Save the Jungle: The Hey Arnold! Write-In
Hey Arnold! fans are (to say the least) rather displeased that the
future of their show hangs in the balance due to creator Craig Bartlett's
refusal of a so-called "exclusivity clause", because he was doing a show for
Cartoon Network (click here
to read all about this mess). If the show had told all the stories it
needed to tell, they probably wouldn't mind... except that it has yet to
tell one BIG story: that of Arnold's parents and where they are now.
Craig intends on using a 2nd Arnold movie (called "The Jungle Movie"...
ironically, he had planned this one first) to tell this story (and not to
mention reveal his last name, a question that has been bugging some viewers),
and in fact he's already made a lead-in ("The Journal"). However, with Craig
walking out on Nick, it's going to take a lot of work on the fans' part (to
say the least) if we want to actually get it.
The best place to start is by writing a letter. Now before you ask, I
recommend that you write your own letter. The letters below are just
examples to help you get started. Besides, you have to realize that the
minute Nickelodeon gets two letters that look identical, the "it's just a
bunch of diehard fans trying to sound like they represent the kids out
there - ignore them like we ignore the online petitions" alarms go off.
I've drafted out this first example, spelling out the basics for the Nick
execs (this was written quite some time before "The Journal" aired in the
For the past 6 years, you've given us quite some decent entertainment in
the form of 'Hey Arnold!'. However, we fans of the show believe that you
have made a rather questionable decision to force series creator Craig
Bartlett to sign an exclusivity contract. Since he didn't want to, he walked
out, in effect suspending production of the 2nd 'Hey Arnold!' film.
We know you have already made a few questionable decisions in the past,
like cutting down on production of 'Invader Zim' (which, quite frankly, is
one of your better shows) and not airing the final episodes of 'Angry
Beavers' and 'CatDog' (which, by the way, has a memorable series finale).
However, the questionability of this decision is, quite frankly, more
important to us 'Hey Arnold!' fans.
We really do want, make that need, this 2nd film. Here are some reasons
* As you should know, the 2nd film would answer many questions,
including, among others, that of the title character's last name. That
question has been one of your most asked questions, even more so ever since
'Rugrats' answered their biggest question about one character's mother.
Some of us want to see this question answered, especially considering that
(if his chat is anything to go by) Craig says it will.
* Like other Nicktoons turned films, the movie already has a 'lead-in'
episode, 'The Journal', leading in to the movie, ready to be aired (and in
fact, it has already aired in Canada). Unlike the other 'lead-ins' so far,
however, there's a possibility that this 'lead-in' will not be followed up.
We think that there's no point to a 'lead-in' like 'The Journal'
without any follow-up.
As has been said before, you have made quite a few questionable
decisions before. We hope you realise the error of your ways, before you end
up with poor ratings. Thank you.
I also found a letter on a webboard, written by an Alison
Scharlemann. I've edited it down a bit into this example:
I would like to start off by saying one of the greatest movies this summer,
in my opinion, is the Hey Arnold movie. However, I was greatly disappointed
in the way the movie held up in theaters. Hey Arnold is a great film, and I
expected it to do well just like any Nickelodeon movie. Hey Arnold is a
popular Nicktoon and has done well on the small screen, so why not the big
Obviously, the problem isn't the Nicktoon itself, or Nick movies because
they too have done quite well. The answer lies in the poor advertising and
marketing chosen for the movie. Let's look back a bit shall we?:
The first Nick Movie, Harriet the Spy, was advertised greatly on just
about every network. You couldn't escape from it. There was a bunch of hype
and when it came out, it was a huge hit. That's why you made more movies. I
don't remember all the movies, but I do remember seeing commercials for the
first Rugrats movie a YEAR in advance. A YEAR! The hype for this movie was
built up over that year till it came out in theaters and BAM! Another hit.
Same with the sequel.
