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YMMV: Recess
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • This line in "Randall's Reform".
      Randall: Kids of the playground! I give you... BALLS!"
    • And another line in "The Madness of King Bob", when King Bob is trying to pull a prank on T.J.
      King Bob: There you are my round little friend, I believe you have a rendezvous... with wetness!"
    • "How deliciously moist!"
    • When Spinelli's parents first appear and can't quite get her friends names right T.J. gets an interesting rename, doesn't help that it was spoken in a somewhat suggestive tone of voice.
    Mrs Spinelli: ... and you must be B.J.!
    • From "The Tattletale Heart"
      Finster: Poor Randall was fingered... BY SCIENCE.
  • All Animation Is Disney: Inverted. A lot of people (and one bootleg DVD release) believe that the show is from Nickelodeon (The creators did work on Rugrats and Hey Arnold! before). Recess is from Disney!
  • Alternative Character Interpretation
  • Anvilicious: Sometimes in later episodes.
  • Base Breaker: Gus, Spinelli, and Mikey are considered either good characters or really annoying ones.
    • Vince and Gretchen have pretty broken bases, too. It's arguable that T.J.'s the only member of the gang without a broken base!
    • Outside the main six, Randall is either hilarious or The Scrappy.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In "Dance Lessons", there's a scene where the fourth grade class had just been given The Talk, and this is never referenced again in the entire episode. It was probably just an excuse to flip off the Disney censors.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Big Ol' Mikey"
  • Broken Base: Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street and Recess: All Growed Down. One half of the fanbase hated them for being advertised as "new" and consisting of four episodes with the only new material being linking material (Though All Growed Down had the backstory episode as well), while the other half likes them and is happy about them consisting of previous episodes, thanks to Disney's refusal to release proper season sets.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: "The Box"
    • The Ashleys' jump rope chant in "Good Luck Charm"
    Mink and seal and tiger and bear/Cute and cuddly? We don't care!/Snip it, cut it, make sure it's not fake/How many fur coats can we make?
  • Cult Classic
  • Designated Hero: The kids have altruistic and well meaning views, but in the same way a child would, ie. kids get to do whatever they want and screw the adults. TJ in particular thrives on this perspective, spearheading cases such as bullying substitute teachers and trying to exploit Principal Prickly's amnesia, even when the others feel they might have crossed the line.
  • Designated Villain: Under similar territory, while Randall tattles for personal gain most of the time, there are times when he reports legitimate rule-breaking. Despite that, viewers are supposed to dislike him.
    • Same thing with Principal Prickly and Miss Finster (before they both Took a Level in Kindness). Both are seen as antagonists for scolding TJ and the gang, but they are just doing their jobs as educators.
  • Ear Worm: The theme tune is VERY catchy.
    • Perhaps not so surprising, given that it seems to be closely-modelled on Elmer Bernstein's famous march from The Great Escape.
    • The Otter Dance
    • The Nitwitz 3 theme
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: King Bob, for his hammyness.
    • Cornchip Girl became this for her cuteness.
    • Hustler Kid is a pretty popular character among the fandom.
    • Butch is as popular as Hustler Kid, and the two are commonly shipped together. He's also popular among Japanese fans, though more people ship him with T.J. over there as opposed to Hustler Kid.
    • Lawson is another Ensemble Dark Horse, especially in Japan, where he's another shipping target for T.J.
    • Miss Grotke's a bit of an Ensemble Dark Horse herself, especially among older male fans (which eventually led to her becoming a target for Rule 34), and a lot of other fans thanks to both her satriacle dialogue and the fact that most of the time, she's the only main adult character who stands up for the kids.
    • The Ashleys have a pretty big following.
    • Menlo also has a pretty big fanbase.
    • In recent years, the Pale Kids have become this. The reasons should be obvious.
    • The Bad Kids are pretty popular too.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The message of "Bonky Fever" is to not obsess, but the aesop could've also been read as "You're not allowed to like things not tailored to your demographic". Which is also odd because Recess has had a huge Periphery Demographic.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the Hey Arnold! fandom for a little bit. Fortunately, it didn't last long, and the fanbases are very friendly toward each other now.
