YMMV / Hey Arnold!

YMMV for Hey Arnold! The Movie and Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie go here and here


  • Accidental Innuendo: Harold's threats to "pound", as in beat up, people often come across as this.
    Harold: (after discovering Helga tricked them about the Ghost Bride) I say we pound her!
  • Acceptable Target: Arnie. Everyone hates him and makes fun of him, even to his face. This comes off as a bit unfair, since Arnie seems to be very severely autistic, and never actually does anything bad to warrant this treatment other than being different in an unnerving way.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Does Arnold coincidentally run into Helga all the time, or...
    • Is Olga genuinely trying to be a good sister to Helga, or is she just a passive-aggressive version of Jamie O? It doesn't help that at least one Olga episode ("Student Teacher": when she tells the story of Helga wetting in the bed and gives her detention after she gets angry at other kids teasing her) almost seems to be written with this interpretation in mind.
      • Then there's this comment from the episode "Big Sis"...
      Olga: I just love having a little sis, Lila. Especially one as perfect as you.
    • Arnold's parents could be seen as Mighty Whitey. Their friend Eduardo does not specify why they are the only ones who can save the village's children. Double points because they consider their mission a great reason for leaving Arnold with his grandparents.
    • Exactly how much of Pookie's behavior is senior senility and how much is Obfuscating Insanity? And how much of it is influenced by what happened to her son and daughter-in-law?
    • Lila creates a lot of different interpretations. There are elements to support her being either a manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing hiding behind a mask of sweetness, or a Stepford Smiler trying to be as sweet and smart as can be while having a difficult life. Or maybe it's both, and the latter lead to the former. Her behavior in "Timberly Loves Arnold" suggests the former, while her audition scene in the following "Eugene Eugene" suggests the latter. Word of God is that she has a repressed darker side (which was never shown in the series); however, this just adds fuel to the fire. Then there's the Unrequited Love Switcheroo between her and Arnold, and Lila being the Master of the Mixed Message. Some suggest that she intentionally led Arnold on and gave him false hope (see: the end of "Love and Cheese"), while others suggest that she genuinely got over him while still caring for him deeply, and turned Arnold's advances down to stay out of the way for Helga's sake.
      • Her attraction to Arnie. Is it a case of Birds of a Feather (Since he comes from the country like herself and can relate to him)? Or does she actually recognize that Arnie has Autism, while nobody else does, and sees some Hidden Depths? She does treat him nicer than she does Arnold, as there are no subtle manipulations in play.
    • How innocent are Helga's intentions with Arnold? Does she really love him? Or is her "love" really just an unhealthy stalker-like obsession? She always maintains a cruel, bullying persona whenever she confronts him because she's terrified of him rejecting her. While it's understandable, it's not really excusable and there's very little for Arnold to love if all he's never known is a petty, mean bully. She does selflessly do things for Arnold every now and then, but more often than not she only helps Arnold out if it means he might return her affections, which often comes across as the Entitled to Have You mentality.
    • Big Bob Pataki. Abusive jerkass or simply an ignorant boor who just doesn't understand how much trouble he's caused for his family? The latter characterization became steadily more common from Season 2 and onward. In the first season, he was portrayed as pretty much devoid of redeeming qualities, but even in the later seasons he had more than a few Kick the Dog moments.
    • A disturbingly common theory amongst fans is that the ending of "Pigeon Man" actually has the titular character commit suicide, usually arguing that the scene of him being carried away by his loyal flock is actually a traumatized Arnold reinventing things in his head to cope with seeing his new friend jump off of the roof. This was thoroughly, thoroughly jossed by show creator Craig Bartlett, and officially jossed in the sneak peek of The Jungle Movie, which showed the Pigeon Man alive and well, happily living with his flock...in Paris.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Very nicely averted, in that it did eventually deal with heavier themes, but ones that young children would still be able to relate to, and in an optimistic (if not sometimes odd) way. Its urban setting is said to be a huge contributing factor.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Iggy being re-Demoted to Extra after "Arnold Betrays Iggy", mainly to erase said episode from memory.
  • Awesome Music: Pretty much the entire musical soundtrack, courtesy of Jim Lang.
    • In particular, the music tracks at the end of "Arnold's Christmas", "Parents Day" and "Pigeon Man" are all amazing.
    • The iconic theme song also deserves a mention. Later in the series run, they used a newer rendition of the theme song, which, while different, is just as jamming and classic as the original.
