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Most kids who grew up in the 1990s will likely cite Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold! as a fundamental aspect of their childhood. The stylish cartoon about a fourth grader with a football-shaped head ran from 1996 to 2004 and was the source of numerous moral stories for children of the time to grow up to. However, as Arnold lived with his grandparents throughout the run of the series, it was never fully explained what happened to his mother and father – until now.
New reports indicate that Nickelodeon will soon produce a TV movie that picks up right where the series left off in 2004. It has also been reported that the film will provide context and answers to numerous aspects of the series that he previously been left unexplained – particularly the fate of Arnold’s parents. Variety reports the new TV movie still doesn't have an airdate, so it could be a while before we learn the answer. Nonetheless the film is definitely coming.
Despite never fully explaining what exactly happened to Arnold’s parents, Hey Arnold! did broach the subject on a few occasions. Throughout the show’s run, it became apparent that Arnold’s mother and father – Stella and Miles, respectively – were scientists who worked in the South American country of San Lorenzo. Together, they helped villagers in the small country when a plague known as the “Sleeping Sickness” broke out and began infecting the indigenous population. The show depicted them as young, adventurous, and very much in love during their lives. One of the final episodes of Hey Arnold! titled “The Journal” went into detail on their adventures together, giving Arnold some much needed peace of mind on the matter, but never fully explained the fate that befell Miles and Stella.
While some fans may be excited about the possibility of this story being told, it may also prove problematic for others. Ambiguity can sometimes be a much stronger storytelling device than full-blown explanation. For example, it could be argued that The Amazing Spider-Man franchise alienated many members of the audience by delving deep into the similar fates of Peter Parker’s parents in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Perhaps it’s better for the audience if certain stories are left untold and unexplored.
Then again, if handled properly, this TV movie could lead to an entire new generation of plotlines for the Hey Arnold! universe to explore; only time will tell for sure. We'll let you know when Nickelodeon gives us an official premiere date. In addition, here's what's coming up elsewhere at midseason.