Review

  • Now, I know almost nothing about the inner workings of the standard Elementary K-6 school, being home-schooled, but I certainly hope it's like the sometimes harsh, often absurd, but always hilarious society-within-a-society of Third Street School presented in Paul and Joe's Recess. When I was around 9 and Animaniacs was going off the Air, I quickly turned to Recess to meet my SMC needs. And boy did it meet them. The best thing about recess is the world, which is a richly defined and fleshed out as the world in your average fantasy novel. Kindergarteners are a savage, Golding-esquire tribe of natives. Similarly named cool-girls dwell in a tire-pile clique house. A girl decked out in goggles and a flight jacket spends every moment of recess trying to go over the bar. Fifth and fourth graders are embroiled in a fierce class war. Nerds and injured children retreat to a basement to play d20 games and use strange construction toys. Popular stickers become a form of currency. A shady trench-coat-clad kid doles out contraband goods and a turban-clad boy doles out useless Zen animal proverbs. Ruling over all this chaos is King Bob, a Steely-Eyed sixth grader with his own secret service.

    The characters within this world are great, as well. The central cast is a group of sixth; T.J Detweiler, a cap-wearing mischief maker and schemer is the de facto leader of the group. Mikey Blumberg is a rotund boy with a poet's soul and Robert Goulet's singing voice. Vince LaSalle is a trash-talking, competitive athlete. Gretchen Grundler is a bespectacled Renaissance girl. Spinelli is a stocking-capped,pigtailed tomboy with a love of pro-wrestling and a penchant for violence. Finally, Gus "The New Kid" Griswold is a dorky, wet-behind the ears transfer student and an army brat. The adventures they get involved in never cease to be fun. As fun as the students are, the Teachers are just as delightful. Muriel Finster is a savage dictator, ruling over the playground with an iron fist, seeming to always be right where T.J and the gang DON'T need her. Miss Grotke, the fourth-grade Home Room teacher, is a progressive, new-agey teacher. Finally, president Peter Prickley (brilliantly and stuffily voiced by veteran character actor Dabney Coleman), rounds out the central faculty, ineptly attempting to run the school with Finster always trying to pull the strings.

    For some reason, Disney has decided to release more cruddy "Dinsey Channel Star" albums and DTV sequels of their movies instead of DVDs of this brilliant show. When it comes, though, I heartily recommend checking it out.