Monday, November 11, 2013

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Veteran's Day (Hey Arnold)

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone! The day where we honor the soldiers we lost who fought to keep our country safe. However for most people, especially kids, it's a day off from school or work to do whatever you want. It's a day that a lot of people take for granted and with the exception of the news, no one gives Veteran's Day the praise compared to the later holidays such as Halloween or Christmas. Even kids' shows or cartoons don't give any Veteran's Day specials to celebrate the occasion. However, there was one that did: Nickelodeon's own Hey Arnold.

Hey Arnold has been known to give some of the most heartwarming and memorable holiday specials in Nickelodeon or even TV history. Of course, everyone remembers the Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Christmas special, but not many people bring up the Veteran's Day special. It debuted on November 6th, 1999, which was around when Season 4 was coming to a close. It debuted after the "Headless Cabbie/Friday the 13th" episode but before most people's favorite episode "Helga on the Couch". Couple with how incredible "Helga on the Couch" was plus a holiday many people don't appreciate makes "Veteran's Day" sidetracked when it first came out. How does it hold up today? Let's see as we look into "Veteran's Day".

The episode starts off with Arnold and Gerald having the day off from school due to Veteran's Day and wondering what they want to do. Both Grandpa Phil and Martin, Arnold's grandpa and Gerald's dad want to spend time with them, but they choose not to. So Phil and Martin have an idea to take a road trip to Washington, D.C. Each adult tells their war stories to Arnold and Gerald. Phil talks about his days at WWII when he was a cook and was ordered to dispose a Spam-like meat after it had rotted. However, he was caught by Nazis and took the canned meat thinking it was fresh. Afterwards, the Nazis were sick with the rotten canned meat and Phil called for backup to arrest the Nazis and was awarded a hero. Martin tells his days in Vietnam when he was a failed soldier turned file clerk working on organizing papers. In the end, Arnold and Gerald are disappointed with the stories since Phil is known for telling exaggerated tales and Martin didn't become a soldier or a hero during the Vietnam War.

As they arrive in Washington, D.C., Arnold and Gerald realized they were wrong about their family members not being heroes. Phil showed Arnold a statue dedicating to capturing the Nazis with rotten canned meat. While it was true that Phil did make a few things up, he was telling the truth the whole time. While Gerald and Martin were at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, a former Vietnam soldier thanked Martin for saving his life many years ago while he was shot and left for dead. Martin grabbed his organized papers and medicine from his bag and unknowingly rescued the soldier's life. It concludes with Arnold and Gerald having a bigger appreciation for their family members and the men who lost their lives fighting for the freedom of our country.

Overall, this is one of the most overlooked and underrated episodes of Hey Arnold and happens to be one of my all time favorites. It's told very well with funny jokes and heartwarming moments. Sure, it's not as memorable as the Hey Arnold Christmas special, but it's still up there as one of the greats. As of now, it's the only cartoon that I know of that has a Veteran's Day special. I recommend that you watch this episode and pay respects for the men and women we lost in exchange for our freedom.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Happy Veteran's Day.


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