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Recap / Recess S1 E7 "First Name Ashley"

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After Spinelli humiliates him, Randall reveals her darkest secret: her first name is Ashley.


Tropes:

  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: The Ashleys are surprised that the boys are claiming their names are Ashley, which is actually a unisex name. In fact, as shown in Gone with the Wind, it used to be a boy's name.
  • Broken Tears: Spinelli breaks down sobbing as soon as she can no longer stand acting as the Ashleys' personal slave.
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  • Children Are Innocent: The kids on the playground really believe that changing your name is as simple as getting a new library card. Mikey implies as such when asking Spinelli why she doesn't change her first name.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Randall outing Spinelli's first name is eerily similar to cases of people being Forced Out of the Closet, with how others attempting to change her identity by force.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Spinelli reveals that she hates her first name, not because of the name itself — she was named for a great-aunt whom she admires — but because she doesn't want to become part of the Ashleys, whom she considers "snooty and prissy".
  • Exact Words: The constitution of the playground states that someone whose name is Ashley must join the Ashleys if invited, and TJ is able to use this against them.
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  • Faux Horrific: The Ashleys fear that, if they don't include Spinelli into the Ashley clubhouse, they might date boys with names like Paul or Joe when they're in Junior High.
  • Gilligan Cut: The gang reassures Spinelli that the Ashleys wouldn't dare induct her. Cut to the Ashleys discussing that they have to do it so as for Spinelli to not marr the Ashley name.
  • I Am Spartacus: TJ and the gang get the entire playground to claim their name is Ashley, thereby allowing Spinelli to invite them into the group.
  • My Little Phony: Among other things the Ashleys make Spinelli do is watch videotapes of "My Fuzzy Unicorn" with her eyes taped open.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Spinelli may have had her reasons to break Randall's tape recorder since no one should be recording students' conversations, but it motivates him to find dirt on her and sell her out to the Ashleys.
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  • Pygmalion Plot: Subverted. The Ashleys try to force Spinelli to become a proper lady, but due to treating her as a slave and Ashley intern and forcing their views on her, she wants out as soon as possible.
  • Properly Paranoid: Spinelli never told anyone her first name because she didn't want to have to join the Ashleys. The minute that Randall outs her, the Ashleys force her to join using the Constitution of the Playground and mistreat her.
  • Read the Fine Print: Gretchen does this with the constitution of the playground to find out if there's a way for Spinelli to leave the Ashleys. She says it would only work if the Ashleys agreed to let her go. T.J. and the others immediately concoct a plan to do that so that the Ashleys kick out Spinelli.
  • Self-Deprecation: It's funny how the Ashleys consider Paul and Joe to be undesirable boy's names considering that Paul and Joe are the names of the creators.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Invoked. Mikey asks Spinelli why she doesn't change her first name, which in real life is not as simple as it appears. She says that she can't because she was named for a great-aunt Ashley, who was cool in her books. Also, she doesn't hate the name Ashley itself, but rather the girls that own the name.
  • Tempting Fate: The gang laughs at the thought of the Ashleys inducting Spinelli. They think she's too unlike an Ashley to fall victim to them. Cue a Gilligan Gut to Ashley A. convincing the other Ashleys to do just that.
  • Wham Line: Randall calls Spinelli "Ashley Spinelli" when she refuses to give in to his blackmail attempts.
  • Wham Shot: Spinelli's student file, which reveals her first name is Ashley.
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