The cast of ‘Recess': Where Are They Now? Eliza Hurwitz

Last week, I shared all I knew about the cast of Doug. This week, I was fortunate enough to catch up with The Recess gang. I was pleased to find out that they remained friends throughout high school. They did, however, go their separate ways for college. Here’s what your favorite characters from 3rd Street Elementary School are up to now.

Theodore Jasper (T.J.) Detweiller:

T.J.’s leadership skills and ability to rally people together paid off. Although he nearly flunked out of high school, he managed to talk his way into one of the best colleges in his hometown. While there, he used his charm to became the president of his college class. As president, T.J. went on to declare war against the faculty, demanding that they provide students with study guides that provide answers to finals. He said, “If we have the answers, we’ll have more time to explore the problems facing the world today in hopes of coming up with solutions.” He managed to garner the support of his peers, but was immediately kicked out of school. Although he did not graduate from college, T.J. became the youngest and least qualified senator in history. His favorite saying, “This whomps”, came in handy during his term in office, during which he demanded that Congress increase the school budget in order to bring back school recess, which had been cut the previous term. This campaign was known as “Whomp Congress for More Whomping Money.” Although the name was not clever, the campaign was a surprising success. T.J. is currently seeking re-election.

Ashley Spinelli:

Spinelli always had a crush on T.J., so before she left for college, she knew she had to tell him or else she would live in regret forever. Although T.J. had feelings for her, he said he could never act on them because he would ruin their friendship. She angrily responded “Too late. It’s already ruined.” From that moment on, Spinelli became an even angrier, more violent person and had a vendetta against all men. She went to an all-women’s college and she started the group, “Female Empowerment: Women Unite”  Although the group started out strong, Spinelli could not handle people disagreeing with her. She began to take her anger out on her peers and she was kicked out of the group. She graduated with zero friends and a hatred of all people. Her love of wresting, abhorrence of men, as well as her unwarranted anger towards people in general, led her to a brief career at W.W.F. (The World Wrestling Federation) where she wrestled under the name “The Man Eater”. Her career ended when she took her anger out on an unsuspecting popcorn vendor who, Spinelli claims, was “making eyes at her”. She broke his arm and yes, true to her wrestling name, bit him repeatedly. After this setback, Spinelli returned home to live with her parents who had come to fear Spinelli’s violent outbursts. In hopes of calming their daughter, they enrolled Spinelli in yoga and meditation classes, which have worked wonders. Spinelli underwent a dramatic transformation and is now getting certified to teach yoga.

Gretchen Grundler:

Gretchen was the valedictorian of her high school class. She skipped college when she was recruited to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation due to her unparalleled expertise in all things science-related. While researching the differing molecular structures in the human brain, she came across top-secret documents regarding her unconventional conception. It turns out Gretchen was an experiment by the United States Government in which they bred the smartest human with the smartest squirrel. This combination caused her impeccable memory, high level of intelligence, impressive yo-yo skills and her large teeth. It also allowed her to justify her love of acorns, as well as understand the nickname her mother gave to her, “Squirrely”. Upon discovering her unusual genetic derivation, Gretchen felt betrayed, very twitchy and finally had an understanding of her strong desire for a tree house. She was angry at her so-called “parents”, as well as the United States Government. If they had hidden this from her, what else could they be hiding? Gretchen went crazy, squirrel crazy. She began to gather documents regarding experiments done on humans and stored them in a tree she thought seemed appealing. Unfortunately, the Government caught on to Gretchen’s behavior and she was fired. They also burned down her tree. Gretchen was infuriated and began shouting her conspiracy theories on street corners in hopes that people would believe her. No one did. After a couple weeks of shouting, Gretchen realized this wasn’t the way to garner respect or credence. She has begun her own investigation on the Government and their use of humans for experimentation. Her squirrel heritage has paid off. She finally built that tree house and better yet, the squirrels who own the tree aren’t charging her rent.

Vince LaSalle:

The most athletic in the gang, Vince went on to play college baseball. His over-competitive nature, however, nearly led him to purposely injure a teammate who he was competing against for the position of second base. As he attempted to trip his teammate with his bat, he saw his reflection on said bat. He was ashamed of what he saw and felt compelled to tell his fellow teammate of his actions. After coming clean, however, his teammate understood where he was coming from and accepted his apology. It was then that he learned the value of teamwork and friendship. He stopped playing baseball and instead started a friendship club. Vince also decided to major in Friendship. He went to a very liberal school. Of course his parents were upset. “What will you do with a degree in Friendship?” they asked, to which Vince replied, “What won’t I do with a degree in Friendship?” Turns out, he was right. Vince went on to create a national organization aptly titled “The Friendship Club.” Vince created this program to ensure that all children, from elementary school through high school, feel like they have a friend. “The Friendship Club” denounces bullying and promotes a sense of unity among peers.

