"The Box" is the seventeenth episode of the first season of Recess, which was first aired on November 8th, 1997.


T.J. is sent to Finster's invention, the Box, and the results are unsettling.


T.J. does something wrong again and he is sent to the wall, but it doesn't have much effect, so Miss Finster decides to invent the Box, a seemingly ridiculous idea which is just four lines painted on the ground. It is only when T.J. is sent to the box that the power of the punishment is known. Miss. Finster bans anyone to coming near the box and due to isolation, he develops a psychological fear of it and anything that‘s shaped like a square.

The fear is so great, that he is forced to do jobs for Miss. Finster such as clean erasers and do other things that a "good boy" should do. His friends come up with a scheme to get T.J. back in the box to conquer his fears. This works, and T.J. is turned back to normal, leaving Miss. Finster in an emotional breakdown.


  • Lip-syncing error: When T.J. is going through madness and is singing "This Old Man" when he's in the box, when he says, "...on my shoe", his mouth isn't moving the first time he sings it.
  • When the gang is about to shoot spitballs at Finster, Spinelli's eyes appear to be pointing at different directions.
  • Animation error: Miss. Finster catches T.J. based on his missing shoe. However, for a split-second earlier in the episode, he's shown to still be wearing both.


  • Despite the box being used as punishment in this episode, the kids go back to being sent to the wall instead. The only episode where the box is seen again is in "League of Randalls".
  • The scene where T.J. is riding on the tether ball was taken from a piece of promotional artwork for the show.
  • Clips of this episode were used in a 2003 Toon Disney advertisement for Recess, included on the DVDs of Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade and Recess: All Growed Downand a 2001 Disney Channel UK advertisement, which was included on the UK copy of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Legend Begins.
  • This episode was adapted into chapter book form for the book One Saturday Morning: No Wimps Allowed!, along with stories based on Pepper Ann, Disney's Doug, Tube Dwellers, Mrs. Munger's Class, and How Things Work in 1999.
  • In 2014, this episode was placed as #10 in The Mysterious Mr. Enter's Top 25 Most Disturbing Episodes of Kids' Cartoons.

Production Information

  • In the original recording for the episode, T.J. was singing "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?", but it was changed because they couldn't get the rights to use the song. It was replaced with "This Old Man".