Hey Arnold!

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Hey Arnold!
Hey Arnold!!.png
Genre Dramedy
Slice of Life
Created by Craig Bartlett
Developed by Craig Bartlett
Joe Ansolabehere
Steve Viksten
Creative director(s) Tuck Tucker
Voices of Toran Caudell (season 1)
Phillip Van Dyke
Alex D. Linz
Spencer Klein
Jamil W. Smith
Francesca Marie Smith
Justin Shenkarow
Christopher P. Walberg
Christopher Castile
Jarrett Lennon
Benjamin Diskin
Sam Gifaldi
Anndi McAfee
Olivia Hack
Dan Castellaneta
Tress MacNeille
Craig Bartlett
Maurice LaMarche
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 100 (187 segments) (List of episodes)
Running time 24–46 minutes
Production company(s) Anivision (pilot only)
Snee-Oosh, Inc.
Nickelodeon Animation Studios (as part of Games Animation, pilot episode and season 1)
Original channel Nickelodeon
Original run October 7, 1996 (1996-10-07) – June 8, 2004 (2004-06-08)
External links

Hey Arnold is an American animated television series created by Craig Bartlett for Nickelodeon. The show's premise focuses on a fourth grader named Arnold who lives with his grandparents in a large city. Episodes center on his experiences navigating big city life while dealing with the problems he and his friends encounter, including urban legends. Certain episodes focus on the lives of supporting characters, such as the tenants of the boarding house that Arnold's grandparents own.

Bartlett's idea for the show is based on a minor character named Arnold whom he created while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse. The executives enjoyed the character, and Bartlett completed the cast by drawing inspiration from people he grew up with in Portland, Oregon. He created the pilot episode in his living room in 1993, and official production began in 1994. The animators worked to transform Arnold from clay animation to cel animation.

The series aired on Nickelodeon from October 7, 1996 to June 8, 2004. Hey Arnold! received generally positive reviews, with many critics praising its character development and the quality of its animation. Over the course of its eight-year run, the series aired 100 episodes. A feature film based on the series, Hey Arnold!: The Movie, was released in 2002 to generally negative reviews. After the show's run, Bartlett created Dinosaur Train for PBS. Hey Arnold! is currently being released on DVD and rerun on the TeenNick block The '90s Are All That.


Animator Craig Bartlett graduated from Anacortes High School and obtained a degree in communications from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.[1] During high school and college, he studied painting and sculpture at the Museum Art School in Portland, and his first job after college was at Will Vinton Productions, a claymation house.[1] Originally, Bartlett intended to become a painter "in the 19th-century sense", but he became interested in animation during a trip to Italy.[2] In 1987, while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse, he created claymation cutaways about a character named Penny and her friend Arnold. Six years later, Bartlett was teamed up with five writers from Rugrats to develop animation projects for Nickelodeon.[1] These meetings were generally difficult and the writers became frustrated; Bartlett recalled: "Our ideas were OK, but such a large and motley group couldn't get far at pitch meetings. Network execs got migraines just counting us coming in the door."[1] As a last resort, Bartlett played the "Penny" tapes, intending to highlight the Penny character. However, the executives were more impressed by Arnold, despite him being a minor character.[1]

After the meeting, the group began developing Arnold, creating his personality and evolving him from claymation to cel animation. Bartlett stated: "We did a lot of talking about who Arnold is. We came up with a reluctant hero who keeps finding himself responsible for solving something, making the right choices, doing the right thing."[1] After creating ideas for Arnold, Bartlett began work on the supporting characters, drawing influence from his childhood: "A lot of the characters are an amalgam of people I knew when I was a kid. The girls in Hey Arnold! are girls that either liked or didn't like me when I was in school."[2] He created the first episode of Hey Arnold! in his living room, and showed it to producers at Nickelodeon. A year later, the network decided to begin work on the series.[2] The character was previously featured in a trilogy of clay animation shorts from 1988 to 1991: Arnold Escapes from Church (1988),[3] The Arnold Waltz (1990),[4][5] and Arnold Rides a Chair (1991), the latter having been aired as a filler short on Sesame Street in 1991; as well as an eight-minute short, titled Arnold (1996), shown in theaters before Nickelodeon's first feature-length film, Harriet the Spy.[1]


Apart from the animation style, Nick's Arnold wears a sweater, with his plaid shirt untucked (resembling a kilt). Only Arnold's cap remains unchanged from his original clay-animation wardrobe. Arnold comic strips also appeared in Simpsons Illustrated magazine. (Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, is Craig Bartlett's brother-in-law.) Hey Arnold! was pitched to Nickelodeon in the fall of 1993, a pilot was produced in the spring of 1994, and the series was greenlit in January 1995. Hey Arnold! was in production continuously from 1995 to 2001, culminating in a TV movie originally titled "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood", which ended up being released theatrically as Hey Arnold!: The Movie in June 2002. Production of the Hey Arnold! series wrapped in May 2001.[6] Hey Arnold! aired its final episode, unannounced, on June 8, 2004, as did fellow Nicktoons Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.

