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September 12, 2017
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What are Arnold, Helga, and the gang up to in 2017?

The 90s, am I right? (I am right.) And the 90s would not have been so awesome without Hey Arnold. That crazy cast of characters entertained us for five seasons and then…hey, where’d they go? Let’s find out.

Arnold

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Then: We all rooted for Arnold, everyone’s favorite football-head. He was the voice of reason, whether at PS 118, the boarding house, or the vacant lot. And you know you were jealous of his room. Where’s this bold kid now?

Now: Nowhere. He’s a fictional animated character.


Helga G. Pataki

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Then: Helga was perhaps the show’s most complex character. We felt her pangs of unrequited love. Cloaking her own vulnerability, she wore a tough exterior not only to Arnold but to her highly dysfunctional family. Even as a kid, her emotions were complicated, and we could all see shades of our own conflicting humanity in Helga.

Now: Helga isn’t real. She isn’t doing anything, because there’s no person to do the doing.


Gerald

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Then: Admit it- you wanted a best friend like Gerald. He was the pinnacle of cool, with the hi-top fade and classic 33 shirt. And the kid knew how to hold an audience, sharing all the local urban legends from Stoop Kid to Wheezin’ Ed. So Gerald, what tales are you telling today?

Now: None, because a team of animators is no longer drawing him, and a voice actor is no longer speaking the lines he was paid to read for “Gerald.”


Ruth

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Then: Before Lila, there was Ruth: Arnold’s first crush. Sure, she looked just like Arnold, from the football-shaped head to the identical outfit. Who cares? That’s not weird at all. No way. It’s not weird nuh-uh. No. Normal it is. Yes. Normal normal normal.

Now: N/A (not a real person)


Dino Spumoni

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Then: Ahhh, Dino Spumoni. Who could forget Dino Spumoni. Hits like “Smashed” and “Better Not Touch My Gal” shot him to stardom. What’s the swingin’ singer up to these days?

Now: N/A (not a real person)


Lockjaw

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Then: An unhappy prisoner shackled by capitalist society, Lockjaw was given a second chance by Arnold and his grandma. They snuck into the aquarium and released Lockjaw back into the wild.

Now: N/A. (Not a real turtle.) (Though, if you subscribe to a theory of reader-response interpretation, you could argue that the “Lockjaw” lives on in the mind of the reader independent of the original text and author’s intent. Of course, this argument is typically made 1. for literary works, not cartoons on Nickelodeon, and 2. not for a freaking cartoon turtle.)


Brainy

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Then: Those glasses.That smile. That breathing. Whenever Helga professed her undying love for Arnold, Brainy was there. And unfortunately for him, the scene often ended with Helga’s fist to his face. Poor, poor, two-dimensional Brainy.

Now: Brainy married his college sweetheart and moved to Carson City, where they live with their two daughters.

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