PSA: Headscratchers is a place to try and find In-Universe explanations. Try to avoid natter, going too off-topic and/or first person language. If a bullet has something you feel is incorrect, just fix it.
In the episode "False Alarm," it seems overkill that Eugene would've gotten expelled from school when it was thought that he was the one who pulled the fire alarm until it was revealed that Curly framed him. While pulling a fire alarm as a prank or whatever is obviously a bad thing to do, expulsion seems to be an awfully harsh punishment for something like that.
Pulling a fire alarm on purpose when there is no fire is actually illegal. In the real world, the authorities likely would've gotten involved, and if they could prove he did it maliciously, Eugene would've been facing several hundred dollars in fines, at the very least. Curly, who pulled the fire alarm a second time at the end of the episode, is lucky he wasn't arrested.
How, exactly, does Arnold have either the education or the money to have that crazy pimped out room of his, in an apartment with his grandparents, in the west coast boonies, in fourth grade?
Money from his parents? Or maybe a friend owed the family a favor.
His grandparents spoil him because they feel bad for him that he lost his parents at such a young age.
In a Nickelodeon Magazine a page refers to just this sort of thing. He supposedly found the stuff piece-by-piece in junkyards and other places. Still doesn't explain the education angle, of course.
Why do the kids continue to play baseball in the street even after they got Gerald Field?
Other people use Gerald Field; maybe on those days when they were playing baseball in the street, the field was being used by another team (or teams) for practice or a ball game.
I keep hearing about this alleged evidence that Arnold likes Helga back. Can anyone elaborate?
There really isn't that much evidence. Arnold only sees her as someone to talk to occasionally, not as a potential soulmate.
The episode "Married" has the strongest evidence, seeing as Arnold dreams about being married to Helga and confronting her about how she hides her true feelings.
That's not really proof that Arnold likes Helga. Rather him coming to terms with him "inevitably" marrying her. As we see with Ruth, Lila, and Miss Felter if Arnold likes someone he's not timid about letting them know. The best proof of Arnold subconsciously liking Helga probability comes from the episode where he dreamed he visited Arnie. Granted "Hilda" was Helga's opposite (other than their love of poetry), they looked almost exactly the same (Hilda didn't have a monobrow). But in reality, Hilda was basically a prettier version of Helga who wasn't a bully. In truth, Helga would probably act this way if she wasn't constantly defensive, which suggests that Arnold really does like the "real" Helga.
Actually Hilda did have a monobrow (it was mostly covered by bangs) but she did look prettier than Helga. For one thing she had a ponytail instead of pigtails, visible eyelashes and wore red earrings, all Helga would have to do is change her hairstyle, wear mascara, put on earrings and stop being a mean and all would be fine.
A series that takes place after the movie when Helga desperately kissed and confessed love to him. Not proof that there was any reciprocation during the series proper.
The movie isn't canon.
The movie is, in fact, canon. One of the last few episodes before its cancellation, April Fool's, takes place after the movie according to Word of God.
Also the standard real life proof of the Tsundere phenomenon. When people start off on bad terms but then grow closer together it adds a special feeling to the relationship. Arnold always does seem to like it whenever Helga acts nice. He also compliments her and gives her subtle hints that he's attracted to her or something she did.
Arnold likes it when anyone is nice. Making mean people nice is basically his MO.
Arnold always shows interest in her when she acts nice. She would probably have a good chance at him if she weren't a bully.
In the episode "Arnold Visits Arnie" he meets a really nice country version of her in his dream and develops a crush on her. So it's fairly safe to assume he's more interested in her when she's kind.
Further proven in the fact that "Hilda" isn't really much different than what Helga is really like, other than not being a bully; she's only the opposite of what Arnold perceives Helga as. Both are poetic, value relationships and genuine kindness from others, and we know that (just like Hilda) Helga is actually a kind-hearted person on the inside. She just bullies people because she doesn't know how to handle the gamut of emotions she goes through on a regular basis. Also, when Helga dressed and acted like Lila (i.e., nice), Arnold couldn't stay away from her— same for when she pretended to be Arnold's pen pal, Cecile. It seems that the only thing keeping Arnold from potentially falling for her is her being a bully (don't forget that when they first met, Arnold graciously offered her some refuge from the pouring rain under his umbrella, and told her that he liked her bow).
Cecile was probably the best evidence. Despite the fact she was pretending to be someone else, for the most part it seemed we were seeing more of what Helga would be like without her tough cover. And Arnold responded very positively to this side of her.
