Recess (TV series)

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For other uses, see Recess (disambiguation).
Recess poster toon.jpg
The main characters of the series. From left to right: Vince, Spinelli, Mikey, TJ, Gretchen, and Gus.
Created by Paul Germain
Joe Ansolabehere
Starring Ross Malinger
Andrew Lawrence
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 McIver Ewing
Anndi McAfee
Composer(s) Denis M. Hannigan
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 65 (127 segments) (List of episodes)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation[1]
Paul & Joe Productions (seasons 5-6)
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original channel ABC (ABC Kids)
UPN (Disney's One Too)
Original run August 31, 1997 (1997-08-31) – November 5, 2001 (2001-11-05)
External links
Official website

Recess is an American animated television series created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere (credited as "Paul and Joe"). 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 2005 episode of Disney's Lilo & Stitch: The Series.

Recess first-ran on ABC and UPN from 1997 to 2002, and reruns continued to air on both channels until 2003. 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, hot-headed tomboy Ashley Spinelli, popular jock Vince LaSalle, awkward genius Gretchen Grundler, gentle giant Mikey Blumberg, and upbeat yet unlucky military brat Gus Griswald—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.


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 two direct-to-video titles and one theatrical film, Recess: School's Out, which was released on February 16, 2001.[2] 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.[3] It temporarily ceased airing on September 2, 2005, but resumed on August 14, 2008[4] and continued until June 30, 2010.[5]

Toon Disney aired the show from September 3, 2003[6] to February 12, 2009.[7] When Toon Disney was converted to Disney XD, the series was carried over and aired from April 14, 2009[8] to 2012.


Major cast[edit]

Actor(s) Role
Ross Malinger
Andrew Lawrence
Myles Jeffrey
T.J. Detweiler
Pamela Segall Adlon Ashley Spinelli
Rickey D'Shon Collins Vince LaSalle
Ashley Johnson Gretchen Grundler
Courtland Mead Gus Griswald
Jason Davis
Robert Goulet
Mikey Blumberg
April Winchell Miss Muriel Finster
Ryan O'Donohue Randall Weems, Digger Dave
Dabney Coleman Peter Prickly
Erik von Detten Erwin Lawson
Allyce Beasley Miss Grotke
Blake Ewing Menlo, Douglas
Toran Caudell King Bob
Anndi McAfee Ashley Armbruster
Francesca Smith Ashley Boulet, Swinger Girl, Upside-down Girl
Rachel Crane Ashley Quinlan
Camille Winbush Ashley Tomasian
Corey Quebedeaux Big Kwibbie
Klee Bragger Digger Sam
Kath Soucie Butch

Minor cast[edit]

Actor(s) Role
Michael Shulman Hustler Kid (Francis)
Aria Curzon Cornchip Girl (Theresa Levern Lamaize)
Klee Bragger Sam, Phil (Seasons one to five), Guru Kid (Seasons one to four)
Ryan O'Donohue Dave
Elizabeth Daily Sticky, Emma, Rigalli, and Hector (Season three onwards)
Arjun Kaul Random schoolyard child (1 episode)
Eddie Deezen Knarf (Frank)
Jack Riley Golfer
Pamela Hayden Evets (Steve)
Sam McMurray General Griswald and Bob Spinelli
Jason Davis Tubby
Tress MacNeille Miss Lemon, Lunchlady Irma, and Bus Driver Bertha
John Astin Superintendent Skinner
Patrick Renna Jerome
Ronnie Schell Mayor Philip Fitzhugh
Justin Shenkarow Jordan
Katey Sagal Flo Spinelli
Mayim Bialik Kurst the Worst
Andrea Martin Lunchlady Harriet
Ed Asner Thadeus T. Third V
Paul Willson Coach, Mr. Kelso, T.J.'s dad
Warren Sroka Mundy
Martin Mull Principal (Peter) Prickly
Eric Idle Galileo
Benjamin Diskin Various
Christine Cavanaugh Library Kid, Greta Grobler, Sue Bob Murphy (Season two only), Female Digger
Frank Welker Various animals
Kath Soucie Butch, Hector (Season two), Cindy, Sue Bob Murphy (Season four onwards)
Alex McKenna C.J. Rotweiler
Danny Cooksey Skeens (Season five onwards)
Tara Strong Becky Benson
Kevin Michael Richardson Vince's Dad (Episode: Me No Know)
Sheryl Lee Ralph Vince's Mom
Kenny Blank Chad LaSalle, Cheay


Season Ep # First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 26 September 13, 1997 January 17, 1998
Season 2 25 September 12, 1998 February 27, 1999
Season 3 16 September 11, 1999 January 22, 2000
Season 4 46 September 12, 1999 July 17, 2000
Season 5 9 September 9, 2000 January 6, 2001
Season 6 5 October 31, 2001 June 30, 2002


The show was generally well received critically and is widely regarded as a cult classic. The show also did well commercially and was one of the longest running shows on the Saturday morning lineup for Disney programming.


Recess: School's Out[edit]

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[edit]

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

Lilo & Stitch[edit]

Lilo & Stitch featured an episode titled Lax, which included the TV series Recess, when T.J. and the gang go on a school vacation to Hawaii.

Disaster strikes when an imprisoned alien called Dr. Hamstervil and his henchman, a giant alien named Gantu try to use an escaped alien experiment to make everyone relaxed while he takes over the world. Luckily, Gretchen (from Recess) saves the day, since she believes work is relaxing.

DVD releases[edit]

Recess: School's Out[edit]

(Released August 7, 2001)[9]

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[edit]

(Released November 6, 2001)[10]

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."

  • Episodes
    • Principal For a Day
    • The Great Can Drive
    • Weekend At Muriel's'
    • Yes Mikey, Santa Does Shave

Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade[edit]

(Released December 9, 2003)[11]

It is a Disney direct-to-video animated film.

Recess: All Growed Down[edit]

(Released December 9, 2003)[12]

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

  • Episodes
    • The Legend of Big Kid
    • Wild Child
    • Kindergarten Derby
    • All Growed Down (un-aired episode)
  • Bonus DVD Episodes titled as "Fans' 3 Favorite Episodes"
    • The Challenge
    • The Story of Whomps
    • One Stayed Clean

See also[edit]


  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. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (February 16, 2001). "As Seen on TV: Making the World Safe for Vacations". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Recess - School's Out: Rickey D'Shon Collins, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Andrew Lawrence, Courtland Mead, Pamela Adlon, Dabney Coleman, Robert Goulet, Melissa Jo...
  10. ^ Recess Christmas - Miracle on Third Street: Andrew Lawrence, Rickey D'Shon Collins, Jason Davis, Ashley Johnson, Courtland Mead, Pamela Adlon, Allyce Beasley, Apri...
  11. ^ Recess - Taking The Fifth Grade: Ross Malinger, Andrew Lawrence, Justin Shenkarow, Elizabeth Daily, Andrea Martin, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal, Kath Soucie, Joel ...
  12. ^ Recess - All Growed Down: Ross Malinger, Andrew Lawrence, Justin Shenkarow, Elizabeth Daily, Andrea Martin, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal, Kath Soucie, Joel Morgan,...

External links[edit]