But he was just fooling us all, just like he always does.
** Eugene delivers one to the actor portraying [[TheAhnold The Abdicator]] when he learns the latter is [[NiceCharacterMeanActor nothing like the character he plays]].
-->'''Eugene''': You're a fake!
-->'''Maurice''': I'm just an actor.
-->'''Eugene''': Yeah, well to millions of kids you're a hero. We looked up to you. [[BrokenPedestal But now I know the truth: You're nothing but a fake.]]
-->'''Maurice''': [[BrutalHonesty Look, kid it's just a role I play.]]
-->'''Eugene''': Come one. You're a wimp.
* RedheadInGreen: Lila is a redhead girl in green clothes.
* RejectionAffection: While Helga is busy being a StalkerWithACrush to Arnold, Brainy is doing the same to Helga, but a lot more openly. No matter how many times she hits him, he persists.
** Another example is Lulu in "Arnold Visits Arnie", the equivalent of Lila in Arnold's subconscious. He constantly rejects her affections since she's already with Arnie, yet she keeps harassing him in ways that make him feel uncomfortable.
* RichBitch: Rhonda has a tendency to be a rude rich girl, although it's not as bad as other examples on that page.
* RightBehindMe: Happens in the episode "Helga vs. Big Patty" when Helga makes several unflattering jokes about Big Patty, only to discover Big Patty standing behind her and clearly incensed by her mockery.
* RomanticFalseLead: Ruth and Lila for Arnold. He becomes attracted to them, but doesn't get together with them in the end, ultimately ending up with Helga.
* RousseauWasRight: The series generally tends to support that people are good by default and only made bad by certain circumstances.
* RunningGag: There are many recurring jokes.
** While Helga fawns over Arnold and recites her poetry about him, Brainy will interrupt her with his heavy breathing, resulting in Helga hitting him with an OffhandBackhand. Also, Brainy appears in some of the...weirdest locations. They even lampshade this, and he doesn't even know what he was doing there with them in the first place.
--> '''Helga:''' Look, Brainy, this is just ''weird.'' How is it that you're standing behind me again? How'd you get in this little arch? Were you waiting for me to come to this alley? ''What's your deal?''
** It's pretty common for an episode to feature a GilliganCut.
** Every time Arnold hits a baseball, someone is going to get hit by it. (See: "24 Hours to Live" and "Beaned") There is even an episode dealing with the idea. ("Dangerous Lumber")
** Helga's parents (Bob, especially) can never remember her age; usually guessing six, seven, or eight and then being surprised when she says she's nine.
** Whenever Helga lets out a screams out (or sometimes yells out Arnold's name), one of three things will happen:
*** One, another loud sound will play while she screams.
*** Two, there will be a DistantReactionShot of Arnold asking Gerald "Did you hear something just now?"
*** Three, the scream will set off car alarms.
** In a majority of the holiday episodes, with the exception of the Halloween show, Pookie has a tendency to get her holidays mixed up.
*** She celebrates Thanksgiving on Christmas.
*** She celebrates the Fourth of July on Thanksgiving.
*** She celebrates Groundhog's Day on April Fools' Day, and if she sees her shadow, it means 12 more days of Christmas.

* SatelliteLoveInterest: Ruth, the 6th grader Arnold initially was crushing on, has very little to her character aside from someone for Arnold to have a crush on. He later loses interest after realizing she's this.
* ScantronPicture: In "Apptitude Test," Harold fills in the bubbles to resemble a large letter 'H'.
* SchoolPlay: "School Play" has Mr. Simmons' class perform ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet''.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: Sid's scream is very high-pitched and feminine.
* ScrewPolitenessImASenior: Grandpa Phil and Grandma Gertie will sometimes use their age as an excuse to do whatever they want...Not to Arnold, though.
* TheScrooge: The Jolly-Olly Man. He usually acts like a general {{Jerkass}} to kid customers and sometimes [[KickTheDog drives the truck away just after stopping for waving kids]]. Soon revealed to be a combination of a WellDoneSonGuy and CallingTheOldManOut situation with him and his boss/father, since he can't hold any other jobs.
* SecondPersonAttack: The show seemed quite fond of showing violence from the point of view of those being hurt, complete with accompanying StockFootage animation of cartoonish stars flying.
* SecretSanta: In the ChristmasSpecial, the boarding house does a thing where they give each other presents anonymously.
* SequelEpisode: "Love and Cheese" was the sequel to "Operation Ruthless", with Helga once again trying to sabotage Arnold's interest in his crush at the Cheese Festival.
* SeriousBusiness:
** '''HEY EVERYONE, STOOP KID'S GONNA LEAVE HIS STOOP!!!''' Cue the newspaper front page headline.
** A news crew and at least a quarter of the city also showed up for Arnold's punishment in "Arnold Betrays Iggy".
** The people who play the card game in "Gerald's Game" get pretty into it, with the winners becoming kings and losers getting locked up or becoming slaves.