Whatever happened to the mysterious Mr. Smith after the earlier seasons?
He moved out?
In "Crush on Teacher", why did Arnold assume that Miss Felter had invited him over? Gerald had misunderstood what he overheard, but why would Arnold show up at someone's house when he wasn't told to?
Characterization Marches On. Back then, Arnold was a bit more native; he heard that "he" was supposed to be there and just went with it without putting too much thought into the whole thing.
What is Arnold's last name?
Shortman. Craig Bartlett had said we heard it throughout the series, though never as his official name. Finally officially revealed in series via The Jungle Movie (November '17).
In the episode Grand Prix, an episode about soapbox racing, Arnold's car (The Dark Avenger) and Eugene's car (The Mauve Storm) crash together badly breaking them. They later used the parts from both cars to make a new car, leading to arguments about what name to use from the old cars to give to the amalgamated car. Then Stinky suggests calling it The Mauve Avenger, which we get after a Gilligan Cut. Why the hell didn't they call it the Dark Storm?!?
Eugene had already painted it mauve.
What is that at the bottom of Phoebe's sweater? Is it part of her sweater or is it the bottom of her skirt?
Part of her sweater, designed to match the collar.
What kind of kid says "criminy"?
A kid who hears it constantly from her dad.
Helga has neglectful parents, envy of her perfectionist sister, and her childhood. But does that justify her actions towards Arnold? Also, given how both of them share similar hardships, shouldn't she at least be more empathetic?
It's because Helga doesn't exactly have an ideal home life that she acts the way she does; because she's never exactly received real affection, she doesn't know how to express it to others. She may not be acting the right way, but her actions themselves make sense. In a lot of ways her love for Arnold is selfish, so you can't expect her to put his feelings above hers. And despite the insight and depth all the characters show, they're still preteens, not sure of how to express their feelings.
Keep in mind that Arnold and the other kids never really accept Helga's bad behavior, and neither should we. She shouldn't act the way she does, but she doesn't know how else to act at this point. She's nine. That's also why she's going to therapy! As she grows she'll be able to figure things out, but in the meantime Arnold (and others) are constantly calling her out on her actions.
Why did no one call CPS on Helga's parents?
Big Bob and Miriam are certainly emotionally neglectful, but their behavior is extremely tame compared to the sorts of situations CPS exists to handle; namely, that there is belief the child is in mortal danger. Re. 'Helga on the Couch' and the show altogether, which is that 'normal' doesn't exist, trust in humanity is often betrayed but is still a good thing to have, and with enough perseverance things will likely turn out okay - Helga's therapist explicitly says that it's perfectly fine to build the statue of Arnold's head out of his used chewing gum, see the Christmas and Thanksgiving specials for more of this sort of theme.
Continuing the above, why didn't anyone call CPS on STOOP KID? I think someone who appears to have no parents, has never gone to school, and no apparent source of income or food is more important than Helga.
This is actually Truth in Television. A kid who is subjected to religious or emotional abuse won't be picked up by CPS as likely. A lot of CPS agents think "Well s/he's not getting hit..."
How old is Harold? He had a Bar Mitzvah even though he's in fourth grade. He was held back (once?), so he should be ten at best.
Depending on when your birthday falls, you can be ten for the majority of your time in fourth grade. So instead of nine-ten, he could be ten-eleven. Still, he'd need to be held back more to be thirteen.
On his date with Patty, he says that he's been held back "a couple of years", suggesting "he was held back" once refers only to fourth grade
Then... what was he doing in preschool in "Helga on the Couch"?
Why does Arnold have a clock that looks like him?
Seemed like it was made by his grandparents, with Arnold helping out. Same thing with that unbelievably awesome room in the attic, complete with killer sound system, remote-controlled revolving couch, skylights and direct access to the roof.
In one episode, after Arnold complains about Helga being mean to him, Grandpa Phil tells him a story about a girl who looked and acted much like Helga in his own youth named Gertie, and this girl was always tormenting Phil. At the end of the episode, Arnold leaves the room after Phil is done with his story, and his grandma comes in and Phil calls her Gertie, showing that he ended up marrying the girl who was always picking on him. But presumably Arnold knows his own grandmother's name, so why didn't he make the connection that Gurdy was his grandma? Gertie's not exactly a common name.
