Voiced by: Ross Malinger (Season one and first two episodes of season two), Andrew Lawrence (Season two to the end of the series), Myles Jeffrey (Direct-to-video movies), Axel Alba (Lilo & Stitch: The Series crossover), Randy Crenshaw (Singing (Credits of movie only), Kouki Uchiyama (Japanese dub, though Wasabi Mizuta voiced him in the first few episodes)
Accidental Hero: In the episode "The Shiner", T.J. gets a black eye and everyone thinks he did a heroic act to get it. However, he told everyone at the end of the episode why he got it, and that he was too embarrassed to tell: His parents put him in a youth group, and they had a square-dancing class, and during that, a girl accidentally punched him in the eye
Art Evolution: In season one, he was a lot chubbier (and more so in the more Off Model episodes of the season) and had highlights in his eyes, which were gone by season two for unknown reasons (either because he was the only character that had them and it looked weird, or because the artists forgot to draw them 50% of the time anyway so they were removed)
In later episodes, he looks a bit different. He's taller, not as chubby, and his eyes are bigger.
Big Eater: While it isn't shown on-screen, "The Great State Fair" and "Omega Kids" hints that he can be one, and this was also hinted in some print material.
Big Fun: He's not "huge", but he's a bit plump. As for "fun", you'd best believe it
Big Man on Campus: Oh, yes. He's cool, street-smart, somewhat athletic, and rather cute.
Book Dumb: He got a C- on a book report because he used the book's cover blurb, thinks "spy" is spelled S-P-I, gets a 10.1% on a test, however, on the playground, he can pull of elaborate schemes (literally) under his hat.
A Day in the Limelight: "The Break In", "The Experiment", "The Legend of Big Kid", "The Box", "The Break-up", "The Substitute", "Economics of Recess", "The Story of Whomps", "Bad Hair Day", "Principal for a Day", "Space Cadet", "The Shiner", "Lord of the Nerds", "My Funny Valentines", "The Barnaby Boys", "The First Picture Show", "The Big Prank", "The Madness of King Bob", "Nobody Doesn't Like T.J.", "The A.V. Kid", "Good Ole T.J.", and "Lost Leader".
Moe Stare: He's able to give this◊ to Gretchen to urge her to help him with his plan in "A Great State Fair".
My Greatest Failure: When his plan at the beginning of "Lost Leader" went wrong and ended up injuring Gus.
Naughty Is Good: He's very mischivious and rebellious, though he's also a good kid nontheless and a total sweetheart.
Never Bareheaded: He's always seen wearing his red baseball hat and very rarely takes it off (Making him take it off is his Berserk Button, though he did take it off when Dr. Slicer ordered him to, out of fear). The only occasions where he doesn't wear it is for formal occasions or when he's sleeping.
Odd Friendship: One episode reveals that pre-series, kindergarten specifically, he was actually best friends with Menlo. While they are now enemies at school, he still attends every one of Menlo's birthday parties and is fawned over by Menlo's mother when she sees him each year.
Off Model: During the first season, in many scenes T.J. is missing his eye highlights. This could possibly be the reason why they were removed in the first season.
Properly Paranoid: In Recess: School's Out, he's the only one who believes that there's suspicious activity going on inside the school during summer vacation (Until he gets the gang to see what's going on)
Sanity Slippage: After being placed in "The Box", Miss Finster's new punishment for the kids- a square drawn on the blacktop. At first, he laughs at it like everyone else, but then he ends up being the first attendent in the box. After ten minutes, he's found sitting in the fetal position singing "This Old Man" and laughing to himself. After being taken out, he continuously speaks in the third person and promises to be a good boy.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After becoming the principal for a day (In the episode of the same name), he gets power over the whole school...but easily becomes corrupted and power-mad.
And again when they invented schoolyard currency. At the same time he financially toke over the school, he got incessantly more insane. This is cemented when he only offered one mark for his own hat. Which was his goal in first place.
Your Size May Vary: Sometimes he and Spinelli are the same height, but sometimes he's taller. He's noticeably taller in the later episodes.
A Day in the Limelight: "Big Brother Chad", "I Will Kick No More Forever", "Copycat Kid", "Bad Hair Day", "The Bet", "The Barnaby Boys", "Good Luck Charm", "The Candidates", "The A.V. Kid", "Chez Vince", and "The Principals of Golf".