** Curly in "Curly Snaps" who was obsessed over being "ball monitor" (the kid whose job is to hand out and collect all the kickballs before and after recces) for a week. While every other kid thought it was a mediocre or boring chore, Curly thought it was an admirable and highly respected position. He ends up going crazy and locking himself in the principal's office in protest just because Mr. Simmons accidentally skipped his turn.
* SettleForSibling: The Ghost Bride's ex-fianceè left her at the altar to marry her blonde sister.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Big Patty can look nice on formal occasions. And despite her insistence that she's not pretty, Helga ''can'' look beautiful when she tries to.
* SheIsNotMyGirlfriend:
** Harold insists twice in the episode "Hey Harold!" that Patty isn't his girlfriend, first to Sid and Stinky then later to his overbearing parents.
** Arnold says this about Lila in her first episode, which complicates things when he realizes he ''does'' like her.
* ShipperOnDeck: Despite her fear of being mocked for her feelings, the people who know about Helga's crush on Arnold were supportive of a potential relationship. Phoebe is definitely this, and Grandpa Phil might believe Arnold and Helga will end up like him and Pookie. Lila is debatably this as well, since she agreed to step aside for Helga, her [[UnknownRival supposed arch-rival]], to kiss Arnold in the school play since she actually has no romantic feelings for Arnold.
** According to Craig Bartlett, Brainy is a combination of this and IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy.
* ShoutOut: Go [[ShoutOut/HeyArnold here]].
* ShowWithinAShow: "Pop Daddy", a cop show that Arnold and Gerald are fans of, meanwhile Timberly (and supposedly Harold) is a fan of a Barney the Dinosaur parody named Wally.
* SiblingYinYang: Helga is constantly ignored and would like some adoration from her parents, while her sister Olga gets all of the attention and would like to be left alone.
* SickEpisode: Helga thinks she's sick with Monkeynucleousis in "Monkey Business" and will die soon, but it turns out she's only being paranoid. She's also CompletelyMissingThePoint, as she read about the disease she thinks she has in a book called ''Diseases Long Since Debunked By Modern Science''.
* SignsOfDisrepair: In "Dangerous Lumber", Arnold hits a home run ball that breaks a hole into a "Holywood Cow Farm" billboard leaving it reading "Holy cow".
* SillyReasonForWar: In "The Pig War", Grampa takes Arnold and his friends to a reenactment of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War_(1859) Pig War]], which in their version of history erupted into all-out war (we know it's not one of Phil's tall tales because of the other people at the reenactment).
* SingleTargetSexuality: Helga only has eyes for Arnold. Though, she does flirt a bit with [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed Ronnie Matthews]] when she finds out he's a self-centered prick.
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan: Helga loves Arnold because of how nice and amiable he is.
* SkewedPriorities: In "Big Bob's Crisis", Big Bob suffers a heart attack (actually only gas) and the last thing he says before passing out is that he won't catch ''Series/WheelOfFortune''.
* TheSlacker: Oskar Kokoshka is very lazy and tends to whine about having to put effort in anything he needs to do. He did, however, get a job as a paperboy, take care of his sister-in-law's baby son, and learn how to read.
* {{Sleepwalking}}: Pork rinds cause sleepwalking, apparently, as Helga hilariously found out in "Helga Sleepwalks".
* SliceOfLife: The show is purely dealing with events and situations that people have in real life, with very few ventures into the more fantasy stuff.
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity: Level 3. While most episodes are stand-alone, there are callbacks and nods to previous episodes every so often. Plus, there are some episodes that are mandatory watch, since they introduce a new characters that become regulars. ("New Teacher", "Ms. Perfect")
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Heavily idealistic overall. Arnold tended to believe that most people were [[RousseauWasRight good at heart]] and could work out their differences with one another -- and, ultimately, the show tended to prove him right. The trade-off was that episodes with {{Downer Ending}}s and {{Karma Houdini}}s hit just that much harder, for being in apparent opposition to the prevailing ideology.
* {{Snapback}}: At the end of ''Hey Arnold: The Movie'', the streets are filled with debris, there's damage from an underground explosion, and the overpass behind the boarding house was blown up. The two episodes that take place after the movie ("April Fool's Day" & "The Journal") have no sign of any damage anywhere in the neighborhood, nor did the Sunset Arms residents receive any noticeable punishment for dynamiting the building Scheck's video wall and countdown was on.
* SoBadItsGood: In-universe. Helga & Big Bob's reaction to ''[[Theatre/{{Cats}} Rats]]: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Musical of Singing Rats]]'' is to laugh at its shoddiness.
* SocialServicesDoesNotExist:
** Helga's mom is clearly alcoholic, her dad is about as abusive as you can get without being violent, and they're both often pretty neglectful of her.
