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"The Hypnotist" is the second episode of the second season of Recess, which was first broadcast on September 12th, 1998.



Principal Prickly is hypnotized to think he is a little kid again. Hilarity ensues as everyone tries to get him back to normal.

Main Story

Third Street School gathers in the assembly hall for a hypnotism show, to which no-one is enthusiastic about The Amazing Jeffrey calls for a volunteer, but no-one volunteers. He picks Miss Finster for his trick, asking her how old she is. She refuses to say, so he chooses 25, and tells the audience that he will hypnotize her into believing that she is a child of six. As he carries out his trick, Principal Prickly finds himself being slowly hypnotized. After the trick, Jeffrey asks Finster how old she is, to which she again refuses to answer. However, Prickly answers, "I'm six, but I'll be seven in June!".

At recess, the gang mock Jeffrey's failure. Meanwhile, Jeffrey demands payment for his act, but Finster refuses. Prickly then runs out of the school, and starts running around the playground, acting like a little child. Gretchen correctly deduces that Jeffrey accidentally hypnotized him instead of Finster. Gus tries to tell someone, but T.J. insists that this is a golden opportunity to have things their own way for a change. However, Randall overhears, and tells Finster of what happened.

The teachers try to confront Prickly, but are unsuccessful. The gang then approach him, and convince him to act like the principal. At a teacher's meeting, Miss Finster tells the faculty that The Amazing Jeffrey is unavailable because he is on his way to a bar mitzvah in Peru, and self-appoints herself as acting principal. However, a disheveled Prickly storms in, and starts reading out a new set of rules in a child-like manner. Finster goads him into his office, before locking him in. Prickly finds his microphone, and starts burping and making armpit farts over the system.

As the teachers break their way into the office, Prickly climbs out the window and finds the gang. T.J. tells him that they will always be friends, but the others remind him that he cannot be a kid forever and that they have to turn him back. T.J. is reluctant, until Finster accidentally broadcasts to the entire school that she will now be acting principal. The gang try to convince Prickly that he is a grown-up, but he becomes scared and tries to climb away from them. Gretchen follows him, and successfully hypnotizes him to bring him back to his normal adult self.

In Principal Prickly's office, Miss Finster brings the gang in to face his judgement. However, before he can tell them their punishment, he is distracted by his picture on the wall, which he had drawn a red goatee on whilst in his child-like mind. When Finster tries to bring him back on point, Prickly lets them off with a warning, saying that "kids will be kids". Finster leaves with the kids, and T.J. thanks him as he leaves. Prickly then muses that he should grow a goatee beard, before taking a yo-yo out of his pocket, and playing with it as he looks out of the window, whistling.



  • Animation/continuity error: While Principal Prickly is hanging from the rings of the jungle gym, there are four rings. After Miss Finster asks him to come down, there are only two rings.
  • Coloring/consistency error: When Miss Finster asked Randall, "What are you talking about?", she has white sclera on her eyes.
    A strange animation error in TH.PNG
  • Animation/continuity error: In the last frame before Spinelli screams, her teeth is missing, and her throat is almost shaped like a heart.


  • Naming error: On Disney+, the title is known as "Hypnotist".



  • It is revealed that Principal Prickly is 50 years old, and that his birthday is in June; it is implied that Principal Prickly is either a Gemini (like Ashley A.) or Cancer.
  • Gus only has two lines in this episode.
  • Principal Prickly invented the word "Do-Gooders"; this is the word in which one of the show's writers, Rick Gitleson, used for Corn & Peg.
  • Clips of this episode were shown as a sneak peek for the show's second season as part of Disney's One Saturday Morning on TGIF, which aired in primetime on ABC on September 11th, 1998, a night before the episode premiered (This did not air in every ABC market).
  • Contrary to popular belief, hypnotism cannot force someone to do something against their will. Instead, as Gretchen points out, it taps into the subconscious mind. Hence, when the Amazing Jeffrey attempts to mentally regress Miss Finster into a six-year-old, she is not affected in the slightest, while Principal Prickly, who is nearby, starts thinking he is a first grader. Therefore, this episode implies that Principal Prickly misses his childhood.
  • One of Miss Finster's quotes, "None of your beeswax!", was later re-used by Spinelli in the next episode, "Mama's Girl".



  • This episode is similar to the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Little Big Kraft".

International Information

  • In the Italian dub of this episode, Principal Prickly thinks he is 3-years-old instead of 6.