Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by AlainRacette on Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:57 pm

I ask this because I recently started rewatching the show again; the last time I had watched HA! before March 2016 was probably when the movie came out around twelve years ago (had watched from the beginning up until that point). I had of course retained some memories but over the course of time without having watched a minute of the show, those memories were tucked away in the back of my mind, long forgotten and collecting dust.

My hazy memories turned out to be a blessing because I was pretty much watching the show fresh as a 30-year-old adult; I knew the characters and the framework of the show but did not retain much more beyond that. But HOLY CRAP was that ever a blessing in disguise because the complexities and nuances of the show simply blew me away, and begged me to ask myself the question in the thread title: is HA the most honest and emotional animated portrayal of childhood and growing up?

I had my Gerald, the one friend I'd always hang with and (often) go exploring and take off on little adventures, whether it's in the city, the park, or the woods. I had my Helga, the one girl who made my fourth-grade life a living hell because she wanted me to pay attention to her; her home life also wasn't the best so I immediately saw parallels with the show (no happy ending; she fell into the wrong crowd eventually and fell off the face of the earth). I had my "Crush on Teacher" moment; looking back on it, it is obvious she TOTALLY knew because I was reduced to a bumbling fool in her presence - whenever I talked to her, my eyes were buried in my feet to hide the blushing on my face lol. And the one that made me go "Yup...!" with a HUGE nostalgic smile was the whole Ruth McDougall thing - I SO had that one girl I admired from afar who unfortunately turned out not to meet my expectations. The show, without it intending to, fired off all those experiences in my head and led to quite a bit of reminiscing that I've honestly never done up until rewatching the show.

And of course that doesn't even being to include the different definitions of "family" in the show. Gerald, the one character in popular fiction that stereotypically doesn't have the best background, comes from a loving and stable nuclear family. Arnold lives with his grandparents and his extended "family" is made up of the boarding house tenants. Phoebe comes from an interracial family and is often paired off with Gerald. Helga is emotionally neglected and it's made especially clear that she is not the favourite child; her parents are an alcoholic and someone who spends way too much time obsessed with work at the overall expense of tending to his family. Her sister Olga is burdened with such pressure to succeed whereas Helga's neglect, which Helga despises, is seen as an escape by Olga - there is no intense pressure-cooker levels of stress for her younger sister to succeed. As an adult, DAMN the whole Pataki family package hits home. No wonder Craig pitched a spinoff for them all those years ago - that family is a show of itself that could explore SO much more emotional ground!

Sorry for the wall of text, but this has been on my mind for a bit. Anyone with similar thoughts?
avatar
AlainRacette

Posts : 193
Join date : 2016-05-28
Age : 31
Location : Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by LuiThe2nd on Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:30 pm

This is a great question! As a kid I really liked Ed Edd & Eddy. However, after recently watching Hey Arnold! for the first time I found some very similar connections and similarities to my life growing up, none of which I could find in Ed Edd & Eddy. Some dating back to Elementary. Others happening even now through high school.

I also had my Gerald, the "cool kid"... the one friend who always stuck by your side and do everything together. I remember having my Eugene, everything would go wrong with him yet he would still have a smile at the end of the day. Damn... I also remember the "perfect girl" Lila, how I tried and tried to get her to "Like-me Like-me" only to have her indirectly tell me she only "Likes-me". I never had a Helga in my life unfurtunatly, I like to help people and look at the bright side but I'm not so good at it though and I'll never be as good as Arnold is.

We would also have our little adventures too! I remember going "beyond the park" as we used to call it and catching peacocks and releasing them back, going to the bayou to see who could catch the most turtles, after a hurricane hit our city lot's of trees "beyond the park" were destroyed and we used the debris to create a "secret clubhouse" with carpets and chairs and an inflateble bed (kinda like mighty pete), till the city cleaned it all up. When I was really young we went to Astroworld a couple of times (dinoland). Urban Legends, though nowhere near as creative as Gerald's Legends.