** Arnold's in rather good hands; although his grandma is a CloudCuckooLander and his grandpa has...done some things to Arnold that is child endangerment or negligence, but it's PlayedForLaughs. In ''Biosquare'', when Helga starts to flood the greenhouse after breaking the sink, Grandpa mistakes their banging for help as a sign to ''turn the water flow up'' and make the greenhouse flood faster. In ''On the Lam'', Arnold is clearly tied up and Grandpa just assumes he's playing secret agent.
** Played straight with Stoop Kid, a kid who's living by himself with no adults, looks to be well into his teens and apparently hasn't been to school before in his life (After all, Stoop Kid never leaves his stoop) and almost everyone in the neighbourhood ''knows'' who he is and he regularly yells at people going past his house. Hasn't anybody thought of calling social services on him?
* SoldiersAtTheRear: Gerald's father reveals he accidentally shot his commanding officer during basic training and was reassigned to a desk job, but was still deployed to Vietnam. While driving to another base with paperwork, he came across a wounded soldier and used his paperwork as bandages while transporting him to a field hospital.
* {{Somethingitis}}: "Monkey Business" had Helga being sick and, because she reads a book of fictional diseases, thinks she has "monkey-nucleosis" (which will supposedly turn her into a monkey and is incurable). As a result, she spends what is a regular 24-hour flu being MistakenForDying.
* SoYouWereSaying:
** In "Timberly Loves Arnold", Arnold is about to tell Gerald's sister, the titular Timberly, not to hang out with him anymore when Lila passes by saying that she thinks they look cute together.
** In "Monkey Business", Helga reads up on a book of monkey diseases after getting kissed by one and believes she has contracted "monkeynucleosis". Convinced she's going to die, she invited Arnold over to her deathbed and tries to confess her love for him. Before she can say anything, Phoebe bursts in to tells her one important detail about the disease that she overlooked: it doesn't exist!
* SpaghettiKiss:
** In "Love and Cheese," Arnold's ImagineSpot of romancing Lila at the Cheese Festival contains one of these, but with string cheese instead of spaghetti.
** In "Married", Helga's dream of being married to Arnold ends with them sharing a BigDamnKiss in the middle of a ''pastrami sandwich'' - unlike most instances of the trope, they start out already looking at each other, and seem to be doing the whole thing on purpose, making it appear more like [[EroticEating G-rated food foreplay.]]
* SpinningPaper: Spinning newspapers were used in a dream sequence in the episode "Married".
* SpiritualSuccessor: ''Sky Rat'' (Craig Bartlett's second Nicktoon) will be this when it premieres.
* SprayingDrinkFromNose: All you need to do to get Gerald to do this is say [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjyk7nKJxH8 buggers]].
* SpotlightStealingSquad: Helga. She received more [[ADayInTheLimelight day in the limelight]] episodes than any other supporting character (even Gerald, who's supposed to be Arnold's best friend), and was the most developed character on the show. By seasons 4 and 5, she more or less became the series' true protagonist. It even extends to this very wiki. Her list of tropes on the Characters page [[TropeOverdosed was so long]] (it took up at least a quarter of the page and was twice the length of Arnold's) it was split off into a page of its own (Arnold eventually got one as well). TropesAreNotBad, since she's arguably the series' most popular character.
* StalkerShrine: Over the course of the series, Helga has several different Arnold shrines in her closet, the most famous being the one made out of used bubblegum.
* StalkerWithACrush: Helga toward Arnold and Brainy toward Helga are often following them because they are secretly in love with them.
* StatusQuoIsGod: This ''is'' a Kid's show, after all, without much semblance of continuity or an overarching plotline. However, there are some implications of some mini-arcs, such as Arnold's relationship with Lila. The CharacterDevelopment is also an aversion.
* StealthHiBye: In the episode "Helga Blabs It All". After being treated at the dentist with laughing gas, Helga unknowingly leaves a message on Arnold's answering machine in which she declares her love for him. Her first attempt at retrieving the tape (so Arnold never hears the message) involves dressing up as a "Campfire Lass" (Scottish girl scouts, essentially) and offering to sell cookies to the boarding house residents.
-->'''Grandpa:''' Hello... what are you supposed to be?\\
'''Helga:''' What's it look like? I'm a Campfire Lass. You know, faith and begorrah... haggis?\\
'''Grandpa:''' I suppose you'll be wanting to sell me some cookies, then. Hold on. ''[turns to the inside of the boarding house]'' Hey, Arnold! Come out here for a sec, some Scottish girl's selling cookies. You want some? ''[turns back to see that Helga is no longer there]''\\
'''Arnold:''' Who was it?\\
'''Grandpa:''' I think it was a phantom Campfire Lass. ''[closes door]''
* SteamNeverDies: In "The Haunted Train", an old steam train is still used to commute steel mill workers to and from the city.
* StepfordSmiler:
** Olga's cheerfulness is all an act to hide how pressured she feels over having to live up to her parents' high standards.