  • Fanon: Almost any video with the Lazy Kid will have older viewers wondering if he's a stoner.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: When Spinelli gets all dressed up in "The Beauty Contest", she doesn't enjoy it. But she does look very nice in her pageant gown and hair done up.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: T.J./Lawson is quite popular amongst Japanese fans.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The show's fandom has become this with the Hey Arnold! fandom, after a little while of having Fandom Rivalry.
    • Also, the Recess fandom and the Rugrats fandom are really friendly towards each other, part of it having to do with the creators of Recess and their writing team formerly working on Rugrats during the initial seasons before being Un-Canceled.
    • Recess fans also get along very well with Doug fans, in part due to the Disney version of Doug airing right before the show on Saturday mornings in the 1990s. Even the part of the fanbase who hated the Disney version are pretty friendly with the Recess fans.
    • On a similar note, same with the Pepper Ann fanbase (Pepper Ann used to air right after the second Recess timeslot)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Even though the episode in question involves Third Street School's reactions towards a certain government experiment (no points guessing ''what''), the title "Recess Is Cancelled" seems... harsh now.
    • Considering many schools are more focused on test scores and have cut back funding on sports and playground equipment, it's like they predicted the future.
    • The movie has Dr. Benedict trying to get rid of recess. He fails, but Michael Eisner succeeded.
    • In a fantasy sequence in "Teachers Lounge", Miss Grotke's award case features an Emmy award. In real life, Recess was nominated for two Emmys and lost. It did get a Young Artist's Award, though.
  • Genius Bonus: "The Library Kid" has this gem from Gretchen: "Drive her into the existentialists! There's No Exit!"
  • Germans Love Recess: So does Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. And it's still being aired in those countries (Sans Canada as of 2011, and pretty soon, the UK at the end of March 2013, due to their Disney Cinemagic feed going defunct by then).
    • In fact, Germany is the only country to give the show a full release on iTunes.
    • Over in Japan, Gretchen has a pretty big following, and T.J. is considered extremely Moe Moe. Lawson, Butch, and Skeens are really popular over there as well.
    • Interesting case in the U.K.: The show was nominated for "Best Toon" for their first Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2007note ...six years after the show aired its last episode!
  • Growing the Beard: Season two is when the show started to get really good, with more Character Development, the first uses of the word "whomp", and T.J.'s famous catchphrase, "tender", coming into use.
    • "First Name Ashley", the fourth (part A) episode of the first season is usually seen by fans as the point where the show really cemented itself as it is.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In one episode, the Ashleys are showing Spinelli pictures of a bunch of boys they like. Spinelli points to one picture and says, "Boys!? That one looks like a girl!". Guess who it resembles?
    • The Ajimbo episode is called "The Game".
    • "I won't invite you to my birthday party, but pictures will be posted where you can see them, and you can imagine you were totally there!"
    • Butch freaking out about kissing girls might be seen as one, since a number of fanfiction writers love to pair him up with Hustler Kid.
    • When the McDonald's toys were released in 1998, each member of the gang came with their own sport to play (ex. baseball, kickball, basketball). Mikey came with a soccer ball, and at the time, soccer was never shown in the series. Fast forward to "Soccer Boy" in 2000, and it's revealed that he's really good at soccer.
    • There's a background character that appears from time to time (and in the opening) named Timmy, and he has brown hair and buck teeth...just like another Timmy.
    • In "The Pest", Geoffrey tells Gretchen that he woke up extra early to make her chocolate pudding. The Rugrats episode had already premiered a few years before (The creators of Recess even wrote the episode), but it wasn't an internet meme yet. More hilarious- he's voiced by Kath Soucie using the same voice she uses for Phil on Rugrats.
    • In season two's "Outcast Ashley", Spinelli mentions getting Gretchen's pinhole projector plan out of the Ashleys' clubhouse, and mentions that the girls should get a security system. Come "No Strings Attatched" in season five...
    • Mikey won't be the only Disney character Robert Goulet does the singing voice of that sounds completely different from their speaking voice.
    • Vince worried about becoming a geek like his big brother, Chad. Ricky D'Shon Collins, Vince's voice actor, would later go on to voice another big geek.
    • The Ashleys are a group of bullies who took in an outcast, once kicked someone out for wearing the wrong colour, and generally acted catty to everyone. This was before Mean Girls came out, and you can see a lot of similarities between the Ashley's and the Plastics
  • Hollywood Homely: For a girl with huge glasses and an overbite, Gretchen's pretty cute.
