Eugene, Eugene! is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.


Eugene gets the lead role in the 4th grade production of "Eugene, Eugene", but the embitttered director removes all signs of joy from the script. Meanwhile, Lila gets the role of the leading lady in the play, and with Arnold playing the villain pursuing her, Helga attempts to sabotage her during the play.


PS 118 is putting on a production of a classic Broadway musical called "Eugene, Eugene!", about a luckless loser who pines for a girl named Betty who is torn between him and the evil villain Lawrence. Eugene is especially excited since this is his favorite show and playing the title role is his dream.

The 4th graders all go to audition while Helga opts to work backstage for the play, thanks to Phoebe's advice. After everyone auditions for the director Mr. Leichliter, he selects Eugene to play Eugene, Lila to play Betty, and Arnold as Lawrence. Eugene is so excited he stays up late reading the entire script, only to discover the ending has been changed. Instead of Eugene getting Betty and singing a song called "Sunny Side Up", he gets hit by a trolley, Lawrence gets the girl and sings a song called "Nice Guys Finish Last". Eugene is upset by this.

When Eugene shows Arnold, they confront Mr. Leichliter, who tells them he changed the ending himself to reflect real life (it is apparent he was influenced by his own past relationship with a woman). He tells the two the audience will love the ending. Eugene tries to remain optimistic while Arnold is still unsure. When Helga hears about the new ending, she plans to ruin Arnold and Lila's kiss.

After two weeks of rehearsal, Eugene and Lila are doing well while Arnold's performance is a little unenthusiastic. After they perform the ending for the first time, Eugene is hurt by the stage trolley and Arnold is criticized by Mr. Leichliter for not singing the song mean enough and sings it himself. He tells the cast to get some rest for the premiere the next night. Later that night backstage, alone and still bruised, Eugene sadly and slowly sings "Sunny Side Up" while playing the piano. Arnold shows up and tells Eugene that he's quitting the play because he cannot go through with the ending. Eugene protests that the rest of the show is upbeat but Arnold tells him it's the ending that counts. Eugene admits Arnold is right and is ashamed of himself for going along with it, but Arnold tells him that's what Eugene, Eugene would have done. Eugene wishes they could change the play somehow, which gives him and Arnold an idea.

The next night, Helga rigs a paint can to dump paint on Arnold and Lila during their kiss. The play goes well, with Arnold giving a much improved performance and the crowd loving Eugene. Right before the final scene, Arnold tells Lila that if anything happens she should just go with it. The scene plays out as scheduled, but just as Eugene is about to be hit by the trolley, he dodges it and knocks on Betty's door. He holds up a newspaper and Lila reads Betty's lines from the original ending where she chooses Eugene. Eugene kisses her, leaving Lawrence unhappy. Eugene then begins to sing "Sunny Side Up". When Helga sees the ending has changed, she tries to stop the paint, only to have it dumped on her. Mr. Leichliter is initially furious they changed the ending, but changes his mind when he sees how well the audience is responding to it. As the crowd gives a standing ovation, Mr. Leichliter's ex-girlfriend shows up and embraces him. As the song finishes, Eugene is accidentally dropped and destroys the set, but everyone still loves the show.


  • This is the last episode to take place before Hey Arnold! The Movie. It was in production at the same time as the movie and was originally meant to be the last "regular" episode, hence it being written as a big musical.
  • Michelle Lamoreaux and Craig Bartlett were credited for the lyrics next to Jim Lang who was credited for the music.
  • Unlike other quarter-hour episodes, this one lasts 12 minutes and 30 seconds, which makes this the longest quarter-hour episode of all.
  • In another gag not revealing Arnold's last name, Leichliter cannot read his last name because of his own handwriting.
  • The Eugene, Eugene! Chorus
    The people who made up the chorus are credited at the end of the episode:
  • This is Lila's last speaking role to date.

Cultural References

  • When auditioning, Sid does a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire, while Rhonda does the final scene from the film Gone with the Wind. Leichliter replies with, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a hoot," a reference to Rhett's line from the latter.
  • Arnold's character says after losing the girl, "Curses! Foiled again!", a clichéd villain line often attributed to cartoon villain Snidely Whiplash (although he rarely said it in the series) and also said by Dick Dastardly.


  • Mr. Leichliter from the episode "School Play" reappears, only now he's a musical director instead of a critic.
  • In this episode, Arnold doesn't seem to care that he was playing in a part alongside Lila, confirming that he got over his crush on her in the previous episode.


  • Where are everybody's parents? Of the parents we know about, only Gerald's mother is in the audience. The same thing happened to the episode "Downtown as Fruits".
  • How did the orchestra and the others in the play know the words to the "new" closing song? It's possible that Arnold and Eugene told everyone about the new song during the intermissions.
  • Peapod Kid is seen in the opening song of the musical but later when Eugene is about to be hit by the trolley, he's in the audience.


See also

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