New York’s Top 10 Nostalgic Cartoon Shows

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

For people of a certain age, nostalgic cartoons might star Bugs Bunny or the Ducks, Daffy or Donald. Maybe Tom and Jerry. For their children, nostalgic cartoons might include “The Flintstones,” “Sherman & Peabody,” “Johnny Quest,” “Scooby-Doo,” or “The Jetsons.” But since looked to Google Trends to determine New York’s top nostalgic cartoons, the “nostalgia” is a generation younger, and the favorite is “SpongeBob SquarePants.” took a break from covering developments in online New York casinos 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:

New York’s Favorite Childhood Cartoons

RankShowSearch Interest Score
1Sponge Bob SquarePants53
T-2Clifford the Big Red Dog21
T-2South Park21
4Hey Arnold!17
5The Fairly OddParents11
7Ed, Edd and Eddy7
9Johnny Bravo3


He Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea

Although based on a character from the 1980s, SpongeBob SquarePants made his Nickelodeon debut in 1999. There are more than 300 episodes, and it is still going strong. Voiced by Tom Kenny, the titular character is a talking sea sponge who lives in an underwater pineapple.

At No. 2 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 was cancelled after Ritter died.

Tied for second place is “South Park,” a far more adult cartoon, which has aired more than 300 episodes on Comedy Central since debuting in 1997. “South Park,” from the twisted minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“The Book of Mormon”), is still in search of the first person or issue it can’t mock unmercifully.

No. 4 “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 depicts an adolescent boy (“Hey, Football Head!”) in a multi-cultural neighborhood and deals with more realistic issues than a giant red dog or talking sponge.

“The Fairly OddParents,” No. 5, is another Nickelodeon entry that ran from 2000 to 2016. Sort of child’s version of “I Dream of Jeannie,” without the temptation of Barbara Eden’s belly button, it’s the story of Timmy, whose family life is the pits until two fairy godparents start granting him wishes. Hilarity ensues.

No. 6 “Rugrats” ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2004. The stars of the show are a group of adventurous toddlers who get into predicaments, and it’s one of the few cartoons that had Jewish-themed specials around Passover and Chanukah. There are 172 episodes.

“Ed, Edd n Eddy” ran on Cartoon Network from 1999-2009. The seventh-most popular cartoon on our list, it tells the stories of a trio of similarly named boys who are scheming troublemakers. Liked “Dennis the Menace”? Try three.

No. 8 is “Caillou,” a more educational cartoon (it aired in both English and French), from 1997 to 2010 on Teletoons, with the last season on Treehouse TV. It also aired on PBS Kids. Caillou was an imaginative 4-year-old boy who had fun with machines and science with his family and friends over 92 episodes.

The more adult “Johnny Bravo,” No. 9, aired 65 episodes on Cartoon Network from 1997-2004 and was silly yet sophisticated animated fare laced with pop culture references. The lead character was loosely based on super-cool 1950s icons James Dean and Elvis Presley and the show also featured wacky guest star appearances. Donny Osmond?

Coming in at No. 10 is “Recess,” which aired 65 episodes on ABC and UPN from 1997-2001. A more comedic version of “Lord of the Flies,” it’s the story of six elementary school students who form their own society when they’re liberated from their classrooms for recess.

No recess at We’ll keep you informed about when New York casino apps might become legal in the state.


Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of