Then we get to our football headed friend, Arnold. There was little to
no hype about the movie. You ran marathons, but you hardly even mentioned
why these marathons were being shown. To an average viewer, they were just
because you wanted to show more Arnold. When you finally started to show
commercials for the movie, they were about two weeks before the movie came
out (not NEARLY enough time for hype) and the majority of them were
exclusively on Nickelodeon, whose viewers already knew of Hey Arnold. Why
not try to draw more viewers in and show it on other networks? I saw Jimmy
Neutron and Rugrats commercials on many networks before their movies
Finally, when it seemed you were showing commercials, you come out with
the "Backyard Players" spots. If I saw these kids dancing around acting out
scenes from a film I'm not familiar with, I'm sure not gonna see it when I
see those ugly brats. But the real problem with the spots were that they
showed scenes that gave away HUGE portions of the plotline, thus spoiling it
for some. As an even bigger insult you insisted on putting Helga's love
confession scene in the trailer, giving away the climax of the biggest
subplot in the entire series.
Also in the trailer, you pretty much revealed who "Deep Voice" was. At
the film's official website, you showed Deep Voice as a mysterious figure
wearing a trenchcoat, but then you showed the confession scene in which
Helga's wearing a trenchcoat and it wasn't hard for many to put the two
together. Helga was Deep Voice. You pretty much laid it out for everyone.
By now you had practically handed out the biggest plot points of the movie
on a silver platter. As a result, not very many people felt like seeing the
movie, and as a result of all of these things, the movie pretty much bombed
These errors don't hold true for just the Hey Arnold movie, but to Hey
Arnold in general. You chose to ignore it and pay attention to your other
shows which have no redeeming value, and don't teach kids a dark thing. Hey
Arnold had values, and taught kids many lessons about how to lead their
lives, but now you've put the can on it and have no further plans to release
the second movie, which is the continuation of "The Journal". You have no
plans to release more episodes and why? Because Craig went to Cartoon
Network. Well, when you look at these errors, can you blame him?
I think Hey Arnold deserves a fair chance on the big screen and
its fans need to know the reason why it has held up so well on the small
screen, but not on the big screen. And may I say, Nickelodeon will be a sad,
sad network when all its shows have no redeeming value.
Yet another route is poking at Nick's troubles in general, like this
example (a bit dated, but much of the letter is still accurate):
First things first. We know you're one of the top-rated cable channels.
However, we have reason to believe that that very status might be in
trouble. Here are some of the reasons why people are starting to not like
* "Invader Zim"
The show won awards at the Emmys and the Annies, it has a solid fan base
and its ratings were not in danger. In spite of all that, you cut production
on it to just one and a half seasons, and later you relegated it to just one
showing a week (in the "Slam" block). I understand you've got other shows to
pay for, and Zim's production costs were a bit expensive. But think about
it: You're (excuse the pun) alienating your loyal fans by doing this. Not
the best way to run a network, is it? I mean, think about it... by not giving
what your fans want, they'll stop watching. Then, your ratings will fall.
Then, you'll have lesser earnings. As I said, think about it.
* Micah Wright
The less written about the problems he has with you, the better. But if you
want to know, get it from the horse's mouth. He's written all about them at
his site, www.micahwright.com. Check
under the FAQ for a couple choice words he has for you.
* "Hey Arnold!"
Besides the trouble with Micah, you've also had trouble with Craig Bartlett.
You wanted him to sign a contract which had an exclusivity clause. Instead,
he decided to leave for the Cartoon Network to do a new show for their Adult
Swim block. It would be fine and dandy if his show, "Hey Arnold!", had told
all the stories it needed to tell. Except that it hasn't. Craig wanted to do
a second movie that would tell more about Arnold's parents and stuff like
that and he already made a one-hour lead-in (similar to how the Thornberrys
came up with "Sir Nigel" and how Rugrats came up with "Acorn Nuts"). By
walking out, Craig has effectively suspended production on the film. Sure, he
came to chat with Nick.com the night before the release of the first film,
and mentioned that it would be produced, but for some people that's no
guarantee (in his previous chat, he mentioned his plans for a spinoff for the
show, which you ended up rejecting).
