"I've counted the ceiling tiles 13 times already. There's 1,678. You hear me? 1,678!"

"The Break In" is the very first episode of Recess ever. It featured in the first season that was first broadcast on September 13th, 1997. However, a sneak peek was shown on August 31st, 1997. It was also the name of the pilot episode of Recess.


T.J. Detweiler is punished with no recess after an unsuccessful attempt of his gang to raid the kitchen's "good food"; seeing how deranged he has become, the rest of his friends try to break him out by enlisting the help of the other students on the playground.


The show starts with lunch, which is an inedible and volatile Tomato Surprise, a boy named T.J. Detweiler decides to try and get to the good food kept in one of the freezers in the kitchen before the cafeteria. However, he is caught by a teacher named Miss Muriel P. Finster and is punished with no recess. T.J.'s gang hears the news and convinces people throughout the school to help save him.

Their quest leads them to King Robert (Bob), who is the king of the playground. King Bob calls T.J. "some dumb kid". A tomboy named Ashley Spinelli then gives a speech, calling everyone including King Bob "some dumb kid". King Bob then decides that "the dumb kid should be free" and mobilizes his entire dominion (Third Street School) to work together to break in and save T.J..

However, T.J. has already busted himself out by then. Moreover, just as he whoops in celebration, he finds out that the gang is in the lunchroom (where he was being held captive). Unfortunately, recess time is up, and T.J. yells in despair, though he praises the gang's efforts nonetheless. The gang consists of people such as Ashley Spinelli, Vince LaSalle, Gretchen Grundler, and Mikey Blumberg.


  • Vince Lasalle: Poor TJ. He's really losin' it in there.
  • Mikey Blumberg: A kid without recess? It's too horrible for words!
  • Ashley Spinelli: Well, I say we go in there and bust him out!
  • Gretchen Grundler: An admirable suggestion, Spinelli, but any escape attempt has a 70% likelihood of failure.
  • Mikey Blumberg: (after some thinking) Wait! I got an idea! Let's go ask the Guru Kid!


  • Coloring error: When T.J. and Spinelli first come out from under the table in the beginning of this episode, Spinelli's lips briefly turn the same color as her skin.
  • Animation/audio error: When the Diggers appear for the first time, Dave is talking to the rest of the four main characters, however, the animation shows Sam talking.
  • Animation error: When Gretchen first shows the aluminum foil to the Kindergartners, it has a shiny, "glow" effect on it. When the Kindergartners begin chasing them, the "glow" is gone.
  • Animation error: When the doors to the kitchen are first shown, there are no signs on them. When the gang approach them, they have "DO NOT ENTER" signs on each of them.
  • Dubbing error: In the French dub, the "DO NOT ENTER" signs are left in English when they're first shown, but right before the camera pans to T.J., the signs are re-written in French. When T.J. goes through the doors, they're back in English.
  • Dubbing error: In the French dub, the sign on the refrigerator that says, "THE GOOD FOOD" is translated in French when it's first shown, however, right after T.J. touches it, it's back in English.


  • The clip with the Kindergarteners using a rope to climb into the school was reused for the introduction of every episode.
  • Gus does not appear in this episode. He makes his first appearance in the next episode, making this episode and The Great Jungle Gym Standoff the only episodes where Gus does not make an appearance.
  • This episode marks the first appearances of Miss Finster, Randall, Guru Kid, Swinger Girl, Upside-down Girl, The Diggers, King Bob, Cornchip Girl and the Kindergardeners.
  • When the kids are working together to break T.J. out of the cafeteria, the theme song to the series is played.
  • This episode is included as a bonus on the DVD of Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade, and as a bonus on the Finnish VHS and DVD copy of Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
  • On the official One Saturday Morning Recess website, an audio clip of T.J. saying "Cover me, I'm going in" was included on T.J.'s character page, and video clips of Vince saying that a kid needs finesse to speak to someone of King Bob's stature, Spinelli telling King Bob that technically everyone is "Some dumb kid", and Gretchen trying to distract the Kindergarteners were put on the character pages for Vince, Spinelli, and Gretchen respectively. The video clips were later put on the Toon Disney website when Recess joined the lineup in 2003. 
  • This episode was adapted into chapter book form for the book One Saturday Morning: Without Friends, You're Nothing in 1999, along with stories based on Disney's Doug and Pepper Ann.
  • This is the first time T.J. gets a detention.
  • The Tomato Surprise was so hot it melted metal a kid could have died eating it.

Production Information

  • This was the pilot episode for the series created in 1996 to get the show on the air, but was redone with different character designs for the series proper. The pilot was not shown to the general public, however, clips of it were included in an ABC Saturday Mornings promo (With 101 Dalmatians: The Series) on the 1997 VHS releases of 101 Dalmatians (1996) and Doug's Birthday Blues. Clips were also shown in station IDs for certain ABC stations.
  • In the original recording for this episode, T.J.'s name was P.J. Right before the pilot was animated, it was re-recorded due to his name changing.
  • This and "The New Kid" are the only Recess episodes to premiere in prime-time.
  • When this episode and "The New Kid" were shown on August 31, 1997 as a sneak peek in primetime, the episodes were shown in the opposite order.
  • Not every ABC affiliate aired the sneak peek, due to some stations still broadcasting news about Princess Diana's death.
  • This episode was part of the debut of Disney's One Saturday Morning, along with the Pepper Ann episode "Ziterella".
  • This episode along with "The New Kid" were the only episodes written by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, the show's creators.


Foreign Dub Titles

Note - Some dubs leave the title in English

  • French: "L'esprit de solidarité" ("The Spirit of Solidarity")
  • German: "Der Einbruch" ("The Slump")
  • Italian: "La Punizione" ("The Punishment")
  • Japanese: "T.J.救出大作戦" ("Mission Rescue T.J.")
  • Norwegian: "Innbruddet" ("The break in")
  • Polish: "Przerwa" ("Break")
  • Portuguese: "A Invasão" ("The Invasion")
  • Spanish: "El Recreo" ("The Recess") (Spain)
  • Latin Spanish; "El Rescate" ("The Rescue") (Latin America)


Background/Cameo Appearances