    • The closing theme as well. In the credits to "The Baseball", it was played on a stadium organ.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Helga Pataki. The majority of the fans love her backstory and complexity. However, there's a Vocal Minority that finds it hard to forgive her cruel actions (particularly in "Girl Trouble", "Love and Cheese", and "Helga and the Nanny") as well as her treatment towards everyone (especially Arnold and Phoebe). There's also some who question the true intent of her "love" for Arnold.
    • Harold. You've got one half of the fanbase that will find him annoying and obnoxious. The other half will see him as the hilarious lovable loser.
    • Rhonda. Some find her to be an annoying Rich Bitch while others like her for her Pet the Dog moments she gives in "Rhonda's Glasses" and "Polishing Rhonda."
    • Stinky is considered entertaining for the same reasons as Harold or is disliked for the same reasons as Sid.
    • Mr. Simmons. Most seem to like him for being genuinely interested in the well-being of his students and more interesting than Miss Slovak was. Others criticize him for being the ultimate case of Adults Are Useless since, despite having the qualities that are desirable in a good teacher, he demonstrates a complete inability to control his students and while he does mean well, his actions and advice often hurt the children more than they help.
    • Brainy. Some fans think his interactions with Helga are amusing, while others find him weird and creepy, even for this show.
    • Curly is a similar case...he's either hilariously Crazy Awesome, or he's just disturbingly insane, especially when it comes to the opposite sex.
  • Broken Base:
    • Seasons 4 and 5. Either they're considered a case of Growing the Beard for producing some genuinely mature and heartfelt episodes while giving much needed Character Development to the supporting cast, or considered a case of Seasonal Rot for turning Arnold into an Out of Focus Flat Character, overexposing Helga and focusing too much on the Arnold/Helga/Lila Love Triangle.
    • For some, Arnold's Character Development. Some think it's him showing his maturity and becoming wise beyond his years - while others think he started becoming quite boring since in the later seasons he was never wrong and essentially became the city's adviser. It doesn't help that Spencer Klein's voicework is often monotonous (though he could pull off real emotion when necessary.) and Arnold's facial expressions tend to be limited to looking moody and deadpan.
  • Character Rerailment: The post-movie episodes are this for Arnold. He is once again the true focus and he's facing issues a real child would face the way a real child would react to them. However, there are only three post-movie episodes and they aired Out of Order, so it can be tough to tell at first.
  • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • A few on Romeo and Juliet in "School Play":
      • Everyone (including Mr. Simmons) acts as though the Last Kiss is the only part that matters and there's a lot of tension about it. Romeo and Juliet actually kissed multiple times in the playnote . Additionally, in an attempt to persuade the potential Romeo actors, Simmons claims that said last kiss is "just one small scene". If by "small" he means "pivotal and plot-relevant" then he's right.
      • Most glaringly, Lila claims that the moral of the play is "true love conquers all". If anything, it was the opposite; Shakespeare made a point that Romeo and Juliet were simply two infatuated teenagers whose unsteady and unsupervised love affair only led to misery.
    • In "Ghost Bride", when Gerald begins telling the legend, he says: "It all started 80 years ago, back in the Middle Age". Gerald clearly needs to do some fact-checking, since the Middle Age ended almost 500 years ago. Though given his age, this might be intentionally Played for Laughs.
  • 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 and constantly bullies other kids (not only Arnold). However, despite that, many fanfics (especially romantic fanfics) portray her almost as a saint. This happens mostly because a lot of viewers see themselves in her, a sentiment amplified by her main character status.
    • Curly to an extent, is this to fans also.
  • Die for Our Ship: Lila gets this a lot from Arnold/Helga shippers.
    • In a way, Helga herself seems feel like this about her. She's mostly okay with Lila (she finds her ever-so-annoying, not much more) as long as Arnold's not around.
  • Ear Worm: Several, including the opening theme.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Arnold's parents, Miles and Stella, are much more popular than you'd think, considering that they only appeared in two episodes for the longest time.
    • One Shot Characters Stoop Kid, Pigeon Man and Dr. Bliss get mentioned very often, for having only one episode each.
    • Some of the other, less focused on kids such as Lorenzo, Nadine, Sheena, and Patty are fairly popular with the fans as well.
  • Epileptic Trees: A theory that has been thrown around in recent years is that Lila has been sexually abused in the past due to her speech patterns, way of dressing, and her politeness. It's usually assumed her Missing Mom did it. Most fans don't honestly believe it but it's still cited frequently.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In the episode "Full Moon", Arnold sees Stinky, Sid, and Harold moon the principal, and ends up getting a month detention 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.
