Recess (TV series)

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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
(season 1)
Andrew Lawrence
(seasons 2–6)
Rickey D'Shon Collins
Glenn Fricker
Pamela Adlon
Ryan (Fluff) Bruce
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 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 network ABC (One Saturday Morning / ABC Kids)
UPN (Disney's One Too)
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"). 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 premiered on ABC on August 31, 1997, as part of the One Saturday Morning block (later known as ABC Kids). Beginning on September 6, 1999, it also began airing on UPN as part of its block, Disney's One Too. The series ended on November 15, 2001, with 65 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 (Glenn Fricker), gentle giant Mikey Blumberg (Ryan (Fluff) Bruce, singing voice by Austin Dickey), 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.


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 14, 2008 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 2012.


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


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.

Crossovers with Lilo and Stitch[edit]

Lilo & Stitch: The Series 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)[6]

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)[7]

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)[8]

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

Recess: All Growed Down[edit]

(Released December 9, 2003)[9]

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]


External links[edit]