A Look Back on Hey Arnold: Arnold Betrays Iggy

Hey Arnold is easily one of if not the best 90s Nicktoon out there. It was funny, had good morals, and touched upon many sensitive subjects that most shows normally wouldn’t have the audacity to. Sadly even it could not escape having a bad episode. Even as a kid, watching this made me feel downright upset. For many fans this is considered Hey Arnold’s worst and it’s honestly not hard to see why.

The story is that Arnold goes to visits his friend Iggy’s house and sees him wearing bunny pajamas. When Arnold sees Iggy in bunny pajamas, Iggy makes him promise not to tell anyone at school about it, as Iggy is considered cool and it would ruin his reputation. However, without Arnold letting it slip, Sid and Stinky find out about it. Despite that they also promise to keep it a secret, they tell everyone. Iggy believes Arnold spilled the beans and refuses to forgive him.

The episode is extremely mean-spirited and saddening compared to other episodes. Sid and Stinky get off completely scot-free (even after Iggy finds out they told his secret) for spilling the beans throughout this entire episode. What’s worse is that despite him being innocent, Arnold goes out of his way to earn Iggy’s forgiveness by buying him chocolate, doing his chores for a week, and even humiliating himself in front of the whole neighborhood by wearing Iggy’s bunny pajamas.

While the rest of the episode is a far cry from Hey Arnold’s normally heartwarming tone, the ending is what really cements it. Grandpa Phil first acts extremely out of character telling that he’s looking forward to the humiliation and taking pictures for the album. Seeing Arnold walk down the red carpet with a look of misery on his face as all his friends and the other kids on the block laugh at him and even the event being broadcasted on the news is just downright disheartening. The next day Arnold is still enraged at Iggy for humiliating him and the latter tries to apologize but Arnold isn’t having it and walks away. Even though this is well deserved it’s still rather saddening. Arnold would get angry with others in other episodes but not to the point where he wouldn’t forgive them at the end of it all.

If there is one good thing about the whole episode, it’s that Gerald wasn’t there to see the humiliation (in fact he’s not at all present throughout the episode), which confirms him as a true friend to Arnold.

Arnold betrays Iggy didn’t damage the whole show but it is still rather infamous. Rumors that Iggy never appeared again after this and that creator Craig Bartlett hated the episode himself spread all over the internet. Bartlett debunked both of these rumors but Iggy was reduced to a cameo in any future appearances. With all the good Hey Arnold did in so many other episodes, this was just so sad that its infamy is not easy to forget.