** Surprisingly enough, Lila. Craig Bartlett says she has a deeply suppressed dark side. Not too surprising given her and her father's poverty combined with her [[ThePollyanna disproportionally positive outlook.]]
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: This is used a lot. For example, in "Downtown as Fruits", Arnold and Gerald say "Boy, people downtown sure are friendly." when they receive a bag full of cash. They later give the rest to a family stranded with a broken-down car, who then say the same thing.
* StuffedIntoATrashcan:
** ''Trash Can Day'', as featured in the episode "Longest Monday", is an annual tradition where fifth graders shove fourth graders into trash cans.
** Helga's knocking Stinky in a trashcan after his "sleeping in a closet" comment in "The Little Pink Book".
* StupidStatementDanceMix: An actual in show example, played over "Teacher's Strike"'s credits. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcVW6Me7y0o Slippage. Slippage. Slippage.]]
* SubwaysSuck: "Das Subway" has the main characters take the subway and getting stuck there for a bit.
* SummonBiggerFish: In "Mudbowl", the fourth graders have to play football against Wolfgang and the other fifth graders. They decide to ask Torvald, who is older and much bigger than the fifth graders (including Wolfgang!). He effortlessly plows through the fifth graders and seems pretty unstoppable...until he trips and sprains his ankle.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Phoebe gives one in "Phoebe Breaks A Leg" when Arnold discovers she was faking a broken leg that pretty quickly turns into a MotiveRant partway through.
--> '''Arnold:''' "This doesn't by any chance have anything to do with Helga, does it? Because of the way she treats you?"
--> '''Phoebe:''' (increasingly frazzled) "That's completely ridiculous! Just because Helga's been waiting on me hand and foot ever since the bus accident - that was essentially her fault - doesn't mean that I'd falsely prolong my injury in some kind of passive aggressive attempt to reap the benefits of her guilty conscience and simultaneously give her a taste of her own bossy medicine!"
* SuperstitionEpisode: In the episode "Friday the Thirteenth" it's [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Friday the thirteenth]] and Arnold's and Gerald's families insist they carry around good luck charms and avoid unlucky things. Arnold and Gerald try to prove superstitions are false, but end up with bad luck. [[spoiler: Because Wolfgang gave it to them.]]
* SurrogateSoliloquy: Helga will often whip out her heart-shaped Arnold locket to talk to when she is alone.
* SurvivalMantra: On "Das Subway", one of the passengers is advised to say this by her accompanying psychiatrist: Big. Open. Spaces. Big. Open. Spaces.

* TatteredFlag: In the ChristmasEpisode, Mr. Hyunh is telling Arnold about how he gave up his only daughter during UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar. During a scene depicting (possibly) the Fall of Saigon, a tattered (American) flag is prominently displayed.
* TeachersOutOfSchool:
** Protesting the shortage of supplies, the teachers went on strike. Because of the strike, the kids rejoiced that they could spend their days out of school, but found that the teachers all had found temporary jobs at all the places they liked to hang out such as the arcade, the bowling alley and the aquarium. The kids return to school to avoid the teachers, but are evicted by Principal Wartz and tells them every day the strike goes on, they cut days from summer vacation. Arnold vows to end the strike as soon as possible.
** The Thanksgiving special shows Mr. Simmons having his class put on a play of a very ideal Thanksgiving dinner, which Helga and Arnold lament that they won't have due to their dysfunctional families. They decide to abandon their families and visit Mr. Simmons for a chance at a normal Thanksgiving, only to discover that his family all hates each other.
* TeamSpirit: "Benchwarmer" teaches how cooperation and treating your teammates nicely is the key to success
* TechnologyPorn: Arnold's room has a lot of amazing doodads. ''Every'' kid in TheNineties wanted a bedroom like Arnold's.
* TemptingFate: Examples of bad things happening right after characters remark about them not happening include:
** "The List", in which Arnold attempts to have the perfect day by doing everything on said list, which details the best things for a kid to do on a Saturday, only for everything to be derailed by something going wrong.
** "Dangerous Lumber", where after several attempts at trying to cure his "dangerous lumber" (which is him hitting and hurting someone else with a baseball every time he hits it) by going to a batting cage at Ernie's insistence that "Nothing can go wrong, and no one can get hurt". When Arnold hits the ball, he shoots it straight back into the barrel of the pitching machine, causing it to malfunction and pelt everyone else in the batting cage with a barrage of baseballs before it eventually explodes. He promptly quits playing baseball right after that.
** "The Journal": When Miles, a pregnant Stella, and Eduardo approach a smoking volcano, Eduardo says that volcanoes smoke all the time, and that's all it'll do. Said volcano proceeds to erupt.
** "Best Friends": When teamed with them as part of a school project, Arnold is telling Gerald how well Rhonda and Nadine get along despite being as different as night and day. These differences cause them to get into a heated argument throughout the episode, with Arnold in the middle.