    • T.J. has been described by the creators as a "funny-looking kid". He's not really that funny-looking.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In "The Ratings Game", a bunch of tall and skinny 5th-6th grade girls make fun of Gretchen for being chubby. Which is hilarious, considering that she's the skinniest character (to the point where she looks anorexic) on the show.
  • Humor Dissonance: A lot of Randall's jokes in "Stand-Up Randall."
  • I Knew It: Even before "Parents' Night" confirmed the fact that Spinelli has a crush on T.J., many fans had speculated that earlier on.
  • It's Popular, So It Whomps: In the late '90s/early '00s, it gained a bit of this opinion from people who were sick of the show having unannounced marathons, pre-empting other shows they wanted to see, and/or seeing the show being advertised so much. This has backed down.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ashley A. in "Outcast Ashley"
    • Randall in "Randall's Reform"
  • Love to Hate: The Ashleys
    • Randall
  • Magic Franchise Word: Whomp
    • SCANDALOUS!
  • Marty Stu: This dude that was only around for one episode, and who was the focus of said episode. Said dude is better than everyone at everything, to the point where he gets contracts from the government despite being no older than any of the other kids. These facts lead into the point of the episode, with him being a Deconstruction of the Marty Stu. Because of these facts, not only is he a social outcast (due to everyone being jealous of him), he's not even at school long enough to make any friends. Once this was elaborated upon & he becomes friends with some of the cast, he's called away & never seen again.
    • T.J. was one in the earliest episodes. Fortunately, this did not last very long.
  • Memetic Badass: Miss Grotke and King Bob
  • Memetic Mutation: This show is extremely well loved on Tumblr.
    • This meme whomps!
    • WHO THE HECK IS WHOMPY WHOMPERSON!?
    • The Otter Dance
    • Tender.
    • How deliciously moist...
    • SCANDALOUS!
    • Safety Man!!!
    • You're all a bunch of Hooligans!
    • And YOU must be B.J...
    • Miss Grotke doesn't lie. Lie is such a harsh word. She prefers to say that she "massaged reality".
    • Boys kissing girls... girls kissing boys! And you know what, YOU'RE ALL GONNA LIKE IT!
    • The Ashleys were the original/grew up to be the Plastics
      • This is usually followed up with Spinelli becoming Janis and Mikey becoming Damian.
    • Mikey's "Uncle Mary"
    • Almost anything that comes out of King Bob or Miss Grotke's mouth.
    • Kim Possible not picking up T.J.'s baseball for him when he's in the box is a popular joke on YouTube note 
    • T.J. brought snapbacks back.
    • An Image Macro of the gang in "The Coolest Heatwave Ever", usually with the caption "Ain't nobody messin' with my clique" has become popular on tumblr.
    • Spinelli's life is like a Stephen King novel.
    • "Please stop talking"
  • Misaimed Marketing: There was a lighter with the main six on it. Not something you'd buy a member of the target audience.
  • Moe: Cornchip Girl
    • The main six are all pretty adorable, but as kindergartners in Recess: All Growed Down, they were downright moe.
    • Miss Grotke is a rare example of the trope who's over 18 (she's hinted to be in her 30s).
    • T.J. has his moments, and is considered very moe over in Japan.
    • Gus is one of the cutest kids among the main six.
    • When she's not threatening or attacking someone, Spinelli can pull this off.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In the episode "Biggest Trouble Ever" Recess Gang accidentally break the statue of Thaddeus T. Third III, the namesake of Third Street school, thus becoming hated by the entire town and are labeled as "The Destructive Six" and are given to work menial jobs by Ms. Finster as a punishment. But it goes too far when Mayor Fitzhugh, the mayor of Third Street, and the city Council decide to send Recess Gang to six separate schools, despite the fact that Recess Gang broke the statue by accident and were genuinely remorseful. This shocks everybody and even Prickley and Finster think that this punishment is going too far. Mayor Fitzhugh took sadistic pleasure in trying to punish the kids and tried to punish them after they told him that they are sorry. Luckily, Thaddeus T. Third V, grandson of Thaddeus T. Third III called him out on this and revealed that Fitzhugh intentionally tried to break the statue when he was a child. In other words, Fitzhugh took sadistic pleasure in punishing small, defenseless children for breaking something by accident and who were genuinely sorry for it, even though he (Fitzhugh) tried to do same thing in his childhood, but intentionally. Most of antagonists in this series are jerks, but they never did anything that bad.