The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" from September 14, 2002 until September 17, 2005. In 2011, the Canadian Nickelodeon channel began airing episodes of Hey Arnold!. In September 2011, TeenNick brought Hey Arnold! reruns to "The 90's Are All That" programming block.


The show stars fourth grader Arnold, a boy who lives with his paternal grandparents, Phil and Gertrude, proprietors of the Sunset Arms boarding house, in the fictional city of Hillwood. In each episode, Arnold often helps a schoolmate solve a personal problem, or encounters a predicament of his own. The show also frequently focuses on Arnold's classmate, Helga, who often treats Arnold cruelly and bullies him constantly. However, a recurring theme of the show is the fact that Helga only pretends to dislike Arnold to hide the fact that she has possessed a profound, Shakespearean-in-magnitude love for him for years.

Many episodes involve urban legends usually told by Arnold's friend, Gerald. These episodes often feature over-the-top events such as those that involve superheroes or headless horsemen.


Hey Arnold! stars nine-year-old Arnold and his neighborhood friends. Bartlett drew inspiration from people he grew up with when creating the characters for the show.[2] Arnold's best friend is Gerald, a street-smart character who generally serves as the leader of the group. Many episodes detail Arnold's relationship with Helga, a girl who acts cruelly towards Arnold in order to cover up her secret crush on him. He lives with his eccentric but loving grandparents, who own a boarding house called Sunset Arms; several storylines involve Arnold's interactions with the house's tenants. Other characters include teachers at P.S. 118, parents, and citizens of the city.

