Next up in the Christmas in July Blogathon 2015, SG from Rhyme and Reason takes a look at a forgotten holiday special. And here’s SG to tell us all about it!
Does anyone else remember Nickelodeon’s Hey, Arnold!? Nowadays, it only plays late at night for those desperate for some nostalgia, but it was a near-perfect animated kid’s show, a product of the ‘90s that focused on characters rather than gross-out humor and posed a relatable moral with every episode. Arnold was the titular football-headed kid, and his interactions with his friends, his grandparents, and pretty much everyone in town created everyday drama and humor that may be considered slow by today’s standards, but did wonders with character development. Arnold often helped others to overcome personal conflicts, like helping the bully Harold when he had a bar mitzvah or dealt with fat jokes, or assisting a friend with irrational phobias, or supporting a vigilante superhero named Monkeyman. Yeah, it got a little eccentric sometimes, but it still remained rooted in the real world.
Like so many other shows, Hey, Arnold! had the requisite Christmas chapter, but it’s not often that a holiday show turns out to be the best episode of the series. In the first season’s “Arnold’s Christmas,” Arnold feels responsible for getting the perfect gift for a tenant of the boarding house, Mr. Hyunh. Hyunh is usually just comic relief, but here he grieves the holidays without his daughter, whom he was forced to give up when they fled Vietnam. It’s an emotional crossover with real-world events, and Arnold takes it upon himself to find the girl somewhere in the city.Meanwhile, Helga, who has long held a secret crush on Arnold even as she bullies him, is only interested in the commercial side of Christmas, yet she still wants to find the right gift for that “stupid football head” she adores. While Arnold sets out to fulfill someone else’s wish, several wishes overlap in moments of selflessness vs. generosity and holiday spirit vs. cynicism, with a little “Gift of the Magi” irony thrown in. The ending made me cry as a kid, and this remains one of my favorite holiday specials (after A Charlie Brown Christmas and the animated Grinch).
Not only does it touch on themes most children’s shows wouldn’t, it offers admirable role models and a Christmas-y message that puts human emotions over materialistic concerns. Christmas angels and miracles are often hard to come by, but perhaps that wouldn’t be so if more people followed the examples of Hey, Arnold!P.S. As far as my mistletoe preference, I’d probably have to go with my first celebrity crush, the talented Miss Lindsey Stirling, who has gone on from America’s Got Talent to create some of the best modern violin music. And she sure is purty. 🙂
Thanks, SG! I was more of a Cartoon Network kid than a Nickelodeon kid growing up, but I did catch an episode of Hey, Arnold every now and then. I’ll have to go back and find this one. Lindsey Sterling is a lovely pick. I found her youtube channel a few years back. She is a great musical artist and is indeed “purty.” Next, Allie will be sharing what Christmas movies she will be watching this year. Stay tuned!