Nickelodeon series Hey Arnold! may have finished its original run in 2004, but the sweet, deep-thinking cartoon still remains a favorite among children and adults. In fact, the show is so beloved that in November this year, Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie is set to premiere as the final wrap up to the series.
Following the reveal of first look material for The Jungle Movie at San Diego Comic Con 2017, Craig Bartlett — the creator of Hey Arnold! — sat down with Great Big Story to discuss the show and its origins. However not only did Bartlett discuss some interesting facts about the series, he also debunked that bizarre Pigeon Man suicide theory once and for all.
What Is The Pigeon Man Suicide Theory?
After first being posted over on Reddit a few years ago, the pigeon man suicide theory swept the internet. The theory was based around the Season 1 episode "Pigeon Man" in which Arnold encounters a hermit who prefers the company of pigeons over other humans. While Pigeon Man (whose real name is Vincent) and Arnold bond over a slice of pizza after the recovery of Arnold's carrier pigeon, the character Harold destroys Vincent's pigeon sanctuary. After Vincent sees the mess and is once again disappointed by humans, he decides to leave the city and is carried off the roof into the sunset by his precious pigeons.
However the fan theory posits that Pigeon Man flying into the sunset was actually a false memory created by Arnold to help him recover from the horrific trauma of having witnessed a suicide. The suicide theory was seemingly backed up by many of the poignant lines spoken by the Pigeon Man before he flew away, including "its time for me to leave here" and "some people are meant to be with people. Others, like me, are just different." And while it almost seemed to fit in a twisted way, Bartlett has now explained what he envisioned when he created that episode. (Spoilers: It wasn't suicide.)
The Truth About Pigeon Man
Bartlett describes the Pigeon Man theory as a "pet peeve" of his, and revealed that he and the writers had a much different future in mind for the avian aficionado:
"I hate [the suicide theory], we wrote what we wrote because I wanted him to fly away — I always imaged Pigeon Man going to Paris next, where he helps the pigeons in Paris"
And after explaining where he thought Pigeon Man actually ended up he wanted to debunk any suicide theory once and for all, saying:
"I just really wanna set the record straight, Pigeon Man is not a suicide story, he's fine."
So there you have it, football heads, Pigeon Man is actually living the high life in Paris, living among the European pigeons that inhabit the city's famous landmarks — not a bad life, really!
But while #HeyArnold! never aired an episode that secretly dealt with the issue of suicide, Bartlett did discuss how the series had helped those battling with their own issues in real life:
"One of the themes in the series is that you're kind of trying to make the most out of a not-so-good situation. That's really what the show's about. I'll get these really heartfelt notes from people and they'll say that they got strength when things looked their worst. What can be better than that? That's incredibly gratifying."
Fans of all ages will have the chance to enjoy a brand new story with Arnold and his friends when Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie premieres on Nickelodeon on November 23, 2017.
You can watch Bartlett's full interview below:
Did you believe the Pigeon Man suicide theory?
(Source: Great Big Story)