Check out all of the posts for our Children’s Television Theme Week here.
‘Hey Arnold!’ taught life lessons without the viewer realizing it. An episode called “Stoop Kid” taught kids about the benefits of getting out of their comfort zone. The episode “Chocolate Boy” humorously analogized drug addiction. Arnold’s closeness with Gerald alongside Helga’s rapport with Phoebe highlighted the importance of friendship. The wrongness of first impressions was a reoccurring lesson; a dumb character would have moments of wisdom or a snobby character would have moments of vulnerability or a seemingly lucky rich kid would be shown as unhappy and/or overstressed. My favorite example of this message is in the episode “Ms. Perfect”, which introduced the character of Lila. Her popularity caused female students to envy her at first. But once they learned about Lila’s troubled life, the girls apologized and accepted her.