"Gertie" is most likely just Phil's affectionate nickname for her, not her actual name. Phil always calls her "Pookie", the rest of the boarders call her "Grandma", and I doubt that she can remember her own name.
Arnold kid probably did know who Phil was talking about but didn't bother bringing it up to not ruin grandpa's story.
In "Freeze Frame", why would butchers throw a birthday party for their competition?
Butchering isn't some highly competitive field, and throwing birthday parties for each other doesn't really affect business. Just because they're competitors doesn't mean they have to not do anything nice for them. They were actually close friends of Greene he hadn't seen in a long time.
They could actually be from a union.
In the episode where Phoebe got her leg in a cast, why does no one object to Helga washing Phoebe's hair in the school water fountain?
Well, school water fountains are already disgusting, so what could her hair do to make it worse?
Probably so Phoebe can see Arnold. If Helga was doing it in somewhere more intuitive (The sink), then there's no way Arnold should have been able to walk by and get the point of that scene across. (Because why would Arnold be in the girl's room?)
Nobody is going to tell HELGA off for doing that lest they answer to Old Betsy.
Arnold's bus pass: "Name: Arnold — Born: Yes". Uhhhh...
Maybe it's a jokey counterfeit card?
What was the deal with the "kid" getting that freaked out by Arnold managing to grab the card?
The episode where Arnold got mugged and learned karate? The kid you might be talking about got freaked because this little schmuck somehow got tougher and quicker than before. Plus, look at the way Arnold is holding himself and his facial expression. It's not one of fear, it's of anger. He also looks as if he's about to fight. He may be a thug, but he knows not to screw around with someone who may look like they'll give him a can of whoopass on his butt.
Truth in Television. A lot of bullies and thugs back off if their target intends to fight back.
Shouldn't Curly get help for his.. Behavior? Maybe a therapist, or a transfer to a new school?
Yes, he should. But it relies on somebody getting an authority's attention on the matter, first.
Why has no one taken notice about Helga's parents neglect? When someone around 4 years old goes to preschool by themselves in the rain, doesn't that trigger a reaction?
We the audience know the truth that her parents are neglecting her but the adults probably assume she was dropped off and just got wet walking from the car, not wanting to intervene either because the truth is too outlandish or avoiding being wrong, embarrassing themselves, and making them look like a judgemental Karen/Kyle.
Stoop Kid. Does he go to school? Why don't the police care? Does he really only live on the stoop?
Seeing as he seems to have trouble reading The Little Engine that Could, he likely doesn't go to school at all.
He might have one family member living in the building, who'd bring him food, clothes, and generally watch him in a lackluster way through the window. It might be a case of Stoop Kid having said, "I'll come in when I'm good and ready!" and sticking to it.
Lila's "dark side". What is this? Is she some sort of Stepford Smiler who has a deeply repressed side?
Craig talks about it here. He says that, despite fan accusations, Lila's not a bad person, but she does act subconsciously negative and stringing Arnold and Helga along. He says she and Helga would become friends later, so she probably finally started acting outwardly negative at some point (and that's something Helga relates to and respects).
I always figured it was on a necklace that was hidden under her shirt.
When I was a little kid I had dresses where it looked like there was an undershirt, but it was actually more like a mid-drift that was sewn into the dress so it made a sort of "pocket" where the top of the dress and middle of the shirt met, I always assumed her dress was like that.
What became of Bob after beepers fell out of fashion?
The Jungle Movie indicate when cell phones came along he became miserable and desperately trying to sell beepers instead of changing. The movie seemed to hint that they were living at the Emporium, even.
In the episode where the kids were stuck in a subway, and a blind man's guide dog gave birth. How does that work with guide dogs being neutered?
What's up with the police station? Any time anyone goes to the police station to report a crime, the police just laugh them out. There's Police Are Useless, and then there's just being straight up insulting.
Living in this neighborhood, the police have probably seen enough wacky behavior/kids' shenanigans as to be inured to most goings-on.
In "Helga On The Couch", why does Dr. Bliss tell Helga it's okay for her to boss the other kids around? Doesn't most of the show portray that behavior as negative and - more to the point - isn't it negative?
Dr Bliss tells Helga that it's okay for her to express her feelings whatever way is easiest for her - as long as she's not hurting anyone. She does tell Helga to stop hitting Brainy. Bossing the other kids around isn't actually hurting anyone, it's just the way Helga is. If she were getting physically violent on them all the time then something would have to be done. Dr Bliss is intending to help Helga through regular therapy so she won't have to act out like that in time, rather than just giving her commands in the first session.
