Listening to: Just read the letter below.
Reading: Just read the letter below.
Watching: Just read the letter below.
Playing: Just read the letter below.
Eating: Just read the letter below.
Drinking: Just read the letter below.
Dear Craig and Francesca
In 2011, life wasn't exactly easy for me. Constantly applying for work and trying to get a driver's licence, it felt like I spent every day repetitively bashing my head against a wall. Honesty, it drove me nuts.
During autumn of that year, I happened to come across a certain relic of my past; a TV show called Hey Arnold. I remember seeing it in the 90s as a part of a swedish children program called Alarm. It was in english with subtitles for some reason, so it was hard to understand. Yet I still watched it for some reason. Honestly, I don't remember much from it, apart from that I found it intriguing somehow. It's hard to describe.
Years went by, and the show ended up in dubbed format on the swedish Nickelodeon network. Never had Nickelodeon, or any kid's network, so I missed out. Some of my friends had it, though, so I had the chance to see the Hey Arnold movie with a friend and his little brother. My only distinct memory of that experience is that how shocked and quiet we became when the kiss happened, even if I already knew about it from the trailer (which I had to rewind and pause, because I couldn't believe it actually happened).
So now, in autumn of 2011, I stumbled across a few episodes of the show I had very few memories of yet remembered fondly for some reason. I was more than willing to give it a try, though. Because why not?
Within an hour, I had about 10 new tabs open.
Never in my life had a show hooked me like that, and it haven't happened since. I hadn't seen a really good show since Samurai champloo, and trust me when I say that's saying a lot. Within a matter of days, I had seen all the episodes and the movie again. Even after my marathon, I rewatched several episodes just for the sheer entertainment value. Needless to say, I couldn't get enough.
So why this sudden interest in the series? One reason: It made me happy. If I wasn't laughing my gut out at some of the best timed and written jokes in television history or just enjoying the brilliant voice acting, I was just flabbergasted at how something this good went me by in my life. Some things are too good to be real, and this is truly one of them. Few shows fit me to a T like Hey Arnold.
There's another reason, though. Probably the biggest driving force for me, and the reason why I keep returning to the show as I do. Her name is Francesca Marie Smith. I have seen a lot of movies and cartoons, many regarded as the best the world has to offer. Even to this day, I haven't heard a single performance this consistently good. I'm 100% serious when I say that Francesca Marie Smith gives the most well acted voice over of all time. No one had the same amount of energy and passion like she had as Helga G Pataki. She gives a truly one-of-a-kind performance that will never be matched.
I could go on and on about Francesca's performance, but there's one thing about it that changed my life forever. Helga made me a happier person. I have always been stone faced, especially when I watch movies or TV. Thanks to Helga, and Hey Arnold in general, I found myself smiling during every Helga moment (a term I use to describe Helga's love rants and other Arnold related stuff), sharing the devious and smug looks of the characters when they're being delightfully mean, and overall sharing the characters' well expressed and well acted emotions. Before I knew it, I became the same in real life as well. I started using my face to emote more, so to say, and I overall became a happier person.
Hope filled me for the first time in years. I now walked the earth with a smile on my face. For the first time in months, I was consistently happy. It would take me another two years before I got my driver's licence and I'm still unemployed, but Hey Arnold made me hang in there. I became more social and happy because of this one TV show. People who know me well probably know about my change. I owe it all to a certain show. Heck, I even outright tested to see if the show could cheer me up a day I wasn't feeling too well. A single Helga moment and a punch to Brainy's face later, I was laughing so hard I almost fell over. It was the first time I experienced a catharsis first hand.
I've been so passionate about Hey Arnold that I sent a letter to Nickelodeon outright begging them to make The jungle movie. With the passing of Steve Viksten, God bless his soul, among other things, I doubt that will ever happen. However, the fact that I actually tried shows just how much this show matters to me.
While it's kind of wrong to say this, since it takes a LOT of people to put out a single episode of a TV series, I still think I owe it all to you, Craig Bartlett and Francesca Marie Smith. Craig for creating the series and Francesca for giving her absolute all as Helga. You two have singlehandedly made me a better person, not to mention a happier one. Had I not seen Hey Arnold that fateful autumn, I might haven't even been alive today. I owe you my life.
SonNeoKaku; a fan from Sweden