Helga G. Pataki. One Badass Bitch
Hey Arnold is the brainchild of Craig Bartlett, who cut his teeth on Peewee Herman and Rugrats. A similar playful sense of humor (directed as adults just as much as kids) is present in the show, which ran 5 seasons on Nickelodeon. The show may as well as been called Hey, Helga. Although Arnold was the main character, and the heatr of the show, we spend a lot of time with Helga G. Pataki, the resident bully and mean girl of P.S. 118. Within the five minutes of the first episode, we've already been introduced to Helga's fist, Betsy. (Her other fist is named Five Avengers, which awesome). Helga is fierce and independent, but is hiding a huge secret. She's madly in love with Arnold. No arguments from me there girl, Arnold's dreamy.
Helga is a deeply flawed and fascinating character. In Season 1's "girl's party", Helga is the only girl not invited to cool girl's Rhonda's sleepover.
Arnold: How come Helga didn't get invited to Rhonda's party?
Gerald: It's a girl party.
Arnold: Helga's a girl
Gerald: She is? (Glances at Helga) Oh, yeah, I always forget.
Helga then gets rejected from the boys only baseball game, leaving her enraged. Not one to wallow, Helga marches into the bodega, buys Preteen miss, and gives herself a "makeover". For a show aimed at 9 year-olds, the show provides a scathing look at the messaging young girls get from the media. Preteen miss is full of pictures of traditional skinny white women. Helga saunters over to Rhonda's party in high heels and even though she's accepted by the other girls, realizes makeup and facials just aren't for her.
Hey Arnold doesn't shy away from depicting the pressures girls face growing up, especially when they're being told their worth lies in their femininity.
In season 4's "it girl", Helga gets discovered as the new Big Thing in the fashion world just for being her rude self. She is catapulted to fame and becomes a local celebrity. Even though Helga initially loves the swag, she is horrified to discover that people everywhere are copying her trademark style (unibrow included). She has finally gotten her father's and peers' approval, but Helga feels stifled. She rejects celebrity and glamour for individuality. By acting sweet and nice, she is able to break her contract and return to being an unknown meanie on the playground. It is utterly refreshing to have a female character embrace herself, loudmouthed and all.
Self aware and sharp, Helga remains true to her ideals throughout the entire show. Even her obsession with Arnold (WHAT is with shrine she cultivates? CREEPY to the MAX) is explained as an extension of Helga's self-expression and an outlet for her poetry. Violence aside, Helga is an amazing role model for girls AND boys alike. THAT is why she is one badass bitch.