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YMMV: Hey Arnold!

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
  • Awesome Music: Pretty much the entire musical soundtrack, courtesy of Jim Lang.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Arnold's Grandma and Grandpa.
    • Also Arnold himself at the end of the episode "24 Hours To Live".
    • Curly, with the emphasis on crazy (and not a "cool, kooky" crazy either. More like a "This kid needs serious mental help" crazy). To elaborate, he once broke some animals out of a zoo - alone. Just because he wanted to.
    • Chocolate Boy can be this, too. Apparently, he's spent so much time around chocolate that he can be used to literally sniff out Helga and Harold after they get separated following a tour at a chocolate tour (made all the more impressive, because this was several hours after the duo had been lost). Made funnier because he's literally put on a leash.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Helga. In the series she is a Jerkass Woobie who is horribly neglected by her parents, but who also can be mean, selfish, rude (and even cruel in some instances) does many things moved by jealousy, constantly bullies other kids (not only Arnold). However, despite that, many fanfics (specially romantic fanfics) portray her almost as a saint.
  • Die for Our Ship: Lila.
  • Ear Worm: Several, including the opening theme.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Curly is easily one of the most popular characters with the fandom.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In the episode "Full Moon", Arnold sees Stinky, Sid, and Harold moon the principal, and ends up getting a month dentention because he doesn't want to be 'a rat' for telling.
    Harold: You told him, didn't you?!
    Arnold: (deadpan) No.
    Harold: (in disbelief) Well, why not?!?!
    Arnold: Because it wouldn't be right.
  • Fan Fic Fuel: We have enough details about the Jungle Movie and The Patakis that many fanfic writers have written their own versions.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • At the end of "The Flood", as floodwaters surround PS 118, Principal Wartz stands on the roof of the school singing, "Way down yonder, in New Orleans..."
    • In "Helga on the Couch", Mr. Simmons gets nervous when he learns that the school psychologist will be observing is class, stuttering and asking for reassurance that she will just be observing the students, and not him, the teacher. While this is a moment played for laughs when the viewer is a child, as an older viewer who knows about the above-mentioned Word of Gay, he was likely still in the closet and worried that the school psychologist would see through him and expose him, which could have disastrous backlash from the parents whose children attends P.S. 118.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • It was once implied that Helga's dysfunctional home life was the end result of her sister Olga moving out (as her parents favored Olga over Helga), leading her dad to push Helga to be more like her older sister while Miriam became a covert alcoholic (or "smoothie" drinker) just to cope with dealing with a Jerk Ass like Bob and a bratty daughter like Helga. The episode "Helga on the Couch" revealed that Helga's been neglected by her parents since she was preschool-aged and that her secret crush on Arnold was the first time anyone has given her any sort of affection in her life.
    • The episode "Rich Kid" involves the new kid Lorenzo who has a cell phone, beeper, his own laptop, etc and is basically a mini adult who needs to act like a kid. Many kids in the 2010s have their own cell phones, tablets, computers, etc and one complaint among older people is that kids are growing up too fast more than ever.
    • The whole kids growing up too fast thing is also mentioned by Helga in "Helga's Makeover" when all the girls at Rhonda's slumber party are obsessed with wearing makeup and trying to look more adult. She mentions how wearing a face mask to "prevent wrinkles and signs of age" is asinine because they're only nine years old and don't have wrinkles or signs of age. She also questions wearing high-heals since they're already taller than the boys. Sadly this is Truth in Television even today with prepubescent girls being obsessed with makeup and acting like adults.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Oh, Helga...
    • Jolly Olly Man, the ice cream vendor though this troper had a hard time understanding his frustration caused by only a boring job, and his problems keeping it which may have something to do with his jerkassery which delves into Nightmare Fuel. It's not good for the business if you act like a raging psychopath even with your customers. And he had no idea what's wrong with his behavior. Arnold had to teach him the basics of common courtesy.
  • Memetic Mutation: "STOOP KID'S AFRAID TO LEAVE HIS STOOP! STOOP KID'S AFRAID TO LEAVE HIS STOOP! STOOP KID'S AFRAID TO LEAVE HIS STOOP!"
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Never Live It Down: Iggy. In most episodes, he's simply a background character, with only one or two notable lines. "Arnold Betrays Iggy", his A Day in the Limelight, will forever have him be known for all of the (well-deserved) negative tropes on this page.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In Eugene, Eugene, the protagonist's romantic rival was a Jerkass indeed, but let's not forget, the Nice Guy protagonist is trying to homewreck and harass the girl with his "persistence".
  • Ron the Death Eater: While Lila is portrayed in the series as a nice girl, many fanfics tend to demonize her, portraying her as a Manipulative Bitch. Helga's own dream also put her in this trope.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Lila toward the end of the series. While a few people have come to her defense against some of the harsher attacks in recent years, you'd be hard-pressed to find people that are honestly fans at this time. Inicially she does/did have a fanbase for her appearances in Seasons 2 and 3 (hell, she was actually The Woobie when she first debuted!) It was mainly due to the Romantic Plot Tumor love triangle of Seasons 4 and 5 (and accomponying Die for Our Ship sentiments) that pushed her into Scrappydom.
    • Iggy from the episode "Arnold Betrays Iggy". It doesn't help that the episode itself ends on the note that Iggy has gone beyond Arnold's forgiveness.
    • Gerald's little sister Timberly gets a lot of hate in fandom mainly for being really annoying and is usually hindering Arnold and Gerald's plans in any episode where she plays a key role. The best example of this is the "Chocolate Turtles" episode.
    • Sid. He is a Poisonous Friend who betrays everyone at the drop of a hat, makes fun of Harold and Patty like a Jerk Ass, and everyone forgets he pulls the same crap over, and over, and over again.
    • Also, Big Bob for being a terrible father and an all-around terrible person towards his daughters and wife.
    • Olga herself: Despite showing Hidden Depths and admitting she'd rather have the life that Helga has...she hasn't really shown it since that one episode. She comes off as so blind to what her sister goes through, continues to perform her perfect act for her parents (despite saying she hates it, making her a Hypocrite). Also she shares embarrassing stories with Helga's class despite promising not to, making her a liar to boot.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons four and five aren't considered fan favorites, mainly due to Arnold's character becoming bland and the Arnold/Helga/Lila love triangle becoming a Romantic Plot Tumor (contrast to Season 3, where it only came up twice and seemed to be resolved within those two episodes!) There were still some good episodes here and there, though, particularly "Parent's Day" and "The Journal."
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Arnold is the Only Sane Man to contrast his quirky classmates and dysfunctional apparment neighbors.
  • Wangst: Olga is a master of this. In "Olga gets a B", she spends days sobbing about it in her room, with dramatic music in the background and a serious case of Your Makeup Is Running. Even Big Bob starts to get tired of her histrionics- she only snaps out of it when Helga admits she changed her grades out of spite.
  • What an Idiot: Helga probably could get Arnold's interest if she was nice, but she rarely gives it a try. She has a rep to maintain. Harold even made fun of her on day one (when Arnold first noticed her) in a flashback in the episode, "Helga on the Couch".
    • Arnold realizing that Iggy won't forgive him and instead of letting go, he suffered through a Humiliation Conga.
    • Iggy himself not forgiving Arnold.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The original shorts

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