In this episode, I discuss all the Hey Arnold! specials from seasons 1-5, as well as their impact on me upon viewing.
1) Dino Checks Out (aka “the special that no one really asked for”)
Season 4 saw a glut of specials, none of which more bizarre than the half-hour special dedicated to the Rat Pack-esque lounge singer Dino Spumoni. In this episode, Dino fakes his own death in order to reap the rewards of posthumous fame, but when a hotshot impersonator starts to live the life he left behind, it’s up to Arnold to convince him return.
2) Veterans Day
In this season 4 special, Grandpa and Martin Johanssen take Arnold and Gerald to Washinton D.C. to properly celebrate Veterans Day. During their road trip, they tell their stories of being in the war – Grandpa in WWII and The Battle of the Bulge, and Martin Johanssen in Vietnam. A feel-good holiday episode that focuses more on Arnold and Gerald as opposed to Arnold and Gerald. Plus, it contains one of the best Hitler battles ever set to animation.
3) Summer Love (aka “Hey Arnold!: The Beach Episode”)
In this season 4 special, Arnold and Helga go to a beach town for summer vacation. Arnold ends up falling for an older girl by the name of Summer, but when Helga discovers that her intentions are not pure, she plots and schemes to pull Arnold away from her. Noted for having arguably one of the funniest scenes in the series, an exchange between Grandpa and a Rastafarian.
4) Arnold’s Halloween
In this season 2 holiday special, Arnold and Gerald pull a prank on Grandpa and the boarders which unexpectedly gets broadcast to the entire city, leading to a modern-day “War of the Worlds”. This is episode is a vehicle for the voice talents of Maurice Lamarche, who works overtime playing Helga’s dad Big Bob Pataki and the paranormal television host Douglas Cain. FUN FACT: Maurice Lamarche is also the voice of Brain of the cartoon “Pinky and the Brain”, who coincidentally sounds like Orson Wells, also voice by Lamarche.
5) Helga on the Couch
A season 4 special, Helga meets with Dr. Bliss, a child psychologist, to out her reasons of agression. We learn about Helga’s troubled family life, as well as why she harbours such strong feelings for Arnold
6) Married (aka “The Fanservice Episode”)
One of the best episodes of the beleagured 5th season, Arnold and Helga both have dreams about being married to the other.
7) The School Play
In this season 3 special, Helga plots and schemes her way into the role of Juliet so that she may kiss Arnold and the end of the titular school play. Notable for being the first non-holiday special of the series.
8) Arnold’s Thanksgiving
A season 3 holiday, Arnold and Helga seek out the perfect Thanksgiving, and visit Mr. Simmons only to discover that every family celebrates in their own, imperfect way.
9) April Fool’s Day
A season 5 episode (and one the last episodes of the series I watched) Arnold plays the mother of all pranks on Helga, temporarily blinding her. Helga then tries to get back at Arnold by pretending the effect was permanent and guilt-tripping him into becoming her slave until the annual April Fool’s dance.
10) Arnold’s Valentine (aka “Arnold Gets Catfished”)
Arnold sets up a date with his crush Ruth P. MacDougall, but must also meet his foreign penpal Cecile, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually Helga in disguise! Hilarity ensues.
11) Arnold’s Christmas
A season 1 holiday classic. Arnold is chosen to be Mr. Hynnh’s Secret Santa, and when he finds out that all he wants is to have his daughter Mai home for the holidays, he enlists the help of Gerald to get a crotchety civil servant to assist with the search. Meanwhile, Helga also is looking for the perfect gift to give to Arnold.
FLUB: Several times in this episode, I mistakenly call the actor Philip K Dyke, when I should have said Philip VAN Dyke
12) Parent’s Day
Arnold compete in the Parent’s Weekend competition, but feels out of place with his grandparents. In this special, we learn what supposedly happened to Stella and Miles, Arnold’s mother and father. A real tear-jerker
13) The Journal
The fifth-season, two-parter special (and series finale), Arnold discovers his father Miles’ journal finds out how his parents met while in San Lorenzo, the place of his birth.