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Hey Arnold Author Displays on Making Helga’s Mother an Alcoholic

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 youngsters’s exhibits of that point interval. The present follows Arnold (Alex D. Linz), a fourth-grade boy with a football-shaped head who lives together with his grandparents in a boardinghouse in Hillwood, WA. The present focuses on his and his associates’ numerous adventures as they navigate the city way of life and take care of the bully Helga, who secretly harbors an enormous crush on Arnold.

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Probably the most distinctive elements of Hey Arnold! was that it harbored many mature themes that many youngsters missed on the time, however later got here to acknowledge as adults. In truth, all the premise was fairly mature and considerate, contemplating it was a uncommon portrayal of youngsters from a working-class neighborhood who did not have some huge cash. Hey Arnold! additionally tackled heavy matters akin to neglectful dad and mom and the traumatic aftermath of battle, in addition to challenged the right American life and nuclear household beliefs that many sitcoms perpetuated on the time. Moreover, 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 lady. When that concept obtained tossed out, Viksten had the concept to make Helga’s mom an alcoholic. The studio was initially in opposition to it however ended up permitting it to subtly be inserted within the present. Take a look at his assertion under:

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


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


Miriam’s alcoholism in Hey Arnold! was actually a shocking element to incorporate in a child’s animated present on the time. Nevertheless, it meshed nicely with the present’s try at providing a practical portrayal of youngsters from a working-class neighborhood. Similar to the present strived to talk to children 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. Moreover, it masterfully confirmed what alcoholism may seem like from a baby’s perspective. A toddler might solely vaguely acknowledge that one thing was a bit off, however may nonetheless clarify it away by believing the guardian simply likes making numerous smoothies. Nevertheless, as they get older, they start to acknowledge the indicators and perceive the gravity of the scenario. In making Helga’s mother an alcoholic in Hey Arnold!, the writers managed to make the present extra relatable to youngsters who develop up in less-than-ideal dwelling conditions.


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Supply: Slash Film

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