Oskar Kokoshka is a fictional character in Hey Arnold! TV Series.
He is one of the boarders living at the Sunset Arms boarding house.
Oskar is a semi-overweight man. He has a copper beard and balding hair combed to the side. He speaks with an unidentified Eastern European accent. Oskar is of Czech heritage, confirmed in "Baby Oskar” when an elderly lady went to the hospital after Oskar shoved her to the ground and stole her taxi. He always wears a black suit with a white undershirt.
Oskar's personality can be best described in five words: He looks out for himself. He almost always puts his friends and his wife, Suzie, in second place, going as far as saying "What's wrong with second place? That's pretty good!" as seen in "Arnold as Cupid". Oskar seems to have a gambling problem, as Suzie mentions that he has placed bets at the racetrack numerous times. His gambling problem has on at least one occasion caused him to be threatened with violence by an extremely large man, who was seeking the money that Oskar had owed him in the episode "Oskar Gets a Job". He is something of a con artist, looking for every possible opportunity to gain a pretty penny. He has even gambled in a poker game and lost Arnold's CD player (though he gets it back at the end). In "Baby Oskar", he attempts to bet Suzie’s baby cousin Oskar, who he is babysitting, but his friends bail on the game. Oskar becomes angry since he had a royal flush (the best and most rare hand in poker). He also rigged the Secret Santa names in "Arnold's Christmas" so everybody would give him a present, but was caught and called it a "Christmas Joke." In "Summer Love", Oskar buys a magnetic metal detector and goes around the beach stealing people's valuables. He is eventually caught but gets off the hook by claiming he was looking for Ernie, who was buried in the sand the whole time. In "Oskar Gets a Job", he attempts to steal the coins out of the boarding house washing machine. Oskar is always trying to take the easy way out of everything: In "School Play," he had Suzie write out little cheat sheet papers for Arnold to read off of during the play. Oskar is also lazy, as evidenced in "Oskar Can't Read?" Oskar's excuse for not finishing his reading work given to him by Arnold was that he had it all done, but Suzie turned a fan on and it all blew out the window. He bribes Chocolate Boy with a big bag of malted milk balls to read him the first page of “A Tale of Two Cities” until Oskar memorized it so he could win a bet against Ernie and Mr. Hyunh by pretending he could read. Ernie exposes him when he switches the books and asks an unknowing Oskar to read the page again. Oskar is unemployed until the episode "Oskar Gets a Job."
Despite these negative traits, Oskar does have a caring heart, loves his wife very much, and comes to think of others before himself at times. At the end of "Arnold as Cupid", Oskar risked successfully getting back Arnold's CD player, declined the money Suzie was going to give him and was willing to get a job himself. Another example of his unselfish behavior was shown in "Baby Oskar" when he started to bond well with his baby cousin-in-law also named Oskar. In "Casa Paradiso", he along with many of the Boarders were willing to help Arnold get Phil to change his mind on selling the boarding house and moving to Florida. Oskar also wants to prove he can do things on his own, such as in Oskar Can't Read? when he gains the confidence to read the directions to get home when he becomes lost, and "Oskar Gets a Job" when he makes the true effort to get up early and do his paper route.
Suzie is Oskar's hardworking wife and his source of income (until after the first film). She's obviously the breadwinner in the marriage. Oskar and Suzie constantly clash because Suzie is angered that Oskar is unemployed and spends all of their money at the race track betting on horse races. It isn't an uncommon scene in the boarding house to see plates being thrown at Oskar from his apartment. At one point, Suzie threw Oskar out of their apartment and Arnold allowed Oskar to stay in his room. After a while, Arnold realized how much of a freeloader Oskar really is and decided to work to get the couple back together. Oskar has shown to love his wife dearly in that same episode. As revealed by Craig Bartlett in a Reddit AMA, at some point before Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, Suzie divorced Oskar and moved out of the boarding house.
Nancy and Baby Oskar
Nancy is Oskar’s cousin-in-law. She only appears in one episode "Baby Oskar." She doesn't like Oskar at all because she says she named her son Oskar before she knew Suzie's husband, Oskar. When Nancy leaves baby Oskar with Oskar and Suzie, Oskar at first doesn't care about the baby, but Arnold steps in and teaches him how to take care of a baby. Later in the episode, the baby gets the hiccups, but Oskar mistakes it as a serious illness, as the baby looks pale and sickly looking after eating too much. Oskar, in one of the few instances shown where he cares about someone other than himself, rushes the baby to the hospital using several measures (pushing an old woman out of the way to take her taxi, leaving the taxi when it hits traffic, and running several blocks to the hospital when all other methods aren’t in use). At the end of the episode, the baby doesn't want to say goodbye to Oskar.
Oskar is most likely the boarder that Phil doesn't get along with the most. In a lot of episodes, Oskar tries to take Grandpa's food. In "The Flood", Oskar attempts to leave Phil behind in the greenhouse by stealing the raft, only to fail because the raft can't fit through the door. In "Rhonda Goes Broke", Phil is showing Rhonda's family their room and makes the pull-out bed come down. When the bed comes down, it is revealed that Oskar was sleeping in it with a half-eaten salami (which was supposed to be the next night's dinner) and Phil becomes very angry.
