"Let me introduce you to my good friend Madame Fist!"

Ashley Funicello Spinelli or commonly known Spinelli is the tomboyish Italian-American substitute ringleader of the main characters in the TV Show Recess. She is voiced by Pamela Adlon. She dislikes her first name Ashley because she doesn't want to be a member of the Ashleys, therefore she uses her surname Spinelli as an alias.


She watches wrestling and is known as the toughest kid on the playground. Despite her appearance, she is stubborn, obstinate and frequently uses violence or threats when something is troubling her. However, she appears to have a soft side, such as stopping herself from clobbering Randal with a dirt clod to get a kitten out of a tree (which she gently talks to to get it to come to her) which turns out to be Ms. Finster's cat. TJ also mentions that even though she is tough, she will stand up for any kid on the playground who needs help. She hates talking about her parents because they embarrass her all the time. Spinelli's parents are infamous for telling her friends about her feelings or showing them her childhood photos. She also is intending to keep up with the latest trend, as revealed in "Schoolworld" when she says she likes the SAL-3000 for being new, and in "Weekend at Muriel's" when Ms. Finster, having turned on the car radio on the way to the latter's house, says that "everyone likes the oldies", and Spinelli says, "Actually, I like the newies." She is implied to have a crush on T.J. Detweiler. She is the most aggressive and antagonistic kid in the gang. The other Recess gang members are not exempted from this kind of treatment from Spinelli.

Relationships with the other members of the gang

T.J. Detweiler

Main article: T.J. and Spinelli's relationship

Throughout the course of the series; T.J. has been shown to have a crush on Spinelli, and vice versa. Many episodes have moments where he wraps his arm around her shoulders; or puts a hand on her shoulder, for usually no real reason at all just to show his affections towards her. In the episode "More Like Gretchen", he even tells Spinelli "My heart goes out to you"; which semi-confirms his affection and, on several occasions, Spinelli has returned these affections. Moreover, on parent/teacher day her mother even comments that Spinelli told her that T.J. is the boy on which she has a crush.She is also TJ's second in command and has been said to take over when he is not around.

Mikey Blumberg

Mikey and Spinelli are polar opposite; Mikey is large and peaceful while Spinelli is small and more violent, Mikey's sincerity and calm demeanor sometimes get in the way with Spinelli's attitude; the two share a rare moment of friendship in the episode "Dance Lessons", where Spinelli puts aside her tough attitude for Mikey's sake. She also was ready to defend Mikey when Randall made jokes about him in "Stand Up Randall"; which Mikey appreciated but said it wasn't necessary.

Gretchen Grundler

Being the only two girls in the group Gretchen and Spinelli are very close; Gretchen was Spinelli's first choice to go with her to the museum in "More Like Gretchen", and their friendship goes through a rough patch in the middle of the episode with a confused Gretchen but Gretchen helps make things better between Spinelli and her parents. Gretchen also invited Spinelli to go with her in the "Young Adventurer's Fair" ("Bad Hair Day"); Spinelli helped Gretchen in her campaign in "The Candidates" as her assistant, they also shared revenge against T.J. in "My Funny Valentines" when he gave them both fake Valentine's cards from him.

Vince LaSalle

Both Vince and Spinelli are considered T.J.'s Right Hand. They are good friends but don't interact as much as they do with other members of the gang.

Gus Griswald

Spinelli and Gus don't interact often but are shown to care for each other in a number of episodes; Spinelli is shown to bully him for being a weak and a Scaredy cat, like in 'A Genius Among Us". She said "How can I get this Ball into the hands of someone I can smear", before handing the ball to Gus, then chasing him. In Recess: School's Out, she was impressed by his leadership and even accepted a compliment from him for a wrestling move she did.


Her immediate family includes her father Robert ("Bob"), her mother Florence ("Flo"), and her two big older brothers Vito, from whom she got her boots; and Joseph ("Joey"), who has been mentioned by Spinelli here and there through out the show. Neither have made an appearance in the show. Spinelli also mentioned something about having an uncle named Manfred "Manny" and a cousin named Gordon ("Gordo") in two separate episodes, but they were never spoken of again nor shown at all in the show. Spinelli's parents were voiced by Katey Sagal and Sam McMurray. They call her "Pooky" and have a tendency to embarrass Spinelli in public. It is shown in the episode Parents' Night that her parents are both secret agents. It is a fact unknown to all the other characters. It is revealed in the episode Weekend at Muriel's that Spinelli's grandmother 'Angie' and Miss Finster were good friends "back in Guam". As a result, Muriel is a family friend, and the perfect choice to babysit Spinelli.


