I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hey Arnold! as a kid. Every day after school I would eat my Famous Amos cookies with a glass of milk and feast my eyes on the television screen.
I really valued how kind and helpful Arnold was to everybody and how Gerald was such an incredible best friend. I felt really bad for Helga, and I could relate to the pressure Phoebe put on herself to excel at her studies.
Let's all be honest, though. We all mostly wanted to live in Arnold's room with that sweet rooftop access. I was insanely jealous.
Am I right or am I right?
Arnold's name may be in the title, but according to iSmokeTheXS on Reddit, this fan may have another theory on who really drove the story forward.
Think about it, who is the only person in the show that ever gives a monologue? Who is the character that is struggling with strong inner issues that involve coming of age and self? Even the name of the show is a quote straight from Helga (yes others say it too but she shouts it in the entire intro and many episodes). In almost every episode they halt the plot to let her go on her love rants. Though Arnold is the key source of moral dilemma in the show, Helga is the one who young children can relate to when it comes to relationships. It's hard to express your feelings for the opposite gender when you're young and Helga is the perfect example of that. She deeply cares for Arnold but is mean to him anyway. Often I find myself quietly cheering for her but she always ruins everything for herself. Notice how they never give a true focus to any other character unless it's a special episode. Her monologues were what really tipped me off. It's almost as if the show is told from her perspective, but it's really hard to realize because everything points to Arnold. The title has his name, he appears to be the main character of many episodes, and he always feeds the audience the moral lesson of the episode. But in actuality, I believe that Hey Arnold is a show about Helga G Pataki.
This actually makes a lot of sense. No other character has such deep inner monologues as Helga, and we probably focus an equal amount of time on Helga as we do on Arnold.
I also consistently found myself feeling the most empathy for her as a child, and wishing and hoping that she'd find happiness and the courage to be loving and less defensive.
Whether you love Helga or hate her, you have to admit that you were definitely rooting for her. Perhaps many of us really identified with Helga in some way, and therefore we cried when she cried and celebrated when she finally made a step towards being nice to Arnold.
Regardless, the various characters of Hey Arnold! will always have a soft spot in my heart. But I will specifically always be team Helga, especially since my nanny's nickname for me was Pataki after this dynamic and sensitive character.