The Patakis was a planned spin-off/sequel series based on Hey Arnold!, similar to the All Grown Up! series in relation to the Rugrats. Intended to be aired on Nick at Nite, the show focused on the life of Helga Pataki in her teenage years, her family, and classmates.
Craig Bartlett wrote a pilot script with Michelle Lamoreaux for Nickelodeon in 2000. The script was structured like The Simpsons: three acts, half hour. If they liked the script, they would order more. However, it was deemed as "too dark" for Nickelodeon's intended audience. The series was also offered to music channel MTV. This was during the time when the channel began to air animated shows like Beavis and Butt-Head, as opposed to full length music videos. However, the channel declined it, as it was considered too similar to another animated show of theirs, Daria, which went on to run for 5 seasons.
Some information about The Patakis was revealed through Craig Bartlett's chats and interviews. Everyone from Hey Arnold! would've been in The Patakis as well, except for Arnold, who has moved away, thus making Helga the star of the series. Bartlett made a bible with some character designs and episode ideas for all 4 main characters. However, development on the spin-off didn't get anywhere beyond what was in the pilot script, so many aspects of the show (such as the exact circumstances of Arnold's moving, and the roles of other characters such as Lila) were never defined.
- Helga (still supposed to be voiced by Francesca Marie Smith) is 15-years-old in the series and is still crazy about Arnold. They once were a couple, but went through some stormy times. Helga writes letters to Arnold every night, mails them, but takes them out of the mail and keeps the letters in binders, very organized like her shrines. These letters would've been a framing device for episodes. She also is a aspring writer. Helga still is an underdog and pretty grumpy; ticked off, but not exactly depressed. Helga is sort of an awkward teen; she keeps her pigtails and unibrow, has become taller and skinnier and wears jeans. She keeps her pink hairbow, but hides it under a baseball cap (her own, not Arnold's).
- Arnold has recently moved away. Craig Bartlett said that was never decided where or why he moved. In his words, he needed Arnold move away to make Helga the main character. Arnold still keeps his blue cap. Craig had an idea for an episode where Helga runs away to find Arnold.
- Olga, having gotten straight-A's throughout college, has moved back home after graduating -- however, she's quit her job as a teacher to pursue a career as a theater actress (like for Broadway). Unfortunately (for Olga), her acting abilities turn out to be mediocre at best and the few that she's able to actually get are in off(x4)-Broadway productions -- also, Bob and Miriam (the former especially) don't approve of Olga wanting to become an actress. In fact, part of the plot of the series' pilot episode would've involved Olga losing favor with her and Helga's parents, possibly due to Olga's decision to quit her job a teacher to pursue a career as an actress.
- Big Bob continues to run his successful business empire, which has changed from beepers to cellphones, and is a lot like Tony Soprano in the way he looks and acts.
- Miriam is twelve-stepping and is now working at a TV station.
- Everyone from P.S. 118 is in the series, and are now teenagers. Gerald and Phoebe are a couple.
- Other confirmed characters are Dr. Bliss and Nick Vermicelli. There would've been some new characters as well, such as Helga's extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.).
- Dr. Bliss would still be Helga's therapist (Dr. Bliss's practice is 'child', but most allow patients up to 17 years old, with 18 and up going to adult psychologists). As of Helga on the Couch, Helga sees her after school every Tuesday and Thursday.
- Confirmed Notes About “The Patakis” on Hey Arnold! - A Critical Analysis by Tendra