* TerrifiedOfGerms: Sid becomes extremely paranoid of getting infected with germs after watching a [[PublicServiceAnnouncement health class film]] about hygiene.
** TruthInTelevision: There is an actual condition that with Sid's problem... obsessive-compulsive disorder.
* ThatPoorCat: Practically once per episode, there will be the sound of a cat yowling off-screen.
* ThemeNaming: Helga and her sister have the same name: "Olga" is the Slavic version of the Germanic "Helga".
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Averted in "Helga on the Couch", where Helga sees a psychologist and tells her about her problems.
* TheGhost: Lampshaded with Mr. Smith. "Door Number 16" was dedicated to Arnold and Gerald trying to track him down to deliver a package (apparently they had never seen him either). They were unsuccessful in their attempts.
* TheShowMustGoOn: In "Downtown as Fruits", Helga stalls for time in her play because Arnold and Gerald aren't there when it's their turn to go on.
* ThirteenIsUnlucky: Eugene's birthday is, appropriately, Friday the 13th.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Several episodes feature a pair of crooks named Vic and Morrie.
* ThoseTwoGuys: There are several pairs frequently seen together in this series.
** Sid and Stinky.
** Grandpa Phil and Oskar.
** Ernie and Mr. Hyunh are also this sometimes.
* ThrowTheDogABone:
** Arnold tries to invoke a moment of fortune that sticks after a series of misfortunes with Eugene in "Eugene's Bike", but even that doesn't stop the poor kid from getting hit with a baseball, choking on a hot dog, and getting seasick. It sort of works in the end, though, since Eugene ''still'' thinks it was an awesome day simply because he got to do so many fun things.
** In "New Bully On The Block" Eugene himself of all people managed to score a touchdown.
** In ''"Helga's Love Potion"'' Brainy, after countless OffhandBackhand from Helga, is kissed by her (in his forehead). He faints... of happiness!
* TimeToMove: "Casa Paradiso" had Grandpa Phil try to move out of the boarding house along with Arnold and Gertie.
* TimeShiftedActor: Arnold is voiced by Rusty Flood during the flashbacks in "Parents Day" and "Helga on the Couch" instead of Philip Van Dyke and Spencer Klein. The latter episode also had Craig Bartlett's daughter Katie voice Helga in the flashback instead of Creator/FrancescaMarieSmith.
* TitleDrop: Constantly in dialogue, which makes sense given that the title is a greeting. The most common drop, though, is that Arnold's alarm clock says "Hey Arnold" constantly by way of alarm.
* TitleScream: This happens in the Title sequence two or three times, which also makes it a TitleThemeTune.
* ToiletHumor:
** Everyone is constantly passing gas in "Fishing Trip" because the only food they had is beans. Harold claims that it was funny at first but then it just smelled.
** The plot of "Phoebe's Little Problem" revolves around Phoebe being the [[IncrediblyLamePun Butt]] [[ButtMonkey Monkey]] of the school after accidentally breaking wind into a microphone on stage.
** Also present in the line "life was a gas but that gas has passed" in Dino Spumoni's depressing, pathetic attempt at a swan song "My Last Bow."
* TokenGoodTeamMate: Edmund is the single good member to the fifth graders, much to Wolfgang's chagrin. Though it's more of a case of [[MinionWithAnFInEvil being too dumb to be evil]].
* TokenMinorityCouple: Some episodes had Gerald, Arnold's BlackBestFriend, paired with Phoebe, Helga's half-Japanese best friend. Then again, it could be said that it ''is'' a multiracial pairing so it could be something of a subversion. Given the rest of their classmates they were probably better off.
* {{Tomboy}}: Helga, who [[OneOfTheBoys often hangs around the guys and scares most of them with her rough behavior]] and Big Patty, who [[YouGoGirl beats the toughest guys in arm-wrestling]].
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl:
** Tomboyish Helga's interaction with the more traditionally feminine Phoebe. She can also this with Lila and her sister Olga on a few occasions.
** Rhonda is prissy and all about fashion, while Nadine is fascinated by bugs.
** There's also Patty and Rhonda in "Polishing Rhonda".
* TonightSomeoneKisses: Helga and Arnold get a kiss in the SchoolPlay in "School Play".
* TookALevelInJerkass:
** Phoebe became a lot meaner than she usually was when she became hall monitor. She got better though.
** Sid and Stinky became ruder and more inconsiderate in later seasons.
** Principal Wartz also gained a tendency to become a cranky and sometimes unreasonable [[SadistTeacher Sadist Principal]] (with a bit of a HairTriggerTemper to boot) in later seasons as well. The episode "Principal Simmons" deals with Wartz's explosive behavior.
** The sixth grade girls Arnold and Gerald took to the prom return in "Phoebe Skips", with a much meaner and controlling attitude towards Phoebe. This may be a special case if they only act sweet to boys but are horrible to other girls.
* ToxicFriendInfluence: In an odd form of this trope, Harold, Sid, and Stinky are all a lot nicer when they aren't hanging around with the other two.
