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"Deconstructing Arnold" is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV series.

Synopsis

Arnold's classmates are tired of him constantly telling them the right thing to do, so he stops giving them advice. Nevertheless, when his classmates get into very bad and sticky situations, they are in desperate need of his advice.

Plot

While the kids are on the bus on their way to school, Sid is prank calling on Lorenzo's phone, which he stole while Lorenzo is on vacation, and the others giggle. When Arnold calls him out on this, Helga tells him to mind his own business. Rhonda writes a fake secret admirer love letter to Curly, hoping it will get him off her back for good, and again Helga tells Arnold to mind his own business when he tries to talk Rhonda out of it. Finally, Stinky and Harold tamper with Eugene's bike, which Arnold suggests against as well, and yet again Helga tells Arnold to mind his own business with almost everyone agreeing with her. So Arnold decides to stop his reputation of giving advice.

Unfortunately, all of the kids' pranks backfire horribly:

  • Eugene's bike almost completely falls apart. But instead of simply falling off of it, as Harold and Sitnky believed would happen, it sends him veering out of control across the street, narrowly missing several cars, and crashing through a fence, where some neighborhood dogs maul him, leaving him seriously injured and Harold and Stinky racked with agonizing guilt.
  • Curly realizes that Rhonda wrote the love letter when he sees her using a pen on a history essay with the same ink color as the writing on the letter. This causes him to both fall in love with her even more and believe that she returns his feelings.
  • Furthermore, a kid throws a paper airplane at Sid while he's on a call, causing him to accidentally drop Lorenzo's phone and break it.

Of course, they try going to Arnold for advice on what to do, but he reminds them of their prior complaints and agreement with Helga over their tiring of him butting into their business, and that he's going to stick to his vow to not interfere with their problems anymore. The other kids get mad at Helga for causing Arnold stop giving advice, so Helga takes it upon herself to try and fix their problems.

However, her advice backfires and just makes their problems worse:

  • Helga tells Sid to put the phone back in Lorenzo's locker before he sees that it's missing, reasoning that Lorenzo would never suspect the truth if he finds the phone already broken in the locker. However, just as Sid manages to get the locker opened, Lorenzo, back early from vacation, appears and startles him, causing him to drop and break the phone even more. This results in Lorenzo becoming furious with Sid to the point of wanting to kill him.
  • Helga tells Rhonda to admit to Curly that she wrote the love letter and to come on to him extra-strong, believing that Curly will become repulsed and drop his crush on Rhonda as a result. Instead, this makes Curly say "give daddy some sugar!" and kiss her.
  • Helga tells Stinky and Harold to just blame the bike-incident on someone else, but Stinky and Harold, unable to think of a good enough scapegoat, blame it on each other instead and accidentally push Eugene's wheelchair down the stairs in the process, injuring him further.

The kids are all then left furious at Helga for her horrible advice and Helga feels really bad for causing Arnold to stop giving advice to people. Ultimately, Helga's able to persuade Arnold to resume giving out advice, acknowledging that she and their schoolmates need it. The kids gather up so Arnold can give them advice on what they need to do:

  • First, Arnold tells Sid to start making amends with Lorenzo by apologizing for stealing his phone in the first place.
  • Then he tells Rhonda to explain her situation to Curly and to do so honestly.
  • Finally, he tells Stinky and Harold to ask for Eugene's forgiveness (assuming that he can still hear them, since he's now in a full body cast).
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