Spinelli's mother is voiced by Katey Sagal who, before she was known as Turanga Leela on Futurama or Gemma Teller on Sons of Anarchy, played Peg Bundy on the FOX sitcom Married... with Children. Spinelli's mom even looks like her (except Peg never wore glasses).
In "First Name Ashley", the first kid to join the Ashleys after everyone changes their name to Ashley is Gretchen- whose voice actress is actually named Ashley!
In the show, The Dude seen as an older brother figure to T.J.. In real life, his voice actor, Joey Lawrence, is the older brother of T.J.'s (then) voice actor, Andy Lawrence.
Adored by the Network: ABC loved this show, and it was advertised much more heavily than the rest of the shows on One Saturday Morning (as in, sometimes being advertised alongside non-OSM programming). Also, unlike the rest of the shows on the block, Recess was shown for a full hour (a new episode at 9:00 AM with a repeat of a previous episode at 9:30, excluding the first time the show aired where a Disney's Doug repeat played in the slot). They were also prone to airing spontaneous marathons of the series.
When the show first came on Toon Disney in 2003, the show would often air twenty-two times a week. And this was on a regular basis- when the show came to Toon Disney on September 1, 2003, they celebrated by having a marathon of the show! Disney Channel took it even further and played it roughly twenty-six times a week, more than any of their shows (animated or live-action) still running!
For a few years, Recess was the most played show on both Disney Channel and Toon Disney.
Channel Hop: Subverted. The show premiered on ABC, but in 1999, some episodes would debut on UPN and in syndication while others would debut on ABC. All the episodes of the sixth season premiered on UPN and in syndication, though ABC continued to rerun the rest of the episodes.
Contest Winner Cameo: Morgan, the kid who only appears in "The Rules", was actually a winner from a contest Disney and McDonald's sponsored in 1998 when the Recess toys were out, where the winner got to appear in animated form in an episode and also win a trip to Disneyland.
Cross-Dressing Voices: Almost completely averted. Nearly every young male character (and all of the leads) were voiced by real boys, all of whom (with the exception of the actor playing T.J.) were kept on after their voices changed.
The only boys on the show voiced by women were almost all of the kindergarteners (except Tubby, who was voiced by Mikey's voice actor, Jason Davis, and Captain Sticky's first voice, Ryan O'Donohue, who played Randall and Digger Dave), Butch (Kath Soucie), Yope, Steve and Lance the Pants (Pamela Haydennote Hayden is probably best known as the voice of Bart Simpson's Unlucky Childhood Friend, Milhouse van Houten and local thug-cum-school bully, Jimbo Jones on The Simpsons), and most of the background kids.
In the Swedish dub, T.J.'s first name is changed to Tobias, and his voice actor is Tobias Sward.
Dawson Casting: Unlike the rest of the members of the Recess Gang, Spinelli was the only member not to be played by a kid, as Pamela Adlon was thirty when she started voicing Spinelli (Recording began in 1996).
Direct-to-Video: Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, Recess: All Growed Down, and most of Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street were all released directly to video and DVD in 2003 (except for the latter, released in 2001).
With Hey Arnold!, both shows ran a similar run (Arnold began one year prior to Recess, and would've both ended in the same year if it hadn't had been for Schedule Slip of the rest of the Arnold episodes) and were very sucessful with critics and ratings (Recess did have the higher ratings, though part of this contributes to being on ABC while Arnold was on cable network Nickelodeon, causing the former to get more views for families without cable). General consensus among both the Hey Arnold! and Recess fandoms (which had a brief rivalry in the '90s but are good friends now) are that while fans will have different prefrences as to which show is the better show, most fans will agree that Recess: School's Out was a much better film than Hey Arnold! The Movie.
With Detention, it was a bit obvious that Warner Brothers were trying to Follow the Leader due to Recess (and One Saturday Morning in general) beating Kids' WB! in the ratings. It lasted one season of thirteen episodes and didn't go into reruns.