I also really think I could connect to most of the characters in Hey Arnold!, even if it's a really small detail. Something I'm not able to do with Ed Edd & Eddy, I'm kinda questioning why I even liked that show so much??

I really hope Hey Arnold! Goes on with the next generation of kids, as well as more likeable, relatable, and unique shows in the future. The Loud House ain't bad at all, plus the cancellation of Breadwinners and Sanjay and Craig, (horrible shows in my opinion, I apologize if you like them) shows that Nickelodeon is moving in the right track and I hope they keep it up.

LuiThe2nd

Posts : 125
Join date : 2016-04-11
Age : 18
Location : Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by Jfgoofy on Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:41 pm

Yes, I absolutely agree with all of this!!

I really think that in my childhood and to this very day, I think I'm kind of a mixture between Sid and Helga (with it's my occasional behavior and becoming out of character and with Helga it's a bit of neglect, however this happened with my elementary schools and all the way until I reached middle school which is when it stopped), sometimes I'm Eugene.

In Middle School, we actually had a few kids who were kind of like Lorenzo (of course they weren't rich) because they moved to this school, felt lonely, we were showing them the things we do and finally we (the students) became friendly with each other. I had my own Ruth/Lila, but of course we both moved on.

I had a couple Arnolds throughout Elementary, MS and now, High School. I was friends with a student who kind of seemed alone, and when we first met, I'm guessing that was the Helga in my past.

I really love all the characters in the show! (Well most of them if you know what I mean. Looking at you Curly and Iggy) Because of how realistic the characters are and their lifestyle, it makes the show, probably one of, if not THE REALISTIC CARTOON OF ALL TIME!!!! I love it, and I also hope that the show affects the next generation.

Hey Lui, what were the urban legends that you and your friends talked about? Also we had this urban legend back in the 5th grade, and I came up with it after watching some ghost documentary (My Ghost Story) on Biography (the show was pretty decent, however it of course felt like it didn't belong on that channel) and another one as well (which was Celebrity Ghost Stories and it's garbage) and I made up some urban legend with me and my dad supposedly going in this haunted house and "capturing photos of spirits" before we were all scared and ran away. XD
avatar
Jfgoofy

Posts : 539
Join date : 2016-04-01
Location : Washington

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by LeSkuh on Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:12 pm

I think it's darn close to a perfect representation of what being a kid is like, even down to the city being everything and nothing like a real city. There's danger and references of muggings/violence, but ultimately the show still makes Hillwood feel SAFE and FUN. The kids have depth and layers - most one-shot characters get a chance to sort of develop themselves in the periphery of Arnold's life.

Other than Hey Arnold! I feel like EEnE and Clarence have done great jobs catching similar feelings. I grew up in a culdesac so EEnE really hits the weird feeling of eternal summer surrounded by a limited group of kids that you probably wouldn't interact with during the school year. And Clarence does well at the randomness and unlimited imagination of kids - I love how messy all of it's backgrounds are, it feels cluttered and real.
avatar
LeSkuh
Admin

Posts : 284
Join date : 2016-03-29
Age : 28

View user profile http://farkledagain.tumblr.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by Jfgoofy on Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:22 pm

LeSkuh wrote:I think it's darn close to a perfect representation of what being a kid is like, even down to the city being everything and nothing like a real city.  There's danger and references of muggings/violence, but ultimately the show still makes Hillwood feel SAFE and FUN.  The kids have depth and layers - most one-shot characters get a chance to sort of develop themselves in the periphery of Arnold's life.

Other than Hey Arnold! I feel like EEnE and Clarence have done great jobs catching similar feelings.  I grew up in a culdesac so EEnE really hits the weird feeling of eternal summer surrounded by a limited group of kids that you probably wouldn't interact with during the school year.  And Clarence does well at the randomness and unlimited imagination of kids - I love how messy all of it's backgrounds are, it feels cluttered and real.

