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
Helen Slayton-Hughes
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
Paul & Joe Productions (Season 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") and produced by Walt Disney Television Animation.[1] 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. One of the main features of the series is how the children form their own society, complete with government and a class structure, set against the backdrop of a regular school.

Recess first aired on ABC from 1997 through to 2001, and reruns aired on Disney Channel in the United States. The success of the series saw it being distributed to numerous countries around the world, notably the United Kingdom, where it aired on multiple channels including Toon Disney and Disney Channel UK. In 2001, Walt Disney Pictures released the first of two films based on the series, Recess: School's Out, which was distributed theatrically. It was followed by a direct-to-video second film entitled Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street that same year. In 2003, a third film entitled Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade was released, along with Recess: All Growed Down. Both were also direct-to-video. The characters also made an appearance in an episode of Disney's Lilo & Stitch: The Series.


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 little 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. Recess's 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 was ended in 2001, and Disney stopped airing new episodes after November 5, 2001, but still continued to show episodes on ABC's One Saturday Morning until 2002 and UPN's Disney's One Too programming blocks until 2003 when both blocks were phased out. Re-runs also aired on ABC Kids until September 2004 (when the block turned into an all Disney Channel line-up), as well as Disney Channel from 2003 to 2006, and then 2008 to 2010, Toon Disney from 2003 to 2009 (when the channel ceased operations), and Disney XD from 2009 to 2012. This show is one of the few Disney television shows to be aired on all three major Disney networks. The show was aired every day on Disney Cinemagic in the UK until the network's closure in 2013. On October 26, 2011, Recess reruns ran again on Disney XD, however reruns only lasted that one week.


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)
Eddie Deezen Knarf (Frank)
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 November 5, 2001


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)[3]

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)[4]

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)[5]

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

Recess: All Growed Down[edit]

(Released December 9, 2003)[6]

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

  • Episodes
    • The Legend of Big Kid
    • Wild Child
    • The 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

Worldwide media release[edit]

Pakistan Pakistan

  • Disney Channel(2003-2010)

Australia Australia

Canada Canada

United States United States

Mexico Mexico

Brazil Brazil

  • SBT (as "Hora do Recreio" 2000, 2001–2003)
  • Disney Channel (as "Hora do Recreio" 2000–2003)

Argentina Argentina

United Kingdom United Kingdom

Republic of Ireland Ireland

Portugal Portugal

Spain Spain

France France

India India

Italy Italy

Germany Germany

Netherlands Netherlands




Finland Finland



Czech Republic[edit]


  • Channel One (as "Переменка" ("Peremenka"), 2001)


  • BNT 1 (as Голямото междучасие)
  • Disney Channel (as Голямото междучасие)



Taiwan (Republic of China)[edit]


  • Disney Channel (as "リセス ・ ~ぼくらの休み時間~")
  • Toon Disney (as "リセス ・ ~ぼくらの休み時間~")
  • Disney XD (as "リセス ・ ~ぼくらの休み時間~")

Asia Pacific[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]