Mikey Blumberg:

Mikey went to The University of Illinois to practice music. He planned on joining the glee club and studying opera. Unfortunately, his roommate was the heir to the Twinkies fortune, Twinkies being one of Mikey’s favorite foods. On top of consuming an exorbitant number of Twinkies, Mikey also discovered drinking, and the two were a deadly combination. Well, maybe not literally deadly but definitely a weight gaining combination. Mikey had fun the first two years but he gradually became morbidly obese, then super morbidly obese, then was bedridden and had to finish college by via online courses. Determined to walk at graduation, Mikey finally left his room, but as all 545 pounds of him crossed the stage to get his diploma, he tripped, causing the stage to collapse. He broke the Dean’s arm and leg and seriously injured several other classmates. It was all over the news, which made Mikey mortified and guilt-ridden. He was determined to lose weight. Due to his infamy, Mikey was asked to become a contestant on The Biggest Loser. Although he didn’t win the competition, it was just the push he needed to lose weight and change his life forever. Mikey lost over 300 pounds, but he didn’t lose his amazing singing voice. With his new body and newfound confidence, Mikey tried out for The Voice. He was chosen by Cee Lo Green but did not win the competition. Next on his agenda was American Idol. He won the hearts of many but once again did not win. He is currently trying out to be on either The Real World or Big Brother. He realized that his true love isn’t music, but reality television.

Gus Griswald:

Gus always felt pressure from his father, who was a war general, to join the army. But Gus was also timid, shy and small for his age. Instead of practicing combat, Gus read up on the principles of non-violence from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc. He became so passionate about this form of resistance that he tried to persuade his father to no longer support the War in Iraq. When his father refused to listen, and once Gus finished high school, he moved out to the only place he felt he would be accepted – Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, California, birthplace of the hippie movement. While there, Gus learned to play guitar and even though he does not have a good singing voice, he does not let this stop him from performing his music on street corners. He gained popularity when someone pointed out that vocally, he combined the worst aspects of Bob Dylan and Barney the Dinosaur. Gus may be a horrible singer, but he spreads the message of peace with his songs as well as the message of facing your fears/performing with a terrible voice. Gus was filmed for a 20/20 segment focused on street musicians fighting for change. His father saw the segment and was so moved by his son’s music and startled by his horrible singing that he felt compelled to call his son for the first time in years. The two are currently working on repairing their relationship.

Ms. Finster:

Muriel Finster was always angry and looked for the worst in people. When she retired, it was a relief for many at 3rd Street Elementary School. Ms. Finster could sense this. She regretted her hostile, negative behavior and knew it was because of her failed relationship with her own daughter, Lyla. Now, with time on her hands, she was determined to find Lyla, who had run away when she was 18 years old. Ms. Finster’s stubbornness, tenacity, as well as her surprising physical strength paid off when, after six months of searching, she found her daughter  had been jailed in rural Pennsylvania on a charge of public indecency. It turns out Lyla needed a mother figure in her life just as much as Ms. Finster needed a daughter figure in hers.  She also needed her mother to bail her out of jail. The two patched up their relationship and Lyla returned home. Ms. Finster is currently training Lyla to become a teacher and successful recess monitor at 3rd Street Elementary School. She wants her legacy to live on, but this time with a kinder and much more giving person.

King Bob:

After graduating from 3rd Street Elementary School, he was no longer the king of anything. He felt insignificant and worthless. Things changed in high school, however, when he got rid of his unibrow. Without that hideous distraction on his face, his peers could finally see how attractive he was. Once again, King Bob was back on top. A pivotal moment for him was being crowned Prom King. When that crown was placed on his head, he suddenly remembered what it felt like to be looked up to as a ruler and he wished there was a way he could harness this sovereignty forever. Luckily, there was! Bob invested his money wisely and was then able to open his own arcade/playground for children in his honor. He named the 3,000 acre amusement park “King Bob’s Land.” The arcade contains statues and shrines to King Bob, as well as the biggest ball pit in all of America. It opened to surprising popularity and continues to be frequented by hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

The Ashleys:

The Ashleys friendship is still going strong today. They remained a clique in high school as well as in college. They took the same classes and roomed together. It was while living together that they discovered their obsession with morning television shows like The View and Live with Regis and Kelly. Luckily, Ashley A’s father is a famous television producer and was able to land the group their own talk show called The Hour of Ashleys. It is similar to The View but less interesting, with irrelevant topics and very little intelligent discussion. They also frequently use their catch phrase “Ooh, scandalous.” As one would expect, it is extremely popular.

Randall Weems:

His striking similar appearance to Moe Szyslak lead to a very lucrative career as a look-alike at parties and more recently, the lead in a one man show called, Moe Sizlak: Misunderstood. It is opening Off-Broadway next month.

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  1. lol! I can’t wait for the Pepper Ann segment! *starts singing the opening theme song and goes on youtube*

  2. These are the best. As an Ashley I can say with confidence I’ve never uttered the phrase “Ooh, scandalous” I also never got chummy with other Ashley’s.

  3. I very much appreciate the follow ups with my favorite shows. Can you see how Pepper Ann is doing?

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