Before presenting my piece, here is the prompt:
It’s the season of joy, thankfulness, and love. This month’s topic is “Warmth.” Whether it is spending time with family members during the holiday season or with that special someone during New Year’s, we will discuss moments in anime and pop culture media that convey a feeling of happiness in our hearts. During times of struggles, we look towards the things that matter to us as a source of strength, hope, and happiness. We hope you enjoy this round of posts and that you will have a wonderful holiday season!
Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (2017)
Created By Craig Bartlett
Directed By Raymie Muzquiz
If you don’t remember this American cartoon or if you were still too young to even recall it (this is a sign of how old I am), here is a basic premise of the show. Hey Arnold! is centered on the everyday life of a football-headed, urban city kid named Arnold and his adventures with his neighborhood friends and classmates. In the early 2000s, this cartoon ended on a series cliffhanger in which we were left wondering about what happened to Arnold’s parents. They were constantly referenced in the series and were talked about in a special episode entitled “The Journal,” but after that, it remained as an unsolved mystery until now. I was super hyped when it was announced that there will be a television movie that answers this mystery.
If you haven’t watch Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, I suggest you go watch it now because there will be some spoilers here.
Arnold and his fifth-grade class won a trip to do some humanitarian work in San Lorenzo, the area where Arnold’s parents were last seen. While there, Arnold hopes to find some answers about his parents.
In the beginning of the film, Mr. Simmons assigns a last minute project to his students; in hopes that they will be picked for the humanitarian project in San Lorenzo. Most of the students had no interest in it except for Arnold and his best friend, Gerald. For the video project, Arnold and Gerald decided to create a home for Monkey Man, but their plans were foiled. When all seemed hopeless, Gerald, Helga, and a few of their other friends submit a video demonstrating how kind and good-hearted Arnold is and why he deserves to go to San Lorenzo.
When Arnold’s friends presented the video to him, the video contained clips showing all the great deeds Arnold has done for people, and also, everyone that Arnold helped was there to show their appreciation to him. As viewers, we couldn’t help but feel nostalgic because we, too, are recalling all those fond memories in each episode we have watched over the years. For me, it was nice and heartwarming to see some minor characters in the series making a cameo such as Pigeon Man. It is these minor characters and helpful actions that shaped Arnold into a good person. In fact, even our personas are influenced by our interactions with others to some degree.
A Last Name
Throughout the series, Arnold’s last name was never revealed. It was a running gag until this movie came out when we finally see Arnold’s last name on his passport. His full name is Arnold Shortman, which is funny because throughout the series “Shortman” was interpreted as a “nickname” for his short stature among viewers, but now we learn that his Grandpa and others were just calling him by his last name.
By finally revealing his last name, it establishes that Arnold has parents and a “real” family that he is part of. A last name suggests a family history, creates an identity and includes a person in a family grouping. Thus, it was nice to see that Arnold has a full name for himself because the last name is like a missing piece that finally completes Arnold’s character.
In “The Journal,” it was revealed that Arnold was separated from his parents after going on one final mission to help stop a sickness that was harming the Green-Eyed people. When Arnold finally meets the Green-Eyed people, he learns that his parents and the parents of the Green-Eyed people were in an eternal slumber.
It was prophesized that Arnold will cure the adults and he magically did. Now, this is an unrealistic storyline that isn’t like the typical storylines in the show but it worked. This ending gave a happy ending for both Arnold and the viewers; in which Arnold reunites with both his mom and dad and then they become a happy family, living in Grandpa’s boarding house. It’s sad that Arnold’s parents missed out on his elementary school years but now, they are going to be there for him.
As I recall this ending, I couldn’t help but apply this “Green-Eyed illness” to viewers like me, who are “kid adults.” I think as viewers, we are waking up to reality by saying goodbye to a piece of our childhood. This send-off for Hey Arnold! was a great way to do that.
I picked Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie for this month’s topic, “Warmth” because this movie brought back nostalgia and the feels. It definitely warmed my heart knowing that Arnold got the ending he deserves, which is something that most cartoons don’t get…ever.