The third season of Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoon, Hey Arnold! Was and is the hit classic cartoon’s finest hour. Out of the show’s five seasons on the air, this season showed the writing staff behind the show at the top of its game. To add to the enjoyment this time out, both Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have gotten back to the basics and put the show’s entire season into one triple-disc set instead of splitting it up into separate volumes. And who can overlook the show’s continued standout hand drawn animation? As with all of the classic 90s Nicktoons, the hand drawn animation of Hey Arnold! helped to establish the show’s identity as well as provide its own form of entertainment for audiences. Assembled together, it all worked together to make for some of the show’s best episodes ever. And it all worked together to exemplify why Hey Arnold! was then and is still now, a modern classic cartoon.
Hey Arnold! Season Three shows the writing staff of this classic cartoon at the top its game. The episodes contained in Season Three are enjoyable first and foremost for their laughs and life lessons that are peppered throughout. Also making Season Three so enjoyable is that the show’s writers manage to flesh out the show even more, balancing episodes centered on Arnold with those centered on his friends, too. The episodes centered on Arnold’s friends are just as enjoyable as those centered on Arnold. One of the prime examples of this comes right off that bat in the episode, “Harold The Butcher.” Audiences get from this episode a solid story that focuses on Arnold’s friend Harold. It entertains and teaches the very valuable lesson of the value of hard, honest work. Harold learns this lesson after being made to work in Mr. Green’s butcher shop as punishment for shoplifting one of the hams from the shop. The irony of the episode is that what starts as a punishment turns out to be something that Harold thinks could be his calling as he enjoys being a butcher so much.
Harold isn’t the only one of Arnold’s friends that gets his own episode in Season Three. Side, another of his friends, gets two of his own episodes this Season. Both are enjoyable in their own right. But it’s the episode titled, “Sid’s Revenge” that audiences will really enjoy. Sid learns the valuable lesson to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it in this episode. He learns this lesson after having been wrongly accused of using fake vomit for a prank at school. When Principal Wartz doesn’t believe him, he wishes some very bad things against Principal Wartz. Ironically enough, circumstances arise that lead Sid to believe that Principal Wartz has indeed died. His reaction to these circumstances makes for some of the season’s funniest moments. That’s thanks in large part to voice actor Sam Gifaldi. Gifaldi’s comic timing is perfect from start to finish as always. His work is so solid that both the show’s original audiences and their own kids will still find it funny to this day. It’s just one more example of what makes Hey Arnold! Season Three such a joy.
Audiences will get a kick out of seeing the episodes centered on Arnold’s friends in Season Three. Of course Arnold still gets his time in the limelight. Those who have picked up the already released first two seasons know that they already get to enjoy both the entertainment and the important lesson taught in “Arnold’s Christmas.” Now audiences also get to enjoy just as much enjoyment from “Arnold’s Thanksgiving.” And as in “Arnold’s Christmas”, both Arnold and his secret admirer, Helga G. Pataki, learn a very valuable lesson. They learn in this half hour holiday special, to appreciate having the families that they have, as dysfunctional as they may seem. In seeing how dysfunctional the teacher’s family is, they realize that maybe what they have isn’t so bad after all. The lesson taught in this special episode makes it another excellent example of what makes Season Three so enjoyable. It isn’t without its entertaining factors, though. Audiences will laugh seeing just how dysfunctional Helga and Arnold’s families are. In the case of Arnold’s grandparents, his grandmother thinks Thanksgiving is July 4th. So everyone in the board house is forced to celebrate in kind. In Helga’s case, she’s treated like a complete outsider since her older sister Olga is home for the holidays. The way her parents react is so outrageous. Yet there’s a certain amount of truth to their reaction. Anyone with more than one child will agree with the portrayal at least to a point.
Hey Arnold! is a solid show for the whole family. Anyone that grew up with this modern classic cartoon knows that. Whether in its third season or its other four, its writers developed stories that are timeless. They are timeless because of the balance of their general entertainment value and for the equally important life lessons taught through so many of the show’s episodes. This season’s episodes are no different. That has already been noted. The show’s animation style also helps to make it enjoyable. The animation used for Hey Arnold! is unlike the animation for any other show from Nickelodeon’s golden era. It really served to help establish the show’s identity in coordination with the equally solid writing for each episode. One example of how different this show’s animation was from any of the other Nicktoons of its time is the background art. While Arnold and his friends were so finely drawn, the backgrounds look like they were drawn with color pencils. In all reality, the backgrounds could even be argued to look like they were drawn with a certain style chalk. It’s a rough style. But that roughness set against the smoother style used for the characters makes for a wholly original style. And it’s that original animation style mixed with the equally impressive writing throughout that makes Hey Arnold! Season Three well worth picking up for any classic cartoon fan. It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, January 29th. It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216624.
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