Nothing is more reminiscent of school than recess. And there is no other show out there that fully captures all aspects of this joyous break from the drudgery of school than Disney's Recess. Recess is aired in a thirty-minute block, containing two fifteen minute cartoons that feature six stereotyped friends that do everything that we all wish we could have done in the fourth grade. Here are the characters: Theodore J. Detweiller - always with something encouraging to say, "TJ" is the leader of the group. TJ is known for his red hat Vince LaSalle - he never loses in any kind of competition, Vince is a complete sports nut Gretchen P. Grundler - the smart one of the group, she is always inventing some new way to help out the group Mikey Blumberg - best described as a gentle giant, Mikey would rather write poetry and eat than do anything else Ashley Spinelli - the tough one of the group, "Spinelli" gets things done by somewhat questionable means Gustav P. Griswold - "Gus" for short, he's new to the school because his father is in the military, and therefore moves around often. Gus is best described as a nerdy coward

The program showcases all the classic niches that you might expect (and some you might not) to find on the playground. There's the Ashley’s, the prissy, rich girls, Randall the snitch, Sam and Dave, the "diggers", King Bob, ruler of the playground, "Swinger Girl" who's always swinging, the "Pale Kids", the group that never go outside for recess, but stay inside to play "Daggers & Dragons", or read comics, "Hustler Kid", the guy who can sell you anything you need, for a price, Lawson, the jerk who's always hassling the protagonists, and Ms. Finster, the old lady responsible for upholding the rules of the playground. In addition to those roles, recess is also divided by a social hierarchy based on grade level. So, as sixth graders are the oldest, they therefore have the most privileges. Also, every year a sixth grader is selected to be King of the playground. The levels of seniority descend according to grade level, meaning that kindergarteners are the lowest on the social totem pole. In fact, the creators of the cartoon depicted kindergarteners as savages, that live by a kind of tribal law, in a closed off section of the playground.

What makes Recess so interesting though, is that while it manages to tell stories that are targeted towards younger children, the writers manage to incorporate more mature ideas that even adults can enjoy. Take for example the episode "Omega Kids." In it the school seems particularly crowded, and the six main characters complain about how awkward the large school population is inconvenient. Then at lunch, everyone except the six friends eat some bad tuna fish tacos, and stay home from school the next couple days. So, that meant that TJ, Vince, Spinelli, Gretchen, Mikey, and Gus had the playground all to themselves. They thought that it was great at first, but then they ran out of fun things to do, and became so bored that they went insane (more or less). This plot, of course, draws some striking similarities to the 1971 movie, Omega Man.

Personally, I started watching this show when it first started airing on ABC, in their Saturday morning lineup in 1997, and have been watching it ever since. This show is everything that I had hoped my elementary school life could have been, and then some. I've started to get a sense of familiarity and safety from watching these six cartoon students that I feel like I know, having watched their adventures over and over. I find it rare that a show can do for me what Recess has done. It is because of this that I lovingly place Recess up there on my list of favorite cartoons, right next to The Simpsons, and Family Guy.

