"Dodgeball City" is the third episode of the third season of Recess, which was first broadcast on September 18th, 1999.


The Gang discovers something shocking from Gus' past.


After another game of being creamed in dodgeball by the fifth graders, the gang meets up with Gus who is practicing his guitar. A kid walks in, and suddenly recognizes him as "El Diablo" and stumbles into a snack stand as Gus quickly leaves. The kid then tells the gang that Gus went to his old school, Jesse James Elementary School, and terrorized it with his skills as the "Fastest Dodgeballer in the West".

The gang doubts it, but the kid maintains his story. T.J. and Vince find Gus showing off his guitar skills to Hector. After a brief talk, in which Gus denies his dodgeball skills, T.J. suddenly throws a dodgeball at him; he catches it without even looking and is instantly ready to throw it back, confirming the kid's story, but he then lets the ball drop and leads Hector away to play elsewhere.

Without checking with Gus first, T.J. and Vince challenge Lawson and the Fifth Grade to a dodgeball match the next day, and to make it interesting, T.J. proposes it would be for all of each grade's marbles. They try to convince Gus to play dodgeball, but he refuses, and Spinelli forces him to tell them why under threat of putting his guitar out of tune. Gus explains that in one game, he accidentally hit a little kid hard in the face, traumatizing the kid so badly that the kid couldn't go to the playground again and just studied during lunch. Feeling horribly guilty, Gus vowed to never play dodgeball ever again. The fourth grade is still in a bind, but the gang respect Gus's reasons and immediately drop the matter.

Knowing the fourth grade won't stand a chance without Gus, T.J. tries to call for a settle offering half the fourth grade's marbles, but the fifth graders refuse to call off the game. The fourth and fifth graders play, with the fourth graders slowly dwindling in numbers. Gus, while staying out of the game initially, is finally convinced to play dodgeball again when Hector is hit by Lawson, who somehow thought he was a fourth grader. Enraged, Gus shows up as El Diablo just after Vince is the last to fall, and takes out the entire fifth grade in seconds, earning a victory for the fourth graders; he saves his hardest throw, and Lawson, for last. As the gang congratulates Gus, he speaks out his desire to retire from dodgeball for good, and then walks out into the sunset followed by a western voice, implied to be an older Hector, stating that he will always look up to Gus as his hero. Hector himself then calls for Gus to come back, shouting "School isn't over yet!", as the words 'The End' show up on the screen.


  • As El Diablo, Gus greatly resembles Clint Eastwood's man with no name, not just for the costume, but also for his mannerisms and lightning fast skill with a dodgeball (in the man with no name's case, it was his pistols).
  • Gus' former school, Jesse James Elementary School refers to famed outlaw Jesse James. Who had many western movies made about him.  
  • Greg Skeens, Sue Bob Murphy, Conrad Mundy, and Gelman all make cameos on the fifth grade side during the game. This is also the first episode where Chucko Kowalski, Cheay, Jocko, Buster, and Koreo all appear cooperating alongside with Lawson.
  • When Gus reappears as El Diablo, black widescreen bars appear for the rest of the episode.
  • This episode makes extensive use of western style music.
  • This is the only episode with a "The End" title at the end of the episode.
  • This episode was paired up with "Space Cadet" outside the US.
  • Clips of this episode were included in a 2001 One Saturday Morning promo for Recess.
  • The name of this episode was also later the name of a city in two VeggieTales videos, "The Ballad of Little Joe" (2003) and its sequel "Moe and the Big Exit" (2007)


  • T.J. Detweiler - Andrew Lawrence
  • Vince LaSalle - Rickey D'Shon Collins
  • Ashley Spinelli - Pamela Segall-Adlon
  • Gretchen Grundler - Ashley Johnson
  • Mikey Blumberg - Jason Davis
  • Gus Griswald - Courtland Mead
  • Sam - Klee Bragger
  • Randall Weems/Dave - Ryan O'Donohue
  • King Bob - Toran Caudell
  • Erwin Lawson - Erik von Detten
  • Koreo/Kid #4 - Justin Shenkarow
  • Hector/Kid #2 - E.G. Daily
  • Adult Hector - Charles Napier
  • Kid #1 - Sam Gifaldi
  • Kid #3 - Kath Soucie