When you've been exposed to Futurama and then you come back to watching this show, particularly the episodes with Spinelli's parents, it's impossible to hear her mom speaking and not find yourself thinking of Leela...or Married... with Children, considering that Spinelli's mom looks like a cartoon version of Peg Bundy (both have big red hair, wear 1960s housewife style clothes [the capri pants, kitten heels, and floral halter top], and both are married to whiny husbands [only Spinelli's dad isn't as pathetic as Al Bundy]). The only differences between Spinelli's mom and Peg are: (a) Spinelli's mom wears glasses, and (b) Spinelli's mom actually acts like a mom and does housework.
And in the movie, Benedict is voiced by James "Hades" Woods.
You can actually hear a few Rugrats voices in there. Notably, Butch who shares the same voice actor as Phil and Lil (Kath Soucie).
Superintendent Skinner was voiced by John Astin, the original Gomez Addams from the 1960s Addams Family series.
Lawson could have been a worse bully. Since he's voiced by Erik Von Detten, he could have been like Sid Phillips
Pamela Segall Adlon, (Bobby Hill, Otto Osworth, Milo Oblong, among others), voices Spinelli, in one of the rare times that Segall-Adlon voices a girl (albeit one that acts and fights like a boy). This show and Pepper Ann are the only series in which Pamela Segall-Adlon has played a girl character.
Speaking of Bobby Hill, Spinelli's Italian VA voices Luanne Platter. And like in Sweden, Italian Spinelli is also Azula.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Despite being a very popular show, Recess has only received four video and DVD releases: Recess: School's Out, Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, and Recess: All Growed Down (and most stores stopped carrying them once the show was taken off Disney Channel). Two of those releases were full movies, while the other two consisted of episodes with linking material (while All Growed Down also had a prequel story). Only seven episodesnote out of 128 episodes when the Two Shorts episodes of the 65 are broken up were released (twelve if you count the DVDs with bonus episodes). Aside from that, the show was played in reruns almost every day until 2010. Averted in Germany, where the entire series is on iTunes.
For a while, every episode and the direct-to-video movies (Also Recess: School's Out, at least until it was released on iTunes) was availible on YouTube. However in 2013, Disney went on a YouTube pulling spree and took down almost every episode (And then did the same to Teacher's Pet, Disney's Doug, and Pepper Ann at the same time). Needless to say, the fanbase was NOT happy.
The shorts of the show which aired during commercial breaks on Disney's One Too haven't been seen since 2000, and are nowhere to be found on the internet.
Missing Episode: Season six was left out of Disney Channel's rerun rotation after their initial airing on UPN (And in syndication) in 2001. They weren't included in ABC's rerun rotation, either. The episodes didn't air on Toon Disney until 2006.
The original version of "The Break In", which was the series pilot with different character designs, has never been fully shown to the public, not counting clips shown in ABC commercials and station idents.
"Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" rarely gets aired in the US on its' own. Anytime Disney plans on airing Christmas programs with the show still in repeats, they'll air it as part of the movie Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street.
The Italian dub skipped over "That Stinking Feeling", "My Funny Valentines", "The Barnaby Boys", "The Library Kid", "The Ratings Game", "Rumor Mill", "Gus and Misdemeanors", "Here Comes Mr. Perfect", "Good Luck Charm", "Schoolworld", "Bachelor Gus", "The Dude", "The Candidates", "This Brain for Hire", "A Great State Fair", "The A.V. Kid", "Yope From Norway", "Bonky Fever", "Don't Ask Me", "The Fuss Over Finster", "Soccer Boy", "Fort Tender", "Germ Warfare", "More Like Gretchen", "Me No Know", "Good Ole T.J.", "Chez Vince", "Tucked in Mikey", "Old Folks Home", "Some Friend", "The Coolest Heatwave Ever", "No Strings Attatched", "Beyond a Reasonable Scout", "The C Note", "All the Principal's Men", and "The Terrifying Tales of Recess". Reasons are unknown.
Name's the Same: Stinky Peterson, a frequent Third Street Urban Legend, shares the exact same name with one of Arnold's friends.
The Pete Best: There aren't many fans who remember that Ross Malinger was the voice of T.J. in season one, and only remember him being voiced by Andrew Lawrence from the second season until the end of the series.
Promoted Fanboy: Zach Shada, who voiced Gus in the Lilo and Stitch crossover, was (and still is) a big fan of Recess.
