Hey Arnold! Season 2.0 offers audiences lots more laughs and lessons

Say Hey Nicktoons fans!  That is Hey for Hey Arnold! Season 2.0.  Shout! Factory has officially released the first half of Hey Arnold!’s second season to dvd in a two-disc set.  Hey Arnold! is without a doubt, one of the greatest of the cartoons ever to bear the title of Nicktoon.  Season 2.0 is just more proof of that.  Fans get to meet Arnold’s teacher, Mr. Simmons, for the first time in this set.  Helga thinks she’s actually fallen out of love with Arnold after drinking a “love potion.”  And Harold has to make a tough choice when he adopts a loveable little kitten he names Cupcake.  Fans also get to re-live the urban myth of the giant fish, “Big Ceasar.”  This half of season two is loaded with these episodes and so much more that original audiences will love, and new audiences will love for the first time after watching them.  That lincludes a very important episode aobut the effects of bullying in the episode, “Ms. Perfect.”  That’s right.  Bullying was a major problem even as far back as the 1990’s.

One of the best episodes in this new collection from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory is “New Teacher.”  This episode is the first time that fans meet Arnold’s new teacher, Mr. Simmons.  What kid past or present can’t relate to this episode to a point.  Arnold’s class decides to try and scare off Mr. Simmons, since he’s new.  And they do a good job, until he’s replaced by the evil, Lt. Maj. Goose.  Seeing how tough this military man is, the class realizes the error of its ways, and begs Mr. Simmons to return.  They show him that they really appreciate his teaching.  But they have to figure out how to get rid of Lt. Major Goose in order to get Mr. Simmons’ job back.  Remembering Mr. Simmons teaching them to never stop asking “why”, they use that tactic to get rid of Lt. Maj. Goose.  It teaches viewers young and old a lesson:  You don’t know how valuable someone is until they’re gone.  It also reminds viewers of the value of teachers on young minds. 

Speaking of teaching lessons, Season 2.0 also teaches a lesson about journalistic ethics.  Sadly, that’s something that so few news agencies have today.  That lesson comes in the episode, “The Big Scoop.”  The class is writing a school newspaper in this episode.  Thanks to Helga’s sensationalism in some of her stories, Arnold gets in trouble, since he’s the head of the paper.  When Arnold confronts Helga about her stories, it leads to a fight, and Helga starting up her own Weekly World news type of paper.  Movie buffs especially will love this episode for its Citizen Kane reference.  At one point, Helga tells her friend, Phoebe not to worry about the stories.  She tells her to stick to getting the pictures and she’ll get the stories.  It’s a pretty funny moment, considering they’re fourth graders.  This episode reaches its peak when Helga makes up a story about the school being demolished to make way for a theme park of sorts.  Arnold confronts Principal Wartz about this accusation to get the real story.  When the real story gets to the students before Helga’s sensationalized piece, the students protest, getting Helga to stop printing her paper.  It’s one of those things that even as old as it is, even journalism students today could learn a thing or two from it.

While Helga learns about journalistic ethics, Arnold later learns about a story that might not be so made up after all in “Big Ceaser.”  Arnold’s grandpa, Phil, tells Arnold and Gerald the story of a fish called “Big Ceasar” that he once caught.  He described the fish as a behemoth with big red eyes, and how he fought to catch it, even using a gaff pole that got stuck in it.  It just so happens that around the same time that grandpa tells the boys his story, a fishing contest for the city is going to happen.  So grandpa teaches the boys how to fish, so that they can  set out to find and catch Big Ceasar.  None of the boys’ friends believe that Big Ceasar really exists, either, just like no one believed Arnold’s Grandpa.  Old school television fans will appreciate this episode as there’s a reference to Gilligan’s Island, as well as to the classic horror film, Jaws.  When the boys do catch Big Ceasar, they’re happy at first.  But later, Arnold has a change of heart.  He realizes that the city needs the myth of Big Ceasar.  So he convinces Gerald that they should let Big Ceasar go.  They obviously don’t win the fishing contest.  But they do bring back the piece of gaff pole that Grandpa had told them about, proving that they know for a fact Big Ceasar does exist.  There’s no real lesson here.  It’s just a great, fun episode to which plenty of viewers can relate in their own childhood.

Hey Arnold! Season 2.0 is loaded with more enjoyable episodes than can be listed in this article alone.  But it goes without saying that this is a collection that fans new and not-so-new will find a welcome addition to their home library.  Whether for those episodes listed or the ones not listed, it’s a time-tested show that will outlive all the teeny bopper shows and cg-based cartons that fill the airwaves today.  Fans who want more news on this and other Nicktoons releases can check it all out at Shout! Factory’s website, http://www.shoutfactory.com.

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