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SEASON 1 (1996-97) EPISODES 

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General Notes

  • Unlike, say, Doug, Rugrats, and AAAHH! Real Monsters, the characters on Hey Arnold! have only four fingers on each hand and (usually) four toes on each foot
  • Ever notice that there's something strange about Helga but you just can't pinpoint it? Could it be that Helga has only one, huge, eyebrow?
  • For that matter, Helga, Harold (who also has just one), Stinky (whose are well above his eyes), and Gerald seem to be the only kids that have any eyebrows (although Rhonda's hair may hide hers - Sid removes his hat in "Heat", and Iggy removes his glasses in "Downtown As Fruits", and neither has eyebrows)
  • The city name is never mentioned, although it is supposed to resemble parts of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, and there is some definite resemblance to New York City (there's a bridge that looks like the Brooklyn Bridge and a school named "P.S. (Public School) 118", which is in Queens)
  • P.S. 118 was founded in 1932
  • Nobody ever seems to change clothes, except for certain specific things (for example, Arnold wears his pajamas to bed, and he wears a basketball uniform when he plays for his Youth League team), just like pretty much every other cartoon out there (quick, when was the last time Bart Simpson went to school without either his red shirt or his blue shorts, and how many times has Chuckie on Rugrats been without his shirt that has Saturn on it? At least on Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko has more than one shirt, but they all happen to be the same pattern...)
  • The back of the brim of Arnold's hat usually matches the curve of his head
  • Speaking of hats, Arnold is supposed to be the one "associated" with wearing a hat, yet he removes his more often than Sid does (and did you ever notice that Phoebe's scrunchie never changes shape, as if it's made of plastic?)
  • Helga's hair ribbon isn't tied to her hair, but is "pre-tied" and she connects it to her hair with some sort of elastic band (you can see it when Olga plays the piano in "Olga Comes Home", and she removes it without untying it in "Helga's Makeover") - note that it changes to a "tied" ribbon in later seasons (for example, in "Summer Love" and "Beaned")
  • If you think you've seen Arnold and Gerald's handshake (the one where they tap thumbs) before, maybe you remember one of the older episodes of The Flintstones where Fred and one of his old friends did the same thing
  • Although most (if not all) episodes have a "Music by Jim Lang" credit, nobody gets any credit at the end of the show for writing the theme song
  • Not the message you want to send to young girls: except for Phoebe and Nadine, all of the "regular" girls appear to be tall and thin (of course, standing next to Arnold and Harold, everyone looks a little tall and thin)
  • Depending on the episode, Arnold uses one of three different alarm clocks:
    • "Arnold's Hat", "Heat", "The List", "Mugged" - an "old-fashioned" alarm clock with a miniature Arnold on top with an alarm that says "Hey Arnold" over and over (and usually it's "potato-powered"; in "Mugged", the alarm is just a bell)
    • "Snow" - a clock-radio with the radio alarm set
    • "The Little Pink Book" - the clock-radio with the buzzer alarm set
    • "24 Hours To Live" - a clock-radio with non-electronic digits; both the buzzer and radio go off at the same time
      (The digital clock-radio also "appears" in some other episodes, such as "Abner Come Home", but the above episodes are the only ones where the alarm goes off)
  • From the outside, it appears that Arnold's room is on the second floor of the boarding house, but he has to climb stairs from the second floor in order to get to his room
  • There's no overcrowding at P.S. 118; there are only 12 desks in Miss Slovak's classroom (except in "The List", where there appear to be 16), although not only do the students tend to change seats (Helga sits in the back in "The Little Pink Book" but in the front in "Helga's Makeover"), but the twelve students tend to change (Phoebe is in the class in "Spelling Bee" and Sheena is in "Helga's Makeover", but neither is in the class in "Tutoring Torvald" or "Olga Comes Home"); in fact, the layout changes between three rows of four (for example, in "Olga Comes Home") and four rows of three (for example, in "Helga's Makeover")
  • The radio station Arnold listens to is MJZZ ("M-Jazz"), but those can't be its actual call letters as only stations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland can begin with "M"; regular stations in the USA begin with a K or a W (the "unwritten rule" is: stations west of the Mississippi River begin with K, and stations east of there begin with W)
  • ...and although plenty of radio stations have jazz programs, the only remaining all-jazz radio stations in the USA (the last time I looked) are on television shows: MJZZ and The Simpsons' KJAZZ. (This doesn't include "internet radio" stations, satellite radio, or audio-only TV channels.)
  • If anyone ever decides to make a live-action version, some characters appear to be based slightly on real people: Ernie (Danny DeVito), Oskar (Yakov Smirnov, although I've been told the accent is supposed to be Klasky-Csupo co-owner Gabor Csupo's), and Miriam (Shelley Long)...or am I just imagining things? (I have been told that the DJ in "Sally's Comet" is supposed to look like Craig Bartlett, who does the character's voice...and after watching the movie High School High, I wouldn't be surprised if Baoan Coleman is the physical model for Mr. Hyunh as well as the voice)
  • In one of the "Nicksclusives", in one scene where Craig Bartlett is talking, there's a small Lisa Simpson doll behind him; "coincidentally", the character Lisa on The Simpsons is actually named after the creator's sister, Lisa...who also happens to be Craig's wife

