If we were to ask which character in all of Pop-Culture would be best equipped to handle COVID-19 and quarantined life, what would you answer? To further clarify, when we say, "handle" we mean both mentally and physically. Who is going to keep himself or herself safe from the virus, but also going to not be affected by isolation? Perhaps you'd say the Bubble Boy from Seinfeld, or John Goodman's character who traps himself in a bunker in 10 Cloverfield Lane, or maybe some other warrior of social distancing. But for us, there is only one answer. That answer is "Stoop Kid" from Hey Arnold!
For those who don't remember, (so help me god if anyone says "only 90's kids will get this") Stoop Kid was a minor character that refused to step any further outside than his stoop. The neighborhood kids made fun of him about it, chanting, "Stoop Kid's afraid to leave his stoop," but for years he existed like this. Eventually, Stoop Kid is persuaded to leave his stoop by Arnold and uses his freedom to unleash unholy hell on his tormentors.
So why is Stoop Kid our pick to win the Quar Award (we'll think of a better name later) for successful isolation amidst a pandemic? Because, unlike the other characters above, Stoop Kid isn't just capable of handling distancing, he thrives in it. John Goodman's character, for example, for all of his isolationist rhetoric, still seeks companionship in the post-apocalyptic world. He captures a woman to be his wife, and it's this action that ultimately leads to his undoing. Bubble boy is also done in by his need for companionship, playing a game of Trivial Pursuit with George that ends with his bubble getting popped.
Stoop kid, however, is a companionship camel. Even after he gained the ability to leave his stoop, he still chose to stay there for almost the entire remainder of the series. There are two episodes, in which he leaves his stoop, "Arnold betrays Iggy" and "Cool Party" and in both of those episodes, he leaves, not because he needs companionship, but because he's trying to be supportive. Stoop Kid prefers the company of his stoop and has proven for years that he need not go beyond it to persist.
But what then of classic survivalist characters like Brian, the boy in Hatchet, or Gollum from The Lord of The Rings who also show capable of being isolated for extended periods? Wouldn't they do better than Stoop Kid, who, by living in a city, is susceptible to human interaction from time-to-time? I'd argue that Stoop Kid also has the upper hand on any type of hermit character, because he still gets all the benefits of living in a city, but has always shown the ability to isolate amidst a high-population. Yeah, maybe Stoop Kid will need to be extra careful to maintain distance while anyone passes his stoop, but at least he still has access to medical treatment if ever he were to slip into a volcano's butt as Gollum did.
I could be wrong about this. Maybe there's a better character better suited to getting the Quar-ry (Hmmm, still not right), and if you think of one, let us know. But considering Hey, Arnold! was a show so ahead of its time, (they gave us the first female simp in Helga Pataki) it's not a stretch to think they'd be way ahead on the social distancing game too.
Support Dan on Twitter and he will talk about his life with you in lieu of getting a therapist. He also hosts The Bachelor Zone Podcast, where you can hear him give a sports-style breakdown of all things happening on The Bachelor.
Top Image: Nickelodeon/ Snee-Oosh, Inc.