There are many hotly debated things in this world: Coke vs. Pepsi, did the chicken or egg come first, is Nick Saban the anti-Christ? One thing is for sure, though, Hey Arnold! was and is a fantastic show. As a kid, I spent countless hours in front of my old CRT TV. I remember wishing I could live in the big city and be in Arnold’s gang of friends. The show is timeless and a snapshot of life before life got tougher and we grew up, social media became the giant monster it is, and things got more complicated.
I still watch Hey Arnold! on a semi- regular basis. The lessons and episodes are timeless and there were so many great characters. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember a simpler time when the hardest part of our day was picking which cartoon to watch and power rank our friends in the Hey Arnold! universe.
10. Stoop Kid – Stoop Kid’s afraid to leave his stoop! Everyone remembers that episode; how can’t you? This is actually one of the earliest episodes I ever saw and what got me hooked on the series. I remember Arnold helping Stoop Kid so that he can heckle and harass people even after they pass his stoop.
9. Jolly Olly Man – This deranged dude peddled ice cream to the local kids. It was a pretty shit match up since he hates children (and his father who employs him). He went totally apeshit when the city got overtaken with a heat wave, leading the kids to try and tip over his truck.
8. Stinky – Always had a soft spot for Stinky. I reckon it’s because he’s a country boy in a city world. Maybe I related with him a whole lot on account that I too was pretty close to the city and felt like there was a better place for me to be.
7. Helga – Helga is one giant subplot. She is victim of being the youngest sibling in a family where Olga is the Golden Child, Big Bob is out selling beepers and I am pretty sure Miriam is a functioning alcoholic/Xanax user. Her strange devotion to Arnold through a bubblegum statue she collected and various schemes and subplots made her an integral part of the show. Bonus points for paving the way for Anthony Davis’ unibrow game.
6. Grandma – This woman probably did a fair amount of hallucinogenic drugs in her heyday. Lovingly called Pookie, she is always into something. She’s super forgetful but incredibly thoughtful – she often has zen-like advice for Arnold at the most opportune times. Whether it is freeing Lock Jaw, crashing a nudist beach or serving the boarding house food, everyone knows grandma has it covered.
5. Mr. Hyunh – My Hyunh is somewhat of an enigma. The episode where he gave up his daughter made prepubescent me cry. He’s always there to listen to anyone in need. The dude loves to sing country music (voiced by Randy Travis before he got a DUI and crashed his car naked).
4. Mr. Kokoshka – Probably my favorite character due to his crippling gambling addiction, aversion to working and lack of any common sense, Mr. Kokoshka ticks all the boxes of “how the hell did natural selection not kill you off?” He somehow keeps his wife, learns to read and attempts to be a decent person. I feel Oskar is misunderstood. The episode where he told Suzie “you keep the money” is in my top five episodes.
3. Gerald – Town record keeper and master of citywide oral tradition, Gerald is Arnold’s right-hand man. Gerald is the stereotypical middle child, between his older cool brother Jamie O and his little bastard sister Timberly (I still wouldn’t forgive her after she ate all the Campfire Lass’s chocolate turtles), the dude has it coming from all ways. He is arguably the coolest character in the show and I always wanted to party with adult Gerald.
2. Arnold – You really think I’d make it Arnold number one? The show is centered around him, but he is influenced by so many others. Arnold shows that even through adversity, like losing your parents, in the right environment (the boarding house) you can still turn out to be a great dude. Everyone gives a hand in raising and shaping Arnold, a bold kid who is wise beyond his years.
1. Grandpa – Maybe I’m an old soul but Grandpa is by far the best character on the show. Whether he is trying to jettison Aunt Mitzi out the window over an old dispute about Pooter or driving the kids in the Packard out camping, Steely Phil is the man with the plan. How can you not love the guy that singlehandedly beat up and gave Hitler a wedgie? .
Image via YouTube