Published Sep. 9, 2021
We all had that favorite grandparent growing up if we were lucky. The one that would slip us a $5 bill or tell dirty jokes at the dinner table. It turns out, we all have our favorite grandparents on TV and in film, too.
In honor of Grandparents Day on September 12, we used Google Trends data to determine each state’s favorite television or film grandparent.
The grandparents that made the list included characters from the modern era (Jay Pritchett of Modern Family) and the golden era (Sophia Petrillo of Golden Girls). They were animated (Grandpa Simpson) and costumed (Grandpa Munster). They were witches (Endora from Bewitched) and, well, witches (Violet Crawley of Downton Abbey).
But they all had one thing in common: Viewers love them.
The map below shows the TV or film grandparent that generated the most online searches in each state between September of 2020 and September of 2021.
Click on image to enlarge in a new tab
|State||Grandparent||TV or Movie|
|Alabama||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Alaska||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Arizona||Grandpa Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Arkansas||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|California||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Colorado||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Connecticut||Grandpa Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Delaware||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Florida||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Georgia||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Hawaii||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Idaho||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Illinois||Emily Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Indiana||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Iowa||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Kansas||Grandpa Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Kentucky||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Louisiana||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Maine||Emily Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Maryland||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Massachusetts||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Michigan||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Minnesota||Grandpa Joe||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka)|
|Mississippi||Madea||Madea film series|
|Missouri||Marie Barone||Everybody Loves Raymond|
|Montana||Richard Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Nebraska||Richard Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Nevada||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|New Hampshire||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|New Jersey||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|New Mexico||Richard Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|New York||Jay Pritchett||Modern Family|
|North Carolina||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|North Dakota||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Ohio||Sophia Petrillo||Golden Girls|
|Oklahoma||Grandpa Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Pennsylvania||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Rhode Island||Marie Barone||Everybody Loves Raymond|
|South Carolina||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|South Dakota||Madea||Madea film series|
|Tennessee||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Texas||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Utah||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
|Vermont||Madea||Madea film series|
|Virginia||Violet Crawley||Downton Abbey|
|Washington||Jay Pritchett||Modern Family|
|West Virginia||Emily Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Wyoming||Old Rose Calvert||Titanic|
Rose Dawson Calvert, who was played by Gloria Stuart in the 1997 movie Titanic, was the runaway winner as the top search in 21 states. Calvert’s popularity extended from Hawaii and Alaska to Florida and New Hampshire.
Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith, scored the next highest number of searches and was the most popular TV grandmother in seven states.
Some TV and film grandparents were the most popular in several states, but which states showed the most love for each classic grandparent?
The table below shows which state performed the most searches for each grandparent.
Click on image to enlarge in a new tab
Titanic’s Rose Calvert was the most-searched grandparent in 21 different states, but none more so than in Michigan, where the character garnered a Google Trends search interest score of 100 out of 100 during the study period.
Interestingly, none of the states with the highest search activity for any given grandparent were the states where those respective shows or films took place. Golden Girls took place in Miami but the state with the most searches for “Sophia Petrillo” came from Ohio. Gilmore Girls is set in Connecticut but both Emily Gilmore (West Virginia) and Richard Gilmore (Montana) turned up more search volume elsewhere. Ditto for Endora, whose Bewitched also took place in Connecticut but whose search volume was also higher somewhere else (Wisconsin).
Of course, Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory could’ve been in Minnesota, and there really is a Mockingbird Lane, the fictitious street of The Munsters’ home, in Missouri.
The setting of The Simpsons was one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century until the show’s creator finally spilled the beans in 2012. Hint: It isn’t Arizona, which is one of just 16 states without a Springfield but performed more searches for “Grandpa Simpson” than any other state.
Also notable is that none of the highest-performing searches for any grandparent originated in the state in which the actor or actress was born. Jay Pritchett of Modern Family is played by Ed O’Neill, who was born in Ohio. But Ohio’s most-searched TV grandparent was Sophia from Golden Girls, who was portrayed by New York’s Estelle Getty.
Kelly Bishop, who plays Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, hails from Colorado. But Colorado performed more searches for Violet Crawley, who was played by the U.K.’s Maggie Smith. And Marie Barone, portrayed by the late Doris Roberts on Everybody Loves Raymond, was born in Missouri but was searched for most often in Rhode Island. Missouri was more curious about Grandpa Munster, played by New York’s Al Lewis.
Not even Grandpa Simpson’s voice actor, Dan Castellaneta, who hails from Illinois, was the most popular in his home state.
We compiled a list of beloved grandparents from TV and film by using IMDB to identify some of the most classic fictional grandparents from the small screen and big screen alike. Using this list, we used Google Trends data to identify the top-ranking results in each state, in terms of total search volume in the study time period
Of course we would love for you to share our work with others. We just ask that if you do, please grant us the proper citation with a link to this study so that we may be given credit for our efforts.
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