Notes About The Show's Opening

  • If you're still confused as to which kid is which, here's a little help: in the opening, the line of six boys is, from left to right, Sid, Harold, Gerald, Arnold, Stinky, and Eugene, and the line of six girls is Ruth, Nadine, Phoebe, Helga, Rhonda, and Sheena; when the lines become four each, the people at each end disappear
  • When the people in the buildings yell "Arnold", Sid and Eugene have switched places
  • ...and just before that point, four boys are pretty much lined up one behind another, as are four girls; how come Sid, Eugene, Ruth, and Sheena aren't there?
  • What's Ruth doing with the fourth graders?
  • The bus Helga is on has a "Kidbar" ad on its side, and on the back it says "Work or Play, A Ride on the Bus Will Make Your Day" (it's hard to read, but it's clearer in "Downtown As Fruits")
  • Somebody Call The Animators: if you watch the opening credits one frame at a time, when the title zooms in to its closest point, you can see a dotted line outline of the title where it was in the previous frame
  • Somebody Call Them Again: right after Helga is standing behind the "ARNOLD" on the pavement, when she says "Hey Arnold", her lips move as if she's saying it slowly
    Apparently, somebody did call: they fixed this one when they changed the theme music in the fourth season
  • When the four boys form their line (just before the adults call out "Arnold"), watch Harold's tooth; it goes from the right side of his mouth (as you look at him) to his left side
  • The first time you see the line of girls, Rhonda's shoes are "low-cut", but just before Helga says "Move it, football head", the shoes suddenly extend much higher (like they normally do in the stories)
  • In the closed-captioning, when Arnold and Gerald "touch thumbs" (and you hear that "sproing" sound), the caption says "[glass shatters]"


Episode List

Hey Arnold! began on October 7, 1996, usually running on Monday and Wednesday nights; Sunday morning episodes began in March, 1997 (replacing Ren & Stimpy in the Sunday Nicktoon lineup)

This list is supposed to be in broadcast order, but I don't know what the original order was (and I've seen enough of other Nicktoons to know that, after a few rounds of repeats, the order gets changed), so I'm basing it on the episode numbers provided by Nickelodeon (which numbers the episodes 1, 2, 3, and so on - I renumbered them 101, 102, 103, and so on to make it clear that these are "first season" episodes); however, it is not clear whether they refer to broadcast order or production order (or neither).
Note for those of you outside of North America: there are six episodes you may have seen as part of the first season which, for whatever reason, were shown in the second or third season here.

Click on an episode title to see its cast and writing/directing information


Episode 101

Downtown as Fruits
"Helga Pataki's Four Food Groups - The Musical" is missing its banana and strawberry when Arnold and Gerald decide to take the bus a few too many stops past the school and end up downtown without money - until someone drives by and throws them a bag of cash

Eugene's Bike
When Eugene's new bike is ruined thanks to something Arnold did, Arnold realizes that he's been involved in quite a few of Eugene's accidents, so Arnold takes Eugene out for a day of fun - well, fun for Arnold, but mishaps for Eugene


Episode 102

The Little Pink Book
Helga's little pink book, full of love poems about Arnold, falls into Arnold's hands, and Helga has to get it back before Arnold gets to the last page (the only place where she put her own name), even if it means hiding in Arnold's closet all night

