"Helga on the Couch" is the 78th episode of Hey Arnold!


Principal Wartz welcomes P.S. 118's new child psychologist, Dr. Bliss. Although she is meant to come after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she says that she came to spend the day observing the students' behavior. Wartz allows her to do so, but doesn't think she'll find anything interesting. Dr. Bliss then notices Helga roughly push a kid aside and speaking rudely to another. As the day goes on, Dr. Bliss takes note of Helga's behavior towards Arnold.

Later, Dr. Bliss sees Helga punching Brainy's face during one of her usual soliloquies, and Helga gets sent to Wartz's office. Dr. Bliss tells Helga she wants to meet with her for sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, assuring her that the point is to discuss these aggressive tendencies and examine possible strategies for improvement. She believes that her behavior may be covering up more important issues, and wants to try to get to the root of the matter. When Helga gets home, her parents confront her about her being recommended for therapy. Big Bob harshly tells Helga not to blab anything about them "to some school shrink," and Miriam has very little words of encouragement. As her parents both complain that this never would have happened with Olga, Helga insists to herself that she will not reveal her secret love for Arnold to Dr. Bliss, no matter what.

The next day, Helga arrives at the Hillwood Medical Center, disguised in a trenchcoat. Once in Dr. Bliss's office, Helga continues to deny that she is angry. Dr. Bliss seems impressed with what Helga knows, calling her recognition and critical analysis as "pretty astute for a fourth grader". Helga starts to share with Dr. Bliss about the dysfunction in her household, mentioning that her sister Olga is perfect because she gets straight A's at Bennington College, all the boys wanna go out with her and that their parents shower her with attention. Helga then tells of what happened the last time Olga came home:

Olga served Bob and Miriam some coffee she made, and they shower love and attention on her like they always do. Then Helga comes into the room and Miriam admits that she forgot to pick up her winter coat from the cleaners, but says not to worry because the weatherman said it should stay above freezing for most of the day. Helga just scowls and growls and goes to pack her lunch, then stomps out while her parents only keep their eyes and ears on Olga, who's telling them all about Alaska. She opens the door to find it actually cold and snowy outside, then announces she's going to school, but Olga and their parents don't even hear Helga. She then leaves and walks off alone in the streets without any coat or hat to keep her warm.

Back in the present, Helga complains about how nobody in her house even knows she exists. When she almost mentions Arnold, Helga immediately tries to change the subject, saying it's hot in the building. She refuses to say anything more and starts to walk out. But Dr. Bliss then asks if Arnold is special to Helga, though Helga says she is not angry at Arnold, and claims that she did all that stuff to him yesterday because it was "Arnold Day" on her calendar. Dr. Bliss then decides to move on and do some tests with Helga, including ink blots and word association. Helga tries not to think about Arnold, but she ends up seeing all of the blots as Arnold and associating every word Dr. Bliss says with something that relates to Arnold. (i.e., "Monday." "Night football.") After the tests, Dr. Bliss brings up how Helga said that no one at home notices that she existed. Helga admits that her mom wouldn't notice her if she was an alien pod person chanting Hare Krishna and spitting nickels.

The next flashback shows Helga in her kitchen from the other morning, late for school and searching for her lunch. Miriam says that she did make Helga's lunch, but can't remember where she put it. Miriam wanders aimlessly in the kitchen before finding Helga's lunch in the oven. Helga is unimpressed with it: "Moist towelettes, an individual packet of crackers, and a can of shaving cream?" Miriam realizes that if the shaving cream is in the lunchbox, she must have put the cheese fizz meant for Helga's lunch in Bob's medicine cabinet. Sure enough, Bob now has cheese all over his face ("How am I supposed to run a beeper empire with my face smelling like hickory smoked cheddar, Miriam?").

Helga tells Dr. Bliss that she did get to school and during lunch, she traded the shaving cream with Harold for a Mr. Fudgie Bar, as he thought it was some kind of whipped topping. She also admits how much worse her father is in not noticing her, since all he cares about is Olga, because she's so perfect.

Helga's first time meeting Arnold is shown in flashback.

The last flashback is set on Helga's first day of preschool. Miriam and Bob are standing over Olga as she plays the piano praising her for being so bright and talented, and having won every spelling bee in the city. Helga asks who's taking her to preschool, but she gets no answer, and she starts walking to school on her own, despite the rain and scary atmosphere. When Helga arrives at the school, she sees an umbrella being held over her head by a little boy with a football-shaped head, none other than Arnold. This shows that Arnold was really the first person to actually notice Helga or show her any sort of kindness. Later, when Harold steals her graham crackers, Arnold comes and gives her his own crackers. Unfortunately, Rhonda, Sid, Stinky, and Harold, all saw what she did and start laughing at her mockingly. Helga becomes angry from the teasing and immediately stops it by pushing Harold down and threatening him with her fists: Old Betsy (the left one) and the Five Avengers (the right one). Subsequently, she threatens the other kids if they dare tease her or stand in her way, but secretly expresses her newfound love for Arnold.

Back in the present, Helga admits to Dr. Bliss that she does get angry because of her "lame mom, blowhard dad, and perfect sister." She repeats her claim that she is not angry at Arnold, even though Dr. Bliss says she's seen Helga direct more of her anger at Arnold than anyone else. Thinking that Helga may be hiding something big about Arnold, she tells her that now is a good time to get it out of her system, but what she says will be kept in confidence and that Dr. Bliss will not speak of it. After a moment of hesitation, Helga finally breaks down and confesses that she loves Arnold. This makes Dr. Bliss understand that Helga is afraid to tell Arnold the truth about her feelings because she doesn't want him to reject her, as he is the one she truly loves and wants more than anything. She tells Helga that she doesn't know how Arnold will truly feel unless and until she tells him, but assures her it's okay to wait until she's ready, and also says that her poetry and shrines are okay to do as long as she doesn't hurt anyone. She then announces that the session's over, and Helga is disappointed since they were just starting to make some progress, but Dr. Bliss assures her that they can talk again. Helga happily runs out, then comes back and gives Dr. Bliss a quick hug before running off again.

Helga gets off a bus, feeling great about confessing. She happily walks down the street, then crashes into Arnold at a corner. He apologizes and offers his hand to her, then she rudely tells him to watch where he's going. She runs behind a nearby alley and laughs as he walks away, seeing at how dense he is that he can't tell how she truly feels. Brainy then appears behind her and gives her a plastic ring. Helga just chucks the ring and questions him as to how he is standing behind her again. Then she pats his cheek and he smiles as he puts his hand there.


Home video releases

  • Hey Arnold!: Season 4 (both versions)
  • Hey Arnold!: Volume 6

External links