  • Fandom Berserk Button:
    • Don't ship Arnold with anybody other than Helga, especially Lila. He's supposed to be with Helga.
    • Bashing Helga or calling her ugly is one of the most excessive ways to rile up the fans.
    • Hillwood is not in New York City. The town has elements of NYC but it's in Washington state.
    • Arnold doesn't wear a skirt. It's just a long plaid shirt that's un-tucked and hangs below his sweater. This was mentioned in an official comic and he even takes off his sweater in a few episodes to reveal this (as seen here in "Cool Party"), but most people, especially non-fans, still think he wears a skirt. Perhaps in response to this, Arnold's redesign for The Jungle Movie makes it more obvious that it's a shirt.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Craig Bartlett revealed enough details about the Jungle Movie and The Patakis, that many fanfic writers have written their own versions. Now that the Jungle Movie itself is finally happening in 2017, it will be interesting to see how much the fanfic authors got right.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The six episodes that most fans can't stand are "Girl Trouble", "Bag of Money", "New Bully on the Block", "Curly's Girl", "Helga and the Nanny"note  and "Arnold Betrays Iggy", the last of which is almost unanimously considered to be the worst episode of the series.
  • Foe Yay: between Arnold and Helga. It's pretty much half the point of the show.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With fans of other Slice of Life shows, and particularly 90's Nicktoons.
  • "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..." This became a lot less funny after Hurricane Katrina caused extensive flooding and damage in New Orleans in 2005.
    • 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 that Simmons is confirmed to be 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.
    • While Curly's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior is meant to be Played for Laughs, albeit dark laughs. The school would've been sued for ignoring his behavior and hiring no therapists. Best cases are:
      • In "Curly Snaps", Curly loses his mind because he feels like he isn't respected by the other students and teachers, locks himself in the principal's office, and assaults people with dodgeballs. The episode aired half a year before the Columbine High School Massacre, when such behavior would be considered way less funny. There's also the fact that if Curly pulled something like this the 2010s, with the many controversial "Zero-Tolerance" policies and extreme rules in place at schools, this kind of behavior would likely have the police called.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show actually has a Latin American following, with many fans of the show from that part of the world. You'll be likely to see comments, fanart, and more from these fans in the region, but luckily they're about the same amount as their US counterparts. Also it is one of the fondly remembered Nicktoon in Vietnam, mostly due to Mr. Hyunh.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • For the first half of season 1, the character designs weren't as detailed or consistent, and many characters such as Phoebe didn't have very defined personalities. By the second half of the season, almost all characters had their "permanent" designs, and the writing got better, with fan-favorite episodes like Pigeon Man and Arnold's Christmas. By the end of Season 2, the series had decided which characters to focus on, and seemed to have a better idea of what it wanted to do.
    • To an extent, the latter half of the series is an improvement over the first half, due to further improvements to the animation, and the production crew getting the green light to delve into some darker and more emotional stories, with episodes like Helga on the Couch, Parents Day, and Arnold's Thanksgiving.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "The Big Scoop" is about Helga trying to sell more newspapers than Arnold by coming up with fake/sensational news stories, instead of reporting facts. Two decades later, after the rise of Internet, fake news and mainstream media manipulation are rampant, with journalists preferring to report outrage and get attention, just like Helga did back in 1997.
    • 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-heels 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Eating Contest," Grandpa declares "By Odin's beard!" in bewilderment after seeing Seymour aka the Disposal, Arnold's chief competition in the titular contest, in action. Granted, this was a common utterance of The Mighty Thor's long before the episode aired, but it didn't experience a memetic resurgence until Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came along.
    • "Olga Gets Engaged" revolves around Olga falling in love with and getting engaged to a guy Helga disapproves of and who happens to be a Jerkass. Frozen would do the exact same thing years later, only with the seniority of the sister reversed.
    • "The Old Building" opens with Arnold dreaming about swinging across the city, coming in on a wrecking ball.
    • The end of "The List" has Grandma sing a pep-up song to Arnold after he spent the rest of the episode as The Chew Toy. Arnold's part has him say "I had a bad day, nothing went right, I hate my dumb life, I'm down," with the same melody as Daniel Powter's Bad Day. The episode came out in 1996, while the song was recorded in 2002. Makes you wonder if the latter got it from the former, or if it's just an amazing coincidence.