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Her parents almost always embarrass her, especially seen in their debut, "Parents' Night". This includes saying embarrassing stuff about her in public, getting her friends' names wrong right in front of them, and revealing the fact that Spinelli has a crush on T.J.
Ambiguously Brown: Spinelli's ethnic background has been called into question. Since she has almond-shaped eyes found on Asian girls in cartoons and light brown skin, many viewers have assumed that Spinelli was originally from somewhere in South Asia and was adopted by Caucasian parents. On the other hand, Spinelli's skin tone is also found on Southern Italians (Silicians, specifically) and That Other Wiki has established that Spinelli's family (possibly her father's side, as he has really dark hair and almost the same skin tone as his daughter, and her mother looks like she could be white European) is Italian (right down to Spinelli's penchant for fighting, which comes from the stereotype of the hot-blooded Italian) so either Spinelli's mom isn't really her mom, Spinelli's mom being a redhead is an Actor Allusion to Katey Sagal [who played Peggy Bundy — a redheaded housewife who wore tacky 1960s housewife clothes and has a big bouffant, like Spinelli's mom does — on Married... with Children], Spinelli's mom dyes her hair, or Spinelli takes after her father more than her mother (which further reinforces Spinelli's aversion to all things she thinks are for girly-girls).
But Not Too Foreign: On the episode in which Randall discovers Spinelli's embarrassing first name (Ashley), Spinelli reveals she was named after her great-aunt who was from Alaska and ran in the Iditarod, meaning that Spinelli could be Inuit (Alaskan Native) on her mom's side and Italian on her father's side.
A Day in the Limelight: "The Experiment", "First Name Ashley", "The Trial", "Parents Night", "Swing on Thru to the Other Side", "Mama's Girl", "Weekend at Muriel's", "Dance Lessons", "The Beauty Contest", "A Career to Remember", "That Stinking Feeling", "Good Luck Charm", "Spinelli's Masterpiece", "Don't Ask Me", "More Like Gretchen", and "No Strings Attached".
Dub Name Change: Her first name is changed to "Patricia" in the Portuguese dub, to fit with the other Ashleys who were also called thisnote Patricinha, the diminutive form of Patricia, is basically the Portuguese-language equivalent of Valley Girl, which the Ashleys are. Her last name remains the same.
Irony: Spinelli has been hinted at being the youngest of the gang (Month-wise. Her birthday's towards the end of September, and birthdays later than that would cause complications with school cut-off dates, hinting that the rest of the gang had their birthdays earlier), however, her voice actress is the oldest of the main six cast members.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being quick tempered and violent, she's always rooting for the underdog and protecting her friends.
Your Size May Vary: While she's the second shortest of the gang, how short she is will vary. Sometimes she's a little taller than Gus, sometimes she and Gus are the same height, and in the later episodes, she's the same height as T.J., possibly due to a growth spurt.
Debut: "The Break In"
Voiced by:Ashley Johnson, Anndi McAfee (Singing (Credits of movie only))
The Chick: To an extent. She was more of The Smart Guy, but was also the Team Mom and the most feminine of the gang. And like most examples, most of the merchandise she was featured on alone were pink.
A Day in the Limelight: "My Fair Gretchen", "The Pest", "Outcast Ashley", "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo", "The Girl Was Trouble", "A Genius Among Us", "Space Cadet", "A Science Fair to Remember", "The Candidates", "This Brain for Hire", "More Like Gretchen", and "Good Ole T.J."
Fiery Redhead: Subverted; she's pretty calm, but if you push her enough, she's this.
I Choose to Stay: When given the opportunity to leave Third Street School and attend Oppenheimer Elementary, a school for genius students, she decides to stay at Third Street because she didn't want to leave her friends.
A Day in the Limelight: "Officer Mikey", "The Voice", "Copycat Kid", "Operation Stuart", "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave", "Dance Lessons", "Kindergarten Derby", "Rumor Mill", "Mikey's Pants", "Bonky Fever", "Soccer Boy", "Germ Warfare", "Tucked in Mikey", "Old Folks Home", "Beyond a Reasonable Scout", "Big Ol' Mikey", and "Kurst the Not So Bad".
Dumb Blonde: At times, though it's more "naive" than "dumb"
Audience Surrogate: Being new to town, Gus is always confused about certian school rituals and legends, just like the viewer who's first hearing about them. This leads to the gang explaining the situation to him- and the audience.
A Day in the Limelight: "The New Kid", "Jinxed", "King Gus", "The Lost Ball", "Gus's Last Stand", "One Stayed Clean", "Dodgeball City", "Hustler's Apprentice", "Gus's Fortune", "Tattletale Heart", "Call Me Guy", "Gus and Misdemeanors", "Bachelor Gus", "A Great State Fair", "Yope From Norway", "Germ Warfare", "Beyond a Reasonable Scout", and "The Army-Navy Game".
Friendless Background: Having moved from town to town all the time (since he's the child of a military officer, meaning that whenever his dad gets stationed somewhere, he has to move with him), not to mention being shy and somewhat dweeby, poor Gus hardly had any friends before moving to town, and meeting the main five.
He's Back: After witnessing Lawson nail his kindergartner friend Hector with a dodgeball thinking he was a fourth grader, Gus decided it was time to bring back the deadliest dodgeball player in all the playground: El Diablo.
Hidden Depths: He's exceptional at dodgeball—to the point that a kid seeing him play guitar freaked him out and warned T.J. and the others to flee.
Military Brat: His dad was in the Army and they moved around a lot because of it (Gus was in at least six schools before he moved to Third Street). Subverted in that he's actually a nice kid, unlike most military brats, who are depicted as being bullies.
My Greatest Failure: Before he came to Third Street, he was regarded as El Diablo, the greatest and deadliest dodgeball player in all the playground. However, that all changed the day he accidentally hit a little kid during a game, making the kid so traumatized that he never set foot on the playground again and left Gus so guilt-ridden that he would never pick up another dodgeball again.
Gus: Poor little kid was so shook up, he could never go near the playground again. Studied during lunch. I did that to him. Sorry, but I just can't play.
Naïve Newcomer: When he arrives at Third Street School in the beginning of the series.
Spell My Name with an "S": His last name is spelled "Griswald" in official merchandise, most episodes, and in print material, however, it was spelt as "Griswold" in two episodes: "The New Kid" and "Gus's Fortune".
Temporary Bulk Change: In Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, Gus eats too much at the fifth and sixth grader club, and gains weight as a result. He remains this way until the next segement of the movie starts.
Even Randall Has Standards: Randall is hated by the students for being a snitch, but there are some kids who have a high authority level, like King Bob, he would never snitch on because he believes that's naughty. In the film, he calls out on one of Benedict's followers for ratting him out.
Jerk with a Heart of Jerk part is debatable, because a lot of times he was shown as Friendly Enemy of Reccess Gang, genuinly wanted to be friends with them and especially TJ in "Randall's Reform" and genuinly respected Ms. Finster and looked up to her and had some Even Evil Has Standards moments. While he may be jerk and snitch, but deep down he is not that bad.
Not Me This Time: In both "The Spy Who Came in From the Playground" and "League of Randalls".
Red Headed Bully: Though not in the normal way, as he has authority figures do his bullying work for him as he's too weak to do it himself.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: When they have a huge fight in "The Diggers Split Up," they won't even speak to each other, but when the gang tell Sam that Dave got caught in a cave-in, he immediately runs to his aid shouting, "Sam! Sam, hang in there, I will find you!" When Sam sees this, they make up almost straight away.
Divergent Character Evolution: For most of the show, the boys were pretty much the same characters. In their focus episode "Diggers Split Up", Dave's been shown to be bossy and controlling, while Sam is more easygoing.
'80s Hair: They both had mullets at one point. By "Diggers Split Up", they were gone.
Debut: "The Break In" (Most of them), "The Break-up" (Tubby)
Voiced by:E.G. Daily (Captain Sticky, Spencer, and Hector (In "Dodgeball City" and "Call Me Guy")), Kath Soucie (Hector ("Wild Child" and direct-to-video movies, Cindy, and Gilbert), Jason Davis (Tubby), Francesca Smith (Emma), Pamela Segall-Adlon, and Christine Cavanaugh
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: They're kindergarteners after all. Especially seen in "Kindergarten Derby", when they get to the "Valley of Distraction", which is part of the field filled with shiny candy wrappers and toys.
King Bob Has Standards: While he maybe a Jerkass ruler, but at time he also has ordered others to stop harassing other students, especially the Main Six.
In “Telltale Heart”, near the end just Gus was about to be punished by the students for tattling, he orders it to stop because Finster got everyone else to do so, with the exception of Gus and the rest of the Main Six. It was thanks to Guru Kid, who was the only one that was told that it was started by Randall.
