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The Best Nickelodeon Character Bracket: Round 2

Now the competition really begins ...

Adam Villacin, Harrison Freeman, and Honeypower

Thirty years ago this week, a rising, but not-yet-ubiquitous kids network by the name of Nickelodeon launched its first original animated series. Introduced on August 11, 1991, under the brand of “Nicktoons,” Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show would quickly become hits and change the course of animation, television, and popular culture at large. To mark the anniversary, The Ringer is looking back at Nick’s best-ever characters and the legacy of the network as a whole. Throughout the week, we’ll be publishing essays, features, and interviews to get at the heart of what made Nick so dang fun—and now so nostalgic.


Through the first round of The Ringer’s Best Nickelodeon Character Bracket … not all that much is clear! Day 1 was all about separating the wheat from the chaff: Only five lower-seeded characters advanced to the second round, and four of those five were either 9- or 10-seeds. (The only George Mason of this tournament? The 12-seed Danny Phantom.) That means a couple of things—first of all, that we should pat ourselves on the back because we did a decent job seeding this thing. But secondly, it means that the tournament has only just begun. For the most part, there was a clear difference in strength between the top 32 and the bottom 32; now that the characters in the former group will be pitted against one another, we’ll really find out who the favorites in this thing are.

Let’s get down to (funny) business.

Voting on the second round is officially open. Remember: You can place votes here, on Twitter, and on Instagram until 6 p.m. ET.


Bikini Bottom

The Power of SpongeBob

SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats were the only two shows with four entries who all advanced to the second round. But it’s the way the SpongeBob characters advanced that raises eyebrows: On average, the characters beat their opponents with 79 percent of the vote. SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs unleashed all-out routs on Nickelodeon’s lesser class. Patrick outright embarrassed Krumm from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters; SpongeBob outscored Cat and Dog from CatDog by more than 27,000 votes; Squidward won by even more than that!

It makes sense—SpongeBob is perhaps the only Nick show that spans multiple generations. It’s also, um, just a very good television show. The titular character remains the odds-on favorite to win the whole bracket, but at this point it might even be a safe bet to expect another SpongeBob character to make the Final Four. (If only we didn’t put Patrick and Mr. Krabs in the same region, then we could’ve gotten an all-Sponge semifinal.) If you’re looking for a spoiler in this region, though: both Skeeter Valentine and Aang had impressive first-round performances.

The Matchups

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    1. SpongeBob SquarePants, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’
    (11958 votes)
  • 14%
    8. Cosmo and Wanda, ‘The Fairly OddParents’
    (2061 votes)
14019 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    12. Danny Phantom, ‘Danny Phantom’
    (4778 votes)
  • 64%
    4. Marc Summers, ‘Double Dare’
    (8664 votes)
13442 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    6. Chuckie Finster, ‘Rugrats’
    (8117 votes)
  • 41%
    3. Kel Kimble, ‘Kenan & Kel’
    (5719 votes)
13836 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    7. Skeeter Valentine, ‘Doug’
    (8060 votes)
  • 42%
    2. Aang, ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’
    (6002 votes)
14062 votes total Vote Now

Hillwood

The Bracket of Death

I don’t know how this happened—I promise it wasn’t intentional—but Hillwood is loaded with championship potential. Of the remaining eight, only Korra from The Legend of Korra seems like an easy out (Korra advanced to the second round after defeating Budnick from Salute Your Shorts by just 384 votes). The other seven are bona fide icons: Arnold, Patti Mayonnaise, Dora the Explorer, Squidward, Ren—you could imagine any of them holding the title by week’s end.