  • Idiot Plot: "Arnold Betrays Iggy" is a good example of this, as the entire conflict rides on Arnold having accidentally let slip that he saw Iggy wearing bunny pajamas, which he does not even seem comfortable wearing or hold any personal sentiment for as The Mysterious Mr. Enter observed. Worse still, the only reason it gets out is because of a dead lucky guess by Sid and Stinky based on Arnold's spur of the moment reaction, and their role in the affair is completely ignored and overlooked even after Iggy realizes the truth (by overhearing Sid and Stinky explicitly admit they were at fault and Arnold did nothing wrong).
  • It Was His Sled: Helga confesses her love to Arnold in The Movie. The trailer even spoiled it.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Oh, Helga. Where do we start? "Helga on the Couch" shows us that her ill-tempered nature has terribly saddening origins— her parents neglect her in favor of Olga, and have since she was 5 or 6 years old (possibly longer), the other kids in pre-school were mean to her for no reason, and pretty much no one except Arnold treats her nicely. As a result, she starts bullying the other kids to avoid being bullied herself and falls in love with Arnold, but bullies him also so no one will find out how she feels (this is because A) she doesn't think she's attractive enough for Arnold to return her feelings and B) because prepubescent children are often repulsed by love and mock people for it). Essentially, she treats people badly because that's how people have always treated her. Many episodes where she tries to antagonize other characters with Helga humiliated and miserable; showing that while she doesn't deserve to get away with what she was trying to do, it's still easy to feel sorry for her.
    • Jolly Olly Man, the ice cream vendor though some 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. And there's also the fact he has a horrible father who constantly gives him crap for their business. Even the episode ends with the two not resorting their problems.
    • Harold has his moments too in some episodes such as "Weighing Harold", where he's constantly ridiculed by everyone, including his own friends of all people, for being overweight. Not to mention Mr. Green being way too cruel to him in "Harold the Butcher" once he realized that Harold actually liked working in the butcher shop.
    • Sometimes, Oskar Kokoshka gets his moments, as he's often implied to be aware of his many, many flaws and the negative impact they have on people he cares about (especially his wife), but just can't seem to improve himself, even when he wants to.
    • As widely disliked as Sid is, seeing him cry after his beatle boots were stolen in "Monkeyman!" really tugs at the heart strings.
    • In "Crabby Author", Arnold speculates in-universe that his favorite author, Agatha Caufield, may be one, suffering from something that made her lose faith in both her writing and herself. The story she ends up writing afterward implies that he may not be that far off the mark.
    • As much as Iggy deserved what he got by the end of his episode, the fact that he still realized his mistake and will have to live with it can make it hard to fully enjoy what he's been brought down to, or at worst, have Arnold come off as being almost as bad as him.
  • 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!"
    • Grandpa Phil's embellished war story of him fighting Hitler and giving him a wedgie.
    • "I hate the snow, I hate the snow..."
    • "Stinky... shut up."note 
  • Memetic Psychopath:
    • Helga's detractors (and the internet in general) have a field day exaggerating her Stalker With a Crush tendencies.
    • Lila also has a tendency to be portrayed as this due to her over-the-top sweetness, unintentional manipulative behavior and the fact that Craig Bartlett confirmed that she has a repressed dark side due to her hard life.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Some fans' Die for Our Ship sentiments for Lila count as this. Lila tends to get hate for being Arnold's crush throughout the last part of the series and "getting in the way of Arnold/Helga". Which is odd, because Lila did nothing but gently and repeatedly turn Arnold down (and it was Arnold who kept trying to get close to her, and ended up disappointed as a result. Lila never tried to intentionally hurt his feelings), and is nothing but helpful to Helga, letting her kiss Arnold and keeping her secret safe.
    • Even before trying to kill several kids La Sombra willingly killed his own men to find the Heart of Corozon
  • My Real Daddy: A voice actor variation. The show's cast was great and extremely memorable, so this was bound to happen. And while some of the boys were voiced by multiple actors, in a few cases, one would last long enough or have a big enough impact in the role that they're remembered as the actor who voiced him, despite having only been one of several.
    • Ben Diskin is usually remembered as the Eugene, despite having been the third actor to voice him; he lasted three seasons in the part, and was the only one of the four boys who played him to have continued with voice acting after hitting puberty, thus establishing Eugene as one of the "breakthrough" roles of his career.
    • Adam Wylie was so memorable as Curly that he was brought back to the role after having been replaced - twice. In fact, of the four actors to voice Curly, two of the others only lasted for one episode each, and the third (Michael Welch) appeared in only two.