Arnold is well aware that Oskar is a self-centered con-artist, but because of his good nature, Arnold is always willing to help him in times of crisis. Arnold helps rekindle Oskar and Suzie's romance in "Arnold as Cupid". Arnold also helps Oskar learn how to read in "Oskar Can't Read?". He also helps Oskar get a job as a newspaper delivery person. However, it is shown that even Arnold cannot put up with Oskar's personality traits for quite long after Oskar moves into his room after a fight with Suzie, where he subsequently made himself at home, stole Arnold's bed, shut off Arnold's alarm the next morning making him late for school, played his saxophone loudly while Arnold was trying to study for his test, and ultimately invited his friends over to a poker game in Arnold's room where he, after running out of cash to bet, put up Arnold's CD player believing he could win with a pair of 3's.
Lana like all the other borders hates Oskar and would not lift a finger to help him. She is seen fighting against Oskar in "Gerald Comes Over".
Ernie doesn't get along with Oskar as seen in "Arnold as Cupid". When Oskar asks if he can stay with him, Ernie tells him "As soon as you pay me the 20 bucks you've owed me since Christmas!" Also in "Arnold's Christmas", Ernie gives Oskar a bag of coal for Christmas. Plus in "Oskar Gets a Job", he calls Oskar a bum and in "Oskar Can't Read?", Ernie calls Oskar a loser.
Oskar is extremely jealous of Mr. Smith because he has a shower in his room.
Mr. Hyunh has a low opinion of Oskar and insults him in quite a few episodes.
It's first revealed in the episode "Oskar Can't Read?" that Oskar was illiterate. This could be the reason why Oskar has a hard time finding a job. Arnold was the first to discover that Oskar couldn't read and volunteered to help him. Soon after the other borders found out. Ernie then placed a bet that Oskar couldn't learn to read by the end of the month. Of course, money is Oskar's most important consideration. Oskar gives Chocolate Boy chocolate in exchange that Chocolate Boy reads him the first page of "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens in order for him to memorize it and cheat. His plan works at first, but Ernie switches the books and uncovers Oskar's cheating, disappointing Arnold and the others. Oskar finally decides that he wants to read and Arnold tutors him. Oskar's final test is to navigate home using directions given to him by Arnold, from an unknown part of town. After hours of waiting, Oskar finally makes it home, proving that he can read. Arnold's teaching paid off because in the episode "Summer Love," Oskar reads a store sign without any trouble.
In "Oskar Gets A Job," Oskar finally gets a job as a paperboy, after failing to get a series of other jobs. Of course, his first question to his employer is "How many sick days do I get?" Oskar, when he realized he had to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning, all of the sudden was not up for doing his job. Arnold wakes up at four to find Oskar's papers sitting on the stoop. He wakes Oskar up, but Oskar tells him he can't work because he's sick with the stomach flu. He asks Arnold to fill in for him, Arnold obliges and takes Oskar's paper route. When Arnold comes home from the route, Oskar is eating breakfast, which leads Arnold to believe he wasn't sick but just using him. The next morning, Oskar does the same thing, but this time complaining about his back, Arnold gets stuck delivering his papers again. Arnold comes home and catches Oskar dancing, which means he didn't throw his back out. Arnold is convinced that Oskar is pulling his leg and being lazy. Arnold eventually has a talk with him, leading up to Arnold calling Oskar a "huge loser". Oskar hears all of the boarders including Suzie talk about him negatively and vows to change. Oskar gets up the next morning and actually does his job and proves the boarders wrong.
His occupation as a paperboy is reaffirmed in "Oskar Can't Read?".
Country of Origin
It’s unclear what country Oskar has immigrated from, but it can be assumed to be an eastern European country. In the episode "Baby Oskar", an elderly woman calls him Czechoslovakian. However, Czechoslovakia broke up in 1993 into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This makes it even more confusing to pinpoint exactly where he is from. The artist he's named after was an Austrian of Czech descent.
In a 1998 interview, Craig Bartlett confirmed that Oskar was indeed from Czechoslovakia (Bartlett Interview, 1998).
Additionally, his accent is based on that of Gabor Csupo, the Hungarian co-founder of animation studio Klasky Csupo, which produced various Nickelodeon shows including Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rocket Power, as well as the first three seasons of The Simpsons.
- In "Family Man", Mr. Hyunh's family-loving boss comes to visit the boarding house and everyone masquerades as Mr. Hyunh's relatives. Oskar slides down the stairs and mentions that he's Mr. Hyunh's rich half-brother from Lithuania, hinting he could possibly be Lithuanian.
- He's named after an Austrian expressionistic artist of a similar name.
- Oskar is revealed to be illiterate in "Oskar Can't Read?", though Arnold begins giving him reading lessons and he slowly gets better.
- Oskar didn't learn to read until he was 38-years-old, and he and Suzie didn't own a vehicle, but he's implied to have a driver's license in "The Racing Mule" when Phil asks him to bring the car around. Oskar may have had a driver's license in his home country, but how did he pass the written exam to get a license in Washington (or anywhere in America) if he couldn't read?
- Oskar can play the saxophone, albeit very poorly. In Hey Arnold!: The Movie, he played it at Blockapalooza and didn't sound bad at all.
- Oskar's voiced by the late Steve Viksten in the television series and the original classic theatrical movie and by Wally Wingert in Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie as well.
- Before Viksten was cast, he was originally supposed to be voiced by Quinton Flynn before being replaced for unknown reasons.