I’m massively in love with Helga Pataki from the wonderful cartoon “Hey Arnold!” This isn’t a secret. I named my Ukulele after her. She is my spirit animal, my guru, my Beyoncé. I feel like she doesn’t get credit where credit is due. She is the embodiment of every 90s kid with a serious, serrrioussss crush on someone. That shrine, classic. Helga, I see you. And I respect you. My hats off to you, m’lady.
1. She’s an onion
My girl Helga is layered as fuuuuuu. Even though the show is supposed to be about Arnold, we dive way more into Helga’s psyche. She’s a representation of something so many of us do: putting on a front from fear of rejection. She has her tough girl exterior, but we know how ooey-gooey she is inside. She’s not just one thing, and that’s so relatable.
2. She doesn’t care about eyebrows being fleek
You think she should pluck and wax and do whatever to make sure her brows are on point? COOL, but she’s not going to. She rocks that unibrow like no other.
3. She’s in elementary school and writes poetry
Okay, I have a soft spot for her based on this alone. Did I have a journal filled with declarations of undying love for my own personal Arnold when I was nine years old? MAYBE. She’s an artist! Even though she often can’t express her feelings face-to-face, rest assured she is filling pages and pages with her beautiful thoughts.
4. She’s selfless when it comes to the people she loves
Do you know how often she did shit for Arnold without him even realizing it? Even though she covers it up with her bully attitude, her love for him is so unconditional and real. She doesn’t do stuff for the credit. She does it because she cares about him. In the Christmas episode, she sacrifices her expensive new Nancy Spumoni boots to secretly help Arnold find Mr. Hyunh’s daughter. SOME REAL SHIT! *feeeeeelssssss*
5. She rejects your gender norms
She’ll wear a pink dress and play contact sports alongside her male classmates. You can’t box this babe in. Helga is Helga. First and foremost. And honestly, that’s all she needs to be.
6. She doesn’t let her past pain stop her from loving
She has kind of a horrible family. Her dad, Big Bob, is the biggest piece-of-shit douchebag. Seriously. Now watching the show back, I want to swoop in there and adopt Helga out of that hellhole. In the episode, “Helga on the Couch” we actually learn that her affection for Arnold was first spurred by her family neglecting her and Arnold being one of the few individuals who is actually nice to her. There’s definitely some transference in emotions going on here, but it could be so easy for Helga to just close herself off to *~luv~*~ but that’s not what she does. She’s got a deep, emotional complexity and though it’s in secret, wants nothing more than to have a loving relationship with Football Head. I like to believe she has a family with him now and they function very differently than the family Helga grew up with. (Shut up, I think about this stuff, OKAY?!)
7. She’s a total prodigy
Seriously. This is one intelligent child. She spouts dramatic soliloquies with ease and a damn impressive vocabulary. She’s well-read and cultured. She’s able to identify the work of Edward Hopper and makes a reference to George Orwell’s 1984. You know…casual stuff for kids to do. And in the episode, “The Aptitude Test”, we discover she scores perfectly on a standardized test. YOU GO, HELGA PATAKI. FOUR FOR YOU, HELGA PATAKI.