    • Arnold himself is unclear. There have been a total of seven Arnolds (counting the theatrical pilot and the Time-Shifted Actor). Out of those seven, two have a pretty good claim to being the "real" Arnold:
      • Lane Toran (then known and credited as Toran Caudell) was the first Arnold on the show propernote  and only lasted one season in the part (though he subbed in for Phillip Van Dyke in the season 2 Musical Episode "What's Opera, Arnold?" because Van Dyke wasn't a confident singer). Even after his voice broke, he remained with the show for its entirety as the bully Wolfgang, a role created specifically for him. Due to First Installment Wins, he's often remembered as "the" Arnold by the media - in 2015, a widely-reported story (with pictures!) noted how "the voice of Arnold" was all grown up. Toran is also frequently invited to fan conventions and panels reminiscing about his time on the show, alongside Francesca Marie Smith; he even appeared on the official Hey Arnold! panel at the 2017 SDCC alongside the current Arnold (Mason Vale Cotton), the only past Arnold to do so. He is also returning to provide voice work for The Jungle Movienote  and is, once again, the only past Arnold who made an appearance even though both Van Dyke and Spencer Klein played the role for longer.
      • Spencer Klein, unlike both Toran and Van Dyke, appeared only as Arnold (he was replaced very late into the show's run, so Craig Bartlett didn't have time to recast him as somebody else, as he had done for the other two), and made the most appearances as the Football Headnote . Each of the four voice actors portrayed Arnold slightly differently, but Klein's overtly romantic, serious, sensitive, and somewhat exaggerated goody-goody take on the character is how he is usually depicted in fanfiction.
  • Narm Charm: Helga's dream in "Married", especially the hilariously corny love talk. But it's also rather sweet at the same time.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Iggy. In most episodes, he's simply a background character, with only one or two notable lines at most. "Arnold Betrays Iggy", his Day in the Limelight, will forever have him be known for all of the (well-deserved) negative tropes on this page.
    • Good luck finding anyone who will forgive Harold for wrecking Pigeon Man's home.
    • Also, good luck finding someone that will forgive Big Bob for calling Arnold an orphan in "Parents Day", even though he's arguably done worse than that in other episodes.
    • Detractors of Helga frequently cite "Girl Trouble", "Love and Cheese" and "Helga and the Nanny" as reasons why they dislike her.
  • Older Than They Think: "Helga vs. Big Patty" centers around Patty challenging Helga to a fight and Helga being scared shitless and trying to back out of it. Patty already beat her up twice in "Ms. Perfect" so while it would still be painful, she should at least know what to expect by now.
  • Popularity Polynomial: The show was quite popular among kids when it was airing, but due to a combination of the poor reception of the first Movie, and the cancellation of both The Jungle Movie (which was meant to serve as a Grand Finale for the series) and The Patakis spinoff show, the series quietly ended (with several shelved episodes being released sporadically for a few years) and its fanbase went dormant. But in 2009, around the time when the kids who grew up with the show became adults, a fan effort to save the never-produced Jungle Movie was started. The launch of The '90s Are All That in 2011 further increased the interest in the series. By 2012, talk on social networks about the series had dramatically increased. Nowadays, the series is fondly remember as one of Nick's top 90s shows. Nickelodeon is very aware of the boost in popularity the series experienced in the early 2010s. This eventually led to them announcing that the long-awaited Jungle Movie would be finally made, in an attempt to Win Back the Crowd after some rough years, while also introducing the show to a new generation of kids.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Big Bob gets a few awesome moments at the end half of the first movie. First is when he joins Grandpa (who he sometimes had a rivalry with in the show) and the other borders in their attempts to save the neighborhood, and second when he beats up Nick Vermincelli.
  • 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 cruel, Manipulative Bitch (or in T-rated fics, as a slut) who deliberately gets in the way of Arnold and Helga. The fact that Craig Bartlett says that Lila had a repressed dark side only adds fuel to these types of fanfics, even though he also clarified that she's not a bad person, her trying too hard to repress her dark side is meant to parallel Helga who tries too hard to repress her good side.
    • While not to the extent of Lila, Rhonda often has her Rich Bitch qualities cranked Up to Eleven.
    • Many of the more grimdark fanfictions portray Big Bob as a physically abusive father, despite that in the series, he was horrified that he nearly hurt Helga in "Arnold's Halloween". Most of his redeeming moments, such as in "Arnold's Thanksgiving" and "Quantity Time" are also often ignored.