I totally agree with you!!!
avatar
Jfgoofy

Posts : 539
Join date : 2016-04-01
Location : Washington

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by LuiThe2nd on Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:47 pm

Jfgoofy wrote:Yes, I absolutely agree with all of this!!

I really think that in my childhood and to this very day, I think I'm kind of a mixture between Sid and Helga (with it's my occasional behavior and becoming out of character and with Helga it's a bit of neglect, however this happened with my elementary schools and all the way until I reached middle school which is when it stopped), sometimes I'm Eugene.

In Middle School, we actually had a few kids who were kind of like Lorenzo (of course they weren't rich) because they moved to this school, felt lonely, we were showing them the things we do and finally we (the students) became friendly with each other. I had my own Ruth/Lila, but of course we both moved on.

I had a couple Arnolds throughout Elementary, MS and now, High School. I was friends with a student who kind of seemed alone, and when we first met, I'm guessing that was the Helga in my past.

I really love all the characters in the show! (Well most of them if you know what I mean. Looking at you Curly and Iggy) Because of how realistic the characters are and their lifestyle, it makes the show, probably one of, if not THE REALISTIC CARTOON OF ALL TIME!!!! I love it, and I also hope that the show affects the next generation.

Hey Lui, what were the urban legends that you and your friends talked about? Also we had this urban legend back in the 5th grade, and I came up with it after watching some ghost documentary (My Ghost Story) on Biography (the show was pretty decent, however it of course felt like it didn't belong on that channel) and another one as well (which was Celebrity Ghost Stories and it's garbage) and I made up some urban legend with me and my dad supposedly going in this haunted house and "capturing photos of spirits" before we were all scared and ran away. XD

Oooh! I remember discussing urban legends and ghost stories when I was young. Though like I said most of them were very unoriginal. We have the cliche haunted house (Big 2 story home, dead grass, broken windows, and old grouchy owner). Even during middle school we would talk about seeing spirits when we walk next to it. I made up an Urban Legend in 4th or 5th grade when we were looking at the constellations at night. We were in my house's roof, pretty normal for us no big deal, and we spot this wild bunny in my backyard, which is pretty strange considering the nearest park was blocks away. We talked about aliens and ufo's, and coincidentally, the stars we were looking at flashes and zoomed across the sky in pairs. Using my 4th grade logic, the stars were actually aliens flying away in a ufo, and the bunny was just released after being experimented on. Lol pretty creepy stuff even to this day.

LuiThe2nd

Posts : 125
Join date : 2016-04-11
Age : 18
Location : Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by Zeether on Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:30 pm

I'm not sure if I related much to Hey Arnold! as a kid but I think I remember a few urban legends when I was in school and I might have had a few unrequited crushes here and there in the fourth grade...

avatar
Zeether

Posts : 204
Join date : 2016-03-30
Age : 28

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by Perhapsormaybe on Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:33 pm

I definitely agree with this. I was a very angry child like Helga which probably came from having two older sisters I was constantly compared to (and a lot of times my dad would call one of us and have to cycle through our names before getting to the right one). It's great to have a show that hints towards the darker sides some families have - representation matters. Having some kids who are from bad homes see that on tv instead of the usual "here's a family and they all love each other and are close, but the dad's an idiot" ...I think it means a lot. Having Arnold being raised by his grandparents, showing interracial couples and even if it had to be a sneaky way having a gay character that if you're old enough you can pick up on the subtext. Hey Arnold is a great example of how cartoons really should be.

