Hey Arnold!

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Name: Hey Arnold!
Abbreviation(s): HA!, HA
Creator: Craig Bartlett
Date(s): October 1996 - June 2004, 2017
Medium: animated series, animated films
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Hey Arnold! at Wikipedia
Subpages for Hey Arnold!:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Hey Arnold! is an animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2004.


In 1996, fan discussion of Hey Arnold! was originally limited to the alt.tv.nickelodeon newsgroup and Nickelodeon's AOL site. This later inspired a Hey Arnold club mailing list, which in turn later inspired the creation of The Unofficial Hey Arnold! Site in 1998. Several sites started to pop up through the year, including Don Del Grande's Hey Arnold! fansite and Gerald's Gateway of Tales, the latter had fans contributing to it's fanfiction section instead of FanFiction.net. In 1999, The Megawacky Dimension, Hey Arnold Fan Land, Helga's Shrine to the Football Head and Cadpig's Hey Arnold! Site were created. In 2000, the fansites Nadine's Place and Sid's Hey Arnold Site were created. During this time most fandom discussion and fanworks were posted to these sites and the Unofficial Hey Arnold! Site's message board.

In October 2000, fans started posting to FanFiction.net which lasted for years during the show's run[1] and is still going strong[2].

2002 proved to be the most influential year in the fandom's history between Nickelodeon canceling the series, ordering Hey Arnold! The Movie to theatre instead of a TV movie and with over 400 stories added to FanFiction.net in that year alone[3]. In June 2002, the maintainers of Nadine's Place, The Megawacky Dimension, and The Unofficial Hey Arnold! Site moved to Geraldfield.com and a fourth fansite, Gerald's Library, was created which housed the fandom's fanfiction. However, it later closed down in June 2003 along with the domain due to lack of interest by the maintainers.

The fandom didn't migrate to LiveJournal until 2003 which was just before the show went off air, with the LJ community hey_arnold created in July. More communities popped up in 2006/2007 with the creation of: ha_adult, ha_prompts and heyarnoldfanfic. Originally the fandom was fairly slow going on LJ at the time, but it is still active there.

2008-2009 proved to be the start of a "Silver Age" of the Hey Arnold! fandom, with more fanfiction and word count posted to FanFiction.net that the fandom hasn't seen since 2002[3]. Some fans speculate that this is because the series started appearing on Nick again, was going to be on DVD, plus some fans from the early days were returning to the fandom[4].

The fandom started showing up on Archive of Our Own and Tumblr around 2010, slowly increasing[5]. A few Tumblr blogs are focused on Hey Arnold!.

An increase of interest for Hey Arnold! started appearing on Tumblr and Facebook in June 2016 due to the announcement of Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie is set to be released sometime 2017[6]. Although fans have campaigned and put up petitions to help get the movie started prior to this.

Fandom & TPTB

The Hey Arnold! fandom and TPTB has been positive - the creator of the show, Craig Bartlett, has done multiple interviews over the years - giving details of the future or answering fan questions about the HA! world. In November 1998, fans submitted their questions to a moderator which were then e-mailed to Craig, and his responses were published on the Unofficial Hey Arnold! Site. In the interview Craig discusses the future of Arnold and Helga, the location of Arnold's city, origins and inspirations behind the show, and behind-the-scenes details. In April 2000, Craig Bartlett participated in a live chat in which he discussed his idea for a spin-off titled The Patakis, and gave details on the upcoming movie Arnold Saves the Neighborhood (later retitled to Hey Arnold! The Movie). Even years later, Craig Bartlett continued to be supportive of the fans, giving them details and interviews on what would have happened if the series continued or the Jungle Movie had been created, although he kept other things under lock just incase the movie would come about and in 2016, this came true.

The Hey Arnold! fandom with the network's relationship is a little more complicated. The lack of merchandise for the series, especially during the Hey Arnold!: The Movie release even though at the time Rugrats and SpongeBob Squarepants merch were everywhere at the time. The network cancelling HA! in 2002 and the scattered episodes of Season 5 which aired over four years (2000-2004) and holding off on Jungle Movie for over a decade.


The most popular pairing in the Hey Arnold! fandom by far is Helga/Arnold. In canon, Helga was secretly in love with Arnold but bullied him to hide her feelings. See Move It, Football Head! - A Helga/Arnold Manifesto by poisonivory, written for ship_manifesto. Gerald/Phoebe is considered just as popular and canon as Helga/Arnold.

Other pairings have and did appear, either as main pairings or as secondary pairings in fanworks (mainly fanfiction), however het is by far the most popular genre besides gen. Femslash is more popular than slash, although both are considered rarer to find than het works[7].

Het pairings include: Rhonda/Harold, Lila/Stinky, Helga/Brainy, Helga/Gerald, Phoebe/Stinky, Lila/Wolfgang, and Harold/Patty. The Canon pairings of Grandpa/Grandma, Miles/Stella, Miriam/Bob, and Oscar/Suzie also appear in fanworks.

Femslash's most popular pairing would be Phoebe/Helga, although others have appeared such as Helga/Rhonda, Helga/Lila, Rhonda/Phoebe, Rhonda/Nadine, Rhonda/Lila, Phoebe/Lila, and Nadine/Sheena.

Slash most popular pairing would be Arnold/Gerald, a few other slash pairings have appeared such as Curly/Eugene and Sid/Stinky.

Pairings Names

The pairings in the Hey Arnold fandom do not generally have pairing names, even smooshed which later became big in other fandoms. They only used initials, for example, Helga/Arnold would be HA or H/A or for Gerald/Phoebe would be GP or G/P. Other pairings were considered too rare to use this method, however, and simply spelled out the names of the couple.

It's not even until 2012, Tumblr user suprsingr created Shortaki for Helga/Arnold[8].

Common Tropes & Fanon

  • Episode Tags were extremely popular in the series, often focusing on a particular episode
  • The Jungle Movie and The Patakis announcement brought about a lot of writers and fans to create their own versions on how the movie or spin-off could have went since both projects were sidelined/rejected by Nickelodeon. Since it was announced The Patakis would take place when Helga and the others were 15 and Arnold had moved away, aging the characters were fairly common although it had already frequently appeared. While some fans believe everything talked about in these interviews are canon, others do not since they did not actually appear in an actual episode of HA!.
  • Futurefics - Besides the above, High school and College appeared as did post-college such as: Teen/Adult Pregnancy, Marriages, kidfic, and other domestic type fics as well.
  • Alternate Universes and Crossovers appeared, however they were not as popular as the above types of fanfiction






Archives & Fannish Links

LiveJournal Communities







  1. ^ On FFN, the first fic posted to the Hey Arnold! section was published on October 19, 2000: The Love Docter by Anne. [[[FanHistory]] states that HA! category was created on October 23, 2000.
  2. ^ As of June 16, 2016, there are 5.4k fics; one of the top 20 cartoon fandoms on FFN.
  3. ^ a b hellerick posts Holy Statistics or The Silver Age of Hey Arnold!. 24 April 2009. (Accessed June 22, 2016)
  4. ^ Re: Holy Statistics or The Silver Age of Hey Arnold!: princealia, 8nnemiek& seraphimkiss
  5. ^ AO3, as of June 19, 2016 has 134 works.
  6. ^ Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie wikia
  7. ^ blonde_cecile writes on Fic Genre Frequency about HA!. Jun. 24th, 2007. (Accessed June 21, 2016)
  8. ^ Shipping Names by suprsingr. March 17, 2012. (Accessed June 17, 2016)