%%* ToyotaTripwire
* TrademarkFavoriteFood:
** Stinky often raves about his love for lemon pudding.
** '''Chocolate Boy'''. [[MeaningfulName It's his freaking name]]! Though [[spoiler: his addiction switches from chocolate to radishes]].
** Harold and his Mr. Fudgy Bars.
** A more subtle example: Oskar can be seen eating pickles from the jar in several episodes that focus on him.
* {{Trope2000}}: The synthesizer that Arnold wants to buy with the prize money in "Spelling Bee" is the [=ToneMaster=] 2000.
* TrueCompanions: The Boarders, oddly enough, are always there for one another.
* {{Tsundere}}: Helga has a tendency to switch between courteous and hostile at the drop of a hat. Rhonda is also one for Harold.
* TwoTimerDate: "Arnold's Valentine" consists of Arnold trying to ask Ruth for a dinner date while at the same time having one with his pen pal Cecille, who is actually Helga pretending to be her.

* UglyGuysHotDaughter: Possibly Subverted. Helga and her father both have unibrows, potato noses, and billy goat shaped ears, and Helga is comically mistaken for a boy once. At the same time, the show has an exotic and unusual style of character design, and one need look no further than the Football Head Arnold himself for proof of this. Also, older mature Helga as seen in a few episodes is dropdead gorgeous. In contrast, Olga (Helga's older sister) is obviously perceived as pretty by others in the show.
* UglyGuyHotWife:
** Oskar isn't much to look at while his wife Suzie is gorgeous.
** There's also Big Bob and Miriam to a lesser extent.
* UnknownRival: At no point in any episode involving her does Lila ever learn about Helga's animosity for her or Arnold-related jealousy. Ironically, if she did know she would probably have no problem helping Helga--and during the school play and masquerade episodes, does help--since she doesn't have feelings for Arnold anyway, but Helga insists on being antagonistic instead. WordOfGod is that in "The Patakis" spin-off that never was, Helga finally would have gotten the hint and become friends with Lila. The fact that Arnold would be PutOnABus probably helped matters between them.
* UnreliableNarrator: Grandpa Phil fabricates the details of his stories at times. In one episode even he was confused about whether or not a story he told was made up or not.
* UnrequitedLoveSwitcheroo: "Arnold Loves Lila" has Arnold reciprocate Lila's feelings for him only for Lila to start moving on. "Arnold Visits Arnie" is this crossed with BizarroUniverse where Arnold pines for "Hilda" while "Lulu" won't leave him alone.
* TheUnreveal: A recurring gag was Arnold's surname never being revealed even when we think it will be. It was finally revealed as "Shortman" in ''The Jungle Movie''.
* UrbanFantasy: Some episodes fell into stories with fanciful elements happening in modern times, namely the ones dealing with urban legends like the demon train and ghost bride.

* VanityIsFeminine: Played with when the girls throw a makeover party and deliberately exclude the tomboyish Helga in "Helga's Makeover". When Helga tries to play with the boys instead, they mock her for being ugly and unfeminine. Helga caves and dolls herself up, then joins the other girls at the party. After a while, she starts to realize how ridiculous the whole thing is, considering their age. "We're nine years old! We don't have signs of aging!" She persuades the other girls to her side... and they wind up administering the intended makeover to one of the unfortunate boys who tried to crash their party and found himself outmatched.
* VerbalTic:
** Monkeyman randomly says his name mid-sentence.
** Coach Wittenburg and Tish have a tendency toward malapropism, and repeating themselves. Repetitively.
** Lila repeatedly uses the phrase "oh so" or "ever so" whenever talking about how much she likes something. She's certain that she just adores this trope, just ever so much.
** Mr. Simmons often describes things as being "special" (Helga {{lampshade| hanging}}s the trope when she does an impersonation of him in "Helga's Show", air-quoting the word "special" every time she uses it)
* VerySpecialEpisode: For a kids' cartoon, the show had quite a few episodes with serious stories that featured mature subjects. For example:
** "Helga on the Couch" touched on ParentalFavoritism and the reason some kids become bullies as part of Helga's backstory.
** "Chocolate Boy" deals with addictions. [[GRatedDrug Only with chocolate.]]
** "Arnold's Christmas" shows the harsh life and difficult choices civilians went through during the Vietnam War.
* VitriolicBestBuds:
** Helga and Phoebe, though by the end of the show this was shown to be Helga being carelessly demanding rather than actively, intentionally controlling.
** A very strong Type 2 in Grandpa Phil and Jimmy Kafka, who are best described as best friends who simultaneously like and hate each other. This is mostly because both of them are prideful, competitive, and incredibly stubborn. As a result, they spent decades not speaking to one another, a fact which both of them are shown to severely regret in the episode where he appears.
