Top 10 Animated Series 2- Hey Arnold
In his late 90s Nickelodeon series, Craig Bartlett crafts a work of heavy hearted sincerity by addressing the topic of childhood with a level head and steady hand rarely found in children’s television. Hey Arnold neither makes light of children by confusing them as vein and carefree demons (Johnny Test and the like) nor does it mask adult existential midlife crisis affairs under the facade of childhood (Charlie Brown). Hey Arnold succeeds by treating children as people.
With a cast distinct and appealing in character as they are in design, Craig draws from the history of animation and film to construct his narrative with a voice both grounded in influences yet resounding with individuality akin to Brad Bird. As much Jean-Pierre Melville as Wolfgang Reitherman, Hey Arnold has the history of film making fit into the core of its visual narrative from sources as diverse as French New Wave to Disney’s Golden Age.
As a child and now as a coming adult I owe Hey Arnold and Craig my world. They keep me patient. They keep me grounded. I wish I had something more to give, but I’m afraid I’ve squandered much of myself, and these few words of high praise are all I can muster.
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