"Oh Arnold, I call on the power of thy sacred shrine; give me the strength and the animal cunning to outwit the school shrink!"
Gotta love Helga G. Pataki. Rewatching the episodes as an adult I have to admit she really comes across as quite the imaginative, dynamic, and relatable character, more so than even the show’s namesake. Her parents are completely self involved, with an alcoholic mother and singularly business minded father. Both only seem to show concern where her sister Olga is involved. This leads to her feeling like an outcast in her own home; due to that rejection she is cruel to others so as to keep them at a distance. This is especially true for Arnold, whose kind and nurturing nature in preschool foil that of her parents drawing her to him. Even though she wants more she also enjoys her fantasies which can’t reject or hurt her, which possibly lead to the obsessive nature of her crush which includes: a shrine made of his used gum, a heart shaped frame with his picture, and volumes of poetry all dedicated to him. This is partially why she puts up a tough rude girl front, because even though she like likes him for real, non-shallow qualities including his personality, she’ll have to give up her safe, perfect, fantasy world and be vulnerable.