And the Urban Legend episodes, as many of you have said, definitely hit home. We were constantly told stories and my friends and I would try to be the brave ones to go out at night and figure stuff out (but we could never go to any of the places associated with those legends, unfortunately). We'd just go outside when it was dark and walk around the woods, basically.
avatar
Perhapsormaybe

Posts : 259
Join date : 2016-03-30
Age : 28
Location : Texas

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by theintangiblefriends on Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:13 pm

Having grown up in Central America, there was a lot of stuff in regards to setting I couldn't directly relate to with HA!, but the themes often felt very familiar: the feeling of community, finding one adventure after another, (for me at least) falling in love before the onset of puberty, having a big group of friends (the gang) that even though you didn't always get along at the end of the day you always had each other's back with the important stuff. I could go on. It was my favorite show back then and it is my favorite show now.
Besides being relatable, to date, nothing, I feel, has surpassed it in it's ability to take mature and often painful themes and break them down in such a way that a child can digest, but importantly, also without being overly cutesy. The show gives the young audience the credit they deserve by respecting their ability to handle difficult situations without giving them too much (because they are still children after all). It never feels condescending.
However, it somehow also is able to set the show in the perspective of a 4th grader. For example, the 6th grade girls act more like 13 and 14 year olds, but how many of you remember that as a 9 year old, 11-12 looked awfully sophisticated. Same with the bullies. Really from an adult perspective Wolfgang could have passed as a 15 year old, but when you are nine, any older, bigger bully can seem much scarier and bigger then they really are.
I guess, for me, Hey Arnold! is one of the best and most intelligent children's shows of all time because it was able to combine realism with childhood perspectives and cartoonish fun so perfectly and seemlessly, and it still had time for heart or sometimes a moral lesson at the end of each episode.
avatar
theintangiblefriends

Posts : 155
Join date : 2016-04-08
Age : 27

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by AlainRacette on Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:01 pm

theintangiblefriends wrote:Having grown up in Central America, there was a lot of stuff in regards to setting  I couldn't directly relate to with HA!, but the themes often felt very familiar: the feeling of community, finding one adventure after another, (for me at least) falling in love before the onset of puberty, having a big group of friends (the gang) that even though you didn't always get along at the end of the day you always had each other's back with the important stuff. I could go on. It was my favorite show back then and it is my favorite show now.
Besides being relatable, to date, nothing, I feel, has surpassed it in it's ability to take mature and often painful themes and break them down in such a way that a child can digest, but importantly, also without being overly cutesy. The show gives the young audience the credit they deserve by respecting their ability to handle difficult situations without giving them too much (because they are still children after all). It never feels condescending.  
However, it somehow also is able to set the show in the perspective of a 4th grader. For example, the 6th grade girls act more like 13 and 14 year olds, but how many of you remember that as a 9 year old, 11-12 looked awfully sophisticated.  Same with the bullies. Really from an adult perspective Wolfgang could have passed as a 15 year old, but when you are nine, any older, bigger bully can seem much scarier and bigger then they really are.
I guess, for me, Hey Arnold! is one of the best and most intelligent children's shows of all time because it was able to combine realism with childhood perspectives and cartoonish fun so perfectly and seemlessly, and it still had time for heart or sometimes a moral lesson at the end of each episode.

You touch on a very important point. Whether the episode was serious or silly, HA always had heart. Anyone who thinks a kids show doesn't have a sophisticated moral message needs to watch Arnold's Christmas. It is one of the VERY few half-hours of television PERIOD that comes close to being perfect. So many episodes really make you feel... and I LOVE that.
avatar
AlainRacette

Posts : 193
Join date : 2016-05-28
Age : 31
Location : Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by BC1096 on Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:29 pm

I would say yes, it is a good realistic depiction of childhood, it definitely has a dark, serious tone and doesn't have the 'squeaky clean' feel of other kids cartoons.. And, I guess I could relate to it quite a bit, I was 12 when it first started and pretty much had the same kind of friendships that Arnold and Gerald had.. and, of course, I definitley have been down the "I don't like you-like you, I just like you" road many times, and ugh, it hurts Mad but, it's just part of life..

avatar
BC1096

Posts : 78
Join date : 2016-09-07
Age : 32
Location : PA, outside Philly

View user profile http://atwistinthemyth.deviantart.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is Hey Arnold! the most honest, emotional depiction of childhood in an animated show?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum