Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Recess: Season One Episode One

The Recess Gang

If you are of a certain age, you probably remember recess, that golden half hour or so where kids in school were allowed to go nuts and forget all their classroom woes. Heck, the teachers expected us to go nuts, in the hopes that we could finish the last half of the school-day just a little less wiggly and antsy. Sadly, kids these days don't have recess anymore (that's a topic for another blog!) However, for those of us waxing nostalgic, or just looking for a good laugh, nothing captures the essence of this magical time of school better than the aptly-named 1990s Recess cartoon.

Recess revolves around fourth grade friends TJ, Spinelli, Gretchen, Mikey, Vince, and Gus (who joins the gang in episode 2) and what they do at recess. In the first episode, gang-leader TJ gets caught trying to steal food from the cafeteria (from a refrigerator marked, "Good Food"-- LOL!) as a protest against the Tomato Surprise, a highly-acidic soup they are serving in the cafeteria. When the horrid Ms. Finster punishes TJ by taking away recess, the poet of the group, Mikey, shouts, "Why doesn't she just tear out his soul?!?!" The gang spend the rest of the episode trying to bail TJ out of the classroom, with hilarious results. TJ didn't get to have recess, but his friends ended up uniting various factions of the playground, until the next episode of course.

I used to watch this cartoon when it aired Saturday mornings on ABC, back in the Stone Age. As a kid, the thing I loved most about this show (and still love) is that it never failed to crack me up. Now that I'm older, I love that the characters are so likeable, and yet so different from one another--just like real kids! I talk about diversity a lot on this blog, and race or ethnicity-wise, you couldn't call the cast of Recess diverse. But there's a believable diversity of interests and personalities that make the show fun to watch, without the characters becoming caricatures. One of my faves is Gretchen the Nerd. She explains what's in Tomato Surprise:

Spinelli (after putting the Tomato Surprise on her tray): It's like acid!

Gretchen: Citric acid, actually. And a carbon base electromagnetically heated to create a synthetic compound which has some admirable qualities.

TJ: You mean it's ok to eat?

Gretchen: No, if you let it age it'll burn a hole in a concrete floor.


Go ahead and check out Recess. Then grab a friend and go play outside! What's your favorite recess memory?

Photo Credits

The image of the Recess gang was taken from here. Thanks heaps!


  1. " Sadly, kids these days don't have recess anymore"

    I had to gulp there.

  2. Replies
    1. You're lucky your school had swings! My favorite memory was sitting against the railing with my friends trying (and failing, lol!) to look cool!

  3. I don't think I've seen this show.

    I remember in 6th grade, we would sometimes get to use the playground if we were really good. The playground was left over from when the kindergarten used to be in our building, but we loved it even when we were older.