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Eugene, Eugene! is an episode in the Hey Arnold! TV Series.

Synopsis

Eugene gets the lead role in the 4th grade production of "Eugene, Eugene", but the embitttered director removes all signs of joy from the script. Meanwhile, Lila gets the role of the leading lady in the play, and with Arnold playing the villain pursuing her, Helga attempts to sabotage her during the play.

Plot

PS 118 is putting on a production of a classic Broadway musical called "Eugene, Eugene!", about a luckless loser who pines for a girl named Betty who is torn between him and the evil villain Lawrence. Eugene is especially excited since this is his favorite show and playing the title role is his dream.

The 4th graders all go to audition while Helga opts to work backstage for the play, thanks to Phoebe's advice. After everyone auditions for the director Mr. Leichliter, he selects Eugene to play Eugene, Lila to play Betty, and Arnold as Lawrence. Eugene is so excited he stays up late reading the entire script, only to discover the ending has been changed. Instead of Eugene getting Betty and singing a song called "Sunny Side Up", he gets hit by a trolley, Lawrence gets the girl and sings a song called "Nice Guys Finish Last." Eugene is upset by this.

When Eugene shows Arnold, they confront Mr. Leichliter, who tells them he changed the ending himself to reflect real life (it is apparent he was influenced by his own past relationship with a woman). Arnold points out that Eugene, Eugene that's it a very famous and well-known play, and argues that Mr. Leichliter can't just up and change the ending the way he did. However, Mr. Leichliter feels that the audience will love the ending. Eugene tries to remain optimistic while Arnold is still unsure. When Helga hears about the new ending, she plans to ruin Arnold and Lila's kiss.

After two weeks of rehearsal, Eugene and Lila are doing well while Arnold's performance is a little unenthusiastic. After they perform the ending for the first time, Eugene is hurt by the stage trolley and Arnold is criticized by Mr. Leichliter for not singing the song mean enough and sings it himself. He tells the cast to get some rest for the premiere the next night. Later that night backstage, alone and still bruised, Eugene sadly and slowly sings "Sunny Side Up" while playing the piano. Arnold shows up and tells Eugene that he's quitting the play because he cannot go through with the ending. Eugene protests that the rest of the show is upbeat but Arnold tells him it's the ending that counts. Eugene admits Arnold is right and is ashamed of himself for going along with it, but Arnold tells him that's what Eugene, Eugene would have done. Eugene wishes they could change the play somehow, which gives him and Arnold an idea.

The next night, Helga rigs a paint can to dump paint on Arnold and Lila during their kiss. The play goes well, with Arnold giving a much improved performance and the crowd loving Eugene. Right before the final scene, Arnold tells Lila that if anything happens she should just go with it. The scene plays out as scheduled, but just as Eugene is about to be hit by the trolley, he dodges it and knocks on Betty's door. He holds up a newspaper and Lila reads Betty's lines from the original ending where she chooses Eugene. Eugene kisses her, leaving Lawrence unhappy. Eugene then begins to sing "Sunny Side Up". When Helga sees the ending has changed, she tries to stop the paint, only to have it dumped on her. Mr. Leichliter is initially furious they changed the ending, but changes his mind when he sees how well the audience is responding to it. As the crowd gives a standing ovation, Mr. Leichliter's ex-girlfriend shows up to tell him that she loves him and only him and embraces him. As the song finishes, Eugene is accidentally dropped and destroys the set, but everyone still loves the show.

See also