tiistai 9. elokuuta 2016

Disney's recess and democracy in the school yard

                              

Disney's recess is animated tv-series made by Walt Disney Television Studios. Recess is created by animation screen writers Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere. Series ran in the ABC channel in USA from 1997 till 2001. Series has shown as rerun in Disney Channel several times. First time between 2001-2006. 

First time I watched Recess was from Finland's Disney Channel and it's one of my favorite Disney animated series's. We even have them recorded to old VCR tapes.  

Overall Disney's recess is one of the most popular animations from Disney studios. One of the biggest reasons to show's popularity is the way it portraits different layers of society in a regular school yard.



                                           
                                                                       

T.J. Detweiler

T.J is the leader of the main six in the show and has been best friends with them since kindergarten (except Gus who moved to town in the first episode). T.J. is kindhearted, friendly, accepting, open minded, outgoing and he takes having fun very seriously. T.J. gets along pretty much with every one. In the episode "Best Friend". He wrote and essay about his six best friends. Everyone in the school likes T.J. so much that even when he gets into troubles people still like him. T.J. and his gang are famous for their ability to influence everything that is going on in the school yard. Often he ends up making speeches where he pledges his school mates to stick together. T.J. always takes the side of the underdog making him a true democrat. 

T.J.´s nickname comes from his full name Theodore Jasper. Originally T.J´s name was supposed to be P.J. after the creators of the show. For whatever reason they decided to change name to T.J. It is believed that T.J. was named after USA's 26th president Theodore Roosevelt. According to Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere T.J.´s described to be "a funny looking guy with lot of charisma". T.J. has freckled cheeks, light brown hair and red baseball hat facing backwards. He is seen without the hat only in few episodes. He is wearing white t-shirt, green jacket and baggy jeans. T.J,´s wardrobe portrays his relaxed nature.

T.J. comes from a normal family. He has mom Jan Detweiler, Dad Dan Detweiler and big sister Becky who works in a local Floppy Burger. His parent pop in few episodes and in the movie Disney's Recess School's out. 

Finnish actor Jon Jon Geitel is T.J.'s voice in the Finnish voice over Recess (I personally think it's one of his best roles).



Gretchen Grundler

Gretchen is the smartest kid in school. Probably in the whole town! Gretchen in a friendly girl. She is leader-type and is almost a mother-like character in T.J's gang occasionally.

Gretchen and Spinelli are the only girl in T.J.´s gang and they get along very well. Gretchen is also close with Vince. They are both very competitive. Sometimes Gretchen also gets into fights with T.J. but this is probably because both have large egos.

Gretchen is tall, skinny and she has beautiful face. Freckles in her face (or are they pimples?) Large eye-glasses. Brown hair in two pigtails and pretty large front teeth. Blue-white dress with a pink bow in the middle and pink socks. Gretchen´s parents aren't shown in the series  but they are told to be very smart people as well. Gretchen¨s "sidekick" is her small computer Galileo.



Ashley "Spinelli" Spinelli

Ashley is the toughest kid in school. This Italian-American girl loves wrestling and is not afraid to speak up her mind. In T.J.´s gang Spinelli is the most aggressive member. Fortunately her friends keep her in the right track.

Spinelli is short. She has small now, almond-shaped eyes, short black hair in two pigtails. Pretty much in every episode she is wearing her orange beanie, black leather jacket and army boots.

Spinelli´s dad is Bob and her mom is Flo. Spinelli often is ashamed her parents since they always manage to embarrass her. She however seems to have good relationship with her mom and dad. Especially with her dad with whom she watches wrestling together. Spinelli is told to  have big brother Joey but he isn't never seen in the show. Flo's american voice is wonderful Katey Sagal who is also Leela's voice in Futurama.

Spinelli's first name is Ashley but she doesn't use her first name because school's four popular girls are formed from four Ashleys and Spinelli absolutely despise them. In T.J.´s gang Spinelli's complete opposite is pacifist Mikey. However Mikey and Spinelli are very good friends.