    • Much like how some of her fans portray her as nearly flawless, some of Helga's haters exaggerate her bad qualities and ignore her good ones, turning her into a straight up psychopathic bully-stalker who wants to seriously harm Arnold and his friends...in other words, a full-blown, stereotypical Yandere rather than the Tsundere with some mild Yandere qualities that she's portrayed as in the show.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Lila toward the end of the series. While she's not universally hated by any means, you'd be hard-pressed to find people that are honestly fans at this time. Her being an irritating parody Purity Sue didn't stop her from having a fanbase 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 the inevitable Die for Our Ship sentiments accompanying it) that pushed her into Scrappydom.
    • Similar to Lila is Olga, Helga's older sister. The show established some Hidden Depths with her, however it also made her a hypocrite who goes out of her way to get her parent's attention. Not to mention she doesn't seem to grasp the extent of Helga's Parental Neglect nor does she seem to follow through with promises she made to Helga. For example, in "Student Teacher", Helga pleaded with her to keep any embarrassing stories out. Olga either forgets, or deliberately tells an embarrassing story to the class after Stinky fails a test. And sends Helga to detention afterwards.
    • 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 whiny 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 from season three onward. During this time he Took a Level in Jerkass and became a Poisonous Friend who betrays everyone at the drop of a hat, makes fun of Harold and Patty like a Jerkass, and everyone forgets he pulls the same crap over, and over, and over again. Whenever Sid gets A Day in the Limelight, it highlights how weird and off-kilter he is, and not in a likable way either. "Bag of Money" is the most notable example of why Sid is often disliked. The crew actually took note of this and made him more likable in The Jungle Movie.
    • Oskar Kokoshka to some fans for being outright lazy and being overall terrible and sexist towards his wife Suzie. And whenever he has a problem, he uses Arnold to do all the things for him. It went to the point when even Arnold called him a loser. These antics also seem to make him an In-Universe Scrappy also. However, other fans find him pathetic enough to Love to Hate.
    • Principal Wartz also has quite a few haters for acting like a tyrannical douchebag and being far too cruel to both the students and the teachers when giving out punishments. (See: "Teacher's Strike", "Full Moon", "Principal Simmons" and "Suspended") Similar but to a lesser extent is Coach Wittenburg, who seems to suffer from Aesop Amnesia regarding his hyper-competitive nature in every appearance he makes.
  • Self-Fanservice: Very common in fan art, especially Helga (who will usually be older, lacking her monobrow, wearing her hair down and having feminine curves) and Arnold (who will also be older, his hair often slicked back and will be wearing more fashionable clothing). This is one of the many examples you'll find through a quick Google search. (though Arnold has his normal hairstyle in this one).
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Lila/Arnie vs Lila/Stinky vs Lila/Brainy vs Lila/Eugene.
    • Stinky/Lila vs Stinky/Gloria.
    • Rhonda/Curly vs Rhonda/Harold vs Rhonda/Sid.
    • Harold/Patty vs Harold/Rhonda.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Whenever fans think of the episode "Pigeon Man", they think of Vincent's speech and take-off at the end.
    • The ending of "Parents Day".
    • "Helga on the Couch" is mostly remembered by the preschool flashback.
    • The last line of "The Journal" ("Grandma! Grandpa! I found a map!") is remembered for the... wrong reasons.
  • Squick:
    • Arnie's snorting is pretty gross.
    • Brainy making those wheezing noises isn't too much better.
    • It understandably never made it into the show, but an early idea by Craig Bartlett was that there was supposed to be an adult female boarder named Lana (she can be seen in the background of early episodes) who was supposed to be constantly trying to seduce Arnold while Arnold is understandably uncomfortable with her advances.
    • The monitor lizard eating the parrot at the end of "Helga's Parrot" is incredibly disturbing, especially for younger viewers.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • In "Gerald's Game", Iggy is put in stockades during the big card game, and actually gets a speaking part (same VA as in "Arnold Betrays Iggy", in fact) shouting at Arnold "No, Arnold! Don't do it! You'll become a dungeon pawn!", at which point Big Gino tells him to shut up and throws a cloth over the stocks, completely covering Iggy's face.
    • Anytime Big Bob is put through a Humiliation Conga: such as in "Roughin' It", "Parent's Day" and "Summer Love."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Though many of Arnold's classmates have A Day in the Limelight, Sheena never received her own episode.
    • Nadine was pretty much ignored unless she was around Rhonda despite having an established personality in her few appearances and being featured prominently in the show's opening sequence. According to the leaked plot details of the original Jungle Movie, Nadine would finally be fleshed out a little more, but the revived film did not do this, as Nadine only has a couple of lines, though her bugs prove useful when escaping from the pirates' clutches.