Retroactive Recognition: One of the voice actors who played Gus Griswald was Zack Shada (the first voice of Finn the Human when Adventure Time was shown as a pilot short on Nickelodeon).
T.J., who was twice replaced when his previous voice actor went through puberty, despite the fact that every other actor voicing a young boy character was kept on after their voices changed. Ross Malinger played him in the 1996 pilot-turned-first episode and season one, Andrew Lawrence (younger brother of Joey Lawrence) played him for the rest of the series and the movie, and Myles Jeffrey (who's considered to be T.J.'s worst voice actor) played him in the direct-to-DVD movies, the Lilo and Stitch crossover, and any further projects (station I Ds and promos for Disney Channel, etc.)
Gus was played by Ryan O'Donohue (who was already playing Digger Dave and Randall) in "The New Kid", which was his first appearance. Courtland Mead played him for the rest of the series.
Gordy usually had his voice actor switched in every episode he was in.
Every background student is going to have a different voice actor in almost every episode, even the named ones.
Ashley T. was voiced by Rachel Crane in season one. Because the creators didn't want any of the Ashleys to be played by the same person, she was replaced, and her new voice actress was actually named Ashley, Ashley Johnson, who was already playing Gretchen. However some sources such as IM Bd state that Camille Redbush voiced her.
King Bob's mom was played by April Winchell at first, and after that, she was played by Kath Soucie.
A few cases with the Kindergardeners:
Captain Sticky was voiced by Ryan O`Donahue in "To Finster with Love" (his first speaking appearance), and then E.G. Daily for the rest of the series.
Emma was voiced by E.G. Daily in "Wild Child" and then by Franchesca Smith in Recess: All Growed Down.
Hector was voiced by Kath Soucie in "Wild Child", then he was played by E.G. Daily after that, until Recess: All Growed Down, when he was played by Kath Soucie again.
Christine Cavanaugh played Sue Bob Murphy in her debut episode, "The Girl Was Trouble". For the rest of the series, Kath Soucie voiced her. Coincidentally, both stared on Rugrats- Cavanaugh voiced Chuckie and Soucie voiced Phil, Lil, and Betty.
The Other Marty: Ryan O`Donahue (who already was Digger Dave and Randall) played Gus in his first episode in the initial airing. Courtland Mead (whom some 1990s cartoon watchers may recognize as Nightmare Ned) dubbed over his lines for the reruns and played Gus since then.
Release Date Change: Recess was planned to have the first episode aired as a sneak peek in primetime on August 31, 1997 instead of premiering with other One Saturday Morning newcomer Pepper Ann in September with the rest of the block. Due to Princess Diana's death, the premiere date was moved back to September 7 (which got moved again as well) so ABC could air news coverage...at least on the West coast. On the East coast, the episode aired as scheduled with news coverage coming before and after.
The show's "official" premiere was going to be on September 7, 1997 with the rest of One Saturday Morning (aside from the shows in repeats, Doug (which was already running a season before that), and 101 Dalmatians: The Series (which already premiered a week earlier in syndication). Due to ABC covering Princess Diana's funeral, the premiere was moved to September 13.
"Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" was originally set to premiere on December 19, 1998, but got pre-empted with the rest of One Saturday Morning so ABC could air news coverage on Bill Clinton's impeachment. The episode was held over until next Saturday, December 26...the day after Christmas!
Same Content, Different Rating: When the show premiered, it was TV-Y. When the show began reruns on Toon Disney, the rating was changed to TV-G, though Disney Channel still used the TV-Y. Disney XD switched back to TV-Y when they aired repeats for a week in October 2011 (despite airing the show as TV-G when it was in regular reruns from 2009-2010).
Schedule Slip: For a little while around 1999-2000, during the third (ABC) and fourth (UPN) seasons, there were very long gaps in between episode airings. This was due to the production staff being busy with Recess: School's Out
Screwed by the Network: The show had very high ratings and critics loved it, but still had to end with sixty-five episodes thanks to Disney's episode policy, leaving the entire sixth season to run short.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: To an extent with T.J.. Merchandise often still have him drawn with eye highlights even after he stopped being drawn with them in the show. The merchandise also tended to make Gretchen's hair color much lighter than it is in the show.
Sleeper Hit: No one expected the show to be as successful as it became.