** Dino Spumoni and Don Reynolds, as demonstrated in "Dino Checks Out" and "Partners", had no difficulty finding reasons to be angry at each other but in the end were still good friends.
* VocalDissonance:
** Gerald, Stinky and Helga (post-VocalEvolution; see below) have voices that are way too deep for nine-year-olds.
** Tish Wittenberg is a pretty blonde, but has a deep, gravelly voice befitting a 50-year-old chain smoker.
* VocalEvolution: This only applies to characters who retained the same voice actors throughout the run of the show.
** Helga's voice progressively becomes deeper, and also has a more mature tone to it, which actually works rather well for a character whose had to learn to look out for herself at such an early age.
** Stinky's voice takes on more of an exaggeration of a stereotypical southern/hillbilly accent, with a more nasally quality as well. By the final season, his voice has dropped considerably.
** Gerald's voice changing becomes a plot point; in reality, Jamil W. Smith's voice had broken in season 3, so an episode in which Gerald has his tonsils removed, thus bringing on a change in his voice, was written. ''The Jungle Movie'' seems to have retconned this change, since Gerald's new voice actor sounds like the pre-pubescent Jamil Smith's voice from the old series.
** The [[LargeHam hammy]] factor in Harold's voice took a season or two to start shining through, and after that, it gets cranked up more and more, especially when [[FragileFlower he goes into his crybaby mode]].
** Phoebe's voice was a bit lower in season 1. It's especially true in "Operation Ruthless".
** It's barely noticeable, but Rhonda's voice got lower over time as well. It changes again in ''The Jungle Movie'', going from snooty to a ValleyGirl-sound.
** It wasn't just the kids that changed. Grandpa Phil's voice originally sounded forced and raspy before Creator/DanCastellaneta started using a higher version of his [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] voice after a few episodes.

* WalkIntoCameraObstruction:
** "Wheezin Ed", this happens near the end. Where Harold is rolling and his butt fills up the screen before he runs over everyone.
** "Helga's Makeover" again with Harold; as he and the other boys are about to go to crash Rhonda's party.
* WardrobeWound: In the episode "Ms. Perfect", the girls in Arnold's class play a prank on Lila that results in her getting covered in spinach and running out of the cafeteria in tears.
* WealthyYachtOwner: When Rhonda's parents got married, Rhonda's Dad had three yachts but sold one to pay for the honeymoon.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Helga and the Jolly-Olly Man both fall under the category of wanting to be appreciated by their fathers so much.
* WereStillRelevantDammit: In an {{in-universe}} example, Dino Spumoni's backstory shows us that he was trying way too hard to roll with the times, such as creating a disco album in the '70s and a rap album in the '80s. He fared better when he went back to singing his '50s tunes.
* WeWantOurJerkBack:
** In "Helga's Show," the comedic imitations Helga performs showcasing her friends' idiosyncrasies cause them to shun her. Taking Phoebe's advice, she tries a kinder approach to her humor, which falls flat. Ironically, it's Arnold who suggests that she go back to the edgier material she used before, which works.
** "Big Bob's Crisis" has the head of the Pataki clan take a kinder, simpler, less-stressful approach to life after a gas attack scare (previously thought to be a heart attack). [[spoiler: When he begins to give up all of their modern conveniences (and she sees how others start to walk all over him), Helga tells him that she relies on him being the tough, take-charge man she knows he is.]] After some soul-searching, Bob decides that he can be that man and still take time away to unwind.
* WhamLine: A couple here and there, in the more dramatic episodes.
** From "Parent's Day", we have perhaps the lowest moment from Big Bob yet and a scene that veers the episode from bittersweet to full on tear jerker:
-->'''Big Bob:''' (''to Helga'') We're not gonna let some ''[[KickTheDog orphan boy]]'' and [[RaisedByGrandparents his ancestors]] beat us!
** From "Career Day", we get three little words from Willie the Jollie Ollie Man to prove to us just why he's so messed up.
-->'''Willie:''' (''seething with hatred'') I can't reason with [my boss]. I never could ever since I was a kid.\\
'''Arnold:''' You've known your boss since you were a kid?\\
'''Willie:''' [[spoiler: [[AbusiveParents He's my DAD.]]]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** Tucker, Coach Wittenberg and Trish's son, is never seen after his first appearance even though his parents show up several times afterwards. He would finally return for a cameo appearance with his parents in ''The Jungle Movie'' .
** Helga's pet Monitor Lizard only shows up in "Helga's Parrot", though it is possible her parents made her get rid of it.
** In "Harold the Butcher", Mr. Green hires Harold as an apprentice at the end of the episode. Ever since we have never seen Harold working at the shop or it being mentioned.
* WhatTheHellHero: "What The Heck Helga?" in this case. Practically all the kids present in "Helga and the Nanny" called her out for framing Inga for theft.
* WhoWouldBeStupidEnough: "Wheezin' Ed" asks the question of who would be stupid enough to make counterfeit pennies.