    • Poor Brainy never got a chance to really shine either, despite Word of God establishing that he and Helga have more in common than we might think.
    • Many of the boarders who appeared only in season 1 such as Lana Vail, Mr. Purdy, and Mr. Smith could've been good characters had they lasted the show's run. Later seasons imply that they all moved out. The former was supposed to be more fleshed out, but considering what Bartlett supposedly had planned for her (an implied pedophile who would frequently flirt with Arnold), it's lucky that it never happened.
    • Ruth has this status with some fans, especially those who preferred her over Lila. She even had some ship teasing with Sid in "Operation Ruthless" and "Hey Harold!", it's a shame that it never amounted to anything.
    • Torvald only made two appearances despite apparently still being in Arnold's class (he isn't usually seen in classroom scenes). What's worse is that his role as the older kid Held Back in School was given to Harold despite being in preschool with the other kids and clearly looking younger than Torvald.
    • Suzie never really played much of a role in the series other than as a Satellite Love Interest to Oskar.
    • We never found out who was Fuzzy Slippers, Gerald's mysterious informant.
    • Chloe from "Gerald Vs Jamie-O" could have been a potentially interesting character if the reasons behind her desire to be seen as "mature for her age" enough to snag an older guy for a boyfriend were explained, but the episode ended without any such explanation and Chloe never reappeared except for a cameo in the Movie.
    • After all the trouble Arnold and Helga went through to find her, Mai Hyunh never appears after "Arnold's Christmas" and is only mentioned once more in "Family Man", which was in Season 5. She does return in The Jungle Movie, but only as a background character.
    • Word of God mentions that Lila has a dark side she keeps repressed much like how Helga represses her good side, but this is never actually explored, even though doing so would have made Lila a more interesting character and a more sympathetic one since how and why her dark side was born would be very obvious to anyone who had watched her debut episode. But sadly we're stuck with just a straight Pollyanna rather than a deconstruction of one. Only in "Timberly Loves Arnold / Eugene Eugene", her last appearance in the show before she was Demoted to Extra, do we get any hints at Hidden Depths.
    • Dr. Bliss never makes another appearance after "Helga on the Couch" even though finally providing an aversion to There Are No Therapists and giving Helga much-needed psychiatric help. Their sessions might have provided even more character development for Helga, eventually resulting in her dropping her Jerkass Fašade in favor of a more healthy approach to her struggles. What makes her case stand out is that, unlike many Darkhorses who disappeared without explanation, there has been no indication that she'll be Back for the Finale. Though she does promise Helga more sessions at the end of the episode, implying that Helga still sees her offscreen.
  • Toy Ship: Every shipping in the series. The most popular ones are Arnold/Helga and Gerald/Phoebe. Although they're canonically children in the show, fanfiction writers usually crank up their ages to make the story more appropriate.
    • Averted in The Jungle Movie, where Arnold/Helga and Gerald/Phoebe both officially get together, but as they're entering the sixth grade at the end of the movie, they're just old enough to be at the age where a lot of kids have their first romantic relationships, albeit usually not ones with the intensity of the epic and passionate Arnold/Helga ship.
  • Ugly Cute: Helga to many. In fact, most of the characters could qualify due to the whacky art style.
  • Uncanny Valley: Arnie is an intentional embodiment of this. Paleness, blank eyes, Creepy Monotone voice, more realistic facial features than Arnold and odd quirks.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • In "Helga and the Nanny", Big Bob hires a new nanny to help around the house. Helga obviously finds this annoying since she's pretty much been taking care of herself since kindergarten, but the nanny goes down a hit with her parents, the kids at school like her and Helga is given the What the Hell, Hero? treatment for getting her fired. But the thing is, Inga constantly embarrasses Helga and treats her like a dumb kid, like forcing her into a dress that gets her teased by the other kids, overall trying to control all aspects of her life. Though it was wrong for Helga to go frame her for theft, it's understandable that she would want Inga out of her life.
    • Arnold in "Egg Story". He immediately assumes Helga is going to start picking on him and lays down the law and tells her she's the last person he'd like to be paired up with, which makes Helga (understandably) angry. This leads to both of them arguing until the end of the episode, where they admit they were both wrong. However, Arnold had no good reason for being so harsh on her, since Helga did nothing to him in the beginning of the episode, and at this point in the series, they've gotten along and worked together several times, and he already knows she's not as bad as she acts. Not to mention it simply feels Out of Character for Arnold to say those things to anyone at all. On the other hand, with how many times Helga has been mean to him in the past, it's debatable whether she's totally undeserving.