In “Mikey’s Pants”, at the end, King Bob orders the playground to stop mocking Mikey for having ripped pants after Vince, TJ, and Gus did the same thing, since he does respect those who are willing to spare others from public embarrassment.
He's also known for updating the rules of the playground whenever it deems needed, like just making kids use a coin to decide on who has to retrieve a lost item.
Hidden Depths: In one episode, it is shown he feels that people only like him because he's king and in another he's worried that no one at Third Street will remember him once he graduates.
Lonely at the Top: In "Officer Mikey", he tells the gang that he wishes he had friends who liked him for who he is and not just because he's king of the playground.
Not So Different: He and TJ, especially prominent in "The Madness of King Bob", such as when Bob is planning an elaborate prank to play on TJ, only to dismiss it as stupid. It then cuts to TJ's house where he's planning what's apparently the same thing.
Put on a Bus: In Taking the Fifth Grade, he leaves for middle school. Though he makes one more appearance to set the new king straight in one scene.
Race Lift: In season one, he had a slight olive skin tone. Starting from season two, he became white.
Seventh Ranger: She's considered an unofficial member of the main six in the later episodes
Vague Age: Cornchip Girl could either be in first or second grade, and in "One Stayed Clean", she's shown with the kindergarteners briefly (Though earlier on, she was running away from them, meaning that the scene she had with them could've been an animation error). Most fans place her around seven.
Debut: "The Break In" (Unspeaking), "Big Brother Chad"
Dub Name Change: Their first names are changed to Patricia in the Portuguese dub. Their last names remain the same.
Early-Bird Cameo: Ashley T. was a nameless background character in "The New Kid" before being formally introduced in "Jinxed" (Or "The Experiment"- the Ashleys made their first appearance, but their final personalities weren't given yet, and the only time their name was mentioned was when they were offscreen. Presumably, "Jinxed" was produced before (but aired after) "The Experiment")
Jerkass: Pretty much all of them, but Ashley Q. is by far one of the meaner Ashleys.
Off Model: In some episodes, Ashley B's outfit switches from yellow to red, and then back again.
One Steve Limit: Completely averted (and Spinelli's also named Ashley, but she wants no association with them), as well as each one having a younger brother named Tyler and a little sister named Britney.
King Bob even made a law, that inverts this trope completely: Alle children named Ashley must accept membership of the Ashleys if an Ashley invites them.
Pink Means Feminine: Ashley A.'s signature color is pink, and their entire clubhouse has pink wallpaper.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a prude, but is usually well-meaning and wants to do the right thing for the school. In addition, he has helped the main six on numerous occasions.
Last Name Basis: At least in the Spanish dub, where he's given the first name "Taylor". In most versions of the show, including the original English version, it has never been stated if "Menlo" is his first or last name (Though suggested more towards the latter).
(Former) Wild Child: Yes, you read that right. It's revealed in "Principal for a day" that shortly before the events of the series, he was so out of control that Principal Prickly himself had to intervene. After being Principal for a day, Menlo became the guy he is now.
Jordan and Jerome
Debut: "King Gus"
Voiced by: Patrick Renna (Jerome), Justin Shenkarow (Jordan), Erik Von Detten (Both in certain episodes)
Freudian Excuse: Implied in "The Great State Fair"; he continously refuses to do the activities Finster provides by saying, "My old man don't believe in [x]." When Gus asks him why he's not at the fair, Gelman claims his old man "don't believe in fairs."
Characterization Marches On: When Lawson made his first two appearances in season two (His debut episode "The Story of Whomps" and "Principal for a Day"), he was more competent and more of a threat, to the point where he almost beats up T.J. for saying he "whomped" (Before knowing what the word meant). Starting with season three, he became more of a ditz and resorted to calling the gang names and taunting them.
Demoted to Extra: In The Movie, he only has a brief cameo and doesn't speak (however, he's still credited, hinting that he was going to have a speaking role, but his scene was cut)
Insulting Nickname: Dishes these out frequently, such as "LaStupid", "Dettwhiner", "Shrimpnelli", etc. He grudgingly calls TJ "Dettwinner" after he and the gang successfully steal their base back in "Fort Tender".
Demoted to Extra: Was set up to be a major bully in the first season, however, he only really starred in one episode and then became a background character, sometimes showing up as a member of Lawson's gang.
