Parents Day is a special half-hour episode of Hey Arnold!.


At the Parents Tournament Weekend, Arnold learns that even though he doesn't have "real" parents, his grandparents are just as good as everyone else's parents.



Grandpa tells Arnold a story about his parents.


Arnold finds out about "Parents Tournament Weekend".


Helga and Big Bob at the Parents Tournament Weekend


Grandma tells Grandpa to go talk to Arnold, and that he needs him.


Arnold's dad (left) points out a cloud to Eduardo (right)


Eduardo asks Arnold's parents for one last mission.


Arnold, Grandma and Grandpa compete on the last day of Parent's Tournament Weekend.

Every night before bed, Grandpa tell stories to Arnold about his mom and dad and the many adventures they had. After Grandpa finishes the story about how his parents saved a village from the sleeping sickness, Arnold asks what happened next. However, Grandpa says he'll finish the story tomorrow night.

The next day at P.S. 118, Mr. Simmons announces to the class about the upcoming "Parents Day" tournament weekend. Stinky tries to ask Arnold if he's going to bring his grandparents because he doesn't have any parents of his own, until Gerald nudges at him to stop.

Gerald is excited about the tournament. However, Arnold isn't and is not going to show up. Gerald says he should bring his grandparents, reminding him that his Grandpa can bench press 210 lbs and that his Grandma is a Karate master. Arnold isn't convinced and hopes that his grandparents have forgotten. Arnold walks in to see Grandma and Grandpa getting ready for the tournament weekend.

Arnold is ready for bed and Grandpa walks in ready to finish the story from last night. However, Arnold says he doesn't feel like having a story. Grandpa becomes concerned, but then reassures Arnold they will strike fear and terror into the hearts of his classmates in the tournament weekend.

The next day, the tournament weekend begins with Big Bob proclaiming that whoever wins are the best parents. In the sack race, Helga and Big Bob come 1st while Arnold and Grandpa come last. However, Grandpa then beats Big Bob in the ring toss.

Phoebe and Arnold's team are tied for 2nd while Helga's team is 1st. The next event is the egg toss which Grandpa is keen to compete in with Arnold, while Helga and Big Bob start to fight. During the egg toss event, Helga becomes distracted by Arnold and gets hit in the face by an egg. Big Bob has an outburst and calls Arnold "Orphan Boy", which distracts Arnold and makes him lose the egg toss.

Grandpa asks what happened out there but Arnold just says he "got turned around". Helga tries to apologize to Arnold about the incident but it only makes him feel worse, even though Helga thought the apology went well.

During dinner, Arnold hasn't touched his food. When Grandpa asks what wrong he tell them that he doesn't want to continue with the tournament tomorrow, and that while he thinks that Grandma and Grandpa are great, they aren't really his parents. After Arnold leaves, Grandpa doesn't know what to do. Grandma tells him that Arnold need him and that he'd better go talk to him. Grandpa agrees but doesn't think a story about his parents is going to help.

Grandpa enters Arnold's room and suggests a few bedtime stories but doesn't get much response. Arnold says he wants the real story about what actually happened to his parents. Worried, Grandpa asks Arnold if he's sure. Arnold says he is sure and Grandpa begins to tell him the truth.

Arnold's father really was a scientist. One day he went out with his friend Eduardo to find a cure for a terrible illness in the Central American country of San Lorenzo. It was there that he came across Arnold's mom after coming across another research party. Arnold's dad soon said goodbye to her in order to continue his research, but during the journey up a mountain, a donkey kicked over some giant rocks that fell under Eduardo and him. The two of them are rescued by Arnold's mom and her group and are given shelter for the night. Arnold's mom and dad continued to talk and laugh together until finally they share their first kiss.

Grandpa said they were meant for each other and that they travelled the world together. They really loved each other and decided to get married and have Arnold. Arnold wants to know what happened after that. Grandpa then realised that Arnold might have been too young to remember at the time.

One day while a young Arnold played with his parents in the park, Eduardo arrived bringing news that some mountain people were suffering from a terrible illness, and that only they could help. Arnold's dad refuses saying that Arnold's mom and him have a baby now. Eduardo says if they can't help then these mountain people could die out forever. He says to do it for the sake of the children. Arnold's parents look at their son and make a decision. Arnold's parents pack up to go on the rescue mission. Arnold's mom reminds him to be good for Grandma and Grandpa and Arnold's dad tells him he'll take Arnold to the park when they return. They each give Arnold one last hug and both hand him over to Grandma and Grandpa. In another country, they both board their small plane and fly off into the jungle.

Arnold asks Grandpa what happened next. Grandpa said they never came back and were never heard from again. Their plane was never found. Arnold thanks Grandpa for telling the truth, to which he responds that Arnold's really growing up.

Later that night, Arnold dreams about his real parents and the day they suddenly disappeared. At the same time, Arnold realizes that while Phil and Gertie aren't technically his parents, they've been like a mom and dad to him since Miles and Stella disappeared. The next morning, Arnold tells his grandparents that he wants to still compete in the parents tournament weekend and with that said, they head straight to the park.

In the last event, Arnold's grandparents go head to head with The Patakis. After an argument breaks out between Helga and Big Bob, Helga gives Grandpa a tip on how to beat her dad by focusing on his weak ankles. Grandpa beats Big Bob but Phoebe's team is declared the winner due to winning most of the other events. Even though Arnold didn't win the trophy and is still sad about his folks, he was still glad he competed with his grandparents.

Later that night, Arnold has a dream of a small plane being on the roof of the boarding house. He gets in and flies off into the sky.


When Craig Bartlett originally pitched Hey Arnold! to Nickelodeon, he offhandedly explained the absence of Arnold's parents by saying that they were travelers making documentaries, and that's why he lived with his grandparents. However, fans eventually began writing letters to Nickelodeon asking what had happened to Arnold's parents, and Craig realized that this needed to be addressed. So in order to provide an explanation for their absence, he developed the idea that Arnold's parents were tragically lost in the wilderness while performing a humanitarian task.[1] "Parents Day" was made directly in response to the fans and ended up being one of the most heartbreaking episodes of the series.


  1. Interview With Hey Arnold!'s Craig Bartlett