Episode Listing 1997

  • The New Kid
  • The Break In
  • Parent's Night
  • Swing on Through to the Other Side
  • To Finster with Love
  • First Name Ashley
  • Big Brother Chad
  • King Gus
  • My Fair Gretchen
  • Speedy, We Hardly Knew Thee
  • I Will Kick No More Forever
  • The Comeback Kid
  • The Legend of Big Kid
  • The Pest
  • The Box
  • The Trial
  • Randall's Reform
  • Teacher's Lounge
  • Rainy Days
  • The Great Can Drive
  • Jinxed
  • The Great Jungle Gym Stand Off
  • Officer Mikey
  • The Experiment
  • Kids in the Mist
  • The Voice
  • The Game
  • The Lost Ball
  • Gus' Last Stand
  • Operation field Trip
  • The Challenge
  • Wild Child
  • Gretchen and the Secret of Yo
  • The Substitute
  • Copycat Kid
  • The Girl was Trouble
  • Operation Stewart
  • Pharaoh Bob
  • Mama's Girl
  • The Hypnotist
  • Economics of Recess
  • Omega Kids
  • Yes Mikey, Santa Does Shave
  • The Story of Whomps
  • Weekend at Muriel's
  • Bad Hair Day
  • Dance Lessons
  • Principal for a Day
  • The Beauty Contest
  • The Break-Up
  • Outcast Ashley
  • A Genius Among Us
  • One Stayed Clean
  • The Big Prank
  • The Big Picture Show
  • The Spy Who Came in From the Playground
  • Hustler's Apprentice
  • A Career to Remember
  • Dodgeball City
  • Rumor Mill
  • Gus' Fortune
  • Recess is Cancelled
  • Tattletale Heart
  • Kindergarten Derby
  • The Bet
  • Call Me Guy
  • The Madness of King Bob
  • Space Cadet
  • Stand Up Randall
  • Prickely is Leaving
  • Randall's Friends
  • Lord of the Nerds
  • The Shiner
  • The Biggest Trouble Ever
  • The Rules
  • A Science Fair to Remember
  • Gus and Misdemeanors
  • My Funny Valentines
  • That Stinking Feeling
  • Here Comes Mr. Perfect
  • Mikey's Pants
  • Diggers Split Up
  • Good Luck Charm
  • Bachelor Gus
  • Schoolworld
  • The Dude
  • Partners in Crime
  • The Candidates
  • This Brain for Hire
  • Buried Treasure
  • The Barnaby Boys
  • The Library Kid
  • The Ratings Game
  • Nobody Doesn't Like TJ
  • Spinelli's Masterpiece
  • Bonky Fever
  • Yope from Norway
  • Don't Ask Me
  • The Secret Life of Grotke
  • Soccer Boy
  • The Fuss Over Finster
  • Fort Tender
  • Germ Warfare
  • More Like Gretchen
  • Prince Randall
  • Good Ole T.J.
  • Me No Know
  • Chez Vince
  • Tucked In Mikey
  • Old Folks Home
  • Some Friend
  • No Strings Attached
  • The Coolest Heat Wave Ever
  • Beyond a Reasonable Scout
  • The C Note
  • Big Ol' Mikey
  • The Army Navy Game
  • A Great State Fair
  • The A.V. Kid
  • All the Principal's Men
  • The Principals of Golf
2001 Also, it was in 2001 that the Recess movie, Recess: School's Out was released.

Currently, you can find Recess on ABC in their Saturday lineup, ABC Kids, and on both the Disney Channel, and Cartoon Disney. Also, there are a few episodes of Recess available on DVD and VHS.

Production Credits: Directed by Chuck Sheetz Produced by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere Music by Denis M. Hannigan Voices: TJ - Ross Malinger and Andrew Lawrence Vince - Ricky D'Shon Collins Gretchen - Ashley Johnson Mikey - Jason Davis Spinelli - Pamela Segall Gus - Courtland Mead

Sources: Watching the show for more than one third of my life.

Re*cess" (?), n. [L. recessus, fr. recedere, recessum. See Recede.]


A withdrawing or retiring; a moving back; retreat; as, the recess of the tides.

Every degree of ignorance being so far a recess and degradation from rationality. South.

My recess hath given them confidence that I may be conquered. Eikon Basilike.


The state of being withdrawn; seclusion; privacy.

In the recess of the jury they are to consider the evidence. Sir M. Hale.

Good verse recess and solitude requires. Dryden.


Remission or suspension of business or procedure; intermission, as of a legislative body, court, or school.

The recess of . . . Parliament lasted six weeks. Macaulay.


Part of a room formed by the receding of the wall, as an alcove, niche, etc.

A bed which stood in a deep recess. W. Irving.


A place of retirement, retreat, secrecy, or seclusion.

Departure from his happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left. Milton.


Secret or abstruse part; as, the difficulties and recesses of science.

I. Watts.

7. Bot. & Zool.

A sinus.


© Webster 1913.

Re*cess", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Recessed; p. pr. & vb. n. Recessing.]

To make a recess in; as, to recess a wall.


© Webster 1913.

Re*cess", n. [G.]

A decree of the imperial diet of the old German empire.

Brande & C.


© Webster 1913.

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