Debut: "Teachers Lounge"
Voiced by: Micheal Shulman ("Teachers Lounge"), Justin Jon Ross (Other episodes)
Debut: "The New Kid" (Unnamed and unspeaking), "Jinxed" (Speaking), "The Challenge" (Named)
Voiced by: Justin Shenkarow ("Jinxed"), Anndi McAfee ("My Fair Gretchen" and "Dance Lessons"), Klee Bragger ("The Trial"), Ryan O'Donohue ("Stand Up Randall"), Kath Soucie ("The Shiner"), E.G. Daily ("Call Me Guy")
Ambiguous Gender: Often switches from male to female throughout episodes. To hit it home, he/she is named Tracey- which is gender neutral.
Evil Old Folks: Not really "evil" (unless season one counts), but still the main antagonist for the series.
Even Mean Teachers Has Standards: Finster doesn't have much of a problem coming with harsh but fair punishments, but she thought Phillip Fitzhugh's decision of separating the Main Six permanently in other schools was taking too far. She also was upset with Benedict in the film for wanting to banned recess. It was revealed in the film, she once had a relationship Benedict but broke up with him for wanting to banned recess.
Characterization Marches On: In "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff", he's another Sadist Teacher in the series, which isn't seen again for the rest of the show (with him being apathetic instead.) This could've been because the episode was one of the earliest ones made.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Like Butch, Hustler Kid and Miss Grotke, he doesn't appear after "The Terrifying Tales of Recess". He comes back for Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.
Adorkable: She's overly enthusiastic about almost everything she does, plus she's rather adorable physicaly.
Adults Are Useless: Aveted most of the time, as she's always on the kids' side and standing up for them. Though at the same time, she's also naive and gullible, and is prone to being oblivious to the gang's schemes.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After "The Terrifying Tales of Recess" (the first episode of season six and the stories featured in the episode weren't canon, anyway), she's gone for the rest of the series until Taking the Fifth Grade two years later.
Cloudcuckoolander: While she is closer to Earth than the other teachers at times, she has a few moments where she goes off into Cloudcuckooland.
Deadpan Snarker: "This Brain for Hire" shows that when she needs to be, she's probably the snarkiest character in the entire series.
Demoted to Extra: She only appears two times in Recess: School's Out and only has seven lines (and two of them are just her screaming), though this is justified as it was summer vacation. Though her parts in the battle scene were pretty memorable.
In Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, she only has a few speaking lines and that's it. Justified, however, as the main kids weren't in her class anymore.
Corrupt Politician: Mild example. He only cares about his reputation and being re-elected and cares a little about townspeople. Not to mention what he was attempting to do in "The Biggest Trouble Ever".
Jerk Ass: Between dressing up as Santa Claus to get re-elected, trying to send small, defenseless children into six seperate schools for accidently breaking the statue of school's namesake, despite fact that they were sorry for it, and that he himself intetionally tried to break the same statue back when he was a kid and generally being nasty to everyone, Mayor Fitzhugh is second biggest example of this trope in the show, after Dr. Slicer
Knight of Cerebus: The episode "The Biggest Trouble Ever" was already very dramatic, but it got really intense when he showed up and took active role.
Henpecked Husband: In the episode "This Brain For Hire", his wife gets onto him for convincing Gretchen to do the right thing and return the money she was going to spend on a new bike to the kids she "tutored". He responds with a very meek, "Yes, dear. I know, dear."
The Mentor: Can be this to the kids in various episodes.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Is rather understanding when Gus admits he shoplifted bubblegum from him when he was trying to impress some older kids.
Put on a Bus: The main reason why he needed to find another A.V Kid, because he was moving to Portugal.
Remember the New Guy: Almost. He first appears in season four's "The A.V. Kid" with all the kids already knowing him, but it's also revealed that he doesn't go out for recess and is very solitary, giving the reason why he was never seen before.
Remember the New Guy: Just averted. When the movie was in production, some of the later episodes before the movie was finished had T.J. mention her a few times, avoiding having her introduced without anyone mentioning her before.
Retcon: Becky was originally T.J.'s (unnamed and unseen) older brother, according to "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff" (Which, as an early episode of the first season, was filled with Early Installment Weirdness).
Status Quo Is God: Despite mending her bond with T.J. at the end of Recess: School's Out, she goes back to being a jerk in Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.