In "Helga's Masquerade", Helga decides to dress and act like like Lila to get Arnold's attention. Then she's somehow surprised and disappointed when she gets his attention only because she reminds him of Lila. How could she have expected anything else?
So wait, if I remember correctly, Arnold has a cousin named Arnie that is like scary version of Arnold. Doesn't that mean that Arnold has an Aunt or Uncle out there that is at least related to one of his parents (most likely his mom, as she has the weird shaped head). Did they die too in some unexplained thing or has Arnold just never asked about them, which you think he would.
Judging from Arnie they're likely scary and weird, so Arnold'd just assume let them alone.
Arnie is a cousin on his Mom's side (which wouldn't be farfetched, as Arnold's grandparents are either his Mom's parents or they know her family)
Why would Olga go to Bennington College? It's not necessarily a slacker school, but it's hardly the kind of place a chronic award-happy overachiever would go.
Perhaps that's a clue to her neurotic inner persona. If she goes to a really prestigious college then there's the possibility she could find the work too much and fail - and she can't have that. You see how she goes into the depths of despair when she thinks she gets a B on a test. Maybe she chose a college that would give her work that she'd easily excel in. That way she can still be the star student without having to worry about failure.
This bugs me like you would not believe: how in Heaven's name does Mr. Simmons hang onto a teaching license, let alone get voted Teacher of the Year? I get that he's nice and has qualities that are valued in teachers, such as treating students as individuals. But he clearly cannot keep control of his class for more than 2.5 minutes ("The Flood.") He loses two members of said class on a field trip apparently so far out of town that it's dark when the students arrive home, and doesn't bother to re-check his head count or get in touch with the parents any sooner ("Buses, Bikes, and Subways.") I mean, for crying out loud, he could've called the cops; that's why they're there—or at least called the chocolate factory and reported he was missing two kids! He totally missed the fact that his science closet had been robbed until the television news informed him (and the rest of the city). He lets his students get away with telling him to "Bag it" and bonking him with a kickball while calling him "Granola Boy," AND he completely mixed up two aptitude tests. Plus, he's been to Helga's house and seen at least some evidence of her dysfunctional home life. Say it with me, people: TEACHERS ARE MANDATED REPORTERS. What in heck is he still doing with a license????
Adults Are Useless, a fairly common trope that runs in this show. Notice how it's always the kids that know what to do, and it's always the kids who solve the episode's problems with little to no intervention from adults? Sometimes, it's the adults who started the problems in the first place!
Okay, I'll take it. Plus, the fact that Simmons is so useless is probably Rule of Funny. I guess I just got a little offended as an adult because I studied to be a teacher. Thanks. :)
I heard Word of God is the show takes place in the Northwest.. Huh? It seemed very New York to me.
I haven't been to the Northwest, but I imagine there are huge cities like New York over there. Seattle, anyone?
While it is further south, San Francisco is a big city like New York with a big skyline, ethnic neighborhoods, a subway, etc.
In "Helga's Makeover", Why was Rhonda going to put that mask on Helga when she is clearly wearing makeup? Even if she's only nine years old, common sense says you should be bare faced for an facial. Also what was candy doing in the produce aisle while Helga was talking to Phoebe?
I know that Arnold has an infinite amount of tolerance, but why is Gerald his best friend? You know, he always transmits him pessimism, he doesn't support him in any of his problems, he never supported his crush on Ruth, when he fights for a cause he always tells him to forget it and accept that it won't get better... I mean, why?
I think Gerald is the yang to Arnold's yin (or is it the other way around?) Arnold is the optimistic kid who sees the good in everything and everyone, while Gerald is the realist who sees the world the way it really is. They complement each other. If Arnold is getting too carried away with his optimism, Gerald is quick to pull him back down to reality. Conversely, if Gerald is sliding more and more into Humans Are Bastards territory, Arnold is there to remind him of the good in the world/humanity.
At the end of "Jamie O In Love", I feel like Arnold and Gerald's roles are switched. Usually, Arnold would be the one to tell Gerald that he ought to tell Jamie O that his girlfriend is just using him. However, when Gerald decides he should tell him, Arnold, even after seeing the state Jamie O is in by this time, asks Gerald if he could wait until after the Gladiators on Ice show. Consequently, Gerald decides to be the one to "do the right thing" and tell him now.
