Hey Arnold! author Joe Ansolabehere displays on the choice to make Helga’s mom an alcoholic within the present and the studio’s response to it.

Hey Arnold! author Joe Ansolabehere mirrored on the choice to make Helga’s (Francesca Marie Smith) mom, Miriam (Kath Soucie), an alcoholic on the present. Hey Arnold! is an American animated comedy present that premiered on Nickelodeon in 1996 and was one of the crucial mature kids’s exhibits of that point interval. The present follows Arnold (Alex D. Linz), a fourth-grade boy with a football-shaped head who lives along with his grandparents in a boardinghouse in Hillwood, WA. The present focuses on his and his mates’ varied adventures as they navigate the city life-style and cope with the bully Helga, who secretly harbors an enormous crush on Arnold.

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One of essentially the most distinctive elements of Hey Arnold! was that it harbored many mature themes that many kids missed on the time, however later got here to acknowledge as adults. In reality, the whole premise was fairly mature and considerate, contemplating it was a uncommon portrayal of children from a working-class neighborhood who did not have some huge cash. Hey Arnold! also tackled heavy topics similar to neglectful dad and mom and the traumatic aftermath of warfare, in addition to challenged the proper American life and nuclear household beliefs that many sitcoms perpetuated on the time. Additionally, the present additionally tackled alcoholic dad and mom.


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In an interview with Slash Film, Hey Arnold! author Ansolabehere mirrored on making Helga’s mother an alcoholic. Initially, Ansolabehere’s writing accomplice, Steve Viksten, had pitched the concept of getting a personality within the present who was an older, flirty alcoholic girl. When that concept bought tossed out, Viksten had the concept to make Helga’s mom an alcoholic. The studio was initially towards it however ended up permitting it to subtly be inserted within the present. Check out his assertion beneath:

We’re by no means going to see it, however she’ll at all times have a drink in her hand.

Hey Arnold Nickelodeon

Ansolabehere went on to explain how Helga’s mother’s alcoholism became a legendary part of the present. It grew to become so as a result of it slipped the discover of most kids on the time. It was solely as youngsters grew up that they all of the sudden started to note the hints that she was, certainly, an alcoholic. The indicators had been all there – the mom was continuously seen sleeping, waking up disoriented and slurring her phrases, was always making drinks in her blender, and just about at all times had a drink in her hand. While youngsters would possibly’ve accepted that she was simply making “smoothies,” adults may simply put the items collectively.


Miriam’s alcoholism in Hey Arnold! was definitely a shocking part to incorporate in a child’s animated present on the time. However, it meshed nicely with the present’s try at providing a practical portrayal of children from a working-class neighborhood. Just just like the present strived to talk to youngsters who weren’t the wealthiest and did not come from the happiest of households, the present tried to talk to the truth of kids rising up with alcoholic dad and mom. Additionally, it masterfully confirmed what alcoholism would possibly seem like from a baby’s perspective. A toddler may solely vaguely acknowledge that one thing was a bit off, however would possibly nonetheless clarify it away by believing the father or mother simply likes making lots of smoothies. However, as they get older, they start to acknowledge the indicators and perceive the gravity of the state of affairs. In making Helga’s mom an alcoholic in Hey Arnold!, the writers managed to make the present extra relatable to kids who develop up in less-than-ideal dwelling conditions.


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Source: Slash Film

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