Trivia / Hey Arnold!

General

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actor-Shared Background: In "April Fool's Day", Arnold is able to trick Helga into thinking his "gift" to her is a belated birthday present, because her birthday was "last week" - as in, late March; Francesca Marie Smith, who voices Helga, was born on March 26. (By contrast, Arnold was born on "the 7th" - a reference to the series premiere date of October 7, 1996.)
  • Casting Gag / You Look Familiar: When the original voice of Arnold, Toran Caudell, started getting older, they switched him to the voice of Wolfgang while Phillip Van Dyke took over the voice of Arnold. Later on, Spencer Klein would replace Phillip. This all ended up being subtly referenced in the episode "New Bully on the Block", where Wolfgang, Ludwig (voiced by Phillip). and Arnold get in a war over who should own the vacant lot.
  • The Danza: Arnold's mother, Stella, is voiced by writer Antoinette Stella.
    • And Vincent, aka the Pigeon Man, is aptly voiced by Vincent Schiavelli.
    • From the episode Summer Love, the dancing instructor named Carlos was voiced by Carlos Alazraqui.
  • Descended Creator: Steve Viksten, voice of Oskar Kokoshka, also wrote a whopping one third of the show's 180+ stories.
    • Craig Bartlett (show creator) voices Brainy and Arnold's dad (among others), while Antoinette Stella (writer) voices Arnold's mom.
  • Dueling Shows: With Recess, and arguably, Disney's Doug.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Bartlett wanted another resident of Arnold's building, Lana Vail, to have a crush on the 10-year-old, milking the awkward scenario for laughs. Execs wisely turned the idea down.
    • Apparently, this is the reason why the episode "Monkeyman!" was produced late in Season 4.
    • Hey Arnold! The Movie was meant to be a Made-for-TV Movie called Arnold Saves the Neighborhood, but after seeing the first two Rugrats films take off, Nickelodeon and Paramount decided to take the TV movie and put it on theaters, expecting it to take off as well. When it didn't, the movie that was intended to be the theatrical release and the series' Grand Finale, titled Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, was cancelled.
      • This particular instance of executive meddling has been (thankfully) somewhat fixed, since the movie is now being made... as a TV movie, 15 years later than it should've been.
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie was originally worked on from 1998 to 2001 as a theatrical film. Then, when the first movie flopped at the box office, the Jungle Movie project went completely dormant for over a decade. Ultimately, fan interest on the film put it back into production in 2015/2016.
  • Missing Episode: For some reason, TeenNick never airs "Married". That episode is only available in the DVD or digital releases.
  • Name's the Same: There was a real politician named Pataki serving in New York while this show aired, specifically Governor George Pataki. Speaking of the Pataki family, Big Bob the Beeper King wasn't the only Bob with a unibrow who also happened to be an unofficial King. There's also the late actor, Michael Pataki.
  • Old Shame / Creator Backlash: "Arnold Betrays Iggy"; so much so that Iggy was permanently re-Demoted to Extra.
  • Out of Order: Due to Season 1 episodes being held over for unknown reasons (see The Shelf of Movie Languishment below), some episodes featuring Miss Slovak were aired after Mr. Simmons had already been introduced. A similar thing happened with Lorenzo. His introduction episode aired long after he'd already appeared in another episode.
    • "The Journal" was the last episode produced, but it aired before four other Season 5 episodes.
    • Strangely enough, this trope seems to be exclusive to the US. In every other country, every episode (except maybe holiday specials) was aired in the intended order, with "The Journal" being the final episode.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Eugene was played by four actors. Ben Diskin, his 3rd voice actor, lasted the longest at three seasons.
    • Gerald's older brother, Jamie O was originally voiced by Ben Aaron Hoag, in his first few appearances, but was later portrayed by Phil LaMarr in his later appearances.
    • An interesting example with Curly is that they replaced, then reinstated his 2nd voice actor, Adam Wylie, twice.
    • Arnold himself has probably the most extreme example of this trope, with a grand total of six (if you count the original pilot) different voice actors! He stands out even when compared to the other characters, who had at most four (still a high number considering the show's lifespan). They consist of J.D. Daniels (The pilot), Toran Caudell (Season 1 and "What's Opera, Arnold?", Phillip Van Dyke (Seasons 2 and 3), Spencer Klein (Seasons 4, 5 and The Movie), Rusty Flood (Young Arnold in "Helga on the Couch" and "Parents Day"), and Alex D. Linz (the post-movie episodes "April Fool's Day" and "The Journal"). Spencer Klein lasted the longest with two seasons and a movie, and is considered a favorite voice actor by many fans.