    • Benedict's plan, if you apply Fridge Logic to it, involved moving the sun away to have "no more summer"; would've killed all life due to extreme freezing temperatures.
    • Dr. Slicer was established as a sadistic jerk the instant he was brought onto the show, but he really crossed it when he demanded the cannon to be functional.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Despite appearing in one episode, Dr. Slicer is the cruelest character in the entire series and is one of few antagonists of the series that can be called truly evil.
  • Periphery Demographic: There were many teenagers and adults (not just the parents of the target audience, but various other adults without kids) who enjoyed this show when it was on, special mention goes to The Movie, with all the `60s references. And now that demographic is getting bigger, since the kids who originally watched the show in the late 1990s are all grown up now.
    • ABC seemed to take a note of this. During late night news showings and more adult-oriented programing, they would often play advertisements for Recess during commercial breaks.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: T.J./Spinelli often gets refered to as "Tinelli".
  • Replacement Scrappy: Not a character example, but fans weren't pleased with Myles Jeffery's performance as T.J. in the 2003 DTV movies, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Down (except for the kindergarten flashback in the latter, which fans didn't mind), due to him lacking the spunk and having a voice too high for the character than his previous actors. This was subverted, on the other hand, when Andy Lawrence replaced Ross Malinger as T.J. in season two (well, at least after the first two episodes of the season), whom fans believe to have been an even better voice for the character.
    • King Freddie II from Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade was this for King Bob fans. Though he was also this in the eyes of some of the students as well.
  • The Scrappy: Randall in the eyes of some fans. Though this was probably intentional.
    • A meta, non-character example would be Toon City, one of the overseas animation departments for the series. Their episodes were extremely Off Model, and animated the show in an exaggerated cartoony style which really didn't fit the show, making all their episodes look very ugly (made even more frustrating considering their usually competent animation in other shows, Disney included). They never animated another episode after 2000.
    • Gordy for some fans, thanks to him disliking T.J. for no reason.
    • Becky Benson from "A Science Fair to Remember", due to her befriending Gretchen only to steal her science experiment for the science fair.
    • Gus and Mikey, at least for part of the fanbase.
    • Phil the Scout, for being a massive Jerk Ass in most of his appearances, especially in his focus episode "Beyond a Reasonable Scout".
  • Seasonal Rot: The sixth and final season is considered the worst of the series, with two Ensemble Darkhorses being dropped and the show becoming anvilicious.
  • Ships That Pass In The Night: Butch x Hustler Kid is a popular pairing among the fandom...yet the two never really interacted with each other outside of group scenes.
  • Snark Bait: Any animation job by Toon City on the show is this to the fanbase.
  • So Okay, It's Average: General fan consensus to season six.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: While the main six are all the main characters (duh) in The Movie, because of who it mainly focuses on, some say Recess: School's Out should've been called The T.J. Detweiler Movie.
    • Gus got a ton of focus in the later episodes, and had the most episodes about him in season four.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme is an obvious parody of the Hogan's Heroes theme. Which, in turn, is an obvious parody of the march from The Great Escape.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The main six in kindergarten in "All Growed Down", especially T.J.
    • Some of Cornchip Girl's dialog crosses into this territory:
    Cornchip Girl: As far as I'm concerned, your heart is already as giant as it can be. And you know what I always say, it's the size of your heart that matters, no matter how big you are.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • They Changed It, Now It Whomps: Averted when Andy Lawrence replaced Ross Malinger as the voice of T.J., as many fans though that he was an even better role for the character.
    • Played straight when Myles Jeffrey took over the role for the Direct-to-Video movies.
  • They Copied It, So It Whomps: For a little while, some fan communities gave the show flack for being a rip-off of Hey Arnold!, when really, all they have in common were that the main kid characters were nine, many episodes were based around urban myths told by the kids, the shows had many of the same voice actors (Mainly due to both using a mainly child-aged cast), and that Hey Arnold! had some of the writing team from Recess during its' first year on the air (Including the creators of Recess). Fortunatly, this has backed down.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The Latin American dub just didn't care to pay attention to the original voices of the characters, and most of the voices sound very off (leading to most of the kids sounding like adults)
    • It becomes even more disconcerting in said dub when the kids sound like adults and Miss Grotke sounds more or less like a whiny five-year-old girl.
