Anyone who grew up with Hey Arnold! may remember just how realistic it was for a kids’ TV show. Based on creator Craig Bartlett’s childhood experiences in Portland and Seattle, the series followed nine-year-old Arnold as he encountered relatable issues in the city he imagined called Hillwood. But while some kids’ TV often downplayed such concerns, this cartoon addressed them in a surprisingly matter-of-fact way. And with the benefit of hindsight, these 20 moments show just how unafraid Hey Arnold! was in tackling real-world problems.
20. That time Arnold got mugged
Living in the city comes with its own risks and, unfortunately, getting robbed is one them. Nonetheless, it’s still shocking to see the issue shown in a children’s show – especially when it’s as frighteningly portrayed as it was in Hey Arnold!’s episode “Mugged.” While walking home after dark, Arnold was thrown into an alleyway where a crazed thief robbed him of his change and bus pass. Scary and unsettling, the scene was enough to convince anyone to stay off the streets at night.
19. Oskar’s gambling problem
With his penchant for putting himself above everyone else, Oskar Kokoshka was a hard character to like. Yet it was hard not to feel a tinge of pity whenever this sad sack’s problems reared its heads. Throughout the show, there were repeated references to Oskar having a gambling problem. In fact, the Czech-immigrant’s debts even led to him being threatened in the episode “Oskar Gets a Job.” We only hope his poor wife Suzie wasn’t too hurt by her husband’s habit.