torstai 1. syyskuuta 2016

Disney's Recess and democracy of the school yard part 2

In my previous blog post I wrote about T.J's gang. This blog post is about colorful side-characters of Disney's recess and delicate way series portrays different types of political systems and societies. This is one of the reasons why Disney's recess is one of the most successful Disney animated cartoon series of all time.

Series tells about T.J.Detweiler and his gang. You can read my thoughts about T.J's gang and democracy of the school yard here

There is many different types of political systems in Disney's recess. Biggest authority of the school yard is principal Prickly who's wishes for promotion and sucking the school board of course heavily influence lives of students. Among teachers however principal Prickly doesn't seem to have any particular authority position. Neither teachers don't seem to have particular clicks.

One episode T.J and his gang go to search for legendary teacher's common room. All they find is a tiny room with broken bending machine. However this is just a frame. Behind the wall there is real common room with saunas, swimming pools and restaurants.

Psychologically hidden common room could refer the difference between childhood and adulthood.

Teachers political system is also democracy.

Principal Prickly

Principal Prickly is the biggest authority in the Third Street School. Sometimes he can be very egoistic and gets tired to solve problems in the school yard and sometimes he is very playful and enjoys his work. Principal Prickly's and TJ's relationship is no way constant competition created by hate or any such things mostly it's just having mutual understanding of each other's characters. Many episodes there have been hints that as a child Principal Prickly was very much like T.J. Like T.J. Principal Prickly is also big fan of Senor Fusio comics.

Miss Grotke

Miss Grotke is teacher of the forth graders. She is tall, skinny, Indian-American. She has big round eye-glasses, blue jewelry, green long dress and big black hair. Kids adore miss Grotke and she is very found of her students as well. Miss Grotke is eccentric compared to many other teachers in the Third Street School. She is also a hippie and believes to the healing energies of the earth. She also loves yoga and meditation. In the Film Recess: School's out turns out that Miss Grotke is also master of Kung Fu and this impresses Muriel Finster.

Miss Finster

Miss Muriel P. Finster is an old-school teacher. She is both tutor and recess guardian in the Third Street School and majority of the students are afraid of her. She believes in order and discipline. Muriel's assistant in forth grader Randal.J.Weems. Randal thinks Miss Finster is his best (and only) friend. In the movie Resess:School's out we shall meet young Muriel who dated Dr. Phillium Benedict who was the major antagonist in the film. In the 60's Benedict and Prickly were best friends.

According to Disney Wiki Finster is one year younger than Prickly. In the series there are lot's of hints that Miss Finster has love interest for school's caretaker Hank.

By the way Finster comes from a German word that means malificent also it is close to English word spinster. 

For students Prickly, Grotke and Finster represent different kinds of authorities.

King Bob

There is also monarchy represented in the Third Street School. King Bob rules the school yard. King Robert "Bob" is demanding and selfish still students find him most of the time very fair ruler. King Bob always wears his crown/hockey helmet, hockey shirt with number 8 on it, red cape and hockey stick. He also has wonderful unibrow.


Ashley's are the Fashion click of the Third Street School and also the four most popular students. They are all snobs, spoiled and they are all Ashley's. Each one has little sister called Brittany and little brother called Tyler. Leader of the click is Ashley A. Her full name is Ashley Armbruster. Other Ashley's are Ashley Boulet (Ashley B), Ashley Quinlan (Ashley A) and Ashley Tommossian (Ashley T). Ashley's only accept other Ashley's to be part of their click. When they found out that Spinelli's full name was Ashley Spinelli they felt it was their duty to have Spinelli in their click. Spinelli how ever found her way out. Ashley's have several dressing codes. One of these is the purple day. To remember the day they first met and started their click all Ashley's wear purple. Ashley's represent oligarchy..power of a small group.


Kids in the Kindergarten represent anarchy. Complete chaos and total lack of control. Kindergarden is right next to Third Street School and is known as the place of no going back...

Kids in the kindergarten have returned to their natural state unlike kids in Third Street School which is an elementary school.

Kindergarten kids have war paint on their face and stones and sticks as their weapons. One might see them representing different primitive tribes but they actually lack all social hierarchies of those people.

Psychologically thinking when kids are in their natural state does school changes them too much. Is going to elementary school just one more stop before adulthood?


Elementary school I went was Finnish but I think all these kids, students, whole Third Street School and these events could take place anywhere in the world because children and teachers are pretty much the same everywhere. However there is one thing I know for shore that Third Street School is somewhere in the USA that is the huge  amount of science fiction elements and references to the popular culture. One of my favorites is off-recess theme that series handles a lot also the film Recess: School's out. In one episode Minister of education and President of the United States together decide to remove recess to get better test results. Of course Third Street School is the first school where they test this project and get very alarming results.

T.J.s great love for Senor Fusio depicts love that american kids have for super hero's. There are also some horror-episodes in recess especially around Halloween. Bicycles become alive. Chip girl turns into a werewolf-chip-girl. Finster has zombie-Finster relatives. I really like the way series is about kids socializing. What does it mean to have group of friends? do you need a best friend? can teacher be your friend? Mikey is called as "big-kid" and he sees a dream where he is a giant. Vince says that in his dreams he would be an intergalactic basket ball player. Even if you are already in elementary school it doesn't mean you need to stop dreaming. All this is told with great deal of humor.

If you haven't watched Disney's recess yet I highly recommend it! one of the best Disney animated series ever made. Thank you Paul and Joe!

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