Spinelli prototype

Spinelli's appearance in the unaired 1996 pilot

Spinelli is small in size and light in weight, and before Gus’s arrival she was the shortest of the main group; now she‘s the second. She is shown to be tomboyish with a petite slender figure with shoulder length raven black hair and chocolate brown eyes, plus pink full lips and olive colored skin. Her outfit consists of a light orange cotton ski cap upon her head; her hair up in pig-tails on either side each held by a small red hair tie. She wears an unzipped opened black leather biker jacket over a red cotton knee length shirt dress with short sleeves and a round neck line, a pair of light orange stockings with thin red stripes on them, and finally a pair of over sized black rubber biker boots with buckles on them that were hand-me-downs from her older brother.
Young Spinelli

A young Spinelli in Recess: All Growed Down.

In the original pilot version of The Break In, Spinelli was smaller and had her hair in multiple pigtails, She also wore a pale yellow t-shirt, tan overalls, and dark brown shoes. In her adult years, she will grow up to be 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Foreign Voice Actresses

  • Dutch: Merel Burmeister
  • Finnish: Hanna Savikko
  • French: Ludivine Sagnier
  • German: Anja Stadlober
  • Italian: Domitilla D'Amico
  • Japanese: Chiyako Shibahara
  • Norwegian: Renate Moen
  • Polish: Joanna Krejzler
  • Swedish: Elina Raeder Oloffson
  • Hindi: Pari Telang


  • She is the opposite of Mikey in many ways. While Mikey is kind, good-hearted, sweet, gentle, peaceful, tall, and poetic, Spinelli is tough, aggressive, angry, tomboyish, short and somewhat rebellious.
    • Mikey is interested in poetry, singing, art, philosophy and is more interested in arts and culture, while Spinelli is interested in wrestling, fighting, sports and physical activity. While Mikey's interests are spiritual, Spinelli's interests are more physical and manly. Also, Mikey's interests are considered more suitable for females, while Spinelli's interests are considered more suitable for males.While Mikey is sensitive, tolerant and forgiving, Spinelli is rough, less tolerant and less forgiving.
  • She is acrophobic or afraid of heights
  • She seems to search out female role-models other than her own mother throughout the series, finding solace in the advice and confidence of Miss Finster, Miss Grotke, and Madame Pavlova, revealing a much more sensitive side.
  • She is an accomplished artist. During the episode Spinelli's Masterpiece, she creates an expansive piece of artwork across the blacktop which Gretchen describes as resembling "one of those giant Aboriginal petroglyphs that can only be viewed from the sky." Had it survived the incident with the hose, she would have been offered a lucrative grant from Collette Découpage.
  • Spinelli's birth date is never revealed: but Miss Grotke mentions in the episode 'Mama's Girl' that she is a Libra, meaning that she was born between the dates of September 23rd and October 22nd. And since she is at the age of 9 and the show takes place in the academic year 1997-98; she must have been born in the year 1988, making her the youngest of the Recess Gang.
  • Throughout the show's run, various hints have been dropped that Spinelli has feelings for T.J., and has been fully confirmed in "Parents Night" when Flo refers to TJ as the boy Spineli has "the crush on". There are also suggestions that T.J. may well share these feelings.
  • Spinelli and T.J. are the only main characters who commonly wear jackets.
  • Spinelli is the only member of the Recess Gang to be voiced by an adult (though in a few foreign dubs, she's voiced by a kid). Also, like Gretchen and Vince, she is one of the only members of the main six to keep her voice actress for the entire series run, including movies and the Lilo & Stitch crossover.
  • Spinelli was based on a girl who Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere knew from college.
  • In the Fillmore! episode, "Codename: Electric Haircut", Spinelli makes a cameo among the students in the lunchroom, along with fellow Disney character Kim Possible.
  • In the Portuguese dub, Spinelli's first name is changed to Patricia.
  • Spinelli is the only member of the Recess Gang who isn't drawn with nostrils.
  • According to the official website for the series, her favorite colors are black and blue.
  • Spinelli's first name is Ashley, in honor of her great aunt Ashley who was the first woman to win the Iditarod (In reality the first woman to win the Iditarod was Libby Riddles in 1985).
  • One of Spinelli's grandfathers is hard of hearing.
  • Spinelli has a Cousin Nick that goes to 5th street school.
  • Spinelli's grandfather was a Navy SEAL.
  • Miss Grotke & Spinelli are both Libras.
  • Her pee wee pal was Cindy, who she taught to be tough and challenged her to arm-wrestle.
  • She is one of the only two members of the recess gang to have black hair. The other one was Vince.
  • She can get angry really easy, unlike Mikey.
  • She has an older brother named Joey.
  • She gets annoyed easily by the Ashleys.
  • She is technically one of the Ashleys and is also the last one to join.
  • She admits she has no problem with her first name, but the only reason she doesn't want to be called Ashley is that she doesn't want to be part of "The Ashleys" since there is a rule that all children named Ashley must become a member of The Ashleys. 
  • She is apparently short for her age being called "Midget Girl" by King Bob in the episode 'The Break Out', and in the episode 'Here Comes Mr. Perfect', after Jarred beat Spinelli in arm wrestling he said to her "You did very well considering your size."  


Photos The Recess Wiki has a collection of images about Spinelli