Field Trip
Arnold's class goes to the aquarium, where they discover that "Lock Jaw", the monstrous creature they remember from their last trip years ago, is really an old, tired, graffiti-covered turtle, so Arnold and Grandma return that night to set it free


Episode 103

Arnold's Hat
Helga steals Arnold's hat to complete her secret shrine - a statue in the shape of Arnold's head made from Arnold-chewed bubble gum - but Arnold feels he's lost a part of himself...but in order for Helga to fix the problem, first she has to get the hat, which her mother tossed into the trash that is now on its way to the dump

Stoop Kid
A kid who spends all day and all night on his stoop terrorizes everybody who comes near it, but when Arnold discovers his secret - he's afraid to leave the stoop - everybody makes fun of the kid until Arnold decides to help him


Episode 104

Helga's Makeover
Helga isn't invited to Rhonda's slumber party because everybody figures she's not into "girls stuff", so she takes on a new hairstyle, dress, and image (right out of a magazine) to show the other girls how much of a girl she can be

The Old Building
It's a tradition for a wrecking ball operator to invite his son to his 500th demolition, so childless Ernie invites Arnold, but the target is an abandoned theater Grandma doesn't want torn down and replaced with a new multi-screen theater


Episode 105

6th Grade Girls
A couple of sixth graders who notice Arnold and Gerald at the community pool decide to take them to a dance, but Arnold and Gerald don't realize it's just to make the girls' boyfriends jealous

The Baseball
Arnold watches his favorite baseball player play his last game (or at least he tries to, from his upper-deck restricted-view seat) - and ends up catching the home run ball he hit in his last time at bat


Episode 106

Heat
A hot day goes from bad to worse for Arnold; a brownout causes the house's air conditioner to stop working, a fire keeps the fire hydrants dry, the city pool is full, and the ice cream truck man wants $18 for a Sno-Cone, which Arnold (with a little help from Helga climbing the truck) turns into a riot - looks like somebody didn't "Do the Right Thing"

Snow
It's the first snow of the season and P.S. 118 is closed, so Arnold is headed out to play in the snow - just as soon as he helps Grandpa clear the sidewalk of snow, fix the furnace, put snow tires on the car, store the wood,...


Episode 107

Operation Ruthless
Actually, Helga wants to keep Arnold "Ruth-Less" - that is, keeping Arnold from Ruth McDougal, the sixth-grade girl he likes but can't find a way to introduce himself at the annual Cheese Fair

The Vacant Lot
The kids clear out a vacant lot near the boarding house as a baseball field, only to find that the nearby adults have taken it for themselves - and argue over how to use it


Episode 108

The List
Arnold attemps to do "it all" - everything on "the list for a kid's perfect Saturday" - but has only slightly more success than Grandma's attempts to get a large piano into the boarding house

Haunted Train
Arnold, Gerald, and Helga hear Grandpa's "legend of the Haunted Train" and head for the abandoned train station where it's supposed to appear - and that train that pulls up to the station at midnight fits the description


Episode 109

Mugged
Arnold has his bus pass taken from him by a mugger, so Grandma trains him in the martial arts, but "black belt Arnold" forgets the first rule of self-defense: you learn it so you don't have to use it

Roughin' It
Grandpa takes Arnold and Gerald camping, and the survival skills he teaches the kids gets put to the test when Helga's father takes Arnold, Gerald, Phoebe, and Helga hiking (egged on by Helga, who wants to get Arnold alone so she can confess her love for him), only to get them lost when his electronic hiking equipment goes haywire


Episode 110

Door #16
The boarders are jealous of Mr. Smith, his private bathroom, and the fact that they think he feels he's too good to eat with the rest of them, so when Arnold accepts a package for Mr. Smith, he searches the city for him before the other boarders try to open it

Arnold as Cupid
Suzie's listened to one too many of Oskar's excuses and throws him out, so he moves in with Arnold, where he remains true to his "the only person Oskar is concerned about is Oskar" form (he even loses Arnold's CD player in a poker game), so Arnold arranges a moonlight dinner for Oskar and Suzie in an attempt to get them back together


Episode 111

Benchwarmer
Arnold's basketball coach has one strategy - pass the ball to his son - and when Arnold passes to someone else, he "rides the pine", until he finds a way to help the coach's son with a free throw shooting weakness

