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Spelling Bee

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Episode of Hey Arnold!
Spelling Bee
Spelling Bee
Season 1, Episode 15a
Air date: January 6, 1997
Don Del Grande's

Spelling Bee is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.


Miss Slovak is training Arnold and Helga for the annual spelling bee. The winner will get $500 prize. Obviously Helga is her favorite ("And Helga, don't spend all that money in one place!").

On the way home Arnold and Gerald are thinking about what one could buy with the money. Arnold is especially enthusiastic about an electronic keyboard — namely the Tonemaster 2000 ("Five octaves, 800 megabytes of music storage and over 250 pre-programmed instruments!"). He is determined to win the contest. Helga, on the contrary, doesn't know what to do — if she wins, she'd be disappointed because her beloved Arnold loses; if she loses, she feels she will let down her father.

Arnold starts to study in his room. Meanwhile, Helga's father Bob is watching his new beeper-commercial in which he promises every customer a free beeper if Helga loses at the spelling bee. Helga is getting drowsy from studying and wants to sleep, but Bob forces her to continue studying. To motivate his daughter, Bob shows her all the trophies in the trophy room Olga has won — including the one she won at the spelling bee, of course. For the 2000th time Bob tells Helga the story how Olga spelled every single word right, including the very last one: "qualm". Starting with that trophy, more and more filled the room until it was nearly full. However, Bob has left a tiny bit of space for Helga's spelling bee trophy.

When Arnold arrives at the Civic Auditorium with his grandparents, Gerald has already been waiting for him. Meanwhile Bob lectures Helga behind the stage about every other child being a loser and that she needs to win no matter what because she is a Pataki. Much to Helga's dismay, Bob wants her to wear one of Olga's medals around her neck as a lucky charm. The medal is so heavy that she can barely walk. The contest begins and all the kids are failing one after the other — except for Arnold and Helga. When Helga appears to be unsure about how to spell the word "velocipede," Bob decides to bribe Arnold to ensure that Helga wins. So he gives Arnold a check for $500, the same amount as the prize money. Arnold does not accept it. His next word is "onomatopoeia," which he spell correctly. While the audience is cheering for Arnold, Helga discovers the check on the floor and is disappointed that Bob didn't trust her to win on her own. That's why she decides to lose on purpose. Her next word happens to be "qualm" which was Olga's final word. Bob is sure that Helga can't possibly fail since she heard the story so often. So Helga starts to spell "Q-U-A-L...X?". So Arnold wins and receives the 500 dollars and the trophy which is so big that Gerald needs to help him carrying it.

While Arnold is celebrating, Bob flees from a wild horde of customers demanding their free beepers. Helga is very satisfied with the ending of the story.


  • $500 would not actually be enough to buy the keyboard due to sales tax, unless they live in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, Delaware or New Hampshire.
  • The story of this episode is similar to the plot of the first Peanuts movie, A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
  • Arnold's spelling bee trophy is much bigger than any of the ones Olga has won.
  • "Onomatopoeia" means "words that sound like the sounds they represent".
  • Up to this point, none of the scenes in Arnold's class had ever shown Phoebe at any of the desks.
  • This is the first new episode of Hey Arnold! to air in 1997.


  • The sign outside the auditorium says "WELCOME SPEELERS!"
  • The keyboard Arnold wants has 22 white keys and 21 black keys; a five-octave keyboard should have 36 white keys and 25 black keys, and there shouldn't be a black key between each pair of white keys.
  • Bob has no unibrow before he opened his eyes knowing Helga's word is "qualm".

See also

External links

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