Hey Arnold: "Arnold's Hat/Stoop Kid"
The kids are playing football on the street. Arnold kicks the ball really, really high. In addition to being a whiz at electronics, Arnold is also a super athlete. It always annoyed me when every time Arnold entered a sports competition, he always won. Always. And it would always be a come-from-behind win, which is stupid because every kid who plays sports has to face losing at some point. Fuck you Arnold, I may suck at sports but at least I have a mom and a dad.
I think what the show did was have one story early on where Arnold leads the underdog team to victory and the producers copied it a few times every season because it was easier than writing something new. Hey Arnold was odd in that the people who wrote it could be very clever and very lazy in the same episode.
Anyway, Arnold kicks the football so far that it lands on a stoop. And not just any stoop, Stoop Kid's stoop. Stoop Kid is the young man who lives on a stoop and yells at people who come to close.
"Nice going, jerk," the kids say to Arnold. Finally, someone is knocking Arnold down a peg.
Gerald explains the Legend of Stoop Kid. According to the tale, Stoop Kid was a baby who as left on the stoop and grew up there. He cherished the stoop as his only family, while becoming bitter and estranged from people and the wider world. No one dares go near Stoop Kid lest they want to be yelled at.
The kids all applaud Gerald's storytelling.
Everyone tells Arnold he won't be able to get his football back. But Arnold cautiously approaches Stoop Kid and asks for it to be returned. Stoop kid says 'alright, pick it up.' But Arnold is too intimidated by his stare and backs off, leaving without the football.
Arnold believes his only chance to get his football back is to take it when Stoop Kid is gone. He sits in a garbage can across the street to stake out Stoop Kid. This is really a lot of work when you remember that Arnold could have just taken the football a few hours ago.
Stoop Kid is not all that scary. His whole bit is just harassing women on the street, like thousands of other young men with no manners in America. I think the kids are the ones who are scared of him. The adults are just annoyed.
Man, Stoop Kid never leaves his stoop. I wonder where he goes to the bathroom.
Accepting the fact that Stoop Kid never leaves his stoop, Arnold just runs up to the stoop and grabs his football. Arnold probably feels some sort of solidarity with footballs and doesn't want to see one left out in the cold and the rain. Arnold was really quick, and ran off before Stoop Kid could grab him.
Instead of chasing him, Stoop Kid just yells and shakes his fist from his stoop. Arnold realizes the truth: that Stoop Kid is afraid to leave his stoop. The word spreads to the kids, who all chant the immortal words:
"Stoop Kid's afraid to leave his stoop!"
The whole neighborhood stops and takes in the news. Even the paper's top story is about how Stoop Kid is afraid to leave his stoop. The kids who were once afraid of him now laugh at him. Ha ha, let's all laugh at the homeless kid.
Later, at night, Arnold is on his way home when he hears Stoop Kid crying. Arnold, being a charitable young lad, offers to help Stoop Kid work up the courage to leave his stoop.
When a blindfold and ice cream fail, Arnold tempts Stoop Kid with a book containing pictures of all the great stoops of the world. Stoop Kid can see them all if he just leaves his stoop. And gets a job.
Stoop Kid agrees to step off his stoop tomorrow. Word spreads again, and the next morning, a large crowd has gathered outside the stoop. The local media is there, because, like my hometown, nothing interesting every happens. With all the attention, Stoop Kid is nervous. Arnold is able to coax him down the steps by using the "I think I can" train book that Arnold saw him struggling to read earlier.
Man, just imagine a real life Stoop Kid as the subject of a story on 20/20. Suddenly, it's really, really sad.
Stoop Kid steps off the stoop. The town cheers and it is the lead story in the paper.
However, Stoop Kid chooses to continue to live on his stoop. It's his home and all he knows after Child Protective Services let him fall through the cracks so many years ago.
"Arnold's Hat" "Stoop Kid"