Cool Jerk
A cool older boy makes friends with Arnold (he likes the shape of Arnold's head), but Arnold has second thoughts when he discovers how his friend can afford expensive stereo equipment while never working


Episode 112

Das Subway
When the last crosstown bus leaves without the kids, they take the subway home, despite Gerald's warning of "sun goes down, stay above ground" - advice they may have been better off listening to when the train stops in an underwater tunnel

Wheezin' Ed
Arnold leads an expedition to Elk Island to find the legendary treasure of "Wheezin' Ed", but stumble upon a counterfeit penny operation


Episode 113

Tutoring Torvald
Arnold tries to tutor 13-year-old fourth-grader Torvald in math, but the only thing Torvald seems to excel in is bullying

Gerald Comes Over
Gerald gets an introduction to the residents of the boarding house when he and Arnold collect the rent - or at least collect the IOUs and catch the stuff Suzie throws at Oskar


Episode 114

Spelling Bee
Arnold and Helga represent P.S. 118 in the city spelling bee finals, where Arnold eyes the $500 prize so he can buy a new electronic keyboard, but Helga's father is so sure Helga will win that not only did he clear space on the wall normally full of Helga's sister Olga's awards, he promised to give away beepers if she doesn't win

Pigeon Man
One of Arnold's carrier pigeons is sick, so he takes it to the mysterious "Pigeon Man" who lives atop an abandoned building, and has a lot more in common with Arnold than he first thought


Episode 115

Olga Comes Home
Helga's smart, talented, popular sister Olga is home for Spring Break from college, where Helga has to live in the shadow of her overachievements - until a B+ on Olga's report card (which was an A until Helga changed it), her first non-A since second grade, sends her into a deep depression

Sally's Comet
Arnold and Gerald plan to see Sally's Comet, which only appears once every 70 years, but how can they do it if the city lights are too bright to be able to see even the stars?


Episode 116

Abner Come Home
Arnold searches the city for Abner, his pet pig, who ran off into the streets chasing a cat

The Sewer King
Arnold drops Grandpa's antique watch down a hole into the sewers, so Arnold and Gerald descend into the city sewers, where they must get it back from Sam "the Sewer King", who won't give it back...and could use two new "royal rat groomers"


Episode 117

False Alarm
Somebody pulled the fire alarm, and all of the evidence points to Eugene, but Arnold is the sole person on a "kid jury" that thinks there's another explanation

World Records
The kids will try anything -
anything - to get into the book of world records


Episode 118

Magic Show
Arnold finishes his magic act by making Helga, who's been heckling Arnold and yelling at Phoebe since she arrived, disappear, but she sneaks away before he can bring her back, only to run into a pole and dream that she's really gone, everybody's happy about it (including her parents), and Phoebe has a new best friend who's nice to everybody

24 Hours to Live
Arnold hits Harold with a baseball, who promises to beat Arnold up the next day - with Helga constantly reminding Arnold of how long he has "until you die"


"What about the other first season episodes?"

If you live outside of North America, you probably saw 26 episodes (including the Christmas and Valentine's Day episodes, listed below under "Specials"). All 26 episodes were made as part of the first season, but six of them were not shown in North America's first season (October 1996 through September 1997). Five of them were shown in the second season and appear on the second season page, and one was shown in the third season and appears on the third season page (click on a title to go to the appropriate page):

The episodes are listed in the order they were first shown in North America, which may not match the order shown in other countries; in fact, in some countries, the episodes are paired differently (for example, at least one country has Part Time Friends and Runaway Float in one episode, and Biosquare and Partners in another)


The Specials

As with Nickelodeon's other specials (the Rugrats Passover, Chanukah, and Mother's Day episodes, the Rocko's Modern Life Thanksgiving episode, and all of the Christmas Specials), these two episodes will almost certainly not be shown except on or near the days they represent

Arnold's Christmas
While Helga agonizes over getting the perfect present for Arnold (and wondering whether or not her parents got her a pair of designer snow boots that make Tickle Me Elmo dolls look plentiful in comparison), Arnold tries to get Mr. Hyunh a present - the daughter Mr. Huynh sent to this country at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975

Arnold's Valentine
On Valentine's Day, Arnold manages to arrange two dates; one with Ruth, the sixth-grader he likes, and one with his French penpal Cecile (actually, it's Helga in disguise) - only for the real Cecile to suddenly appear and Arnold to discover what Ruth is really like