    • Thanks to the long gap between the show's production and The Jungle Movie, most of the actors playing the boys have been replaced note . New cast-members will include Mason Vale Cotton as Arnold; Benjamin “L’il P-Nut” Flores as Gerald; Gavin Lewis as Eugene; Jet Jurgensmeyer as Stinky; Aiden Lewandowski as Sid; and Nicolas Cantu as Curly. Additionally, Wally Wingert will be taking over Oskar from Steve Viksten, who died in 2014, and Stephen Stanton replaces Vincent Schiavelli, who died in 2005, as Pigeon Man.
  • Recycled Script: A fair amount of the later episodes are retreads down the paths of older ones. In an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, most of these recycled plots allowed the writers to explore the storylines in unique and still entertaining ways. For example:
    • "The Little Pink Book", "Helga's Parrot", "Helga's Locket" and "Helga Blabs It All" all share the same concept: an item that reveals Helga's secret crush somehow gets into Arnold's hands, and Helga goes to extremes in order to retrieve it or destroy it.
    • "Sid the Vampire Slayer", "Sid's Revenge" and "Sid and Germs" can all be summed up in a sentence: "Sid gets paranoid about something and spends 11 minutes freaking out about it".
    • Rhonda learns not to be stuck-up at least three times. (Rhonda's Glasses, Polishing Rhonda, Rhonda Goes Broke)
    • Both "Beaned" and "April Fool's Day" have Helga fake an injury long after recovering from it in order to have Arnold take care of her. "Phoebe Breaks a Leg" has Phoebe do it to Helga.
    • The most prominent example, however, is "Love and Cheese," which is "Operation Ruthless," just with Lila replacing Ruth while showing off the deeper development the characters had been given in the years between the episodes. Fully cognizant of this, the episode is full of references to Ruthless - several lines from the first episode are repeated and/or referenced, Ruth herself cameos on several occasions in the background (despite not appearing at all in the show for quite a while), and Phoebe and Gerald are shown walking past scenes together - a reference to how they hooked up in the background during the plot of Ruthless.
    • Hey Arnold! The Movie shares quite a few similarites to "Save the Tree"note , only the movie is much bigger in pretty much every aspect.
  • Remake Cameo: Toran Caudell and Jamil W. Smith, the original Arnold and Gerald respectively, will return for The Jungle Movie, but as different characters (since they're too old to voice their previous roles).
  • Screwed by the Network: Hey Arnold! The Movie got poorly advertised, had a trailer that spoiled Helga's confession on the FTi rooftop, and was released in summer, right after Lilo & Stitch. This subsequently led to the second film, "The Jungle Movie" being cancelled.
  • Sending Stuff to Save the Show: Around 2009, fans started writing letters and signing petitions to get Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie back into production, and possibily save The Patakis as well. And well... they've succeeded on their first mission.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment:
    • Season 1 consists of 26 episodes, but Nickelodeon only aired 20 during its 1996 run. Out of the remaining six, five aired a year later at the end of Season 2; and the last one made it into late season 3 in 1998.
    • "Parents Day", the last Season 3 episode, was held back from a U.S. airing until May 2000, during Season 5. For comparison's sake, that episode aired in December 1998 in the U.K., a full year and a half before the U.S.
    • Season 5 in general. While Season 4 aired in 1999, Season 5 aired during 2000-2004. That's right: it took 4 years for one season! The first five episodes of the season (along with the aforementioned "Parents Day" and three heldover episodes from Season 4) were aired during early 2000. Then, only three episodes were aired in January 2001, and six more episodes aired in 2002. The final episode produced, "The Journal", aired in November 2002. After that, Nickelodeon held back four episodes, which were aired over the span of two years. Three in 2003, and the final one in June 2004.
      • It's also important to note that pretty much all of these delays were US-only. In most other countries, the series ended in 2002!
  • Talking to Herself: Whenever Helga talked to Campfire Lass, or Sheena, or Stinky's girlfriend Gloria ("Helga's Boyfriend"), it was Francesca Smith doing both voices.
    • Grandpa Phil, The Jolly Olly Man, and Nick Vermicelli were all voiced by Dan Castellaneta.
    • The same could be said for Big Bob Pataki and Orson Welles expy Douglas Cain, who were both voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: While the show has managed to stay relatively timeless, there are spots where it does show that it is a product from The '90s. It's not too uncommon to see audio cassettes, VHS tapes, VCRs, boomboxes, and old TV sets (plus, the show's artists seems to have a weird obsession with old cars). The most telling sign that this show takes place in the late 90s is Big Bob's Beeper Emporium. Toward the end of the show's run, beepers — the very foundation of Bob's business empire — were already being supplanted by cellphones.note 
    • The episode Arnold's Christmas clearly happened before the internet became a thing. Nowadays, with the power of social networks, finding lost relatives and people you haven't seen in decades is much easier.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: There was an widespread internet rumor that claimed that the original ending of the episode "Pigeon Man" had Vincent plunge himself off of the building, committing suicide, and Nick execs rejected this ending due to it being too depressing. In an interview, Craig Bartlett has stated that this was never the case, and that Vincent flying off into the sun learning some people can be trusted was always the intended ending.
    • Though less known than the previous one, there also was a rumor claiming that Craig Bartlett hated Arnold Betrays Iggy so much that he asked Nickelodeon to pull it from rotation.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Helga was supposed to get her own spin-off (a more mature version of Hey Arnold! called The Patakis, meant to air on Nick at Nite) set a few years into the future (around the time that the kids would be high school-aged), but the idea was axed because it would have been "too dark" for Nick's target audience. It was also rejected by sister channel MTV, since they said the spin-off would have been "...too much like Daria note "; and since the show is owned by Viacom, it could only air on one of those channels. Depending on who you ask, rejecting the idea was either a wise decision to keep the series from becoming too depressing (Considering the glimpses we got of Helga's miserable home life, this could've very well been the case.) and incurring the wrath of Moral Guardians, or a foolish decision, as the Periphery Demographic of the show would miss out on an adult take on a kids' show that wasn't poorly-made, fan-written trash.
      • Thanks to Craig Bartlett revealing details about what the show would have been like, we do know this: Arnold would have moved away (though it's unclear under what circumstances), the show would have confronted Miriam's alcoholism head-on (as she would be attending AA meetings) after only hinting at it in Hey Arnold!, and Olga would have returned home after college to live with her parents and sister, pursuing a career as an actress (and without much success, at that, only managing to get parts in "off-off-off-Broadway plays"). Logically, and unsurprisingly, Big Bob Pataki would have switched his line of business from beepers to cellphones, and the character would have also been re-tooled to lampoon Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, in a then-timely reference.
    • "The Jungle Movie" was originally to have gone into production almost immediately after the first movie premiered ("The Journal" was produced as a lead-in to it), but a combination of the failure of Hey Arnold! The Movie, and Craig Bartlett declining an exclusive two-year deal with Nickelodeonnote  led to The Jungle Movie being cancelled. The movie had already been storyboarded and partially animated before being cancelled. A clip from the unfinished movie can be seen here. Luckily near the tail end of 2015 it finally was confirmed to be upcoming, albeit over a decade after it should have been. At least it can be considered a Milestone Celebration, since it seems set to air shortly after the show's 20th Anniversary.
    • In the first season, there was another tenant named Lana who was originally going to have a crush on Arnold, getting him to do favors for her and regularly making him uncomfortable by sexually harassing him. Nick execs of course found this too disturbing and axed the idea. Since Bartlett couldn't figure out a new direction for the character, Lana vanished after the first season (save for some later cameos in flashbacks or the animators mistakenly placing her into scenes at the boarding house).
  • Word of Gay:
    • Mr. Simmons. His voice actor is openly gay as well.
    • According to Bartlett, Eugene is "sort of proto-gay" and is uncomfortable getting close to any girl.
  • Word of God: Craig Bartlett has confirmed that Arnold and Helga are meant for each other and they do end up together and get married as adults.
    • Helga's mom is an alcoholic and those "smoothies" she drinks are just a child-friendly substitute for booze as Nickelodeon is, first and foremost, a kids' network and, despite having adult jokes in it for the Periphery Demographic, references to alcohol and alcoholism is best left to the adult shows on Nick at Nite (though there are mixed alcoholic drinks that exist as smoothie-type drinks, like the daiquiri, the hurricane, and the pina colada). The scene in "Helga's Diary" where she asks Helga to pass her the tabasco is especially telling, considering it's a Bloody Mary (or a Bloody Maria, if Miriam prefers tequila to vodka) ingredient.
    • Arnold's last name? Turns out it's been said many times by Phil: Shortman.
    • The show takes place in the Pacific Northwest, most likely in Washington State.
  • Working Title: "Love and Cheese" was originally called "Operation Lila-less". And for good reason.
  • Written by Cast Member: Oskar Kokoshka's voice actor, Steve Viksten, wrote a large amount of episodes for the show and helped developing it.
  • Write What You Know: Some stories are based on experiences the production crew had when they themselves were kids. For example, the episode Field Trip was inspired by Craig Bartlett's own experience of freeing a turtle in a lake.
  • Write Who You Know: Craig Bartlett based many of the series' characters around people he knew growing up.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The circumstances around Arnold's parents. When Craig Bartlett pitched the series to Nickelodeon, he told them something along the lines of "His parents make documentaries in Africa, and that's why they're not around". Aside from one tiny appearance in "Arnold's Hat", they were completely forgotten about... until fans began writing in to Nickelodeon asking about them. To respond to the fans, Bartlett wrote "Parents Day", which went into detail about their abscence to answer fans' questions. Then, a few years later, when Nick ordered a Hey Arnold! theatrical film (which later became known as "The Jungle Movie"), they told Craig to do "the biggest idea he could think of"; and that idea ended up being Arnold going on a search for his lost parents. And then, at the very end of the seriesnote , Nick told Craig to make a prequel episode to The Jungle Movie, "The Journal".

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