Your Childhood’s Calling: ‘Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie’ Coming Nov. 24 to Nickelodeon

For fans of Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!”, giving thanks lasts an extra day.

On Friday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, on Nick, TeenNick and Nicktoons, “Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie” picks up where the beloved 1996-2004 Nickelodeon series left off.

Created by Craig Bartlett, the show centered on a fourth-grader named Arnold, who lived with his grandparents in an inner-city boarding house. Together with his friends — including street-smart Gerald and bully/secret admirer Helga — Arnold negotiated the challenges of city living.

In the movie (full details here), co-written and executive produced by Bartlett, Arnold and his pals reunite on a class trip to the same jungle location where Arnold’s parents disappeared when he was a baby.

Take a look:

A lot of original fans of “Hey Arnold!” are now young adults, and those that are parents could share the show with their own little ones. According to an interview Bartlett did with the Huffington Post, a few things are different in the show, including:

Everybody’s grown up a bit:

“I said, ’Look we know we’re going to have to redesign everything from the ground up ― the characters, the backgrounds. Let’s make it so that a couple years have gone by ― a year or two, say ― so you can accept that the kids are a little older, they’ve gotten a little taller.’”

Arnold’s not actually wearing a kilt.

“That was kind of a gag between me and the designers,” Bartlett said of Arnold’s look. “Hey, maybe he’s still kind of wearing the same shirt, but he’s a little taller [in the new movie] and so now you can see more of his pants, so it’s not as kilt-like.

The saga of Pigeon Man continues.

In this scene, saddened by the destruction of his pigeon coop, Pigeon Man took his leave of Arnold.

But where did he go? Apparently some people were spreading rumors on the Internet that the Pigeon Man flying away was originally to be a suicide attempt. Bartlett says this emphatically is not true.

In the movie, we learn the Pigeon Man has taken up residence at Paris’ most famous Catholic cathedral.

Said Bartlett:

He’s basically living in Notre Dame taking care of pigeons in Paris. I was so annoyed about that rumor that I specifically put him in “The Jungle Movie” to know that he’s alive and well and in Paris.

So, is “Hey Arnold!” good for Christian kids?

If you’re worried about the content in “Hey Arnold!” — which did deal with some of the realities of city life — here’s what apologist Jimmy Akin said at Catholic review site Decent Films had to say about a 2002 feature-film (not TV-movie) version of the show:

Nickelodeon’s animated “Hey Arnold!” TV series, created by the Snee-Oosh animation house, is one of the better cartoon shows around.

It is entertaining in a low-key, kid-friendly mode, yet also far more psychologically complex than most cartoons. With its ensemble cast of quirky characters and its visual conceits — such as Arnold’s football-shaped head — it offers a stylized look at the human condition in a way that is both whimsical and grounded in reality.

Finally, Arnold himself is a great kid: decent, respectful, down to earth, and full of common sense. In his neighborhood full of eccentrics and kooky characters, Arnold is the calm eye in the hurricane — a fourth-grade Andy Griffith in the Big City. In fact, like Andy Griffith, Arnold spends much of his time solving the problems of those around him. (For more on this commendable series, see my related piece.)

The return of “Hey Arnold!”?

And there might even be a new series, as Bartlett shared at Comic-Con:

“[In season six] they would be in sixth grade and so on, and we would just watch them grow. Maybe eventually they’d even become teenagers.”

So, grown-up ’90s kids, are you going to share “Hey Arnold!” with your kids?

Image: Courtesy Nickelodeon

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