Sunday, November 26, 2017

What Happened To Arnold's Parents? 'Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie' Answers The Series' Biggest Question - And More

It's been over 10 years since fans were treated to new episodes of Hey Arnold!. And, for over a decade, fans of Nickelodeon's hit cartoon about a kid with a football-shaped head have been asking the same question: what happened to Arnold's parents? Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie finally puts that question - along with several others - to rest, putting an end to the greatest mystery's from the series. In the new Hey Arnold! movie, Arnold and his class go on an international school trip to the jungles of San Lorenzo, a fictional country in Central America, the same country where his explorer parents were last seen.

IMPORTANT: This post contains A LOT of spoilers about Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie. If you missed Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, watch it now online now at or on the Nick App. If you wish to avoid the following spoilers, please click here.

Since fans met Arnold when Hey Arnold! premiered in 1996, what happened to his parents has been a mystery haunting both the viewers and Arnold himself. In addition to his trademark blue and orange outfit, his football head, and his wacky yellow hair, the one thing we know for sure about Arnold is that he lives with his grandparents at the boarding house they run, and have for quite some time. Who his parents were or where they went wasn't even addressed until the show's Season 3 episode "Parents Day," in which it was revealed that Arnold's parents were explorers and had disappeared on a humanitarian mission to San Lorenzo, along with the plane that was carrying them. They were never heard from again — until now. In Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, Arnold finally learns what exactly happened on that trip to San Lorenzo, and — spoiler alert — comes face to face with his parents.

In Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, Arnold and his classmates — now in the fifth grade — go down to San Lorenzo and work together to find his missing parents. With Helga and Gerald by his side, Arnold is committed to finding his mom and dad, and he's not going to let a group of unruly pirates or a few jungle dangers get in his way. But locating his parents is just the first step in creating a real Hey Arnold! family reunion. It turns out, Arnold's parents haven't been galavanting around San Lorenzo, they've been sick and unable to return home.

After many jungle adventures, Arnold finally arrives at the place where his parents were last seen: a mysterious community run by children. The kids are in charge there because all of the adults have fallen ill with sleeping sickness, and are essentially in long comas. Arnold's parents, who originally traveled down to San Lorenzo to try to cure the sleeping sickness epidemic, have also come down with the sickness. After helping a few people, they ran out of the cure and became infected — they've been asleep for the last 10 years.

Desperate to get his parents back, Arnold and his friends manage to find a cure for the sleeping sickness. After curing everyone in San Lorenzo, including his parents, Arnold finally gets the family reunion he's always wanted, and he takes his parents home. (In case you were wondering, yes, sleeping sickness is a real thing — known as Typanosomiasis, according to the World Health Organization.)

Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie wraps up a huge mystery, but it also sets the stage for a possible TV reboot. "The movie's been made to act perfectly as closer so that everybody feels satisfied that all of the storylines got wrapped up," show creator Craig Bartlett in an interview with The AV Club. "And also, at the end of the movie, they're starting sixth grade, so season six is also my hope." The two hour special Hey Arnold! movie could be just the beginning of a brand new generation of new Hey Arnold! cartoons.

Below is a list of burning questions fans got answered during Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie:

1) Turns out Arnold’s last name was a revelation to a lot of people.

The name’s Shortman, Arnold Shortman. This piece of information has been on the internet for some time now but I guess some weren’t convinced. Who knew Grandpa Phil was calling him by his last name all along?

2) We finally figure out Mr. Simmons’ plus one!

Fans are totally rooting for Mr. Simmons and Peter!


Fans have waited over a decade for this moment. HELGA FINALLY GOT HER MAN!

4) Love is in the air for Gerald & Phoebe as well!

Gerald and Phoebe are an item! We’ve always known this was going to happen. Fan's nostalgic hearts can’t take it.

It’s the moment of truth. Are you ready for this one?

5) YES, Arnold found his parents!

Miles and Stella Shortman were found, and they were reunited with Arnold and the rest of the boarding house family. The sight of Arnold’s pupils growing as he realizes that he no longer has to dream about finding his parents because they are right in front of him was almost too emotional to handle. I'm not crying, you're crying.

6) Brainy is the hero of the entire movie

Brainy’s obsession with Helga finally paid off. He managed to be the reason that Arnold and Helga are a thing, and that Arnold found his parents. Plus, he got a kiss from Helga. Brainy has officially won the game of life.

Thank you to Craig Bartlett, the Hey Arnold! team, and Nickelodeon. You’ve let many relive their childhood. Now, about a season 6…

If you missed the movie or just want to watch it again (who can blame you?!), Nickelodeon will be airing encores of Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie on:

Friday 1st December 2017 at 8:00pm on Nick
Saturday 2nd December 2017 at 12:00am on TeenNick's NickSplat

Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie can also be watched online at, on the Nick App.

International airdates for Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, including for the UK and Ireland, are still to be announced.

More Nick: Nickelodeon USA's December 2017 Premiere Highlights | Holidays | Nickmas!

Sources: Bustle, Cartoon Buzz; Additional source: Zap2it TV Listings.
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