Gerald never supporting Arnold is not entirely true. Sure, Arnold is generally the sole exception to Kids Are Cruel, but Gerald is loyal when really needed. In one episode, he decides to accept Arnold's story about the pink haired lady because he trusts him.
If Patty wants friends, then why does she still want to keep her reputation as a bully?
I guess it's because she doesn't know how making friends work. She assumes making friends means to bully the other person into being her lackey.
I think it's because she's scared of getting teased. She keeps up her reputation so people won't mess with her. If she wasn't a bully, people would make fun of her because she's unusually big for her age and she's supposed to be fourteen and still in sixth grade, and besides all that, she has a very short fuse. Her only way to deal with it is to attack anyone who crosses her.
Another reason why and she and Helga aren't so different. Helga also became a bully because she was afraid of other kids bullying her.
Personally, I don't buy that Oskar is completely illiterate up to the episode where he learns how to read. Particularly, the salt and pepper example used at the very beginning of the episode. Even if he's a first-generation immigrant who didn't know English as his first language, he would surely be able to grasp "salt" and "pepper" over time just by seeing it enough times.
It's possible he felt like he was put on the spot or they were new shakers.
Or he could read but wasn't well-versed in English.
In the episode "Spelling Bee", Helga intentionally loses at the end of the competition to make a point to her father. Her final word, which, if spelled correctly, would win her the spelling bee, was "qualm," which she and her father had gone over ad nauseum during their study sessions. She "attempts" to spell the word "Q-U-A-L-... X?" How did no one even bat an eyelash that something wasn't right? How would anyone think the word "qualm" ends with the letter "X?" She would have been better off just pretending she forgot the "L."
Helga was nervous in general and probably didn't think about that. Once she realized that she had nearly spelled the world right, she had to think fast and probably just said the next letter that she thought of after that. As for no one batting an eyelash, perhaps it's because it's Hillwood's golden boy that won, no one would care, or maybe because of her reputation as a bully, some automatically assumed that she was dumb anyway.
I always assumed Helga was screwing with Big Bob. She wanted to make him think she was gonna spell it correctly, then threw it.
I like Helga and she's one of my favorite characters on this show, but does that really excuse some of her actions? I know that she has neglectful parents, but, as Helga-haters often bring up, she could've killed Lila with what she did in that one episode. Unfortunately, I forgot that name, but I think it had something to do with the cheese festival, and I recall her nearly drowning Lila as a result of trying to make sure that their relationship wouldn't work. After seeing that episode, I find it kind of difficult to believe that even her love for Arnold could excuse just that.
Who said you had to excuse her behavior? Just because you like a character who does awful things doesn't mean you have to go Draco in Leather Pants over them, nor should you. For example, Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars character. He has a tragic backstory and was good deep down, but he turned to evil, killed children, choked his pregnant wife almost to death and cut his own son's hand off. Yet for all of the bad he did, he saved a lot of lives as a Jedi and ultimately dethroned his evil master, bringing apart the destruction of the Empire. At least for 30 years anyway.
But back to Helga, she might not have known that Lila couldn't swim, but that's beside the point. Helga has done a lot of shitty things to not only Arnold, but others as well. However, she has also done good things as well, such as helping Mr. Hyuhn find his daughter by giving up her Spumoni boots or telling Arnold about Summer using him even though she knew it wouldn't help her chances with him. Bottom line: you're entitled to like any character you choose and you shouldn't feel bad for it. However, if you want your opinions to be seen as credible, you have to accept the character for what they are (the good and the bad) rather than ignoring what you don't like and trying to morph them into your own fantasy.
Is it just me, or does Helga have a mental disorder? As a child, I always assumed that she had bipolar disorder, because from my experience, most children don't act like that. I still have a feeling that she had some sort of mental disorder. What do you think about the idea?
I'd say this is likely true. I'm no expert on mental illnesses but based on what we see on screen she definitely does not have bipolar disorder. She does, however, seem to have some symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder a disease that is often mistaken for and misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. According to experts, you must meet five or more of the following criteria to be officially diagnosed as having BPD:
Uses extreme measures to avoid real or imagined abandonment: The lengths she goes to in order to avoid telling Arnold that she's in love with him because she's afraid he'll reject her. I'd say this is a definite yes.
Volatile relationships with others that can alternate between admiration and deprecation: She'll ridicule Arnold for his righteous goody-goody personality and then gush about how much she loves him for it in the same sentence. I'd say this is a yes.