Dave and Randall in any scene together, as both are voiced by Ryan O`Donohue
Sam ends up getting Dave's voice actor in Taking the Fifth Grade as well, due to his originaly voice actor, Klee Bragger, going through puberty. He does return to voice him at the end of the movie, lampshading his voice change.
Tubby with Mikey in "Kindergarten Derby", as both were voiced by Jason Davis.
All of the other kindergarteners are voiced by E.G. Daily, Pamela Segal, Ashley Johnson (sometimes), Francesca Smith (sometimes), and Kath Soucie, which leads to this trope.
Mundy and Lazy Kid are voiced by Warren Sroka.
Unintentional Period Piece: The earlier episodes came off as this at times, but for the most part, it was downplayed. The creators didn't want the show to be dated, which is why the kids aren't drawn with "cool" hairstyles or clothes. Though the only real dated aspects are technology references.
Vapor Ware: A fourth movie (fifth if Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street counts; which it does to Disney but not to the fandom), Recess: The First Day of School was announced to be released on video and DVD in August 2004. However, the project was shelved and the film never got released.
Voices in One Room: The creators said that they wanted to have all the voice actors record together whenever it was possible, to have a more "real" feel to the dialogue when they spoke.
The original trailer (skip to around 5:39) had very different animation and character designs. With Spinelli looking like she never grew out of kindergarten!
T.J. went through the most drastic change, however. He was skinnier, taller, had darker, messier hair, had a completely different outfit (he didn't even have the baseball hat!), and had green eyes. In the original 1996 unaired pilot (but a few clips were in a ABC promo on the 1997 tape of the 1996 101 Dalmatians), this is what T.J. looked like.
He also had a drastically different appearance in the original sketches before the pilot was made. In those, while he wore something similar to his regular outfit, was even more heavyset (though as usual, not as much as Mikey), and had a different character design (along with the rest, who looked more realistic and not as "cutesy"). They got him a new outfit and slimmed him down for the pilot, only for him to return to his original outfit and put on a few pounds for the series proper.
Other early drawings of T.J. (Using a similar character design that he does in the series proper) gave him gray sneakers (Instead of red) and rounder, completely circular eyes (Instead of semi-circular). Some early drawings even have him as a blonde.
T.J.'s original name was going to be P.J., as in "Paul and Joe"!
And the oldest character designs (before the pilot) gave the main six characters a more "realistic" look to them. For the pilot and series proper, they were given a more "cutesy" look. T.J. was even heavier in the original sketches as well.
From what we've seen from clips of the pilot, Gus wasn't even going to be in the show!
Cornchip Girl's original name was Frito Girl, but was changed for legal reasons.
Vince went through ten different hairstyles (and a different outfit) before finally deciding on one.
In "The Break In", one of Spinelli's plans to free T.J. from detention was to break in using soda and pop rocks near the door. The line was cut because Pop Rocks was copyrighted.
There was going to be a scene in "Yope From Norway" where Miss Grotke attempts to speak Norwegian to Yope, but was cut due to time restraints.
In "The Box", the song T.J. was going to sing in his Madness Mantra was "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?", but was changed to "This Old Man" because the song was copyrighted.
After the two DTV movies were released, one more was being planned, known as Recess: The First Day of School, which as the title implies, would have been a prequel to the series of how the main five (as Gus would be absent) adjust to fourth grade. For unknown reasons, it was shelved.
When ABC noticed that the sixty-five episodes the show finished with had extremely high ratings, they wanted another season for the 2002-03 television season. Disney halted production in the middle of the new episodes, and three of them were released as Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.
Apparently, the show was at least partially based off of one of the creators' childhood at a Sacramento elementary school in the 1960s with several of the characters based off of peers from said school.
Gretchen's appearance was based on Paul Germain's wife in elementary school.
Paul Germain's son, Thomas Germain (who Tommy was named after, and was mentioned in "The Lost Ball"), also went to Third Street Elementary School. In fact, the episode "Principal for a Day" was based on his experience as principal for a day at his school.
Mikey is based on one of the creators' friends in elementary school.
Spinelli is based on a girl the creators knew from college.
Vince is based on Paul Germain's friend from college, also named Vince.