How Hey Arnold's Creator Responded To The Cartoon's Alleged Sex Scene

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder’s eye can also be attributed to finding lewd sex acts in 1990s Nickelodeon cartoons. A years-old Vine started making the Internet rounds again recently featuring a brief moment from a Hey Arnold episode in which it looks like one character’s dinner includes another character’s private parts. (You can find it below.) Unsurprisingly, the Nickelodeon classic wasn’t getting x-rated at all, and the show’s creator has actually come out and specifically shot down the risqué rumor.

The scene is from ‘Arnold’s Thanksgiving,’ and the kids are leaving Mr. Simmons’ apartment, where his family is arguing at the table. That’s Uncle Chuck eating a turkey with his hands. I assure you it was never intended to be what the guy tweeted it was.

Those of you with hats crafted out of tinfoil will note that there’s likely no way a successful TV creator would admit to sneaking a completely pointless and ill-timed sexual act into a kids’ show, meaning we’ll likely never get the “real” answer. But we’re going to go ahead and give Craig Bartlett the benefit of the doubt here, since we have no real reason to suspect that he wants everyone to associate Thanksgiving dinner with pornographic exhibitionism.

For those who haven’t seen the clip in question, you can watch it below. It’s admittedly difficult to ignore the alleged munching after you’ve been prompted for it.

Of course, you can see Uncle Chuck eating that same piece of turkey in the split second before the awkward juxtaposition is seen, making it even more difficult to buy into this being of a sexual nature. No one should bring greasy turkey hands to the metaphorical bedroom.

Creator Craig Bartlett told AV Club that he hadn’t realized how odd that moment looked between the two characters, despite having watched the episode many, many times. He said he was presumably just paying attention to Arnold and Helga, as the scene called for.

Hey Arnold fans are undoubtedly pumped for the future, as Bartlett is in the process of bringing the cartoon series back to Nickelodeon as a TV movie that will head to the jungle to dig into the story of Arnold’s parents. We’re definitely hoping that this return to these characters’ lives feels genuine and services our memories of this beloved show properly. And that it also inspires the network, which got into legitimate trouble in recent years over adult imagery in a cartoon, to revisit everything else in its history.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.