Married is a special half-hour episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.


After an origami marriage predictor predicts Arnold and Helga will get married, they each have a dream about a married life with each other.


With the help of an origami wedding predictor that she has filled out with the names of her classmates, Rhonda claims to infallibly predict who will marry whom. She then predicts that Arnold and Helga will get married as adults, much to Arnold's dismay and Helga's secret triumph. A heavily affected Arnold spends several hours trying to get a different outcome, to no avail, which is interpreted as the inevitability of his marriage to Helga. The idea causes such a heavy impact on each of them that they both have dreams in which their interpretation of said marriage plays out that very night.

Helga dreams of an elegant, romantic church wedding in which a muscular and dreamy Arnold and she wed, after which they go to Venice for their honeymoon. As they travel the canals on a gondola, a bedraggled Lila appears, begging that Arnold love her back again, to which he responds that he loves Helga (Lila's gondola promptly sinks). They live a dreamily happy life in New York City, in the midst of which Helga decides that she wants to run for president: she wins the elections, even letting Arnold have a few seconds for himself during her acceptance speech (after which he is promptly elbowed out of the way). Helga proceeds to deal with presidential duties, with an adult Phoebe as her secretary, never hesitating to axe every compromise to let Arnold in to see her or have a pastrami sandwich. As she attempts to come to a compromise with Switzerland over the phone late at night, Phoebe bursts in to tell her Arnold has been kidnapped by a mysterious organization, and is prepared to send out the rescue team when Helga insists on rescuing him herself. With Phoebe guiding her via com-link, Helga breaks into the enemy fortress, battling ninjas and breaking through convoluted security measures until she reaches the control room, where Arnold is tied to a chair. She then briefly battles the masked organization leader, who, once defeated, turns out to be Lila. Failing to win Arnold's heart, Lila concocted the kidnapping to make one last attempt at making him love her again, though she is now profoundly sorry. After Arnold once again says his only love is Helga, the US Secret Service (led by an adult Gerald) arrives to arrest Lila for kidnapping Arnold, and the reunited couple romance on a hot air balloon.

As Helga lives her fantasy, Arnold is having a nightmare: he appears at church and is told by Gerald that he is no longer nine (he is 25, and appears tall) and that he is there to be married with the woman he fell in love with. As he is told of this, a veiled bride walks up to him, revealing herself to be Helga, to his horror. Arnold attempts to resist (even as an adult Rhonda shows up with the origami wedding predictor, on which only Helga's name is visible to him), but is finally tricked into saying "I do" by Helga, causing him to wake up. He is then dragged to his new home, the Pataki household, where Big Bob informs him of his new job at Big Bob's Beepers to maintain his new wife, who proceeds to spend all day in front of the T.V, snacking. He is expected to work as an unloader, a heavy duty job that feels worse when accidents keep stopping him from safely unloading the boxes. As Arnold and his new father-in-law are coming home from an awful day at work, Big Bob points out a stork flying over the house: a load of bratty, misbehaving babies has been delivered to them (after having been married for only two days), all of which are left entirely to Arnold's care, despite the fact that he must also go out to work. After arriving home the next day (as it appears in the dream's continuity) to the babies ravaging the house as an insolent Helga watches on, Arnold decides he has had it: he grabs Helga angrily, telling her that if they have to be married, things have to change. He declares that he will quit his job, that they will move out of the house and find a new place, that she will have to have her share of responsibilities and, most importantly, she will have to show him some respect.

As the Pataki house fades around them, Arnold seizes Helga, telling her that he knows she isn't "that cold, lazy and uncaring", urging her to show her "good" side. Her ruse exposed, Helga breaks down and accepts that her outward aggressiveness hides a softer interior, and that Arnold alone has seen through it. As Helga is about to confess that she does love him, his alarm clock rings, and the dream ends.

