The Creator of ‘Hey Arnold!’ on How Gabriel García Márquez Inspired the Nickelodeon Series

Lead Photo: 'Hey Arnold!: The Movie.' Nickelodeon Movies
'Hey Arnold!: The Movie.' Nickelodeon Movies
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With Nickelodeon set to release one-off specials for three beloved children’s series – Hey Arnold!, Invader Zim, and Rocko’s Modern Life – details about those projects have slowly emerged. What we’ve mostly seen in the meantime is plenty of excited 90s babies ready to revisit the series they grew up watching.

But because we’re a reminiscent bunch, the folks over at the Great Big Story sat down with Craig Bartlett, the creator of Hey Arnold! to reveal some secrets about the show. Apparently, Arnold’s iconic football-shaped head is a result of Bartlett trying to get the character stand out. Taking advice from Matt Groening, who said Bartlett should “try to make [the characters] work in silhouette or really small on the screen,” he ended up with the very unique Arnold.

The best revelation is that Gabriel García Márquez inspired the series. While discussing Arnold’s amazing bedroom (anyone else still jealous of his skylight?), Bartlett explained that the fourth-grader’s house and neighborhood had a touch of Gabo.

“We were reading Gabriel García Márquez and 100 Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera,” Bartlett said. “Those were big influences on us, because magic realism is the term coined about García Márquez’s writing. I wanted there to be a magical realism to Arnold’s house and his neighborhood.”

The special – Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie – is set to premiere this fall. Check out Great Big Story’s entire video below: