Recess (TV series)


The main characters of the series. From left to right: Vince, Spinelli, Mikey, TJ, Gretchen, and Gus.
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Paul Germain
Joe Ansolabehere
Based on Recess: School's Out
by Paul Germain &
Joe Ansolabehere
Starring Ross Malinger
(season 1)
Andrew Lawrence
(seasons 2–6)
Rickey D'Shon Collins
Ashley Johnson
Pamela Adlon
Jason Davis
Courtland Mead
April Winchell
Dabney Coleman
Allyce Beasley
Ryan O'Donohue
Toran Caudell
Erik von Detten
Blake Ewing
Anndi McAfee
Composer(s) Denis M. Hannigan
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 127, plus 4 movies (list of episodes)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation[1]
Paul & Joe Productions (seasons 5–6)
Plus One Animation
Sunwoo Animation
Toon City
Distributor Buena Vista Television (2000-2001) (seasons 4-6)
Original network ABC (One Saturday Morning)
UPN (Disney's One Too)
Toon Disney
Original release August 31, 1997 (1997-08-31) – November 15, 2001 (2001-11-15)[2]
External links
Official website

Recess is an American animated television series created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere (credited as "Paul and Joe") and produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, with animation done by Grimsaem, Plus One Animation, Sunwoo Animation, and Toon City. The series focuses on six elementary school students and their interaction with other classmates and teachers. The title refers to the period of time during the school day in which children are not in lessons and are outside in the schoolyard, in North American society. During recess, the children form their own society, complete with government and a class structure, set against the backdrop of a regular school.

In 2001, Walt Disney Pictures released a theatrical film based on the series, Recess: School's Out. It was followed by a direct-to-video second film entitled Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street that same year. In 2003, two more direct-to-video films were released: Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down. The characters also made an appearance in a 2006 episode of Disney's Lilo & Stitch: The Series.

Recess premiered on ABC on August 31, 1997, as part of the One Saturday Morning block (later known as ABC Kids). Beginning on September 11, 1999, it also began airing on UPN as part of its block, Disney's One Too. The series ended on November 15, 2001, with 127 episodes and six seasons in total. The success and lasting appeal of the series saw it being syndicated to numerous channels, notably Toon Disney, Disney Channel, and Disney XD.


Recess portrays the lives of six fourth graders—mischievous prankster and leader of the little "gang" T.J. Detweiler (Ross Malinger in season 1; Andrew Lawrence in seasons 2–6), Italian-American hot-headed tomboy Ashley Spinelli (Pamela Segall Adlon), popular jock Vince LaSalle (Rickey D'Shon Collins), awkward genius Gretchen Grundler (Ashley Johnson), gentle giant Mikey Blumberg (Jason Davis, singing voice by Robert Goulet), and upbeat yet unlucky military brat Gus Griswald (Courtland Mead)—as they go about their daily lives in a highly clichéd school environment at Third Street Elementary School, where students have set up a microcosm of traditional human society complete with its own government, class system, and set of unwritten laws. They are ruled by a monarch, a sixth grader named King Bob, who has various enforcers to make sure his decrees are carried out. The society has a long list of rigid values and social norms that imposes a high expectation of conformity upon all the students.

Recess is illustrated to be a symbol of freedom—a time when children can express themselves and develop meaningful relationships. Most episodes involve one or more of the main six characters seeking a rational balance between individuality and social order. They are often defending their freedom against perceived threats by adults and school administration or social norms. The group's leader, T.J. Detweiler, tends to have the most complete vision of this struggle, though even he has times when he inadvertently leads the group too far toward an extreme of conformity or non-conformity, and needs to be drawn back to even ground by his loyal friends.

The show's introductory music, art design and style often evoked the feel of prison escape movies such as The Great Escape, and the playground hierarchy and school administration were often depicted in ways that paid homage to common themes in such films. Additionally, many episodes parody classic films such as Good Will Hunting, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Few Good Men.

Voice Cast and characters

Theodore Jasper "T. J." Detweiler (voiced by Ross Malinger in season 1; Andrew Lawrence in seasons 2–6): T. J. is the main protagonist of the series. He is the ringleader of his five best friends, and usually spends time planning pranks against the teachers. He is rarely seen without his red baseball hat, which he always wears backwards. His catchphrase is "Whomps" which he uses as a synonym for something unpleasant. T. J. has good leadership skills, a talent for public speaking, and in "Good Ol' T. J.", his talent for charming his way out of any situation is revealed. Despite his troublemaking acts, he is very concerned about the well-being of his fellow students and often rallies them and convinces them to work together to stand up for their rights. His siblings include an older sister (around 17 or 18) named Becky, who was seen in Recess: School's Out (voiced by Melissa Joan Hart); he claims to have an older brother, though this is never confirmed. It is implied he has a (mutual) crush on Spinelli.

Ashley Funicello Spinelli (voiced by Pamela Segall Adlon): Spinelli is a wrestling fan and is the tomboy of the group. Although small for her age, Spinelli maintains a tough-guy image, is strong and often tries to use violence to solve her problems. During the gang's endeavors, Spinelli is the one who gets reluctant kids to talk, usually by threatening or intimidating them. With her reputation, a lot of Spinelli's problems happen when she is shown to have a weakness, as she prefers to be feared and respected. She dislikes her first name because she does not want to be associated with "The Ashleys", a clique of snooty popular girls. She has a talent for art, though she claims she "only does it to blow off steam". Her aggressive and tough personality has gotten on the good side of Miss Finster multiple times. She secretly has a crush on T. J.

Vincent Pierre "Vince" LaSalle (voiced by Rickey D'Shon Collins): Vince is the most athletic student at Third Street School. Along with his superior athletic ability comes a bit of an ego, but in the end he always knows his friends are the most important. His athletic/competitive skills are far superior, so much so that he seems to excel at most, if not all, challenges, such as cooking, golf, and even made-up playground games. He has a rivalry with Erwin Lawson, a fifth grader. He has an older brother named Chad who he thinks is the coolest boy he knows, but is actually a nerd. His catchphrase is "Whompinbobyulah!" to exclaim surprise. Popular and proud, he is T. J.'s right-hand man in nearly everything.

Gretchen Gloria Grundler (voiced by Ashley Johnson): Gretchen is an academically talented and extremely intelligent student. She is usually known as the "Smart Girl" on the playground. A child prodigy, she has shown the ability for academic feats that other students in her grade find complicated. She is still a kid at heart and her imagination sometimes gets the better of her, as she is still very naive despite her IQ. She is assisted by an interactive, calculator-sized, hand-held machine called a Galileo (voiced by Eric Idle), which she loves very much. She is not very good at getting out of trouble, as she is too trustworthy and honest. Though her friends don't share her scientific curiosity, Gretchen considers the gang much more important than finding intellectual colleagues. She also has a unique talent with yo-yo's.

Michael "Mikey" Blumberg (voiced by Jason Davis; singing voiced by Robert Goulet): Mikey is an overweight, mild-mannered, and philosophical 10-year old. He is good at playing goalie in soccer due to his height and weight. He writes poetry, performs ballet, and believes in notions of peace that are often dismissed by the others. Though Mikey is known for being a "sweet-souled giant", there have been times where Mikey is revealed to have a dark side (particularly apparent when others take advantage of him or do not take him seriously). Mikey is also a precociously talented singer.

Gustav Patton "Gus" Griswald (voiced by Courtland Mead): Gus is a new student in Third Street Elementary. He was absent in the first episode but was introduced in the following episode as "The New Kid". Gus is usually naive to the rules of the playground and its traditions. Gus comes from a military family, and therefore had to move around frequently (he has attended 12 schools in six years before he began attending Third Street). He is an ace dodgeball player nicknamed "El Diablo", but gave up the game after he made a little boy cry by hitting him in the face with a dodgeball. Even though he is a very good dodgeball player, Vince mentions that Gus is the worst kicker in the school. He also plays the guitar, and is typically a timid, unpopular boy. However, he has great leadership abilities when they are drawn out of him, and his sense of right and wrong is equal to T. J.'s in these instances.


Recess first premiered on ABC on August 31, 1997, as a "sneak preview", and later transmissioned to ABC's Disney's One Saturday Morning programming block on September 13, 1997. The series' success spawned three direct-to-video titles Recess Trilogy: Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street in 2001, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down in 2003; and one theatrical film, Recess: School's Out, which was released on February 16, 2001.[3] The series ended on November 5, 2001; reruns continued to air on ABC and UPN until September 2, 2003.

Disney Channel added Recess to their lineup on September 3, 2003. Fillmore!, The Legend of Tarzan, and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command were all pre-empted in favor of a 90-minute showing of the series.[4] It temporarily ceased airing on September 2, 2005, but resumed on August 26, 2008 replacing The Buzz on Maggie, and continued until June 30, 2010.

Toon Disney aired the show from September 3, 2003[5] to February 12, 2009. When Toon Disney was converted to Disney XD, the series was carried over and aired from April 14, 2009 to October 27, 2011.


Season Episodes Originally aired Network
First aired Last aired
1 26 August 31, 1997 (1997-08-31) January 17, 1998 (1998-01-17) ABC
2 25 September 12, 1998 (1998-09-12) February 27, 1999 (1999-02-27)
3 16 September 11, 1999 (1999-09-11) January 22, 2000 (2000-01-22)
4 46 September 12, 1999 (1999-09-12) July 17, 2000 (2000-07-17) UPN
5 9 September 9, 2000 (2000-09-09) January 6, 2001 (2001-01-06) ABC
6 5 October 31, 2001 (2001-10-31) November 5, 2001 (2001-11-05) UPN

Crossover with Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch: The Series featured an episode titled "Lax" that featured the cast of Recess, when T.J. and the gang go on a school vacation to Hawaii. Notably, Recess was the only series that crossed over with Lilo & Stitch: The Series that was not a Disney Channel Original Series, and whose production had already ended before Lilo & Stitch: The Series first aired.

Disaster strikes when Dr. Hämsterviel and his henchman, Gantu, try to use an escaped alien experiment to make everyone relaxed while he takes over the world. Luckily, Gretchen saves the day, since she believes work is relaxing.


Recess: School's Out

Main article: Recess: School's Out

Recess: School's Out is an animated film directed by Chuck Sheetz and is based on the television series where the characters must intercept a gang of anti-recess terrorists plotting to bring about a new ice age to eliminate the institution of recess. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and was released theatrically nationwide on February 16, 2001.

Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade

Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade is a Disney direct-to-video animated film released on December 9, 2003.

Voice Cast

Additional cast

Critical reception

TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz wrote favorably about Recess in their 2016 book TV (The Book), stating that the series is "Easily one of the smartest, most prankishly playful adult cartoons ever passed off as children's entertainment.... Recess is a highly ritualized bit of entertainment that strikes the same notes over and over again, but always in infinite variation and with a surprising eye for psychological grace notes, especially when characters you thought of as brusque and one-dimensional reveal their fears and dreams to one another.[6][7]

DVD releases

Recess: School's Out

(Released August 7, 2001)[8]

It is an animated film based on the television series. This film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and released to movie theatres in 2001.

Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street

(Released November 6, 2001)[9]

It is a Disney direct-to-video animated film. It compiles four unrelated episodes, including the program's Christmas special "Yes Mikey, Santa Does Shave."

Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade

(Released December 9, 2003)[10]

It is a Disney direct-to-video animated film. In compiles three unrelated episodes, including the program's Halloween special "A Recess Halloween".

Recess: All Growed Down

(Released December 9, 2003)[11]

It is a Disney direct-to-video animated film. It compiles four unrelated episodes.

See also


  1. Mifflin, Lawrie (August 11, 1997). "Cable Chief Tries to Bring Cool Into Disney Children's TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  3. Mitchell, Elvis (February 16, 2001). "As Seen on TV: Making the World Safe for Vacations". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  5. "Toon Disney - Schedule - This Week's Schedule". Toon Disney. Archived from the original on 2003-08-01. Retrieved 2003-08-01.
    "Toon Disney - Schedule - This Week's Schedule". Toon Disney. Archived from the original on 2003-12-06. Retrieved 2003-12-06.
  6. Sepinwall, Alan; Seitz, Matt Zoller (6 September 2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-1455588190.
  7. Alan Sepinwall; Matt Zoller Seitz (1 September 2016). "Why 'Deadwood' Is a Top-10 TV Show of All Time". The Ringer. PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  8. Recess - School's Out: Rickey D'Shon Collins, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Andrew Lawrence, Courtland Mead, Pamela Adlon, Dabney Coleman, Robert Goulet, Melissa Jo...
  9. Recess Christmas - Miracle on Third Street: Andrew Lawrence, Rickey D'Shon Collins, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Courtland Mead, Pamela Adlon, Allyce Beasley, Apri...
  10. Recess - Taking The Fifth Grade: Ross Malinger, Andrew Lawrence, Justin Shenkarow, Elizabeth Daily, Andrea Martin, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal, Kath Soucie, Joel ...
  11. Recess - All Growed Down: Ross Malinger, Andrew Lawrence, Justin Shenkarow, Elizabeth Daily, Andrea Martin, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal, Kath Soucie, Joel Morgan,...

External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Recess (TV series)
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.