The Nickelodeon series, “Hey Arnold,” means a lot to me. I grew up watching the series and many of the episodes had memorable moments and intense life lessons that stuck with me for a very long time.
One, in particular, is the lesson behind the episode, “Chocolate Boy.”
Chocolate Boy was introduced as a character who would NEVER, EVER say no to chocolate. His obsession and addiction was his name and his identity…his name was Chocolate boy.
In this episode a local bully in the school named Wolfgang teases Chocolate boy with a chocolate bar. He encourages Chocolate Boy to make a fool of himself by acting like a dog and running around like a crazy person.
Desiring to have more “fun” with Chocolate Boy, Wolfgang makes a bet with Chocolate Boy that if he stopped eating chocolate for 2 weeks he would give him a 10 pound bag of chocolate.
In an effort to get his 10 pound bag of chocolate, Chocolate Boy requests Arnold’s help in keeping away from chocolate for 2 weeks.
But, Chocolate Boy doesn’t admit the full details as to WHY he’s staying away from chocolate for 2 weeks.
2 weeks pass and Chocolate Boy meets up with Wolfgang and his friends. He get’s his 10 pound bag of chocolate and the truth finally comes out.
When Arnold finds out, Chocolate Boy distances himself from Arnold, leaving Arnold disappointed in the fact that Chocolate boy used him to simply get more chocolate.
Chocolate boy finishes the 10 pound bag in no time and begs Wolfgang for more. Wolfgang makes Chocolate Boy entertain him and his friends by dancing while throwing chocolate at him. Chocolate boy is embarrassed and later wonders off. While rummaging around in a garbage can he finds a broken mirror and sees his reflection.
He realizes he’s a total mess. He’s dirty. He’s covered in dust and has chocolate stains and a torn shirt. his eyes are bloodshot.
Chocolate boy is down on his knees, knocking at Arnold’s door, begging to help him break his addiction and claims to be serious this time.
Arnold went into counselor mode and started getting into Chocolate boy’s head and later his heart. Arnold finds out that it wasn’t his mom or dad who gave him chocolate. It was the boy’s nanny. He loved her nanny. One day, the boy came home, only to find his nanny preparing to leave for the final time. The nanny left him a bag of chocolate and told the boy to be good and to be happy.
That night, Chocolate boy went up to his room, sat down and ate and ate the chocolate.
Chocolate boy became Chocolate boy out of pain. He was sad. He was hurt. So, he went for what felt good. He went for the chocolate. It served as a memory for him to his nanny. It served as a way to never be disconnected even if it meant hurting himself and entertaining others. Chocolate boy was easily manipulated, controlled and used.
His heart was broken and he covered it up with his addiction to chocolate.
For a moment, let’s step outside of the “Hey Arnold” universe for a moment.
Perhaps, for a long time your addiction was your identity. Perhaps, for a while, your struggle, be it public or private, was what dominated the definition of who you are. It was what you were called maybe at home, school or work. Maybe something in the past happened and you used things in an unhealthy way to help you cope. It’s almost so normal to you now that you behave any kind of way for your habits to be fulfilled.
Near the end of the episode, Arnold told Chocolate boy that watching chocolate would not bring his nanny back. He also asked him what would his nanny think after seeing him behave this way. Arnold then told him he could be free and gave him a cause: “do it for you nanny!”
As Christians, we have to understand that addictions and habits will not help us deal with the real problems we face. We also should consider what God, Christ and the Word of God says about our issues and our actions. Finally, we have to have a cause…Jesus.
In the habits and issues I have faced, I have become more and more convinced that the more I choose Jesus on a daily basis, the less I want of the things that have tried to have an addictive stronghold on me.