Whoever advances out of this region will have earned it. The bloodbath starts right now …

The Matchups

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    1. Arnold Shortman, ‘Hey Arnold!’
    (10492 votes)
  • 24%
    9. Blue, ‘Blue’s Clues’
    (3372 votes)
13864 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    5. Patti Mayonnaise, ‘Doug’
    (8331 votes)
  • 40%
    4. Dora Márquez, Dora the Explorer
    (5567 votes)
13898 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    6. Squidward Tentacles, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’
    (8666 votes)
  • 38%
    3. Clarissa Darling, ‘Clarissa Explains It All’
    (5477 votes)
14143 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    10. Korra, ‘The Legend of Korra’
    (8563 votes)
  • 52%
    2. Ren Höek, ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show’
    (9476 votes)
18039 votes total Vote Now

Bluffington

The Nick Shows We Love

Though this is a character bracket, the results are also showing which Nickelodeon series we hold above the rest. In the first round, 38 different Nickelodeon shows were represented; just one round later, half as many shows are represented. SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, Doug, and Hey Arnold! now account for nearly half of the remaining characters. Those four shows clearly have an outsized hold on the voting public, and at this point it’s safe to assume that the bracket champion will come from one of those four shows. Or perhaps not—perhaps a dark horse (or a dog named Blue?) is waiting in the wings to prove that even if they don’t come from the most beloved show, they are the most beloved character.

The Bluffington region is almost entirely populated by these top-level shows, especially if you include Avatar, a 21st-century Nick masterpiece. What happens in this section of the bracket might determine which series stands above even the most acclaimed. (Also, this is unlikely, but I have to note it: If Charlotte Pickles pulls off an upset in Round 2, we’ll potentially be looking at a mother versus daughter matchup in the Sweet 16. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rooting for it.)

The Matchups

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    1. Doug Funnie, ‘Doug’
    (9216 votes)
  • 34%
    8. Mr. Krabs, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’
    (4779 votes)
13995 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    5. Zuko, ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’
    (3794 votes)
  • 72%
    4. Patrick Star, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’
    (9968 votes)
13762 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    6. Ed, ‘All That’
    (3939 votes)
  • 70%
    3. Angelica Pickles, ‘Rugrats’
    (9442 votes)
13381 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    10. Charlotte Pickles, ‘Rugrats’
    (3248 votes)
  • 75%
    2. Rocko, ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’
    (9985 votes)
13233 votes total Vote Now

Reptarland

Is the Favorite Wearing a Diaper?

Tommy Friggin’ Pickles, man. The boy hero submitted one of the best performances of the first round, logging a 94-6 percent victory over Zeebo the Clown from Are You Afraid of the Dark? That, coupled with the fact that all four Rugrats characters advanced, makes him one of the favorites the rest of the way. Maybe that isn’t surprising—after all, Tommy’s a 1-seed, and he also once went inside Chuckie’s body to retrieve a watermelon seed—but personally, I was underestimating his longevity in this competition. Now I feel like I’ve been squirted in the face with milk.

One more note for Reptarland: There are a host of amazing long shots still standing in this region. There’s the scientific marvel Alex Mack, the ancient talking block of stone Olmec, and Amanda Bynes, who edged out The Fairly OddParents’ Timmy Turner by less than 600 votes. One of them advancing would be an absolute joy—which obviously means I’ve just doomed them all, and they will all get destroyed in Round 2.

The Matchups

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    1. Tommy Pickles, ‘Rugrats’
    (11326 votes)
  • 15%
    8. Helga Pataki, ‘Hey Arnold!’
    (2101 votes)
13427 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    5. Alex Mack, ‘The Secret World of Alex Mack’
    (4434 votes)
  • 65%
    4. Stimpy Cat, ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show’
    (8419 votes)
12853 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    6. Olmec, ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’
    (5377 votes)
  • 58%
    3. Kenan Rockmore, ‘Kenan & Kel’
    (7698 votes)
13075 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Nick character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    10. Amanda Bynes, ‘The Amanda Show’
    (6224 votes)
  • 52%
    2. Gerald Johanssen, ‘Hey Arnold!’
    (6837 votes)
13061 votes total Vote Now
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