    • Pretty much every kid in "Curly's Girl". Everyone immediately hates Rhonda after she dumps Curly in public (which, admittedly, was cruel on her part, though she had a good reason for wanting to do so — he blackmailed her into being his girlfriend in the first place) and makes him depressed. However, no one bothers to ask for her side of the story (not even Nice Guy Arnold or her best friend Nadine) and they take Curly's side instead, despite the fact that Curly is clearly mentally unstable. Not to mention Curly pretty much TV-Y7 sexually harasses Rhonda by blackmailing her into kissing him, which she is clearly not comfortable with.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Eugene's peers (bar Arnold) ostracize him for being a jinx and being all around unlucky. However, he has a lot of fans for his charming personality.
    • Helga is widely disliked by the same peers for being a bully, but due to her character development she's arguably the most popular character in the show as well as the Breakout Character.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Arnold is the Only Sane Man to contrast his quirky classmates and eccentric non-traditional family.
  • Wangst:
    • Olga is a master of this. In "Olga Comes Home", 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.
    • Invoked in "Rhonda Goes Broke" when she spends most of her time crying when she has to live in the boarding house after her family lose all their money. Arnold eventually talks some sense into her and Rhonda gets a She's Back moment.
  • What an Idiot: Enough examples for it to have its own page
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The original claymation shorts.
  • The Woobie:
    • Arnold is definitely this in "Parents Day" and "The Journal" when you see how much not having his parents around really bothers him.
    • While she's not much better than her husband, it's hard not to feel at least a little bit sorry for Miriam once you find out about her past. She's implied to have been The Ace when she was younger, a world-class swimmer, a mechanical bull-riding champion and knows enough about business that she can run the Beeper Emporium much better than Big Bob. However, somewhere along the line she flushed all her hopes and dreams down the crapper and married Bob for whatever reason. Everyone treats her like dirt and not even her own daughter has any respect for her, so she becomes an alcoholic just to cope. She even tells Olga during her engagement episode not to make the same mistakes she did.
    • Chocolate Boy in his self-titled episode. The reason why he became addicted to chocolate was because it was his favorite treat given to him by his nanny. After said nanny moved away, he ate more chocolate to cope with losing her. He clearly loved her a lot and breaks down crying about how much he misses her.
    • Believe it or not, Lila of all people was one in her debut episode. She's the new student, having just moved to town from the country. Despite being very polite and sweet, she unintentionally ends up pissing off the other girls because she is getting a lot of attention from the other students and teachers. So they bully her to the point that she runs home in tears. After agreeing to bring over her homework, they see that Lila is not as perfect as they thought. She lives in a run-down apartment with her single, unemployed father who is completely broke and whom she often has to emotionally support, and we see her crying about how she just wanted to have friends. The girls all realize the error of their ways and try to fix everything. Lila was completely huggable in that episode. Too bad Flanderization kicked in and made her ever-so perfect and annoyingly sweet, and that the writers wasted any opportunity to actually connect that characterization to her debut in an interesting way.
    • Arnie. Everyone (other than Lila) hates him and openly mocks and ridicules him, even genuinely nice kids like Phoebe, to his face just because he happens to be a little peculiar. He never does anything to deserve that kind of treatment either, and he is likely suffering from some form of autism, meaning that he can't help his behavior. Perhaps Lila liking him isn't such a bad thing after all, since she's about the only one who shows him any genuine affection.
    • Phoebe, due to being taken advantage of not only by Helga but by everyone else around her.
    • Eugene because he was Born Unlucky, although unlike the other examples he doesn't let it get to him.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Alex D. Linz, Arnold's last voice actor during the series, isn't well liked by the fanbase for two reasons. One, while Arnold had many actors during the series, Toran Caudell, Philip Van Dyke note , and Spencer Klein all had similar sounding voices while Linz's was noticeably higher-pitched than the others, making Arnold sound too young. Two, he replaced Spencer Klein, who, as noted above, is considered by many fans to be ''the'' Arnold. It doesn't help that Linz's portrayal of Arnold seemed like almost a complete rejection of Klein's take by making Arnold more immature and a Troll when it came to Helga's affections for him. Fortunately for them, Linz only voices Arnold in the last three episodes and when they recast the role for The Jungle Movie, the crew selected Mason Vale Cotton, whose voice is much more similar sounding to the first three actors.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/HeyArnold