Irresponsibility in at least two potentially harmful areas (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving. binge eating): No.
Suicidal behavior, gestures or threats: No.
Self-mutilating behavior: No. At least not intentionally...
Mood fluctuations with noticeable rapid changes: Yes.
Persistent feelings of emptiness: I'm not sure about this one. She's occasionally shown to have feelings of emptiness, such as in "Helga's Love Potion" when she was under a placebo for an "anti-love potion" she was basically just a robot with nothing to live for, I'd say yes.
Feelings of self-hate and self-loathing: With how much time she spends comparing herself to Olga and Lila in negative ways and wishing she could be prettier, nicer, funnier, etc., this is likely a yes.
Feeling misunderstood, neglected, alone, empty or hopeless: Yes, no question.
Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses: She's sometimes shown to be about to be nice to Arnold for a change, only to snap right back into bully mode in an instant. Yet other times, such as "Helga's Masquerade", she keeps her anger in check quite well. One for the "maybe" pile.
So that's 6 "yes"es and 1 possible "yes". She may very well have this disorder.
Except that BPD is almost never diagnosed until someone turns 18 because many of those behaviors also describe being a teen/preteen, which Helga certainly is.
Do Phoebe and Gerald have something going on? There are always these hints on the show, and it makes me wonder.
No official confirmation that I'm aware of, just Ship Teasing.
Official as of The Jungle Movie.
In regards to dealing with Wolfgang, why didn't any of the kids go to Torvald? Not even to beat Wolfgang up, just as a sort of 'hey, he's bothering us can you tell him to back off since he'll probably listen to you?'
Even though Torvald probably would tell Wolfgang and his fifth graders to back off, a large part of the show is the kids learning to solve their own problems, whether successful or not.
Speaking of Wolfgang, how in the hell is he even in the fifth grade? He looks much more like he's in high school. Even for a cartoon, it's still implausible for a fifth grader to be that huge.
He could've been held back a couple years.
Or he could just be a big fifth grader with an unusually deep voice. I myself was almost 6 feet tall when I was in fifth grade, and my voice broke by then too. Many people thought I was a high schooler then.
This question is in regards to "Helga's Parrot." Arnold brings said parrot to Show and Tell, where it recites one of Helga's love poems, containing her name. Right before the monitor lizard eats it, the parrot clearly gets the first syllable of Helga's name out. The gulp/slurp of the monitor lizard could easily be read as "gah." So, why did none of the kids figure out Helga's secret, or say anything about it?
Could be one of those things that you don't notice unless you know to look for it. We know that the identity of whoever wrote the poem is a huge secret, but everyone else didn't. They probably weren't listening as closely— for all they know, it could have been anyone's name that the parrot was about to say. Like Hel... en of Troy.
And even if they managed to piece together that the bird was about to say "Helga," there's no way anyone would jump to the conclusion "Helga is madly in love with Arnold." She tortures him on a regular basis and doesn't really like anyone except Phoebe. So in all likelihood, no one's gonna think about it based on the fact that the bird was maybe about to say a name that sounds like Helga's.
Yeah I agree, they'd probably more likely think it was a joke or something.
Or perhaps they were so disgusted and traumatized by watching a bird being eaten alive that they forgot all about what it said.
How in the hell did Harold get so fat during the weight loss cruise in "Weighing Harold"? Sure, he said it was because he started stress eating, but in the commercial, they said the cruise had an "All-you-can-eat salad bar." Unless salad wasn't the only food on board (It's possible that the staff has some hidden for themselves.) or he drowned it in dressing, how did he get so fat eating salad?
You do realize that cheese, croutons and such were probably also available to prevent the salad from being "too bland"? Plus in real life, there's been cases of people getting fat off of grapefruit. It's quantity just as much as what you're eating and Harold was probably eating more than usual because of the calorie loss shock.
Harold mentions in the episode that he was so wrapped up in feeling fat that he just kept eating. He got fat because he never put the fork down because of his stress over his weight... he just didn't realize it until later.
Arnold and Helga are 9, right? So what's up with all the sexual overtones of the latter's feelings regarding the former? Sure, I'd understand it if they were like 11 or 12, but 9?
Yeah, it's a bit creepy, but in a world where teen pregnancies are seemingly becoming the norm (hell, a fifth grader got pregnant at a school in my area) it doesn't surprise me that much. It's meant to be Played for Laughs and it's doubtful that Helga wants to rape him or something. Probably...
