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"Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye" is the twelfth episode of the first season of Recess, which was first broadcast on October 18th, 1997.

Plot



Summary

Speedy, the class hamster, passes away, much to the depression of the students except Spinelli. They decide to throw a funeral for him out of honor.

Main Story

The episode begins with Speedy the class hamster running on his wheel as Mikey plays with a squeaky carrot. Vince gives him water and Gretchen and Gus pour him some garlic croutons before leaving for the weekend. When they return on Monday, however, they are concerned to find Speedy motionless and unresponsive in his cage and his food uneaten. Miss Grotke, sounding uncharacteristically nervous, attempts to deflect their attention by saying that Speedy is likely hibernating or meditating but the shocking truth comes about when Gretchen picks him up and feels no pulse: Speedy, as Mikey melodramatically wails, is dead!

At recess, nobody's heart is in the game of kickball aside from Spinelli due to being broken up at Speedy's death and the fact that they weren't able to say a proper goodbye. This gives TJ the idea to hold a funeral for the beloved pet and they (aside from a reluctant and indifferent Spinelli) go around enlisting the help of their fellow fourth-graders; The Diggers initially refuse due to being booked up, but agree when told it is for Speedy whom they regard as a great digger. Next are the Ashleys, who quickly get excited over the multitude of fashion opportunities the funeral gives them. Hustler Kid offers them a prime burial plot that turns out to be in sixth-grader territory, but TJ manages to mollify King Bob with an explanation; King Bob, remembering Speedy fondly, not only permits them to continue but offers to give the eulogy, much to an increasingly irritated Spinelli's disbelief.

The funeral begins well, and surprisingly well-attended as a confused Gretchen notes. Much to King Bob's irritation, however, his heartfelt eulogy keeps getting interrupted as many past alumni of Third Street School come to Speedy's funeral, including the local high school football team, the bus drivers and even the mayor. However the biggest shock comes when an emotional Spinelli dives into the grave and the shoebox coffin is knocked open in the struggle to get her out, causing Speedy's corpse to fall out. The older attendees note that Speedy's appearance doesn't match the one they knew (to King Bob, Speedy had a stripe down his back; to Vic Vermicelli and the high school football team, he had little white paws like running shoes; to Mayor Fitzhugh, he (or she) was brown from head to toe; the Speedy being buried had a little spot under his chin). Gretchen examines Mayor Fitzhugh's school picture even further and discovers that the Speedy in the picture and the Speedy she knew are not the same hamster, shocking everyone. Miss Grotke eventually confesses that there have been numerous hamsters called Speedy from the day Third Street Elementary was built, and every time one had died, it would secretly be replaced before the children could notice as the teachers didn't think they'd be capable of understanding the concept of death. This revelation angers the older attendees who realise the Speedy they knew is long gone and they prepare to storm out, but TJ halts them and wins them over by reminding them that they still have their memories of Speedy and can honour them here and now. Speedy is officially buried with honours, his grave declared the "Tomb of the Unknown Speedy" by King Bob. TJ remarks "Speedy, we hardly knew ye" and the episode closes with a montage of past Speedys; one who hides with a boy under a desk during a nuclear drill, a second who acts as a mascot at an anti-war protest, a third playing with King Bob and finally, the most recent Speedy as he lies down for what will be his final nap.......

Timeline

Goofs

  • Dialogue/continuity/accuracy error: According to Miss Grotke, every fourth-grade class from the foundation of Third Street School onward has had a hamster named Speedy. However, she might be mistaken, since Third Street School was built in the 1920s, and hamsters were not successfully domesticated until 1939.
  • Animation/continuity error: During the scene where Spinelli tells everyone about her memories of Speedy, eyelashes often appear on her eyes when they are entirely closed. When she blinks before she starts to claim that she actually loved everything about Speedy, her lash lines are also darker than usual.

Trivia

Regular

  • The class does not seem to own a Speedy for the rest of the series. However, in Recess: School's Out, Gus mentions the class having a pet gerbil.
  • Since it is mentioned that he attended fourth grade in the year 1956, Mayor Fitzhugh is about fifty years old as of 1997.
  • This episode was mentioned in the movie, Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street, even though it did not air as a part of the movie.
  • Clips of this episode were included in a 2001 Disney's One Saturday Morning promo..
  • It is unknown what the Speedy Bertha knew looked like, since she did not mention it.
  • This is the first episode where a character let alone an animal dies. Another time an animal dies was in the episode Gus and Misdemeanors where a frog jumps in a polluted creek.

Continuity

Allusions

  • T.J. mentions a teacher named Mr. Germain, which is a reference to the show's co-creator, Paul Germain.
  • The episode's title is a reference to the Irish anti-war song, "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye".
  • King Bob declares the grave of Speedy, "The Tomb of the Unknown Speedy". This is a reference to "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier", which is located at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.

Cast

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