* Unaired episodes
Logically, an American TV show's episodes should appear in America first
(that is, if the network doesn't decide to cancel it quickly, but that's a
totally different matter). But in the case of many of your cartoons, some
episodes of those shows were premiered first OUTSIDE of America. In the case
of Rugrats alone (more on that later), we've had some episodes get their
world premiere on Nick UK, on Nick Australia, and on YTV in Canada. But that
isn't the problem. There are some shows have some episodes that were never
shown in the US. Those that come to mind are "Angry Beavers" (7 episodes),
"Hey Arnold!" (7 episodes, as of Sept. 2002, including the one-hour lead-in
to the second movie) and "CatDog" (5 episodes, including a "must-watch
series-ender" where Dog considers going vegetarian).
Think you're not doing fans of what is arguably one of your most popular
shows wrong? Think again. The trouble started when Nickelodeon Magazine
printed that you would air Pre School Daze on January 21st. That would make
Nick US the first to show this episode. However, you "replaced" it with a
SpongeBob marathon (yes, I know that he's been popular as of late), and as
of September 2002, many other countries have already shown this ep (coming
to mind: Australia, France, Canada, and the UK is slated to show it in
October). However, you have not shown this ep. And you've got a spinoff
based on this ep coming soon. What gives?
Well, I could think of more, but I think this is enough to convince you that
you're not exactly pleasing your viewers anymore. Now, please change your
ways before you start dropping in the ratings. Thank you.
This letter I found on another webboard has already been sent the
person who posted it (6 months after the airing of "The Journal"):
The hour-long Hey Arnold special, The Journal aired November eleventh 2002, and Iím smacking myself for not sending in something about it sooner. I have it on tape and watch it almost every day. Maybe that shows how big and dedicated of a fan I am to it. Anyway, as you probably know, The Journal leads into The Jungle Movie. Well, if youíre not going to let Craig make The Jungle Movie, then why did you let us see The Journal? It would have been better if you hadnít aired it all (if youíre thinking that it was a ďniceĒ thing to do for us). Mostly because it has a cliffhanger, and without knowing what happens next is worse for us. Do you know how we feel right now? I know itís just a cartoon, but itís a cartoon that we want to see the ending to. And I mean, that The Jungle Movie is supposed to be the ending of the whole series, and me and thousands of other fans want to see it. Maybe if you were in our spot right now, you might see what it feels like. And sometimes I feel like that may be the only way to get you to let Craig make the movie. Maybe not. I have enough miserable things in my life, and you have no clue how much it would help if you were to allow Craig to make this movie. Even if I will be 21 by the time it comes out, Iíd still go see it. I probably wonít care about it as much, but at least Iíd be able to say, ďHey! I remember I sent a bunch of letters to Nick about making this movie. Iíll go see it, just so I know what happens.Ē I would LOVE to be able to say those words someday. But I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I wonít be able to. And itís up to you to make me able to see the day when I finally get to see this movie. Please consider letting Craig make it.
Of course, you could go at it petition style (just don't make the
letter seem too much like it's from the view of just one person). If you
go that way, however, I suggest you also print out this little handout.
It neatly summarizes the facts for even the most casual viewer.
Okay, once you've written your letter, what do you do next?
Depends on whether your letter is going to be used as a petition. If it is,
then obviously the next step is to go around and gather signatures.
Without getting into too much technical detail, anyone can create a
decent-looking signature gathering sheet in Microsoft Excel (or, for that
matter, any spreadsheet program that allows for formatting). Just print one
out and pass it around to be signed. But if you need the technical details,
here they are, simplified for your convenience:
- Adjust the Column Width and Height options to make the "cells" to be
large enough to take a signature, and use extra cells if you want some space
between the columns.
- To create a header, just merge a row of cells with the Cells option (not
the whole row of 256 cells, just the cells you're using), and type the
header you want (using the Font options to make it look good). If you need
the header to be more than one line, just merge the cells one row at a time.
After that, you make some copies of the letter (and if it's a petition,
the signature sheets), since there are lots of parties involved.
Okay, you've written your letter, gathered your signatures, and
made some copies. Here's where you send them (most addresses gathered
Nickelodeon / MTV Networks
New York, NY 10036
(for Nick's sub-parent company)
231 West Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502
(for their West Coast Offices & Nicktoon Studios)
You could also send a letter to Craig, care of Cartoon Network:
1050 Techwood Dr. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Craig also gave this address in a chat:
300 N. Third St.
Burbank CA 91502
Well, that's all I have to say on this matter so good luck!