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"School Play" is a special half-hour episode of Hey Arnold!.

Synopsis

Mr. Simmons directs the annual School Play and he decides that they’re doing Romeo and Juliet. When Helga overhears that Arnold will play the part of Romeo and there will be a kissing scene, she tries to get the part of Juliet, but can only manage to be the 4th understudy.

Plot

It's lunchtime at P.S. 118. Arnold is inspecting the green "stuff" being served, and Helga is standing behind him. She demands that he hurry up, then slides both of their trays down the line, splattering Brainy. Arnold tells Helga that he doesn't believe she is as bad as she makes herself out to be and deep down, she is probably a nice person. Helga adamantly denies this, saying she is as bad as they come. Once Arnold leaves, Helga hides behind a dirty dish rack and waxes poetic about Arnold, but is interrupted by Phoebe. Helga gruffly orders Phoebe to get her some chocolate milk.

Later in class, Mr. Simmons announces that he has been chosen to direct the school's annual play. He has chosen Romeo and Juliet for the production. As he explains the plot of the story, Helga is enamored with it, but the rest of the class is uninterested. Stinky asks why they have to do a mushy love story, but when Mr. Simmons informs him that there is lots of swordfighting in the story, the students get more interested. Mr. Simmons tells his class that auditions are that afternoon. Helga declares that she will not take part.

The boys audition first. Stinky gets the role of Friar Lawrence, Harold gets the role of Tybalt, Curly gets the role of Mercutio, and Eugene gets the the role of Romeo. But, when Mr. Simmons explains that Romeo and Juliet kiss in the last act, the boys are in shock and Eugene refuses to kiss a girl or be Romeo. Mr. Simmons pleads that he needs someone to be Romeo, but the boys leave. Just then, someone starts clapping sarcastically in the back of the theater. It is Mr. Leichliter, a performance art critic. He says that if this year's production is like the one Simmons directed the previous year, it will be a hilarious failure. Simmons is determined to prove Leichliter wrong and get a glowing review of the play in the newspaper.

Mr. Simmons flags Arnold down in the hallway and asks him to play Romeo. Arnold is unsure due to all the lines he will need to learn and the fact that he has to kiss a girl. But, after Simmons gets on his knees and begs, Arnold agrees to play the part. Meanwhile, callback auditions for Juliet have started and Rhonda, Sheena, Lila, and Phoebe have been chosen. They discuss potentially having to kiss Arnold. None of them would mind doing so, but Helga, who overheard, is now determined to get the role. At the callbacks, Helga arrives a bit too late. Rhonda has been chosen to be Juliet, and the rest of the girls will be understudies. However, Mr. Simmons gives Helga the 4th understudy position. He explains to her that in the event Rhonda, Sheena, Phoebe, and Lila cannot perform the role, Helga gets the part. After everyone leaves, Helga vows to get the role of Juliet by getting rid of her competition.

Meanwhile, Arnold tries to learn his lines at home. Mr. Hyunh offers to help Arnold memorize his lines by pretending to be Juliet and citing how "dramatic" he can be. Mr. Hyunh goes overboard with his help, dressing like a woman from the 14th century. Oskar tells Arnold to print his lines on tiny slips of paper, then put them in his pocket in case he forgets a line. Arnold declines, saying he wants to perform his role honestly.

Helga sews a mish-mash patchwork dress for Rhonda to wear, saying that Mr. Simmons made it. Rhonda refuses to wear something so ugly. Helga states that Mr. Simmons will be heartbroken if she doesn't wear it, and her other option is to drop out of the play completely. Rhonda tells Mr. Simmons that she cannot be Juliet on "religious grounds." Simmons gives the role to Sheena. Helga meets with Sheena next, who is excited for the role, but has not yet read through the entire play. Helga starts telling her about the violent and creepy aspects of the play, ending off with Juliet's suicide. The talk of gore and corpses makes Sheena uncomfortable and she opts to make costumes instead.

Helga moves on to Phoebe. Phoebe is confident that she will do well, but Helga feigns worry about Phoebe flubbing a line. She goes on and on about how embarrassing it would be for her to completely freeze on stage. This makes Phoebe afraid, and she decides to be the stage manager for the production. Lastly, Helga talks to Lila. She tries her previous tactics on Lila, but they don't work. Lila doesn't mind the violence, never gets stage fright, and loves what Sheena has done with Juliet's dress. Helga pleads for the Juliet part, but Lila will not give it up without a good reason. She then guesses a reason: that Helga likes Arnold and wants to kiss him. Lila says she would give up the role for that reason, finding it "ever so sweet." Helga, with no other options, reveals that she is in love with Arnold. She threatens to strangle Lila if she tells anyone, and Lila concedes the role to her.

Simmons formally gives the role to Helga, but is confused as to why the other girls dropped out. He is worried since the play is the next night, and Helga hasn't been able to rehearse, but she reassures him. Later, she practices all night with Big Bob.

Finally, it's time for the premiere. Mr. Simmons gathers his actors and gives them a pep talk. As everyone gets to their places, Leichliter approaches Simmons again. He states it will be a fiasco, but Simmons disagrees. The play starts strong and continues fairly smoothly, except Curly falls off the stage during his death scene, Helga trips on her dress during the balcony scene, and Arnold nearly forgets a line. Leichliter is ready to write a scathing review, but once Helga delivers Juliet's lines flawlessly, he stops.

During the climactic scene in the crypt, Friar Stinky arrives to take Juliet away, but she stays behind to be with Romeo. Helga delivers her line, saying she will kiss Romeo to consume any poison still on his lips. Everyone watches with bated breath, then Helga kisses Arnold...for about 15 seconds. Arnold, who is supposed to be dead, pops his eyes open in confusion. When Helga finally stops, she ends the play by plunging the rubber knife into her chest and collapsing on top of Arnold. There is not a dry eye in the audience as the applause starts. Even Leichliter was moved by the performance.

As the students take their bows, Arnold is glad the play went well. Helga agrees, but says she nearly threw up kissing Arnold. He asks why she kissed him for so long, and she says she was being "professional." Arnold, half-believing her, drops the subject. Helga sighs dreamily, having gotten exactly what she wanted.

See also

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