That day, Arnold recounts his dream to Gerald as they take the bus home after school. Arnold doesn't deny that the beginning of his dream was pretty awful, but admits that Helga turned out to be a good person in the end. Arnold also says that even though he's only nine years old and thus has plenty of time to decide to who he'll marry (assuming that he does get married), he says that if he and Helga end up becoming a couple when they're older, and eventually get married, it might not actually be that bad. Helga, who is crouching in the chair behind them, is pleased to hear it.

At that moment, Rhonda climbs onto the bus and publicly declares that she has found the marriage predictor to be faulty, making all her predictions false. She apologizes to Arnold for the fright she feels she must have caused him, as it was his marriage prediction which made her think the origami marriage predictor faulty. She comments to Phoebe on the unlikelihood of the couples she'd predicted, asking her if she could ever imagine Arnold and Helga together. Phoebe says nothing, but smilingly imagines an adult Arnold and Helga holding hands atop a lighthouse watching the sunset, marriage rings on their fingers.


Movie Trailer promo 1080 HD00:46

Movie Trailer promo 1080 HD

The HA! Movie Trailer where Helga wears her spy outfit.

  • In Helga's dream, the outfit she wears to save Arnold is the same one she wears in a promo of Hey Arnold! The Movie.
  • About 10:15 into the episode, the Twin Towers of the former World Trade Center can be seen in the background of Helga's dream. This episode was produced in 2000, a year before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but was aired exactly eight months after the attacks. Other landmarks that can be seen are the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building and Central Park.
  • On the day this episode first aired, there was a 4-hour Hey Arnold! marathon called "Helga's Aching Heart", consisting of past Helga-centric episodes and this episode's premiere.
  • For a long time, this was one of few episodes to not be apart of TeenNick's regular rotation on The Splat until Valentine's Day of 2017 when this episode along with April Fool's Day (although the second half was missing in the broadcast) and Arnold's Valentine aired.
  • In Arnold's nightmare, he and Helga are still wearing their wedding outfits while in Helga's dream, they wear different clothing. 
  • In Helga's dream, Arnold takes her last name, continuing the trend of Arnold's official last name not being revealed.
  • Eugene and Nadine can be seen in the background while Lila is being carried away by Stinky and Harold.
  • Arnold's favorite number is 5, his favorite color is blue and he was born on the 7th.
  • Because of Arnold's nightmare, this episode was ranked #54 in the "Top 100 Greatest Moments In Nicktoon History" countdown, and was the highest-ranked Hey Arnold! episode to make it into the countdown.

Cultural References

  • After Helga gives her inaugural speech, she gives the crowd and cameras "V signs" with both her hands. This is in reference to President Nixon's characteristic gesture, the most notable instance was on August 9, 1974, the day of his resignation.
  • Right after the inaugural speech, a character can be seen in the crowd sporting a mohawk and a military jacket. This is a reference to Travis Bickle, the protagonist/anti-hero from the movie Taxi Driver. This character has been seen on various occasions throughout the series, such as the episode "Cool Jerk".
  • In Helga's dream, Lila's mask is similar to one of the masks of "Cobra Commander", a fictional terrorist from the eponymous G.I. Joe franchise.

Story Analysis

  • In Arnold's nightmare, Bob and Miriam act exactly as they do in reality, which is definitive evidence that Arnold is aware of the dysfunction in Helga's home.
  • Helga's confession in Arnold's dream is strong evidence that Arnold (or at least his subconscious) is aware that Helga has feelings for him, and that she's mean because she's afraid to show them.
    • Her dream confession also shares some similarities with her soliloquy from behind the trash can, implying Arnold heard some of it, without realizing it was about him.
  • It has been suggested that Phoebe's daydream about a married Helga and Arnold is actually a quick flashforward of their adult life. This is supported by Craig Bartlett, who's confirmed that Arnold and Helga do end up getting together when they're older and eventually get married and have children as adults.


  • When Arnold is walking with Big Bob (in Arnold's nightmare), Bob points out that there's a stork flying off his roof. While he says this, his legs are incorrectly layered behind his cape, leaving only his upper body visible.
  • When the camera switches to Helga after Arnold talks to Lila in the playground, Phoebe suddenly disappears.


See also

External links

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