    • It got so bad, another company had to dub the direct-to-video movies, only because the first company did such a horrible job on the show.
    • Also, when the McDonald's toys were released, Miss Finster was labeled as "School Teacher".
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The "bad kids" (Mundy, Skeens, Lazy Kid, Sue Bob Murphy, and Kurst the Worst) had a lot of potential for some good episodes, but unfortunately, they only appear as major characters in four episodes.
    • Miss Grotke also had a lot of potential, but she only got one episode in the limelight and got the least character development out of the three main adults.
    • The Pale Kids as well, who only appeared in five episodes.
    • Also Becky, T.J.'s older sister who (Aside from two mentions in "Prince Randall" and "No Strings Attached") only appeared the first and second movie.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Both shows created by the show's creators had nowhere near the popularity (or publicity) as Recess.
  • Toy Ship: TJ and Spinelli.
    • Didn't Spinelli's parents say she had a crush on him?
      • He even mentioned that "his heart goes out to her". So it's canon.
      • He said that because she told the gang that she was being babysat by Miss Finster, it's not really a love declaration.
    • And, in one episode, Gus/Cornchip Girl. The title of said episode of the Japanese dub was even renamed "Gus's Girlfriend."
      • That being said, Cornchip Girl is a few grades younger than Gus...
    • Vince and Gretchen get a lot of Ship Tease in the show.
    • Menlo had a thing for Ashley A in the Chain of Deals episode.
  • Ugly Cute: Stuart (Stella) the cat.
  • Uncanny Valley: The earliest drawing of the gang features a much more realistic style, to the point where it's unsettling.
    • The way the characters in the pilot look compared to the rest of the series are also a bit more realistic looking (Much less so than the first drawing, but still more than the finished designs), and some fans consider them to go into this.
    • Some of the early drawings (With the characters looking moreso like they do in the finished series) give T.J. much larger, wider, spherical eyes, which fans consider to be very creepy compared to the smaller (But still larger and wider than most of the other characters) semi-circular eyes he has in the show itself.
    • Toon City episodes will often drift into the valley.
  • Values Dissonance: Big Brother Chad and Lord Of the Nerds both make a big deal about a character being geeky. The former being about Vince being distraught to find out his older brother is a geek, and the latter being about TJ secretly befriending a group of them. Of course, nowadays, nerds are more widely accepted, but back when this show was airing, nerds were Acceptable Targets.
  • Villain Decay: Miss Finster was more of a threat in the first season than the rest of the series, but this was out of Character Development more than anything, so Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • The Woobie: Gus. In too many episodes to count. Other examples on other occasions are:
    • Vince in the episode "I Will Kick No More Forever" (and arguably, "Me No Know")
    • Gretchen in "The Pest", "Outcast Ashley", "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo", "A Science Fair to Remember", "More Like Gretchen", and "Good Ole T.J."
    • Spinelli in "First Name Ashley", "Parents' Night", "Mama's Girl", "A Career to Remember", and "More Like Gretchen"
    • Miss Finster in "Weekend at Muriel's" and "The Fuss Over Finster"
    • Mikey in "The Voice", "Copycat Kid", "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave", "Dance Lessons", "Kindergarten Derby", "Stand Up Randall", "Rumor Mill", "Bonky Fever", and "Big Ol' Mikey"
    • The Recess Gang in "The Biggest Trouble Ever" and "Lawson and His Crew"
    • T.J. in "The Legend of Big Kid", "The Box", "The Break-up", "Nobody Doesn't Like T.J." "Lost Leader" and Recess: School's Out (At least in the beginning)
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Aside from the moments that get crap past the radar, the show is also built on many Parental Bonuses and historical refrences. But there are still plenty of things aimed towards the target audience.
    • Some of the most notable episodes that fall into this trope are "Swing on Thru to the Other Side" and "Economics of Recess"
  • Woolseyism: In Brazil, the first names of the Ashleys (Spinelli included) were changed to Patricia, as the name is more common there than Ashley.

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