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Recess was an animated series created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere and produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. It aired on ABC's One Saturday Morning block from 1997 to 2001.

The series focused on six fourth grade students and their interactions with other students and teachers. One of the many features of the show was how the children formed their own society, completed with government and classed structure, set against a backdrop of a regular school, giving the show a unique feel.


The show portrayed the life of six elementary school students: popular and confident T.J. Detweiler, athletic Vince LaSalle, tough girl Ashley Spinelli, gentle giant Mikey Blumberg, smart Gretchen Grundler, and shy new kid Gus Griswald. The students of Third Street School sat up a microcosm of traditional human society complete with its own government, class system, and a set of unwritten laws. They were ruled by a monarch, King Bob, who had various enforcers to make sure his decrees are carried out. The little society had a long list of rigid values and social that imposed a high expectation of conformity among the students.

Most episodes involved one or more of the main six characters seeking a rational balance between individuality and social order. They were often defending their freedom against perceived threats by adults or social norms. The group's leader, T.J. Detweiler, tended to have the most complete vision of this struggle, though even he has times when he inadvertently lead the group too far toward an extreme of conformity or nonconformity.

Cast and Characters

Additional voices


The show began production in early 1996 after Disney bought ABC and the creators had left Nickelodeon. A pilot of the series was created in 1996, which got the show greenlit. The pilot became the first episode of the series, albeit with different character designs. The pilot was never released to the general public, but clips of it were shown on the 1997 VHS of 101 Dalmatians, as well as certain station IDs for One Saturday Morning depending on the ABC station.

The show premiered on September 13, 1997 as part of Disney's One Saturday Morning, along with Disney's Doug (which was already running on the channel before that as well as Nickelodeon) and Pepper Ann.

Seasons three and four were broadcast in the same year, with season three airing on ABC, and season four airing on UPN as part of Disney's One Too block.

The show was originally going to end with five seasons, with the movie being the finale. However, due to the well performance of the film, the show was renewed for one more season. The sixth season marked the show's first Halloween special (the second would be in Taking the Fifth Grade), focus on minor characters in the show, and the disappearance of popular characters such as Butch and Miss Grotke after the season premiere. The season was the shortest of the show, with only three episodes. The last episode aired on November 21, 2001, with 65 episodes (128 episodes when stories A and B are broken up).

In 2003, Walt Disney Home Entertainment released two direct-to-video movies based on the series: Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down. The first is considered the true series finale, while the second is a prequel to the series. In 2006, The Recess Gang guest starred in an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, "Lax". This has been the final project for the series to date.


Recess reran on ABC from 2001 to late 2004 when ABC Kids (the block that took over One Saturday Morning after it ended in 2002) converted into an all-Disney Channel lineup. It was reran on Disney Channel from 2003 to 2005, and was reran again from 2008 to 2010. It was also reran on Toon Disney from 2003 to 2009 when the channel ceased operations, and Disney XD from 2009 to early 2010, and briefly returned to the channel in October 2011, but was removed along with Stitch! after four airings. In October 2019, Disney announced that Recess (among many other shows) will be available on Disney+ in the United States upon its November launch.[1] There are no plans for the series to be released on DVD season sets, though individual episodes are available on the direct-to-DVD and video releases (with more episodes on the DVDs).

Recess is also still shown in certain countries on their Disney markets, such as Sky Movies Disney in the United Kingdom, and Family (while not being owned by Disney, it still airs many Disney programs) in Canada. In Germany, the complete series is available on iTunes.

Feature Film

While the second season of the show was airing in 1998, the creators began to develop a feature film based on the series. It was finished in February 2000 during the show's fourth season. At the end of the fifth season, Recess: School's Out was released by Walt Disney Pictures on February 16, 2001, and was a success with both critics and box office numbers. The success of the film (and show itself) led to two direct-to-video (and DVD) films: Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down.


During its airtime, Recess was one of the most popular shows on One Saturday Morning, being popular with children, teenagers, and adults. It was the only show from One Saturday Morning to air for the entirety of the block's run on the air, with Doug removed in 2000 and Pepper Ann in early 2002, as well as the only show on the block to go into the first two years of ABC Kids.

While the show didn't have as many tie-in products as Disney's Doug, which ran in the same block, the show did get a fair amount of merchandise, ranging to stuffed dolls of the main six characters (and various other characters outside the U.S.), various tie-in books, DVDs, and Happy Meal toys of the show were released at McDonald's in 1998.

References to other Disney media

  • The gang frequently refer to T.J. as "Teej", similar to how Max refers to P.J. as "Peej" in Goof Troop and A Goofy Movie.
  • During T.J.'s nightmare about the never-ending rain causing a flood in "Rainy Days", Pluto appears.
  • In "One Stayed Clean", Gretchen's outfit for her school picture is similar to one of the more famous outfits worn by Minnie Mouse: a large pink hair bow and a light blue dress with a pink sash.
  • In "Bachelor Gus", Owl makes a cameo appearance when Gus is all alone in the playground at night.
  • In "Kurst the Not So Bad", Mikey and Kurst are shown eating from the same spaghetti strand similar to the famous Bella Notte scene in Lady and the Tramp.
  • In "Big Brother Chad", Vince's transformation during the full moon is similar to Max's transformation from A Goofy Movie.

External links


  1. Alexander, Julia (October 14, 2019). "Disney+ launch lineup: Every movie and TV show available to stream in the US on day one". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved on October 24, 2019.

v - e - d
RecessRecess: School's Out/SoundtrackRecess: All Growed DownRecess: Taking the Fifth GradeRecess: Miracle on Third StreetVideography"Lax" (Lilo & Stitch: The Series crossover episode)"Codename: Electric Haircut" (Fillmore! crossover episode)
T.J. DetweilerVince LaSalleAshley SpinelliMikey BlumbergGretchen GrundlerGus GriswaldCaptain BradleyCornchip GirlThe KindergartnersThe DiggersHustler KidGuru KidErwin LawsonMiss GrotkeMuriel FinsterBecky DetweilerDr. Phillium BenedictMenloBrockPeter PricklyKojakMiss SalamoneButchAshley ArmbrusterAshley BouletAshley QuinlanAshley TomassianFenwickBrandon the SingerGelmanKing BobChuckoJockoRandall WeemsKing Freddie IICheaySpencerThe MegansThe BrittanysThe TylersBob and Flo Spinelli
Season One: "The Break In" • "The New Kid" • "The Experiment" • "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff" • "Jinxed" • "Officer Mikey" • "First Name Ashley" • "To Finster with Love" • "King Gus" • "Big Brother Chad" • "My Fair Gretchen" • "Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye" • "I Will Kick No More Forever" • "The Kid Came Back" • "The Pest" • "The Legend of Big Kid" • "The Box" • "The Trial" • "Teacher's Lounge" • "Randall's Reform" • "Rainy Days" • "The Great Can Drive" • "The Voice" • "Kids in the Mist" • "Parents' Night" • "Swing on Thru to the Other Side"

Season Two: "The Break-up" • "The Hypnotist" • "Mama's Girl" • "Outcast Ashley" • "The Game" • "The Lost Ball" • "Gus' Last Stand" • "Operation Field Trip" • "The Challenge" • "Wild Child" • "The Substitute" • "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo" • "The Girl Was Trouble" • "Copycat Kid" • "Operation Stuart" • "Pharaoh Bob" • "The Story of Whomps" • "Weekend at Muriel's" • "Economics of Recess" • "Omega Kids" • "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" • "Bad Hair Day" • "Dance Lessons" • "Principal for a Day" • "The Beauty Contest"
Season Three: "One Stayed Clean" • "A Genius Among Us" • "The First Picture Show" • "The Big Prank" • "Hustler's Apprentice" • "The Spy Who Came in from the Playground" • "Dodgeball City" • "A Career to Remember" • "Gus' Fortune" • "Rumor Mill" • "Recess is Cancelled" • "Tattletale Heart" • "Kindergarten Derby" • "The Bet" • "The Madness of King Bob" • "Call Me Guy" • "Space Cadet" • "Stand Up Randall" • "Prickly is Leaving" • "Randall's Friends" • "Gus and Misdemeanors" • "A Science Fair to Remember" • "That Stinking Feeling" • "My Funny Valentines" • "Mikey's Pants" • "Here Comes Mr. Perfect" • "Good Luck Charm" • "Diggers Split Up" • "Schoolworld" • "Bachelor Gus" • "The Dude" • "Partners in Crime" • "The Candidates" • "This Brain for Hire" • "The Barnaby Boys" • "Buried Treasure" • "The Library Kid" • "The Ratings Game" • "Spinelli's Masterpiece" • "Nobody Doesn't Like T.J." • "A Great State Fair" • "The A.V. Kid" • "Yope from Norway" • "Bonky Fever" • "Don't Ask Me" • "The Secret Life of Grotke" • "The Fuss Over Finster" • "Soccer Kid" • "Fort Tender" • "Germ Warfare" • "More Like Gretchen" • "Prince Randall" • "Me No Know" • "Good Ole T.J." • "Chez Vince" • "Tucked in Mikey" • "Old Folks Home" • "Some Friend"
Season Four: "The Coolest Heatwave Ever" • "No Strings Attached" • "Beyond a Reasonable Scout" • "The C Note" • "The Army Navy Game" • "Big Ol' Mikey" • "The Principals of Golf" • "All the Principal's Men" • "Lawson and his Crew"
Season Five: "Terrifying Tales of Recess" • "Kurst the Not So Bad" • "League of Randalls" • "Mundy, Mundy" • "Lost Leader"

Third Street SchoolOld RustyFifth and Sixth Grader ClubAshley's ClubhouseKing's Jungle Gym
We Shall Not Be MovedBorn to Be WildGreen TambourineDancing in the Street

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