  • Arnold (voiced by Toran Caudell in season 1 and two episodes in season 2, Phillip Van Dyke in seasons 2 and 3, Spencer Klein in seasons 4 and 5, and Alex D. Linz in two episodes in season 5) – Arnold is a dreamer and an idealist who always tries to see the best in people and do the right thing. Whenever he sees someone in trouble, Arnold goes out of his way to help them out, even if it is not sensible to do so (an example being when he tried to protect some of his classmates, who had mooned the school principal). Arnold often acts as the stable center to those around him, whether he is around his "family" in his paternal grandparents' boarding house, or around his friends at school. Arnold's last name is never explicitly mentioned, and a running gag throughout the show is, whenever somebody attempts to announce his name as written, they are unable to make out the last name, after which somebody points out that it must be "the" Arnold, as he's the only person in the entire school named Arnold. In other instances, a character may mention Arnold's last name, but the audience is prevented from hearing it because of noise interruption, such as a car horn.
  • Helga Pataki (voiced by Francesca Smith) – Helga is nine years old and in fourth grade. She is also madly in love with Arnold because he was the first person to notice her and show her kindness when they were very little, but she struggles to keep her affections a secret. She constantly berates and ridicules Arnold in an attempt to hide her true feelings. In her spare time she writes poetry (mostly about Arnold) and collects various items belonging to Arnold so that she can add them to her Arnold shrine in her bedroom closet. She is neglected by her parents and refers to them as "Bob" and "Miriam," because she does not believe they are worthy of being called "Mom" and "Dad." On the surface she resents her older sister Olga, an overachieving perfectionist, but Helga will occasionally show warmth toward her. Helga is emotionally insecure and puts on a mean, tomboyish front as the school bully.
  • Gerald Johanssen (voiced by Jamil Walker Smith) – Gerald is Arnold's best friend and is usually present when Arnold's latest escapade happens. Gerald is the occasional voice of reason when Arnold needs it and the storyteller for the schoolyard legends. He has a crush on Phoebe, who shares the same feelings for him.
  • Phoebe Heyerdahl (voiced by Anndi McAfee) – Phoebe is Helga's best friend and sidekick. She is very intelligent and is the most academic of the children in her grade; she always tries to be the first one with an answer and does not appreciate when someone does better than her in school. Like Gerald does for Arnold, Phoebe often acts as Helga's voice of reason and helps her out of various predicaments. Phoebe has a crush on Gerald.
  • Harold Berman (voiced by Justin Shenkarow) – Harold is the bully of the group, although his bark is usually worse than his bite. Harold is assumed to be 13, based on the traditional age one receives a Bar Mitzvah. However, Harold was shown in preschool at the same time as Arnold, though he has mentioned that he has been "held back." Harold is friends with Stinky, Sid, and Patty.
  • Stinky Peterson (voiced by Christopher Walberg) – Stinky is best known for his Southern drawl. He has professed to have feelings for Helga, Gloria, and even Lila. He lives with his father in a dilapidated shack with a country-like interior. He once turned down the opportunity to make a million dollars as the Yahoo Soda "spokeskid" after he realized they only wanted him because people gawked at his "hick" ways. In addition to growing large pumpkins, he can play the Alpenhorn.
  • Sidney "Sid" (voiced by Sam Gifaldi) – Sid is often seen as Gerald's "lead-in" man; when Gerald is about to tell another urban legend, Sid introduces him, usually mentioning how the story has been passed "from kid generation to kid generation." He is best recognized for his backwards green baseball cap and his long nose. He is also known to be a hypochondriac and is sometimes worked into a state of panic over trivial matters.
  • Rhonda Wellington Lloyd (voiced by Olivia Hack) – Rhonda comes from an extremely wealthy family and is the self-proclaimed fashion expert of the school. She is quick to show off new fashion accessories or shoes she gets. She is also very snooty, vain, and a bit of a queen bee.
  • Eugene Horowitz (voiced by Christopher Castile and Jarrett Lennon in 1997, Benjamin Diskin from 1997–2000, and Blake McIver Ewing from 2000-2004) – Eugene is a good friend of Arnold. He is very kind hearted, outgoing, willing to help others, and is known for being a jinx. His appearances usually involve him being the cause of or involved in accidents, such as causing a parade to crash, dodgeballs hitting him in the face, etc. In the episodes starring Eugene, Arnold seems to actually cause most of Eugene's problems, such as killing his goldfish, ruining his birthday, and destroying his bike.
  • Lila Sawyer (voiced by Ashley Buccille) – A new student at P.S. 118 in the same class as Arnold and Helga. She originally lived in a farming community before moving to the city with her father (her mother's absence is never explained). She is best known as being a very friendly and outgoing young girl who gets along with everyone she comes into contact with. She is also one of the few people who knows that Helga loves Arnold. Helga confessed this to Lila in order to get the lead role in the school play, Romeo and Juliet, so that she could kiss Arnold. However, Arnold has a crush on Lila, which bothers Helga tremendously.
  • Grandpa/"Steely Phil"/Phil (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) – Arnold's good-natured and cheery grandfather, Phil runs the Sunset Arms boarding house. Arnold often looks to his grandfather for advice, and even though he tends to respond frivolously to Arnold's problems, he does on occasion provide Arnold much-needed wisdom.
  • Grandma Gertie/Pookie (voiced by Tress MacNeille) – Arnold's fun-loving and eccentric grandmother. She is often seen performing various nonsensical tasks around the boarding house, or role-playing as a fictional character in over-the-top scenarios. Like Arnold's grandpa, his grandma tends to be too silly to be of much help to him when he asks for it, but she does come through for him in other ways.
  • Robert "Big Bob" Pataki (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) – Helga's & Olga's workaholic father. He spends most of his time either working or promoting his beeper business. When he's not working he enjoys lounging in his recliner and watching TV. He can be quite cruel, such as by turning a hose on Grandma during a protest, or criticizing Arnold for being an orphan. Bob focuses most of his attention on his eldest daughter, Olga, almost to the point of excluding Helga. He tends to ignore and neglect Helga, and never listens to or acknowledges her except in a few rare instances. Overall, Bob is selfish. He primarily thinks about himself, his business, and whatever serves his purpose or benefits him directly.
  • Miriam Pataki (voiced by Kath Soucie) – Olga and Helga's mother. She is usually depicted as somber, often seen moping around the house, completely indifferent to everything around her. It is also implied that she may be an alcoholic, as she is often seen blending "smoothies," has a habit of passing out on the couch, and sometimes slurs her speech. Despite her dull and gloomy attitude, she seems to have several talents which surface throughout the series, such as swimming, bull-riding, and karaoke.
  • Olga Pataki (voiced by Nika Futterman) – The older sister of Helga Pataki. She is a college student and does not live at home. However, she does come home to visit the family during the holidays and school breaks. She is a perfectionist and always gets straight-A's in all of her classes (she becomes inconsolably devastated when she believes that she made a B in one of her classes, only to find out later that Helga had actually changed the grade). Olga tends to outshine Helga in most areas and receives all of their parents' attention. She also has a tendency of condescending to Helga, though she usually has good intentions behind it. Olga is the only family member who gives Helga lots of attention and attempts to bond with her. However, Helga strongly resents Olga and this puts a strain on the sibling relationship. Only once in a while does Helga return Olga's sisterly affections.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot March 1, 1994
1 20 October 7, 1996 February 14, 1997
2 19 September 21, 1997 January 18, 1998
3 20 August 31, 1998 March 8, 1999
4 17 March 10, 1999 December 11, 1999
5 24 March 4, 2000 June 8, 2004


Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood, which Bartlett described as "an amalgam of large northern cities I have loved, including Seattle (my hometown), Portland (where I went to art school) and Brooklyn (the bridge, the brownstones, the subway)."[7] Bartlett, having grown up in Seattle, based many of the show's events on his own experience growing up in the city. The Pig War mentioned in the episode with the same title took place on the boundary between what is now the State of Washington and British Columbia. Evan Levine of the Houston Chronicle commented "With its backdrop of dark streets, nighttime adventures and run-down buildings, all seen from a child's point of view, the series combines a street-smart attitude with a dark comic edge."[8]


  • Urban Adventures
  • The Helga Stories
  • Christmas
  • Partners
  • Love Stinks
  • Hey Arnold: The Movie


  • Arnold for President
  • Return of the Sewer King
  • Arnold's Valentine
  • Parents Day
  • Summer Love
  • The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
  • Arnold's Christmas
  • Arnold's E-Files
  • Hey Arnold! The Movie

Feature film[edit]

In this 2002 feature film, Arnold, Helga and Gerald set out on a quest to save their old neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall. This film was directed by Tuck Tucker, and featured guest voice talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino, and Christopher Lloyd.

DVD and digital releases[edit]

Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2008/2009. Season 1 was released on August 21, 2008, Season 2 on August 29, 2008, Season 3 on December 8, 2009,[9] Season 4 on November 27, 2009 and Season 5 on December 4, 2009.[10] All of these releases are now discontinued.[11]

On May 9, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series.[12] They subsequently released Season 1 in a 4 disc set on August 9, 2011.[13] Season 2, Part 1 was released on March 20, 2012,[14] followed by Season 2, Part 2 on July 24, 2012.[15] Season 3 was released on January 29, 2013, as a Shout Select title.[16] On May 14, 2013 season 4 was released as a shout exclusive followed by season 5 released on October 15, 2013 also as a shout exclusive[17] making the entire series available on DVD. On August 19, 2014 the complete series was released through Shout! Factory as a Walmart exclusive.

DVD Name Episodes # of Discs Release Date
Season 1 20 4 August 9, 2011
Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
20 4 March 20, 2012
July 24, 2012
Season 3♦ 19 3 January 29, 2013
Season 4♦ 17 2 May 14, 2013[18]
Season 5♦ 24 3 October 15, 2013[19]
Complete series 100 16 August 19, 2014[20]

♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Levesque, John (October 7, 1996). "'Hey, Arnold!' Toons in to Nick's Family Hour Seattle Native's Animated 9-Year-Old Debuts Tonight on Nickelodeon". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Unmacht, Eric (November 9, 1999). "Here's How They Make a Cartoon". The Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Publishing Society. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ James, Caryn (October 14, 1988). "Review/Film; Animated Works From All Over". NYTimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hicks, Chris (May 8, 1990). "Film review: XXII International Tournee of Animation, The". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bevilacqua, Joe K. (December 1998). "Craig Bartlett's Charmed Past Life". www.awn.com. Animation World Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ Tladi, Tumelo (January 3, 2011). "Nickelodeon's Five Best Animated Shows". DStv. MultiChoice. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ Burk, Kim (November 4, 1998). "Interview with Craig". HeyArnold.Madpage.com. Archived from the original on January 21, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  8. ^ Levine, Evan (April 27, 1997). "'Arnold' deals with life in the big city". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. 
  9. ^ "Hey Arnold! DVD news: Now Available: Hey Arnold! – Season 3: Volume 1 and Volume 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hey Arnold! DVD news: Now Available: Hey Arnold! – Season 4". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Nickelodeon Brings Some of Its Most Popular Series to DVD for First Time, Exclusively on Amazon.com". WebWire. August 25, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Hey Arnold! DVD news: General Retail Release for Hey Arnold! – Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Hey Arnold!: Season One". Amazon.com. ASIN B004ZKKL32. 
  14. ^ Lambert, David (December 8, 2011). "Hey Arnold! – 'Season 2, Part 1' Retail Release Announced by Shout! Factory". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ Lambert, David (April 6, 2012). "Hey Arnold! – Nickelodeon/Shout! to Release 'Season 2, Part 2' in Stores this Summer **UPDATE: Box Art**". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ Lambert, David (December 20, 2012). "Hey Arnold! – The 3rd Season of the Nickelodeon Show is Scheduled for a Shout! DVD". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  17. ^ https://www.shoutfactory.com/node/217616&utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ig_heyarnoldfinal
  18. ^ "Hey Arnold!: Season 4". Shout!Factory. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Shout! Factory". shoutfactory.com. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Hey Arnold!: The Complete Series (Full Frame)". Walmart.com. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]