In few episodes there are hints of possible romance between T.J. and Spinelli. In several episodes T.J. puts her other hand to Spinelli's shoulder. This could be a hint of a possible romance or T.J. just wishes to calm down his fiery friend who likes fighting.




Mikey Blumberg

In T.J.´s gang Mikey is the peace maker and very sensitive and forgiving young man. Other students often assume that Mikey is a big bully because of his size. This isn't true and Mikey is very calm peaceful pacifist. Mikey writes poems and his dream profession would be a modern day bard. Mikey also has wonderful singing voice and he is also a talented dancer.

Mikey is tall, thick and he has blonde hair. He wears white t-shirt and brown trousers. Like T.J Mikey's clothes represent his relaxed attitude towards life.

Mikey gets along very well with T.J. He admired Vince because he is so popular. However in the gang Gus probably Mikey's best friend. Like T.J. Mikey always defends those who can't defend themselves. Mikey is also good friend with Spinelli.





Vince LaSalle

Vincent "Vince" LaSalle is very athletic and basket ball is his passion. In T.J.´s gang Vince is T.J.´s best friend. In some episodes T.J. refers Vince as his "right hand",

Vince is black, he always wears gray t-shirt, green basket ball shirt with yellow number 1 on it, gray shorts and sneakers. Vince is very competitive (maybe that's why he has number 1 in his shirt). Vince is friendly, he has sarcastic sense of humor. In school Vince has reputation as "nice cool kid".

Vince has big brother Chad. Vince always thought Chad was the coolest kid but in reality Chad was the biggest nerd. Vince has had crushes on both girls Gretchen and Spinelli. Gretchen might have thing for him as well. In sports Vince's greatest enemy is annoying bully Lawson.




Gus Griswald

T.J.´s gang has known each others since kindergarten. Gus was in the same kindergarten but only for a day before family moved away. Gus joins T.J.´s gang in the second Recess episode called "The New Kid" when his family moves back. Gus father is in the army so family had to move a lot.

Gus is the most shy member in T.J.´s gang. He also has big heart and defends himself and his friends if needed. Sometimes Gus also takes the role of a leader. This usually happens in situations where army-like discipline is needed. Because Gus´s father is in the army he can name any tanker or fighter plane.

Gus has short army-hair style, olive green shirt, dark green trousers, brown shoes, wristwatch and eyeglasses. His character design is a bit different compared to other human characters in the show. They have white-eyes with black dots in the middle. Gus only has black dot's as his eyes.







Democracy in the school yard 

In T.J.´s gang there are kids with different social statuses making the gang democratic. There is also authority in the form of principal Prickly. Monarchy in the form of King Bob. Security system (Big brother) in the form of Recess superviser Muriel Finster and her right hand Randall who quickly reports her if anything suspicious is going on. Security system is flawless of course because students enjoy fooling these two around and they don't always approve the commands from principal Prickly.

There is also controlled chaos, total anarchism in the form of kindergarten children. Teachers also have their own separate cast system that is completely detached from the happenings of the school yard. King Bob is tolerated mainly because he rarely sticks to other kids businesses. Ashley's also have their own monarchy. In the top are Ashley's themselves and then other popular students (like the court of king Bob). There also lot's of eccentric students that can not be classified like chip-girl, swing-girl, upside-down girl or the diggers. However they are not the lowest of the low. Lowest of the low are D&D geeks who spent their recess inside role-playing.

In T.J´s gang there is fighter girl with anger-issues, pacifist Mikey, popular athletic student Vince, young genius Gretchen, new kid Gus and glue that keeps the gang together T.J. What it comes to popularity scale Vince is pretty high, followed by Gretchen, then Spinelli, Mikey and Gus. As die-hard democrat T.J. is all the way against cast-system. Still he is extremely liked by teachers, kids, adults and both non-popular and popular students, This is also the reason why T.J.´s gang work together so well. These six don't give a damn about their social status. They just enjoy each others company.