* WholePlotReference:
** The episode ''False Alarm'' is this to Theatre/TwelveAngryMen.
** "Das Subway" is taken almost beat-for-beat from ''Theater/TheOddCouple'' episode, "The Subway Show."
* WideEyedIdealist: Eugene is very optimistic despite being a ridiculously unlucky jinx.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears:
** Arnold. He's more mature than most adults.
** Helga counts too, due to her impressive vocabulary.
** Also, Phoebe due to being highly intelligent.
** Gerald, for knowing so many of the town's legends.
** Really, most of the kids qualify as being knowledgeable for their age. You'll forget that they're supposed to be only nine.
* WorkOffTheDebt: The end of "Dinner for Four", where Arnold, Phoebe, Helga, and Gerald have to wash dishes to pay the bill they've racked up.
* WorstNewsJudgmentEver:
** When Stoop Kid was revealed to be afraid to leave his stoop, the story dominated the front page of the newspaper. [[spoiler: His stepping off did, too.]]
** The episode "24 Hours to Live" features the headline "Arnold to Die Today".
** Arnold's HumiliationConga in "Arnold Betrays Iggy" includes getting filmed by the news. Question: why is a ''kid wearing bunny pajamas'' making it to television?!
* TheWorstSeatInTheHouse: Arnold and Gerald once wanted to go to a baseball game to see Arnold's favorite player play his last game before retiring. They decide to buy two tickets from a scalper promising them great seats for half the price of what they're selling at the ticket booth. It turns out that their seats are both in the nosebleed section ''and'' obstructed by a pole. Arnold decides to get closer to the action and ends up catching the home run ball from his favorite player at his final at-bat while simultaneously being chased by ushers.
* WritersCannotDoMath: Many of these examples may be due to Phil's poor memory, exaggerations, or math skills.
** Grandpa once said his grandfather lived 1830-1921. He also said his grandfather participated in the tomato incident which took place in the 1770s-1780s (making him about 150 years older than Phil at least!) and in another episode we see a flashback of Phil's childhood in the mid-late 1920s where his grandfather is shown to be alive and well and only looking about as old as Phil does now. We are also given a reference to a barbecue he attended in 1926, five years after his alleged death.
*** In the movie Phil claims that his father won the boarding house in a card game during the 1890s. Assuming he was at least in his 20s when he won said card game, this would make him in his early forties (if not older) when he had Phil who was born in the mid-late 1910s. We see Phil's father in multiple flashbacks of when Phil was Arnold's age and frankly he looks no older than 45 or so.
** The writers seem to flip-flop between having Harold a few years older, or the same age as Arnold and his friends. For one thing he went to pre-school with the rest of the characters and didn't look any older than them (he should've been around 8-9).

* YiddishAsASecondLanguage:
** In "Deconstructing Arnold" Harold calls Arnold a "Kibitzer": Yiddish for a non-participant person, offering (often unwanted) advice or commentary. Or as he defines it: a "big fat buttinski!"
** "Yutz" a Yiddish insult meaning "idiot" is also used occasionally by a few characters. Mostly by Helga.
* YouHaveToHaveJews: The Jewish faith and Jewish culture are very well represented among the cast. Harold and his parents are Jewish, as is Mr. Green the butcher (and later city councilman). Many other characters aren't explicitly Jewish but are implied to be (or at least have a strong affinity for the culture) at different times: Eugene's last name is Horowitz, Sheena can read Hebrew, Helga frequently uses Yiddish insults, and Gerald recites a Hebrew prayer in TheMovie.
* YouWannaGetSued: Subverted in "False Alarm". Helga talks about going to ''Wrestling/{{Wrestlemania}}'' to see Wrestling/HaystacksCalhoun and there isn't even a single wink or nudge at the camera.
* YouTalkinToMe: When Arnold becomes drunk on kung fu power, he has a scene where he repeatedly asks "You talkin' to me?".
* YoungerThanTheyLook: [[JerkJock The fifth graders]] are only a year older than the main cast, but they all look, sound (and act) like they should be in high school. Similar idea with the sixth graders. Subverted when the main characters themselves age into fifth and sixth grade; all of them look and sound much more age-appropriate.
* YourMakeupIsRunning: Olga's mascara runs every time she cries.
* YourCheatingHeart: In "Arnold Visits Arnie", Lulu (Lila's darker counterpart in Arnold's subconscious) flirts with Arnold and harasses him despite being rejected by him several times since she's Arnie's girlfriend.
* YourTelevisionHatesYou: In "Arnold's Hat," Arnold is depressed because he lost his hat. To take his mind off how he feels, he turns on the TV only to discover that it's Hat Day at the local ballpark and everyone is wearing one. It doesn't help.
* YourTomcatIsPregnant: In "Das Subway", it turns out that "Killer", a seeing eye dog, was pregnant and has puppies in the stalled subway car.
* YouthfulFreckles: Eugene and Lila are children with freckles.