Top 10 Nostalgic Cartoon Shows in Michigan

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

If you’re not of a certain age and you don’t have children of a certain age, “SpongeBob SquarePants” is one of those pop culture phenomena that just isn’t on your radar. But when started researching the cartoon TV shows that Michiganders were nostalgic for, the old talking sea sponge was a swimaway winner.

I would have thought “The Flintstones,” “Jetsons” and Bugs Bunny were touchstones for every generation but guess not. needed a laugh, so we stepped away from Michigan sports betting to see which cartoons resonate in the state. We used Google Trends to compare the search terms for each cartoon between Feb. 28-March 6, 2024. Here are the results:

Michigan’s Favorite Childhood Cartoons

RankShowSearch Interest Score
1Sponge Bob SquarePants45
2South Park27
4 Ed, Edd and Eddy18
5Hey Arnold!12
6 Clifford the Big Red Dog9
7Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends8
8Blue’s Clues5
9The Powderpuff Girls4
10 The Fairly OddParents3


No. 1 Cartoon Does Swimmingly

Although based on a character from the 1980s, SpongeBob SquarePants, voiced by Tom Kenny, made his Nickelodeon debut in 1999. He has appeared in more than 300 episodes and is still going. “SpongeBob” is like the “Law & Order: SVU” of children’s cartoons.

In second place is “South Park,” an adult cartoon about children that jokes about killing one of the children. It also has aired more than 300 episodes, but on Comedy Central, since debuting in 1997. “South Park,” from the twisted minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“The Book of Mormon”), consistently and hilariously mocks political issues, cultural issues, celebrities, and just about everything else.

At No. 3 is “Madeline,” based on the children’s books about a little French schoolgirl, that ran 21 episodes on the Family Channel from 1993-1996. Christopher Plummer served as the cartoon’s narrator. Classy.

From a girl who gets into trouble we go to three boys who cause trouble. “Ed, Edd n Eddy” ran on Cartoon Network from 1999-2009. The fourth-most popular cartoon on our list, it tells the stories of a trio of similarly named boys who are always scheming.

No. 5 “Hey Arnold!” aired 100 episodes on Nickelodeon from 1996-2004 and is based on a minor character from “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse,” created by Craig Bartlett. It’s about a boy in a multi-cultural neighborhood and offers a surprisingly accurate depiction of adolescence.

At No. 6 is “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” who appeared in only 65 episodes from 2000-2003, and aired on PBS Kids. Clifford was voiced by John Ritter (“Three’s Company”) and the cartoon was cancelled after Ritter died.

No. 7 is “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” a curious cartoon about a boy and his imaginary friend who live at an orphanage with the imaginary friends of children who’ve outgrown them. The show aired 2004-2009 and 85 episodes were made.

“Blue’s Clues” is No. 8. Clifford was a big red dog and Blue is a blue puppy. In this cartoon for younger children, Blue’s pawprints help his human friends and kids watching figure out Blue’s, uh, clues. New episodes aired on Nick Jr. from 1995-2007. There were 176 of them.

Arriving soon after the mania of The Spice Girls, came No. 9, “The Powerpuff Girls,” which aired 79 episodes on Cartoon Network from 1998-2004. The trio, Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles, were tiny superheroes who repeatedly saved the world.

“The Fairly OddParents,” No. 10, is a Nickelodeon entry that ran from 2000 to 2016. It’s the story of Timmy, who’s family life is the pits until two fairy godparents start granting him wishes which frequently backfire.

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Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Michigan sports betting market for Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of

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