Toon Tunes: Helga G. Pataki


curated by Amanda Dissinger

From ‘Helga’s Parrot’:

Arnold my love,
My sultry preteen,

Why must I hold you
only whilst I dream?
Will I be forever enslaved by your spell?
Why must I worship you and never ever tell?
Arnold, you make my girlhood tremble,
My senses all go wacky.
Someday, I'll tell the world, my love...

Or my name's not Helga G. Pataki!

In a few ways, I feel very connected to Helga G. Pataki. First, she writes lovely and heartbreaking poetry (as evidenced above) about her one and only true love: I write subjectively lovely and heartbreaking poetry about the crushes I have. Two, she lives in NYC: I live in NYC. Three: she often breaks out into monologues in public; I talk to myself occasionally… the list goes on and on.

I was a big fan of Hey Arnold when I was growing up, for it’s lack of a better word… realness. What it means to live in a big city as a kid. What it means to grow up in a boarding house with your grandparents. What it means to develop feelings for your football-headed classmates and not want to reveal how emotional you can be because you’re the class bully, etc. etc. I recently started watching it again over the past year or so due to Netflix and Hulu, and there’s so many details that totally went over my head as a kid (Helga references George Orwell’s 1984 in one episode? Arnold is nine years old the WHOLE time!) but it’s equally as enjoyable and funny and cute as it was like 15 years ago. 

Summer is a time for crushes, or in the case of Helga, all consuming obsessive secret love; I think it’s personally best to lie somewhere in between, but that’s neither here nor there. This playlist is full of songs that I think the teenage Helga would love (if she was still in love with Arnold, which odds are strong that she would be when she hits teenager age) and represent everything from songs that are totally appropriate for a teenage girl and that I loved when I was a tween/teenager a la The All American Rejects, Ryan Cabrera and songs that really represent Helga’s mature nature and attitude toward love- Mitski, Sarah McLachlan as well as songs that reflect how Helga struggles with her identity throughout the series. Most notably, Helga pretends to be a Arnold’s french pen pal Cecile in one episode and goes through an entire dinner date with him without revealing herself or her true feelings. Rough stuff. 

Hope you enjoy and finally, MOVE IT FOOTBALL HEAD!!! 

podcast: The Grey Estates Podcast #4 with Carly Marcoux (The Pretty Greens & Treat Yrself Fest)

photos: Death Valley Girls at The Echo, Los Angeles, California (6/30/16)