In the episode where Arnold helps Chocolate Boy stop eating chocolate, he introduces him to healthier substitutes. One of those was carob, which Arnold says is a chocolate substitute. Chocolate Boy eats them and then breaks out in hives. What's in carob that would make someone have an allergic reaction? And why would Chocolate Boy not have a similar reaction when eating chocolate?
Carob isn't the same thing as chocolate; it's a substitute in that he could eat it instead of chocolate and it's used as an alternative to chocolate for some health-food eaters and people with chocolate allergies. Allergies to carob are rare, but Arnold said Chocolate Boy was allergic to carob, which suggests it's the carob itself (it's its own compound) that he's allergic to.
Why was Ruth even in "What's Opera, Arnold?" Even if we ignore the fact that she was on a field trip with the fourth graders (it may have been multiple grades, since there was a 5th grade teacher there with them too.) by this point in the series, he'd gotten over his crush on Ruth when he realized he didn't know her that well. So why does Helga still hate her, and why does Arnold dream about her? Even after Lila had been introduced.
Lila didn't become a love interest of Arnold's until the third season. Not really an answer, but I just pretend that "What's Opera, Arnold?" happened before "Arnold's Valentine" despite airing after (like how 24 hours to Live is the chronological first episode since it's a remake of the pilot). It's not like the order they aired in is the order in which they happened, right?
How did all the "football head" jokes go over with UK viewers?
A lot of American film and television is popular in the UK, I assume most are aware the show takes place in America and they call a different sport "football" over there. It also helps that actual American football is played by characters in the series.
Why is grandpa's nickname for Arnold the surname that they share? That's... not terribly specific. All three people living in that apartment are Shortman!
Arnold is short? It doesn't have to be any more specific than that, really. And Shortman is pronounced more like Shortmin while Grandpa clearly says Short Man. He can say "Where's the short man?" to Pookie and she'd know he wasn't talking about himself... same with anybody, really.
In Arnold Betrays Iggy Arnold willingly humiliated himself in public just so Iggy would forgive him for accidentally revealing to everyone that he wore bunny pajamas (which it was really Sid and Stinky who found out by guessing and broke their promise to Arnold to not tell anyone), but then he ends up resenting Iggy for it. So then why did he even agree to publicly humiliate himself? After every attempt he made to earn Iggy's forgiveness before, it would have been better for Arnold to just give up trying to earn his forgiveness once he realized the only way Iggy would forgive him, rather than going through with it and then treating Iggy just like he had been treated by him earlier in the episode.
Maybe Arnold didn't realize how bad it would be until after it actually happened.
In the "April Fool's Day" episode, why did Arnold's Grandpa think a gag gift that presented a literally "blinding flash" was a good idea for an April Fool's prank?
So it's explained at points the main reason Helga is mean is because she's afraid everyone will lose respect for her if they find out she's actually nice. That said, other characters who are nice (such as Arnold and Lila) aren't looked down on for it so why does she think this?
"Preteen Scream" shows a letter from Principal Wartz with the return address "RUR WARTZ" and it's the only indication of his first name and I have to ask: What kind of name is "Rur"? I imagine an animator just wrote down gibberish without thinking too hard about it but I cannot find any person or place (real or fictional) with the name "Rur." The closest I got was a river in Germany named "Ruhr". I can only assume Mr. Wartz has a really long hyphenated name and he just writes it as "R.U.R. Wartz."
Gerald hitting that deep booming low note at the end of "Gerald's Tonsils" after getting his tonsils taken out, How did he hit that? Isn't he, like, 9?
Why're the kids using city buses to go to and from school? Does the school district not have school buses...? Or are they all school-of-choicing to P.S. 118 and thus don't get bused?
Allegedly the rules state that the "Back of the bus" is for geeks. The rule of what is a geek is whether or not you have glasses. Sheena's not wearing glasses (Neither does Eugene but "False alarm" shows he has to wear them sometimes) so what's she doing back there? Is she sitting with them to be nice, or is her status as a Granola Girl enough to make up for "Not wearing glasses"?
One episode has Stinky (and later on Rhonda) be too poor to ride the bus. Two things. One, what kind of school makes students pay to ride the bus? Is the most they can get for busing a "Reduced fare"?
So, Torvald's been in fourth grade for four years, and still thinks that 3x3=33, so Miss Slovak's solution is to have Arnold tutor him? Did she ever stop to think that maybe Torvald has a learning disability?